In this issue...
The International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect is pleased to announce the addition of seven new members to the widening network of civil society organizations dedicated to the advancement of the RtoP norm. The new members, who are based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hungary, Kenya, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sudan, and the USA, work in several RtoP-related sectors (including mediation, conflict prevention, justice, and peacebuilding) and monitor and conduct advocacy on a range of crises (such as Darfur, DRC, and Sudan). Read below to learn about how ICRtoP's new members work to prevent and respond to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.
1. Action pour le Développement et la Paix Endogènes (Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Action pour le Développement et la Paix Endogènes (ADEPAE) was founded in February 1997 in response to mounting political and ethnic tensions in Bukavu and the greater region of South Kivu during the postwar period (1996-1997). Recognizing that a social climate of distrust and suspicion compromises both peaceful cohabitation of tribal communities and regional socioeconomic development, ADEPAE’s objective is to accompany communities in conflict transformation by promoting good governance for durable peace and development. ADEPAE activities fall under three categories of intervention: (1) Conflict transformation which seeks to promote education for peace between rural communities; (2) Governance, which reinforces the capacities of local governance structures and state institutions; and (3) Socioeconomic activities, which promotes a “holistic” approach encompassing humanitarian assistance, food security, agriculture, water, hygiene and sanitation, and environmental initiatives. ADEPAE partnered with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the NGO Solidarité des Volontaires pour l’Humanité on a project to support response activities to problems related to the repatriation of refugees in the Fizi and Uvira territories. The organization is also an implementing partner of the Dutch development and aid organization, CORDAID. ADEPAE continues to promote violence prevention, conflict transformation, and good governance in the DRC, and also engages in some regional activities in Burundi and Tanzania.
2. Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (Budapest, Hungary)
The Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (BC), founded during the Budapest Human Rights Forum in 2009 and beginning operations in 2010, is the operative body of the Foundation for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. The BC produces concrete and practical recommendations to help ensure informed, timely, and effective preventive action by the international community, and works to increase cooperation, at all levels, on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. The organization’s work is multifaceted: training government officials on genocide prevention skills; encouraging states to integrate regional/sub-regional strategies to preventive action; researching to fill the gaps in genocide prevention knowledge; conducting visits to threatened and post-conflict areas; and consulting states and NGOs. The BC is working on a Prevention Policy Project to support governments, civil society, and international and regional organizations, aiming to produce concrete criteria on RtoP’s application in at-risk contexts. In 2013, under ‘Research and Cooperation,’ an EU Task Force compiled of leading European academics, experts and practitioners produced the report, ‘The EU and the Prevention of Mass Atrocities: an assessment of strengths and weaknesses.’ This document discussed the EU’s obligations under RtoP and role in making the norm a reality. Lastly, the BC also hosts trainings, events and dialogues, launching a cycle of seminars on RtoP to contribute to the process of mainstreaming the norm in higher education, from April - May 2014.
3. Genocide Watch (Washington, D.C., USA)
Genocide Watch, Inc. (GW), founded in 1999 by Dr. Gregory Stanton, chair of the International Alliance to End Genocide (IAEG), exists to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide (as defined in the Genocide Convention), as well as political mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and other similar crimes. The fundamental purpose of GW, since the organization’s founding at the Hague Appeal for Peace, is to build an international movement to prevent and stop genocide with the belief that the international community must protect populations. GW emphasizes five areas of work: education, prediction, prevention, intervention, and justice. The organization strives to increase consciousness of genocide as a global problem, and to raise awareness of specific high-risk situations. For example, GW has protested the treatment of persecuted groups such as the Roma and the Rohingya. At its home location within the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of George Mason University, GW offers courses and sponsors conferences on genocide prevention and related issues. It has also conducted classes at the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department and at the Pentagon. GW mobilizes predictive models to analyze high-risk situations for the purpose of education, policy analysis and advocacy, recommending options for governments, international organizations, and NGOs. It is currently preparing its 2014 Report on Countries at Risk using its new Ten Stages of Genocide model. The organization utilizes the resources of and coordinates work by IAEG members to promote rapid response by the UN, regional forces, and authorized national forces, once genocidal massacres have begun. It has issued genocide emergency alerts for Syria, CAR, and the Rakhine and Kachin States of Myanmar.
4. The Hague Institute for Global Justice (The Hague, the Netherlands)
Founded in 2011 by the city of The Hague, and key Hague-based organizations, The Hague Institute for Global Justice seeks to strengthen conflict prevention and resolution, and the promotion of international peace. The organization conducts both research and training, and capacity-building work in three program areas, (i) Conflict Prevention, (ii) Rule of Law, and (iii) Global Governance, carrying out a wide range of projects, regularly releasing policy briefs and commentary articles, holding events and trainings, and producing larger publications. The Conflict Prevention program’s primary focus is on improving the “theory, policy and practice of conflict prevention by producing knowledge that shapes academic debate and policy discussions.” It also aims to excel at innovated applied research, policy development, and professional skills training. Within the program, The Hague Institute plans to develop a specific project on RtoP, listing the RtoP doctrine under the program’s overarching Frameworks, Principles and Norms. The organization has released several articles about or related to the norm, such as briefings and commentaries on Syria, South Sudan, and Nigeria, and has additionally convened programs on issues related to the prevention of atrocities, such as the rule of law and international justice. In June 2014, it hosted a conference with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Security Archive to “shed new light” on the failure of the international community to prevent or effectively respond to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, convening former officials and eyewitnesses at the Hague.
