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Rebel Organization Leaders (ROLE) Database

How do rebel leaders shape the dynamics of armed conflicts, and contemporary world politics more broadly?


Political science scholarship offers a wealth of data on the attributes, backgrounds, and experiences of state leaders. These data have been used to profitably study topics ranging from when leaders start wars to when they change their constitutions to expand their power. Yet, to date, we have lacked similarly comprehensive large-scale data on the leaders of non-state armed organizations.


We created the Rebel Organization Leaders (ROLE) Database to fill this gap. ROLE provides a wide range of biographical information on all top rebel, insurgent, and terrorist leaders who were active in civil wars between 1980 and 2011. The database enables a new research agenda on the role of armed nonstate leaders in shaping conflict processes and outcomes, in much the same way scholars have examined the role of state leaders in international and comparative politics.

For more detailed information on ROLE, please consult our data introduction article in the Journal of Peace Research along with our codebook. All information and publications associated with ROLE are available on this website.


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