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10 May 2013
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1. Human Rights Watch –Letter to DR Congo President Joseph Kabila on Ending Impunity for Grave Human Rights Abuses
 
1. Amnesty International –Guatemala’s trial of the decade in ten facts
2. Statement of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide on the judicial process against the former Head of State and former Chief of Intelligence of Guatemala
 
1. Ian Holliday, South China Morning Post –UN must act to stop human rights abuses in Myanmar
2. Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P –R2P Ideas in Brief: Growing Ethnic Tensions in Myanmar and Indonesia
3. Human Rights Watch –New Report - Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims
 
 
 
13 May, Deadline to register for the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Summer Institute for Teachers; Keene State College (Keene, NH, United States)
14 May, The Future of Deadly Conflict: Is Optimism Defensible? A Lecture by the Hon. Gareth Evans; Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
15 May, Transatlantic Atrocity Prevention: The U.S. and EU Approach to Implementing R2P; United States Institute of Peace (Washington, DC, United States)
15 May, The Responsibility to Protect in a Post-Western World, Mass Atrocities, the BRICS & the West: a discussion with Michael Ignatieff; Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Global Public Policy Institute (Berlin, Germany)
16 May, Panel event: Kenya's 2013 elections: Glass half full or half empty;Institute for Security Studies (Nairobi, Kenya)
1 July, Deadline for abstract submissions for an edited volume on ‘Rescuers of Mass Atrocities in Latin America’; Historical Memory Project, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
 

 
On 8 May 2013, the UN Joint Human Rights Office – comprised of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the DRC - released its report from an investigation of human rights violations committed by members of both the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 rebel group in areas of North and South Kivu in November 2012. During this period, the M23 rebel groups occupied the towns of Goma and Sake in North Kivu. The report describesvictim and witness accounts of mass rape, killings and arbitrary executions, and violations resulting from widespread looting”, and notes that particularly systematic and violent abuses were committed by FARDC soldiers as they retreated from the M23 through the town of Minova in South Kivu. In a devastating account of sexual violence, the report found that FARDC soldiers raped at least 102 women and 33 girls during this period, among other acts of violence. M23 rebels were also found to have perpetrated “serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations” during their occupation in the north. Following the release of the report, Congolese authorities suspended the commanding officers of those FARDC battalions implicated in these violations. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated, that “Recent efforts made by the DRC authorities to investigate these violations in North and South Kivu are an important step towards accountability. But much more needs to be done to ensure justice for the victims and to re-establish the confidence of the civilian population in the Congolese justice system”. Meanwhile, the UN has recently stepped up its own efforts to work with national and regional authorities to combat the ongoing risks to civilians posed by rebel activity and instability within the armed forces in the DRC, which have been detailed in the Secretary-General’s February report on the country as well as by civil society organizations like Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group and Amnesty International. These efforts include working with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to broker the Framework Agreement, signed by all Member States in the ICGLR, to bring stability to the region and the appointment Mary Robinson as the Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region. The Security Council authorized an ‘intervention brigade’ with an unprecedentedly robust mandate to combat rebel elements in the DRC. Though such a brigade may improve the security situation for civilians, many have expressed concerns, including those detailed by Christoph Vogel in Think Africa Press, that the new mechanism may not have adequate capacity to cope with the sheer magnitude of rebel activity in the DRC and that the brigade’s order of priority targets on the ground may become politicized.
 
1. Letter to DR Congo President Joseph Kabila on Ending Impunity for Grave Human Rights Abuses
Human Rights Watch
8 May 2013
 
We are writing to you with concerns and recommendations regarding the human rights situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the importance of ending impunity for grave human rights abuses. We recognize that violence and abuses continue, but we are hopeful that the Congolese government, with international support, can make real progress along the path towards greater respect for human rights and justice in the coming months.
 
The new Framework Agreement signed in Addis Ababa on February 24, 2013, the appointment of Mary Robinson as the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, and the upcoming deployment of the Intervention Brigade – an African-led force within the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, MONUSCO – present a number of important opportunities. Human Rights Watch is calling for sustained international pressure to ensure that all military support from Rwanda or Uganda to the M23 or other abusive armed groups active in Congo ceases immediately. Those responsible for such support should be held accountable and subject to sanctions. (…)
 
We are encouraged by your clear statements over the past year that the Congolese government will not provide an amnesty to M23 leaders who are on UN sanctions lists or who are sought on arrest warrants for war crimes or crimes against humanity, nor will it reintegrate them into the Congolese army. For far too long, the policy of integrating abusive warlords into the army and giving them senior ranks and influence has only served to perpetuate Congo’s cycle of impunity, effectively rewarding the use of violence.
 
