Andrew  Reiter Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Andrew Reiter

Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations
Mount Holyoke College

I am an Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Mount Holyoke College. My scholarship focuses on political violence, civil-military relations, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding, and I have published widely on these topics.


Andy Reiter is an expert on political violence, civil-military relations, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. He has consulted for numerous international organizations, governments and NGOs around the world, including the United Nations, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Colombian government during its successful peace process with the FARC rebel group. Reiter regularly appears in the media responding to current events and debates, with appearances on PBS Nova and WGBY’s Connecting Points and quotes in mainstream print outlets. He has also contributed op-eds and commentary for a variety of venues, including The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Medium and local newspapers throughout New England. Reiter is the author of three books and more than three dozen journal articles, book chapters, and other publications, and has received grants from the National Science Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and Smith Richardson Foundation, among others.

Reiter's research agenda is centered on understanding why political violence occurs, determining the most effective strategies to bring about peace, and evaluating the ways in which societies can recover and reconcile from past violence. He examines these questions in the context of dictatorships and post-authoritarian settings, civil wars and terrorist attacks. In particular, he has expertise in analyzing abuses committed by the military and other security forces. Reiter is also one of the foremost scholars in the field of transitional justice, which focuses on the use of war crimes trials, truth commissions, amnesties and pardons, reparations and other mechanisms to address past atrocities.

His most recent book (with Brett Kyle), “Military Courts, Civil-Military Relations, and the Legal Battle for Democracy: The Politics of Military Justice” (Routledge 2021), shows how and why governments use military courts to prosecute civilians and shield members of the military from accountability for human rights violations. It also demonstrates how human rights activists, judges and politicians are able to successfully reform such systems.

Reiter’s previous book, “Fighting Over Peace: Spoilers, Peace Agreements, and the Strategic Use of Violence” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), explains why some civil war peace agreements are implemented rather peacefully while others come under attack from a variety of violent actors. Furthermore, it shows how these attempts at “spoiling” peace can be effectively thwarted.  

His research on transitional justice is extensive. He co-founded the Transitional Justice Data Base Project, which provided the first global dataset of transitional justice mechanisms available for scholars and policymakers. The project culminated in a prominently cited, co-authored book, “Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy” (United States Institute of Peace Press, 2010). Reiter has consulted for a range of governments and NGOs on this topic, from Zimbabwe and Tunisia to Brazil and South Korea. He has also contributed chapters to a widely adopted transitional justice textbook and is a regular reviewer for academic presses and journals.


    PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011
    MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005
    BA, Loras College, 2004

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Political Violence, Civil-Military Relations, Conflict Resolution, and Transitional Justice



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Military Courts Reiter - 1st Edition book cover


NACLA Report on the Americas

A New Dawn for Latin American Militaries

Published: Mar 29, 2019 by NACLA Report on the Americas
Authors: Brett J. Kyle and Andrew G. Reiter

Across the region, militarization is on the rise, posing a major threat to democracy and justice. What can be done?

International Studies Quarterly

Behind Bars and Bargains: New Findings on Transitional Justice in Emerging Democracies

Published: Feb 06, 2019 by International Studies Quarterly
Authors: Geoff Dancy, Bridget E Marchesi, Tricia D Olsen, Leigh A Payne, Andrew G Reiter, Kathryn Sikkink

This article uses a new database of transitional justice mechanisms and finds that prosecutions increase physical integrity protections, while amnesties increase the protection of civil and political rights. Our analysis suggests that different transnational justice policies each play a potentially positive, but distinct, role in new democracies and in decreasing violations of human rights.

Civil Wars

Does Spoiling Work? Assessing the Impact of Spoilers on Civil War Peace Agreements

Published: Sep 11, 2015 by Civil Wars
Authors: Andrew G. Reiter

This article draws on a newly constructed cross-national dataset of spoiling following 241 civil war peace agreements in the post-Cold War era to analyze spoiling. It finds that spoiling intended to terminate an agreement is not as common as typically assumed, but still plagues a sizeable number of peace agreements. Moreover, most actors who resort to this strategy typically fail in their goals and the agreement is not at risk, despite the high publicity and attention given to these threats.

