Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Dustin Berna

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Gary P. Gershman


Conflict Analysis, Conflict Resolution, Genocide, Humanitarian law, Safe Havens, Safety


The international community has shied away from instituting safe havens in conflict zones since the fall of Srebreniça in 1995. However, a look at the roles of safe havens in genocidal violence provides a deeper understanding of the need for these spaces to be established in a timely fashion. The strategic use of cultural safe havens as places for mass violence, necessitates the establishment of international safe havens for the protection of the targeted population, yet an analysis of the relationship between cultural safe havens and international safe havens has not been done before. As such, this research seeks to shed light on the relationship between the use of cultural safe havens, their inherent danger in cases of genocide, and the need for better models for international safe havens in times of violence. It is the researcher’s argument that to achieve this, the very perception of safety must be reimagined. Using content analysis methodology in the form of case studies, along with historical sociology, this research analyzes accounts of genocidal campaigns – Armenia, Rwanda and Bosnia – to explain the relationship between the dangers of cultural safe havens and the subsequent need for international safe havens that are established in time to save the victimized populations.