Bosco Ntaganda’s recent surrender and transfer to The Hague was a significant step forward in the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes in eastern Congo. Human Rights Watch believes that your insistence over the past year that Ntaganda face justice played a critical role in this development. We hope that others with records of serious human rights abuses – including M23 leaders Baudouin Ngaruye and Innocent Zimurinda (who are currently in Rwanda), Sultani Makenga, and Innocent Kayna – will also be arrested and brought to justice. (…)
 
(…) To end impunity, the government should adopt a consistent and even-handed approach towards all armed groups responsible for serious abuses, and should not promote one-sided justice or double standards. A number of militia groups, as well as some members of the Congolese army, have also been responsible for horrific attacks on civilians over the past year. They include the Raia Mutomboki, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Nyatura, Mai Mai Sheka, the Patriotic Alliance for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS), the Mai Mai Yakutumba, the Ituri Patriotic Resistance Front (FRPI), and Mai Mai fighters in Katanga. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and dozens of villages burned to the ground by these groups in the past year. Those responsible should not be rewarded, but instead arrested and brought to justice.
 
The deployment of the Intervention Brigade comes with a number of risks, but it also presents a unique opportunity to arrest rebel leaders responsible for some of the worst atrocities. The brigade should focus on targeted, well planned arrest operations and take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to the civilian population, evident in past large-scale military operations that resulted in massive displacement and human rights abuses.
 
In areas in which the Intervention Brigade takes control, it will be crucial for the Congolese government to play a proactive role and, together with MONUSCO, ensure that plans are in place to hold and secure these areas and re-establish credible government institutions and services. Civilian protection should be a priority. (…)
 
As part of the government’s national reform program, and to follow through with other commitments made in the Framework Agreement, we urge you to take the following steps:
 
- Suspend, investigate, and appropriately prosecute Congolese security force members implicated in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights abuses, regardless of rank.
 
- Assure that the government does not provide military support to foreign or Congolese militias or armed groups that are responsible for widespread or systematic abuses. Civilian officials or military personnel implicated in providing support to such groups should be suspended from their positions, investigated, and appropriately prosecuted. 
 
- Implement a vetting mechanism for the army and police to exclude those found responsible for involvement in grave human rights abuses.
 
- Establish specialized mixed chambers or a specialized mixed court within the Congolese justice system, with the involvement of international prosecutors, judges, and other personnel, to hold trials, in accordance with international law, of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Congo since 1990.   
 
- With the support of the United Nations and donors, urgently develop and implement a new Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program and strategy for dealing with armed groups. (…)
 
- Ensure that former combatants who are integrated into the army or police, or who join civilian life, are not discriminated against or subjected to torture or other ill-treatment because of their former allegiances. A system could be set up to monitor equal treatment within the security forces and to encourage people to report instances of discrimination or mistreatment. Officials responsible for such actions should be investigated and appropriately disciplined or prosecuted.
 
Finally, we urge you to involve civil society organizations, particularly human rights and women’s rights groups, in the development of your national reform programs as well as the follow-up mechanisms. (…)
 
 
 
On 30 April 2013, a Guatemalan judge reopened the trial of General Jose Efrain Ríos Montt, who has been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflict in Guatemala in the period from March 1982 to August 1983. Rios Montt, who was head of the military government at that time, along with General Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, his former intelligence director, has been charged with the deaths of 1,771 people, enforced displacement of 29,000, sexual abuse against 8 women and torture of at least 14. Until January 2012, Rios Montt had been granted immunity as a member of congress, but his and Sanchez’s trial began on 19 March 2013. About a month later, the Court was ordered to annul the trial on procedural grounds; however, the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, ordered that the proceedings resume shortly thereafter. This trial represents the first time that a former Guatemalan Head of State is being tried for genocide. For more information, see a special released by PBS about the proceedings and charges entitled, “From Guatemalan Soil, Scientists Unearth Signs of Genocide”.
 
1. Guatemala’s trial of the decade in ten facts
Amnesty International
8 May 2013
 
(…) 1. Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering Mexico. (…)
 
2. Between 1960 and 1996, Guatemala was immersed in a bloody internal armed conflict that pitted the army against guerrilla groups. More than 200,000 men, women and children were murdered or disappeared during this 36-year-long war, most of them were indigenous.
 
3. General Jose Efrain Rios Montt led the country’s military government between March 1982 and August 1983 – one of the bloodiest periods of the conflict when there was an aggressive campaign targeting anyone deemed to be supporting left-wing guerrillas.
 
