Roddy Brett

Roddy Brett

Research Fellow

Roddy Brett’s research and teaching focuses upon the study of the broad spectrum of conflict and post-conflict violence in Latin America. He is particularly interested in political violence, both State / counterinsurgent violence and that of illegal armed groups, including of guerrilla and paramilitary organisations. Dr. Brett’s research also analyses ethnic violence and genocide from comparative empirical and theoretical perspectives, in particular those patterns of violence and mass atrocity against indigenous and political groups that have shaped modern Latin American policies, such as Colombia and Guatemala. He studied Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, before completing his Doctorate in Politics at the University of London in 2002. After award of his Ph.D., Dr. Brett lived for over a decade in Latin America, principally working as a scholar-practitioner. He has acted as Advisor to the United Nations Development Programme in both Colombia and Guatemala, and to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala. Dr. Brett also served as Advisor on Indigenous Affairs to the Norwegian Embassy in Guatemala. Dr. Brett worked with the Centre for Human Rights Legal Action in Guatemala, initially as Field Investigator, and subsequently as Coordinator of the Department for Justice and Reconciliation (DEJURE). In this capacity, he was a member of the original team that prepared the evidence for and political strategy of the legal case filed against three former presidents of Guatemala and their military high commands of the 1980s for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This led to the conviction by a Guatemalan court of former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt in May 2013 for eighty years for genocide and crimes against humanity. Dr. Brett continues to advise the United Nations System in Latin America, at this moment in Colombia, in particular in themes of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He holds a position of Visiting Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the International Centre on Non-Violent Conflict, in Washington D.C., and of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Humanitarian Studies of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in Bogota, Colombia. Dr. Brett has published eight monographs and co-edited books, and a series of articles on conflict, violence, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction.

In 2015, Roddy Brett led the UN investigation into the role of the victims’ delegations in the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerrilla, delegations that participated directly in the peace process and ultimately shaped the nature of the accords. This investigation was published by the UN in 2017 in a major book. At present, Roddy Brett is building on this research, writing his fifth monograph that analyses the role of victims of armed conflict in peace building, in particular focusing on questions of the relationships between victims and perpetrators, and the question of reconciliation in relation to overcoming political violence.

T: (0)1334 462993


The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide: Political Violence in Guatemala. Palgrave Mac Millan (2016)

(2012) (Editor with Freddy Cante) La voluntad Indómita: Fundamentos Teóricos de la Acción Colectiva. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad del Rosario.

(2010) (Editor with Angela Santamaria) Jano y las Caras Opuestas de los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad del Rosario.

(2010) (Editor with Santiago Bastos) El Movimiento Maya en la Decada despues de la Paz. Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.

(2009) La Ciudadanía y la Etnicidad. Guatemala: UNDP.

(2008) With Francisco Rodas. Democracia y Derechos Humanos: Voz Ciudadana. Guatemala: UNDP.

(2008) Indigenous Politics and the Guatemalan Process of Democratisation, 1985–1996. Leiden and Boston: Brill-CEDLA Latin American Studies Series.

(2007) Una Guerra sin Batallas: del Odio, la Violencia y el Miedo en el Ixil y el Icxán, 1972–1983. Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.

(2006) Movimiento Popular, Etnicidad y Democratización en Guatemala, 1985–1996. Guatemala: F&G Editoriales.


(2016) ‘Peace without social reconciliation? Understanding the trial of Generals Ríos Montt and Rodriguez Sánchez in the wake of Guatemala’s genocide’, in Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 18, No. 2–3, pages 285–303 (2016).

(2013) “Overcoming the Original Sin of the “Original Condition:” How Reparations May Contribute to Emancipatory Peacebuilding”. Human Rights Review, September 2013. With Lina Malagon.

(2013) “Peace stillborn? Guatemala’s liberal peace and the indigenous movement”, Peacebuilding, Vol. 1, No. 2. Oxford: Taylor and Francis.

(2011) “Confronting Racism From Within the Guatemalan State: the challenges faced by the Indigenous Rights Defender of Guatemala’s Human Rights Ombudsman”, in Oxford Development Studies, Vol. 39, No. 2. Oxford: Taylor and Francis.

(2010) “Racism in Guatemala: Historical Tendencies and Actual Debates” (thematic edition co-editor). Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies. Issue 6. Stockholm: Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University.

(2010) “State Racism in Guatemala: transformations and continuities”, in Racism in Guatemala: Historical Tendencies and Actual Debates, Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies. Issue 6. Stockholm: Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University.

Book Chapters

(2016) ‘Strategic Rescue Responses to Genocide: The Guatemalan Case’, in M. Esparza and C. de Ycaza (Editors), Remembering the Rescuers of Victims of Human Rights Crimes in Latin America. Lexington Books.

(2016) ‘Guatemala: the Persistence of Genocidal Logical Beyond Mass Killing’, in Bridget Conley (Editor), How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, Sudan, Bosnia Herzegovina and Iraq. Cambridge University Press (2016).

(2016) ‘Peace building in South America’, in O. Richmond, S. Pogodda, and J. Ramovic (Editors), The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace. Palgrave MacMillan .

(2015) ‘The Janus Face of International Activism and Guatemala’s Indigenous Peoples’, in Alex De Waal (Editor), Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism, Zed Books.