Recent scholarship sheds new light on militia violence. First, states often control militias, even if they claim to not be able to do so. Second, violence by militias and state forces are closely related – when one commits atrocities the other also usually does. Third, recent evidence also contradicts the assumption that states delegate violence to militias to claim plausible deniability for war crimes.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2015) Civilian Targeting by Militias: The Important Role of States, Conflict Trends, 7. Oslo: PRIO.