4. The conflict ended in 1996 with the signing of a Peace Accord in which the government pledged to clarify the truth about what had happened in the three decades of violence. In 1999, a report by the UN-sponsored Commission of Historical Clarification concluded that the Guatemalan state was responsible for 93 per cent of abuses. (…)
 
5. This is the first time a former Guatemalan head of state is being tried for genocide. The case against Rios Montt has been ongoing since 2001, but has been subject to a number of obstacles, including numerous constitutional appeals filed on his behalf and his immunity as a member of congress, which he lost in January 2012.
 
6. Rios Montt is charged with being the intellectual author of the death of 1,771 people, enforced displacement of 29,000, sexual abuse against 8 women and torture or at least 14. In March 2012, he was also charged with the death of 201 in Dos Erres, Peten, in December 1982 – no date has been yet set for the latest charges to be heard.
 
7. The trial against Rios Montt and General Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez – his former head of intelligence – started on 19 March 2013. On 18 April, in the final phase of the trial, after more than 100 witnesses and experts had appeared, a judge in a separate Court from the trial Court ordered the trial to be annulled and returned to a pre trial phase.
 
8. The trial court reconvened on 19 April and refused to annul the trial, but did suspend proceedings until higher courts resolved the matter. After a series of rulings by higher courts, on 30 April the trial resumed.
 
9. Former generals Mejia Victores – who was Defence Minister under Rios Montt and then succeeded him as president – and the former Army Chief of Staff, Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, have also been charged but the cases against them were suspended due to their health state.
 
10. In August 2011, in one of the most recent trials against those responsible for massacres, four soldiers were sentenced to more than 6,000 years in prison for killing 250 people in the northern town of Dos Erres in 1982.
 
 
2. Statement of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, on the judicial process against the former Head of State and former Chief of Intelligence of Guatemala
23 April 2013

The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, urges the judicial authorities involved in the trial of former Head of State Jose Efrain Rios Montt and former Chief of Intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez to conclude the case and bring accountability for the atrocity crimes committed during the internal armed conflict in Guatemala, which lasted from 1960 to 1996.

Jose Efrain Rios Montt and Jose Mauricio Rodriguez face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to human rights violations and abuses committed against the Mayan Ixil population in the Quiche department of Guatemala between 1982 and 1983. The United Nations-backed Historical Clarification Commission, formed after the 1996 peace accord, described what happened as “acts of genocide.”

A decision by a first-instance judge on 18 April called for annulment of the trial, which is taking place at the Guatemalan Court for High Risk Crimes and was reaching its final stages. This decision is regarded as illegal by the panel of judges in charge of the trial, who suspended the process until, ultimately, the Constitutional Court decides as to whether the trial can continue.

“I appeal to the judicial authorities to act responsibly and prevent any attempt at interference, obstruction of justice or manipulation of the law, which would seriously undermine the credibility of the judicial system in Guatemala,” said Mr. Dieng. “The victims of the atrocities committed during the civil war in Guatemala and their families have waited many years for justice; I hope that they will not have to continue to wait. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

“I would like to pay tribute to the courage of survivors and witnesses who have testified during this trial,” said Mr. Dieng, “as well as the incredible work done to collect and analyse the information that serves as the basis for the charges.” Mr. Dieng acknowledged the instrumental role played by lawyers and civil society organisations in this regard. “I would also like to recognise the important work of the Office of the Attorney General and those members of the judiciary who have sought to end impunity for the crimes committed during the internal armed conflict.” Mr. Dieng also echoed calls for the authorities to continue to guarantee the security of all those involved in the proceedings.

Due to the significance of the present case, a representative of the Special Adviser was present during court sessions on 18 and 19 April 2013. “This is the first time that a former head of State has been indicted by a national tribunal on charges of genocide. With this process, Guatemala has established an historical precedent and should serve as an example to those States that have failed to hold accountable those individuals responsible for serious and massive human rights violations.”

“Only in this way can Guatemala consolidate its peace process and build trust and confidence among its diverse populations. Such trust and the credibility of its institutions are indispensable for the prevention of future abuses.” (…)
 
Read full statement in English and Spanish.
 
 
On 29 April 2013, a government-commissioned panel released its report on the deadly sectarian violence that took place in Rakhine State in June and October 2012 between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists. The violence left 140,000 displaced and nearly 200 dead, primarily within the minority Muslim community. Among other recommendations, the report proposed that the government double the number of security forces in the area, introduce a family planning program to stem population growth among the Muslim community and maintain the current segregation of the Rohingya Muslim population within Rakhine State. Though the investigative panel sought to address the humanitarian situation and improve the circumstances for those who remain displaced, it did not include any representatives of the Rohingya Muslim community. Many of these recommendations, which may be perceived as discriminatory, follow from Myanmar’s citizenship law, a policy enacted in 1982, which does not recognize the citizenship and thus limits the civil liberties of Rohingya Muslims, and which activists around the world have demanded be reviewed due to its negative impact on the population. 
 
