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ISBN: 978-9948-846-83-3

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12 Apr 2022
Strategic Trends Series (10)

The rise of foreign volunteers in armed conflicts

Gilles-Emmanuel JACQUET

Since the end of the Cold War, the majority of armed conflicts occurring in the world have consisted of internal conflicts characterized by the increasing involvement of foreign volunteers among non-state actors and, to a lesser extent, among state actors. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the contemporary period as it has occurred throughout history, starting with the American and French revolutions at the end of the 18th century, gaining stronger impetus all through the conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries. Globalization, the growth of internal armed conflicts with international dimensions, the global spread of information, and the increasing ease of travel gave new significance to this phenomenon, especially after 9/11 in the form of global jihadism. The goal of this paper is to present the development of this phenomenon throughout contemporary history, clarify its conceptual definition, analyze its implications with regard to international law, identify the motivations of foreign volunteers involved in armed conflicts and discuss the contemporary, as well as future perspectives of this phenomenon.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gilles-Emmanuel Jacquet holds a Master degree in Political Science from the University of Geneva and a Master degree in European Studies from the European Institute of the University of Geneva. Mr. Jacquet worked in 2006 as an intern for the legal protection unit of the Central Asia, North Africa and Middle East department at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. He worked for the French Ministry of Justice in 2008 and 2010, as well as the cooperation and cultural services of the French Embassy in the Republic of Moldova and the « Alliance Française » of Chișinău in 2009. Mr. Jacquet worked as a reporter at the United Nations in Geneva for Pax Press Agency in 2014-2019 and Sputnik News in 2017, as well as the editor-in-chief of the Geneva-based NGO Security and Human Rights in 2019 and as a political analyst at the Geneva Institute of International Relations in 2021. Since 2010, he teaches International Relations and related subjects in various private universities in Geneva (Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Geneva Business School, International Management School Geneva, UMEF) and abroad (Afghanistan, Algeria, Congo, Ivory Coast, Niger). Since 2018, Mr. Jacquet is an analyst and treasurer at the Geneva International Peace Research Institute. He is the author of various publications, and the book Histoire du conflit moldo-transnistrien, (History of the Moldovan-Transnistrian Conflict) published by Éditions Connaissances et Savoirs / Publibook in 2017.