Rebel Organization Leaders (ROLE) Database

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


There is a wealth of data on the attributes, backgrounds, and experiences of state leaders in political science. These data have been used profitably to study everything from when leaders start wars to when they change their constitutions to seize dictatorial control. Yet, to date, we have lacked similarly comprehensive, large-scale data on the leaders of non-state violent organizations. The Rebel Organization Leaders (ROLE) Database aims to fill this gap, providing a wide range of biographical information on all rebel, insurgent, and terrorist leaders active in civil wars between 1980 and 2011. We hope that these data will enable the kinds of studies of armed nonstate leaders in civil wars and global politics more generally that scholars have conducted on state leaders in comparative politics and international affairs.

Below are links to (1) the dataset and codebook from a forthcoming article at the Journal of Peace Research introducing the data, and (2) a sample of leader profiles (more to come) which document all coding decisions in the database and provide additional supporting information on each leader.