Following the release of the report, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana stated that, though the government’s efforts to address the violence were welcome, more would need to be done to reverse the institutionalized discrimination against the Muslim community in Rakhine State. Namely, Quintana noted that some recommendations restricted the movement of the Muslim community, and expressed concern about the absence of recommendations to address impunity for crimes committed against civilians in 2012. He also highlighted the need for accountability measures to be undertaken with regard to state authorities who were implicated in the violence. This observation follows from evidence, published by Human Rights Watch in April 2013, that state and local authorities had been responsible for crimes against humanity against the Rohingya Muslim community, including forcible displacement, during “a campaign of ethnic cleansing”.
 
1. UN must act to stop human rights abuses in Myanmar
Ian Holliday
South China Morning Post
1 May 2013
 
Professor Ian Holliday is dean of social sciences at the University of Hong Kong.
 
Last week generated three important perspectives on Myanmar's evolving relationship with the wider world. In Brussels, the European Union lifted all sanctions apart from an export ban on arms. In New York, the International Crisis Group honoured President Thein Sein with its top peace award. In Bangkok, Human Rights Watch released a devastating report on ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
 
Each event was remarkable. Until very recently, sanctions formed the central plank of Western policy on Myanmar. Now they are gone in the EU, and suspended, pending final removal, in the US. Equally, Myanmar's brutal military junta was reviled around the world. Yet, two years on, a senior former member is being fêted as a man of peace. Lastly, Buddhist monks drew nothing but praise as they led uprising marches in 2007. Today, disturbingly, a dark side is ever more apparent.
 
These perspectives form an authentic picture as Myanmar enters a third year of sweeping reform. Liberalisation has seen most leading political prisoners released, censorship rolled back, civil society unshackled and the economy opened to inward investment. Ceasefire deals have been struck with all but one of the major ethnic militias.
 
At the same time, however, the mass atrocities documented by Human Rights Watch are a problem. The report highlights the genocidal campaign directed at stateless Rohingya. But forces of repression also target other Muslim groups.
 
What, then, is the international community to do? (…)
 
For proponents of enhanced engagement, the reformist window opened in 2011 may slam shut if key political leaders are not given full support. Yet when Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi preside over a process scarred by systemic human rights abuse, something more forceful than quiet diplomatic pressure is necessary.
 
Indeed, it is now clear that the UN doctrine of a "responsibility to protect" must come into play. This so-called R2P is triggered by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In Myanmar, firm evidence of all four crimes is now available.
 
Ultimately, R2P mandates decisive action by the international community. Ahead of that, though, it requires that the state in question be forcefully reminded of its duty to protect individuals in its jurisdiction. Currently, such engagement with Myanmar is being explored on no more than an ad hoc basis.
 
This kind of action must be urgently placed on the agenda of the UN Security Council. If the international community really has a stake in sustainable reform, the time to make the case for R2P in Myanmar is now.
 
 
2. R2P Ideas in Brief: Growing Ethnic Tensions in Myanmar and Indonesia – R2P and Promotion of Communal Dialogue
Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
25 April 2013
 
Ethnic tensions in Myanmar and Indonesia have been growing within the last year. The outbreak of communal violence in Meiktila in central Myanmar last month indicates that animosity between Muslim and Buddhist communities is spreading and intensifying since mid-2012. In Indonesia, violence against minority groups by militant Islamists is exacerbated by the lack of resolve on the part of the national government to enforce the rule of law in general and ensuring the protection of rights and freedoms of minorities in particular.
 
This policy brief examines recent developments in Myanmar and Indonesia in the context of ethnic tensions and how their respective governments have responded so far in averting further communal violence. It argues that growing ethnic tensions in these two countries should serve as a wake-up call for governments in Southeast Asia to take more seriously their primary responsibility in preventing the escalation of communal conflicts that could lead to mass atrocity crimes. Specifically, it underscores the need for adopting an atrocity prevention lens in dealing with ethnic conflicts, which is key towards implementing R2P and in protecting minority groups. It recommends, among other things, the importance of promoting inter-faith dialogue and community-based peacemaking in order to prevent the escalation of further communal violence. A regional response, through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is also necessary, particularly in the case of addressing the Rohingya issue, as it has become a transnational security concern in this part of the world.
 