Israel Law Review

Examining the Use of Amnesties and Pardons as a Response to Internal Armed Conflict

Published: Feb 11, 2014 by Israel Law Review
Authors: Andrew G. Reiter

This article creates a typology of the use of amnesty in the context of internal armed conflict and then qualitatively examines the impact on peace of each type. Amnesties granted as carrots to entice the surrender of armed actors can succeed in bringing about the demobilization of individual combatants or even entire armed groups. Amnesties extended as part of a peace process are effective in initiating negotiations, securing agreements, and building the foundation for long-lasting peace.

Israel Law Review

Persistent or Eroding Impunity? The Divergent Effects of Legal Challenges to Amnesty Laws for Past Human Rights Violations

Published: Feb 11, 2014 by Israel Law Review
Authors: Francesca Lessa , Tricia D Olsen , Leigh A Payne , Gabriel Pereira and Andrew G Reiter

This article examines 63 amnesties for human rights violations committed by state agents that were enacted in 34 transitional countries from 1970 to 2011, and the 161 challenges that endeavored to undermine the power of these laws. We find significant variation in the outcome of challenges. While some lead to the removal or weakening of amnesty laws, others validate them.

International Journal of Transitional Justice

Overcoming Impunity: Pathways to Accountability in Latin America

Published: Jan 30, 2014 by International Journal of Transitional Justice
Authors: Francesca Lessa, Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh A. Payne, Gabriel Pereira, Andrew G. Reiter

We first identify widespread agreement on four key factors associated with the degree of accountability in a new democracy: civil society demand, domestic judicial leadership, the absence of veto players and international pressure. We then outline the interactions among those factors that lead to four distinct scenarios of overcoming amnesty, from the failure to do so (obstinate amnesties) to successful democratic displacement of amnesties and the proliferation of trials.

Law & Society Review

Militarized Justice in New Democracies: Explaining the Process of Military Court Reform in Latin America

Published: May 01, 2013 by Law & Society Review
Authors: Brett J. Kyle and Andrew G. Reiter

This article focuses on Latin America to empirically examine how the process of reforming military courts has played out in each democracy following authoritarian rule. We outline two distinct pathways: (1) unilateral efforts on the part of civilian reformers, and (2) strategic bargains between civilian reformers and the military. We find that reform efforts that do not engage and bargain with the military directly often fail to achieve long‐term compliance.

Journal of Human Rights

Taking Stock: Transitional Justice and Market Effects in Latin America

Published: Dec 09, 2011 by Journal of Human Rights
Authors: Tricia D. Olsen, Andrew G. Reiter and Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm

This article broadens the scope of the study of the political economy of transitional justice by examining the effect of transitional justice on the perceptions of private investors. Specifically, we articulate two competing theories of investor preferences toward transitional justice—“Development through Stability” and “Development though Justice”—and explore how stock markets in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil have responded to efforts to address past human rights abuses over time.

International Studies Review

Transitional Justice in Latin America

Published: Sep 14, 2011 by International Studies Review
Authors: Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh A. Payne, and Andrew G. Reiter

This article overviews recent developments in transitional justice in Latin America.

Armed Forces & Society

Dictating Justice: Human Rights and Military Courts in Latin America

Published: Jan 12, 2011 by Armed Forces & Society
Authors: Brett J. Kyle and Andrew G. Reiter

This article develops a theoretical model to explain the state of military court jurisdiction over military personnel for human rights violations in democracies. It then empirically tests this model on seventeen cases in Latin America. The article concludes that the variation in reform of military courts is a result of the relative balance between the extent of military autonomy and the strength of the civilian reform movement.


Why Have Military Courts Become Such a Popular Tool of Repression?

By: Andrew Reiter

Kyle and Reiter draw on the findings of their book Military Courts, Civil-Military Relations, and the Legal Battle for Democracy: The Politics of Military Justice in a recent piece on Political Violence at a Glance.