Preventing Civil War: The Role of Independent Courts

Hector Rafael Mendoza, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis examines the role of judicial institutions, typically overlooked in conflict studies, in their capacity to reduce the likelihood of conflict such as civil wars. I argue that courts that enjoy judicial independence can provide institutional mechanisms that reduce conflict, such as civil war. Specifically, I employ several rare events logistic and OLS regression models with robust clustered standard errors testing the effects of judicial independence on civil war likelihood and regime opposition size. The results indicate that judicial independence and judicial power have inconsistent and mixed results across these models and generally do not support the theory. In short, there is stronger support for the role of judicial independence for the grievance mechanisms rather than state capacity mechanisms. Nonetheless, this thesis offers a significant contribution by examining an overlooked institutional mechanism through which to reduce the likelihood of civil wars: courts.

Subject Area

Political science|Law|Alternative Dispute Resolution

Recommended Citation

Mendoza, Hector Rafael, "Preventing Civil War: The Role of Independent Courts" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30242335.