What follows is a brief overview of recent ethnic violence in Myanmar and Indonesia. (…)
 
Read full policy brief.
 
3. New Report - Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims
Human Rights Watch
22 April 2013
 
Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 153-page report, “‘All You Can Do is Pray’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State,” describes the role of the Burmese government and local authorities in the forcible displacement of more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Burmese officials, community leaders, and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population. The tens of thousands of displaced have been denied access to humanitarian aid and been unable to return home.

“The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.”

Following sectarian violence between Arakanese and Rohingya in June 2012, government authorities destroyed mosques, conducted violent mass arrests, and blocked aid to displaced Muslims. On October 23, after months of meetings and public statements promoting ethnic cleansing, Arakanese mobs attacked Muslim communities in nine townships, razing villages and killing residents while security forces stood aside or assisted the assailants. Some of the dead were buried in mass graves, further impeding accountability. (…)

All of the state security forces operating in Arakan State are implicated in failing to prevent atrocities or directly participating in them, including local police, Lon Thein riot police, the inter-agency border control force called Nasaka, and the army and navy. (…)

Displaced Rohingya told Human Rights Watch how in October security forces stood by or joined with large groups of Arakanese men armed with machetes, swords, homemade guns, and Molotov cocktails who descended upon and attacked their villages. In some cases, attacks occurred simultaneously in townships separated by considerable distance. (…)

In the deadliest incident, on October 23, at least 70 Rohingya were killed in a daylong massacre in Yan Thei village in Mrauk-U Township. Despite advance warning of the attack, only a small number of riot police, local police, and army soldiers were on duty to provide security, but they assisted the killings by disarming the Rohingya of their sticks and other rudimentary weapons they carried to defend themselves. (…)

Considerable local organizing preceded and backed October’s attacks. The two groups most influential in organizing anti-Rohingya activities were the local order of Buddhist monks (the sangha) and the regionally powerful Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), which was founded in 2010 by Arakanese nationalists. Between June and October, these groups and others issued numerous anti-Rohingya pamphlets and public statements, explicitly or implicitly denying the existence of the Rohingya ethnicity, demonizing them, and calling for their removal from the country, at times using the phrase “ethnic cleansing.” (…)

More than 125,000 Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims, and a smaller number of Arakanese, have been in displaced person camps in Arakan State since June. While President Thein Sein’s government has hosted high-profile diplomatic visits to displacement sites, it has also obstructed the effective delivery of humanitarian aid. (…)

Under international law, crimes against humanity are crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack by a government or organization on a civilian population. Among the crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya since June were murder, deportation and forcible transfer of the population, and persecution.

“Ethnic cleansing,” though not a formal legal term, has been defined as a purposeful policy by an ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.

Central to the persecution of the Rohingya is the 1982 Citizenship Law, which effectively denies Burmese citizenship to Rohingya on discriminatory ethnic grounds. (…)

“Burma should accept an independent international commission to investigate crimes against humanity in Arakan State, locate victims, and provide redress,” said Robertson. “Burma’s donors need to wake up and realize the seriousness of the Rohingya’s plight, and demand that the government urgently stop abuses, promote the safe return of displaced Muslims, and ensure accountability to end the deadly cycle of violence in Arakan State.”
 
Read a recent commentary by Lotte Leicht, entitled “Blunder in Burma: Scrapping of EU Sanctions Sends Wrong Message”.
 
Luis Peral, Nicoletta Pirozzi, Editors
Edizioni Nuova Cultera, EU Institute for Security Studies, Istituto Affari Internazionali
April 2013
 
(…) Gross and large scale violations of human rights which may be attributed to a State have been recognized as the most serious breaches of fundamental obligations affecting the international community as a whole; and the Rome Statute, adopted in 1998 and which entered into force in 2002, has established that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over atrocity crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Both States and individuals may thus be held accountable for these ominous acts, but the international responsibility of States and International Criminal Law are ex post facto mechanisms which do not satisfy the rights of victims. As an indispensable component of the underlying norm, the responsibility to protect R2P, a principle allowing for the effective protection of potential victims from such crimes, was endorsed by all members of the international community in the 2005 United Nations World Summit Outcome Document. While the R2P concept was presented in a report of the Canadian sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty ICISS in 2001 as a possibility for coercive intervention to protect populations at risk in the case that no decision is adopted by the UN Security Council, the World Summit Outcome Document broadened its scope to include preventive measures, and made explicit reference to the need for Security Council authorization as regards any eventual recourse to force in order to put an end to such massacres.
 
This new development of the norm has not been confined to the framework of the United Nations (UN), but has also led to a series of reforms in the main regional organizations. At the same time, both the interpretation and the implementation of the R2P norm and humanitarian intervention remain differentiated within the international community, with disagreement made explicit by some of the BRICS States (namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as regards the way in which a group of Western States under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) umbrella implemented R2P in Libya.
 
In its 2008 Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy, the European Union (EU) specified that “sovereign governments must take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and hold a shared responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.3 Indeed, the EU consolidated a relationship with the UN covering most aspects of preventive measures and potential responses to situations of mass atrocities long before the R2P concept was incorporated into official UN documents.
 
The EU has also offered support in different ways to the African Union Peace and Security Architecture, which is significantly oriented to the prevention and halting of mass atrocities; and it has traditionally cooperated with NATO, although on an ad hoc basis, as well as with the Organization for Security and Co‐operation in Europe (OSCE) – but not so much with the Council of Europe – on, respectively, the military and civilian dimensions of the response. Such acquis has, however, not always been consistent, and is currently at risk due to the financial and political crisis that the EU has experienced over the last few years, but it still constitutes the most notable performance by a regional organization in this field.
 
There have been, however, fewer attempts on the part of the EU to work together with other international actors as regards the prevention of mass atrocities and R2P, particularly when it comes to the third pillar.
 
There is thus scope for horizontal cooperation in this sense, especially considering that certain countries are becoming indispensable actors in a new global context and that some regional organizations are proving increasingly active in different aspects of R2P. Although a few non‐EU countries have taken part in different EU operations in the framework of the European/Common Security and Defence Policy (E/CSDP), such contributions have been scarce and restricted to crisis management. Recent important developments at Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the reform process initiated by the Arab League as a result of the Arab democratic wave offer new opportunities of cooperation which have not been sufficiently explored. As to EU cooperation with non‐EU countries, it is sufficient to say that the ten Strategic Partnerships have not yet represented any advance in this field.
 
The present report has been conceived as a kind of mapping exercise of the EU’s ongoing and potential cooperation with other international organizations to prevent and halt mass atrocities. It is a collective exercise not only because it has been undertaken by a group of experts, but also due to the fact that a common framework of analysis has been devised so that the report is as consistent and comprehensive as possible.
 
For the purpose of our analysis, we referred to an inclusive framework of activities implemented by the EU and other relevant actors for the prevention of mass atrocities and R2P: these include not only early warning, diplomatic initiatives, targeted sanctions, civilian and/or military missions, peacebuilding, but also transitional justice and the fight against organized crime, even though they does not fall under the traditional notion of the R2P. The mapping results from the identification of all relevant international organizations (IOs) with which the EU has or should have cooperated, namely the UN, NATO, OSCE, the Council of Europe (CoE), the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States (LAS), ASEAN and the Organization of American States (OAS). The aim of the report is to assess both best practices and gaps, including areas that have not been explored or in which there is scope for improvement, in order to make policy recommendations which are relevant not only to the EU but also to each of the IOs already or potentially working with the EU to prevent and/or halt mass atrocities. The general assumption of the report is that the EU will advance cooperation with other IOs whenever possible in order to fulfill its own commitment to R2P, which entails forging or strengthening consensus with other member states of the international community, starting with the Strategic Partners. (…)
 
 
United States Institute of Peace
April 2013
 
On 2 April 2013, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) convened approximately 25 policymakers, scholars, and NGOs for an “input session” in Washington, DC to analyze the impact that domestic security sector reform and the promotion of horizontal equality can have on the prevention of mass atrocity crimes. This Peace Brief compiles the key findings and areas of consensus from that input session, and will inform the U.N. Secretary-General’s upcoming report on the Responsibility to Protect and the protection responsibilities of States, to be published later in 2013.

Security Sector Reform (SSR) encompasses activities aimed at improving a country’s capacity to deliver justice and security in a transparent, accountable, and professional manner. Horizontal equality strategies include a broad range of policy measures to increase actual and perceived equity in the distribution of assets, income, and opportunity between groups.
 
When properly implemented these structural measures may enhance state capacity to prevent large-scale violence committed by non-state perpetrators while reducing the risk that state actors become complicit in the atrocities themselves. If poorly implemented these reform efforts may reinforce existing patterns of political or economic competition and marginalization, increasing the risk of civil conflict and atrocities.
 
The impact of domestic security sector reform and the promotion of horizontal equality will depend on the desire of both regime and population to incorporate these measures in a comprehensive reform strategy. SSR practices particularly relevant to mitigate the risk of mass violence include the assurance of civilian oversight and the promotion of individual professionalism amongst uniformed personnel. Relevant development policy measures need not only include redistribution mechanisms, but also consider employment and safety net programs for marginalized groups, reform to reduce corruption linked to identity, and efforts to build national identity and transcend societal divisions.
 
Including an atrocity prevention lens in national SSR campaigns and development strategies implies awareness of the local sources of risk and resilience, as well as the potential utility and constraints of reform activities in areas considered at risk of atrocities. At the same time, effective risk assessments will identify the most salient inequalities and security challenges experienced by potential victim groups. (…)
 
Read the full brief.
Read USIP’s May 2013 Prevention Newsletter, which features an interview with the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Mr. Adama Dieng.
 

1. The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Summer Institute for Teachers
Keene State College
14-20 July 2013
Deadline for registration: 13 May 2013
 
An intensive, residential one-week educational experience, the Summer Institute grounds participants in basic themes of Holocaust and genocide studies while exploring multidisciplinary pedagogical approaches and applications for the classroom and other educational settings.

The Summer Institute will feature two tracks: Holocaust & Genocide Education in the 21st Century and a Fellows Seminar. The seminar will cost $275.
 
Register for the summer institute.

2. The Future of Deadly Conflict: Is Optimism Defensible? Lecture by the Hon. Gareth Evans
14 May 2013, 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge
Darwin Room, the Pitt Building, University of Cambridge

This is the last in a series of lectures given by the Hon. Gareth Evans, Chancellor of the Australian National University. The series, entitled the “Humanitas Chair in Statecraft and Diplomacy” has been made possible by the generous support of Mrs. Angelika Diekmann.
 
Read more about the event.
 
3. Transatlantic Atrocity Prevention: The U.S. and EU Approach to Implementing R2P
15 May 2013, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
United States Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20037

The advocacy and academic communities have successfully strengthened the case for preventive action as a cost-effective alternative to crisis management or reactive measures. While significant progress has been made in recent years, relevant U.S. and EU policymakers still face significant political and operational challenges in implementing their responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes. How do we translate the theory of atrocity prevention into practice? How can regional organizations best complement international and local initiatives? How do we effectively coordinate transatlantic efforts to prevent the type of mass killing we currently experience in Syria and throughout Central Africa?
 
On May 15, two esteemed academics will discuss the role of the U.S. Government and the European Union in preventing mass atrocities and implementing the responsibility to protect principle.
 
This event will feature the following speakers: Dr. Andrew Bartoli, Dean of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University and Dr. Jan Wouters, Director of the Leuven Center for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven. Jonas Claes, Program Officer of the Center for Conflict Management at the U.S. Institute of Peace will moderate.
 
Read more about the event or RSVP. Important information
for guests.
 
4. The Responsibility to Protect in a Post-Western World, Mass Atrocities, the BRICS & the West: a discussion with Michael Ignatieff
15 May 2013, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Global Public Policy Institute
Heinrich Böll Foundation, Schumannstraße 8, 10117 Berlin
 
As part of the “Sicherheitspolitik im Wandel" series organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Michael Ignatieff, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy Berlin, will give a lecture on “The Responsibility to Protect in a Post-Western World, Mass Atrocities, the BRICS & the West”. A panel discussion will follow, featuring Prof. Michael Ignatieff, Andrea Böhm, Journalist, DIE ZEIT, and Ralf Fücks, President, Heinrich Böll Foundation. Thorsten Benner, Director of the Global Public Policy Institute will moderate.
 
The cases of Libya and Syria have elevated R2P to the very top of the global agenda. Implementing R2P is a central challenge of a human rights oriented security policy in the 21st century. Yet, central questions on the implementation of R2P remain unanswered. Who decides when to intervene, with which means and according to what rules? What does effective prevention look like? What are the alternatives if the UN Security Council cannot agree on a common course of action? Almost 20 years after the Rwandan genocide, all these questions are more controversial than ever – within the West but particularly between the West and emerging powers like the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). These powers increasingly shape the global political agenda.
 
In his talk, Michael Ignatieff will address whether R2P can last in a world where the West’s influence is diminishing. He will address the BRICS’ agenda regarding R2P and outline the differences between the democratic and non-democratic BRICS countries. (…)
 
For Ignatieff, the case of Syria marks a turning point. He argues that Russia and China are sending a clear message to the West: “This is not your world, they want us to know, and history is not moving in your direction.” In addition, the question needs to be raised whether in reality the West is not already abdicating its responsibilities for the Syrian people. (…)
 
For more information on the event please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it from the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. Read more or watch the event on live-stream.
 
5. Panel event: Kenya's 2013 elections: Glass half full or half empty?
16 May 2013
Institute for Security Studies
Conference Room at the Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi
 
Kenya’s recent elections elicited mixed reactions. For some, the peaceful nature of the poll and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the choice of Uhuru Kenyatta as president reflected the country’s consolidation of its nascent democracy and respect for its institutions. For others, however, the credibility of the poll was undermined by anomalies including the failure of technology and allegations of vote discrepancies. As such, the Supreme Court is seen to have rendered a bad ruling.
 
With a president and a deputy indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, the poll outcome also raised questions around the implications for Kenya’s international standing and for international criminal justice in general.
 
This seminar will reflect on lessons from the election process, the Supreme Court’s ruling and implications for future elections, the place of international criminal justice in Kenya and prospects for the new government. (…)
 
Andrew Attah-Asamoah, a Senior Researcher at ISS Pretoria, will chair the event. Introductory remarks will be provided by Jemima Njeri, also a Senior Researcher a ISS Pretoria. The event will then feature the following speakers: Wangui Kaniaru, Head, Professional Development at the African Legal Network; Wilfred Nderitu, Common Legal Representative for Victims at the ICC; and Mr Willis Otieno, Lawyer and Programmes Officer at the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa (EISA).
 
Read more or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

6. Call for Papers: Edited Volume on Rescuers of Mass Atrocities in Latin America
Historical Memory Project, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Deadline for abstracts to be submitted: 1 July 2013
 
This call for papers invites scholars and practitioners to submit papers focusing on the study of rescuers of mass atrocities in Latin America for a peer reviewed edited volume. We define rescuing efforts as organized and unorganized initiatives of sheltering and aiding targeted individuals and groups in the context of the Cold War in Latin America where state terrorism, war and genocide sought to eliminate political opposition. One such example of an act of “goodness” in the face of mass atrocity in the region is the case of the Santo Tomas Chichicastenango Municipal Firefighters, who collected the remains of victims from massacres in the highlands of Guatemala during the genocide of 1981-1983, with little compensation, within poor infrastructure and under great personal risks. We hope to shed light on the myriad tensions between the different roles, collaborators, perpetrators and victims found within existing literature. Our volume will serve as a critical resource for scholars examining human behavior under extreme forms of violence within the fields of genocide studies, sociology, peace and conflict studies, conflict resolution, human rights, criminology, psychology, and history.
 
Recent war and genocide literature produced in the region, or focused on the region and produced elsewhere, has centered on the study of collective trauma, resistance to repression, the recovery of the historical memory of survivors and criminal accountability. Yet the interdisciplinary examination of rescue and rescuers as study objects lags behind significantly. To fill this gap, we invite contributors to analyze the historical, political, socioeconomic and cultural context for fostering responses to mass atrocities in Latin America, such as collaboration and indifference, as well as the role of rescuers in helping to protect the lives of others. We find this topic of particular significance, for failure to account for the role of rescuers may lead to misleading perceptions about how people and collectivities find ways to help others, even under “extreme situations,” characterized as life-threatening events causing major personal and social readjustments (Wallace 1956). (…)
 
We contend that unless an account of the actions to save others in Latin America like this is included in the universality of rescue cases, the study of responses to mass violence will remain incomplete. We seek proposals that critically explore both organized and unorganized efforts to aid victims and survivors of mass atrocities raising some of the following questions:
 
• What organized and unorganized efforts were made to protect victims of state violence and genocide in Latin America during and after the Cold War?
• How can this knowledge advance understanding of courage, heroism or acts of resistance during mass atrocity in the region?
• How did rescue efforts challenge state violence in Latin America?
• Why has the study of the “Righteous” in Latin America been largely excluded from scholarship and how can breaking this silence add to the study of the legacy of mass atrocities?
• How has the absence of critical analysis of the role of rescue shaped discussions of the culture of fear allegedly prevailing in the region?
• What, if any, are the similarities between the identities of political, social or cultural groups to which the rescuer belongs?
• What are the implications for the development of “cultures of goodness?”
• How can the study of the “Righteous” contribute to the analysis of the tensions found between resistance, rescue and collaboration and apathy in specific settings

Contributors are invited to submit a 500-word abstract by July 1, 2013 to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , along with a brief bio of no more than 300 words. All submissions must be sent electronically in Word or PDF format and must be in English. Notification of acceptance will be sent by September 1, 2013. Completed articles will be due by January 15, 2014 and should range from 7,000-7,500 words.
 
 
 
 

 

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