5. Inform-Action (Nairobi, Kenya)
Inform-Action (IFA) makes social justice films to serve as practical tools for communicating peaceful, just change, as well as for promoting active participation in the democratic process. Films are used in field screenings to attract audiences and stimulate debate. As such, the organization aims to produce films that are accessible to the communities it tours, while providing regional and international perspectives on the themes involved. Films by IFA always concentrate on interviewing groups of ordinary people, whose voices rarely get heard, including farmers, youth, squatters, poor women, beach workers, pastoralists, and the displaced. Themes have included land, displacement, marginalization, insecurity, historical injustices, and local governance, constructed to take into account ethnic and gender balance. Overall, Inform-Action’s various field offices use the screenings, community discussions and mass visual leafleting to encourage ordinary people to have the confidence to speak truth to power, access local structures, demand accountability, pursue justice, and protect the implementation of the new constitution. The organization documented the process and reactions of individuals in different regions to the March 2013 General Election in Kenya, and its results. In its most recent film production, “Unfinished Business: in Central Kenya,” IFA looks at the increased number of displaced and landless since the 2007/8 election crisis, and the impact of the leadership on these issues. IFA has also produced ten reports discussing various topical issues, including “The Future of Land: A Report on the History and Proposed Solutions of The Kenyan Land Crisis,” aimed at identifying effective solutions to prevent Kenya from descending into the chaos of 2007/8.
6. Justice Africa Sudan (Khartoum, Sudan)
Founded in 2007, Justice Africa Sudan (JAS) is an advocacy and research organization involved in monitoring, reporting, and providing support for peace building, conflict prevention, civic education, and democratic transformation in Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. The organization works to ensure inclusive participation of local actors in decision-making processes. It convenes civil society programs supporting local institutions in the conflicts areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur, and consults with these groups on ways to bolster preventative and reconciliatory capacities. It seeks to build coalitions of actors with the common aim of achieving solutions to Sudan’s developmental and governance challenges, facilitating dialogue and debate across the region for innovative approaches to conflict resolution. Its AU Human Rights Monitor tracks AU engagement on issues of human rights surrounding conflict, endeavoring to canvase a wide range of academic, expert, journalistic and personal opinions. In 2011, JAS conducted symposiums addressing issues related to the future of Sudan that included lessons learned since Sudan’s independence, and managing diversity, concluding with a conference in October 2011, the ‘Vision of Civil Society in the Future of Sudan after the Separation of South Sudan.’ The result of the recommendations it produced was JAS’s Civil Project, which aims to ensure that civil society and the general population take an active role in the on-going political process & transformation of the South. African Arguments is a collaborative publishing initiative of JAS, intending to highlight many of the longer-term strategic political issues confronting the African continent.
7. The Observatory for Human Security (OSH) (Lisbon, Portugal)
The Observatory for Human Security (OSH), founded in January 2010, is located within the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lisbon (ISCSP-ULisboa). OSH is the institutional framework developed for the project, The Production of Human Security: Discursive Frames and Social Practice, funded by the Portuguese national Funding Agency for Science, Research and Technology, FCT. The institution conducts academic research and analysis in the sectors of human rights, and peace and security. OSH’s research priority is the Human Security Project (HSP), which investigates the risks, threats and vulnerabilities in the security arena, as well as the security issues that should be prioritized and how to address them effectively. Also established within the OSH is the 20*10 Platform for the Alliance of Civilizations, which seeks to organize, support, and connect initiatives that promote intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity. It aims to mediate the construction of intercultural understanding and conflict prevention. To attain these goals, the Platform collaborates with governmental entities, international organizations, universities, NGOs, and others, and was founded “in the spirit” of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) features prominently within OSH through its research focuses, with one team member utilizing RtoP as a “corner stone” for their work on the HSP, and through publications, such as a paper addressing Libya and RtoP.
ICRtoP Welcomes the Appointment of Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein as the High Commissioner for Human RightsOn 16 June 2014, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously confirmed the appointment of Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. Prince Zeid will succeed Ms. Navi Pillay after the end of her term in August 2104.
The ICRtoP would like to express its highest appreciation to Ms. Pillay for her dedication and work for the promotion and protection of human rights and her active support of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). During her term, Ms. Pillay engaged publicly and privately with governments and the international community reminding actors of their responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes during emerging and ongoing crisis situations. Her commitment to RtoP is most evident in a statement made at a 10 September 2012 side event of the UN Human Rights Council focusing on the crisis in Syria in which Ms. Pillay declared:
Bearing in mind the consistently deplorable and steadily deteriorating situation on the ground, I would like to remind States that they unanimously agreed, at the 2005 World Summit, that each State is obliged to protect its population from crimes against humanity, war crimes and other international crimes. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means.
When a State fails to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community is responsible to step in by taking protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner. The international community must assume its responsibilities and act in unison to prevent further violations. Actions that directly contribute to escalating the violence, such as providing arms, will most likely only result in more civilians being killed and injured.
With the end of Ms. Pillay’s mandate, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein will become the sixth High Commissioner since the Office’s establishment in 1993. The ICRtoP warmly welcomes Prince Zeid al-Hussein into his new role as the High Commissioner for Human Rights. From 2000-2007 and since 2010, Prince Zeid served as Jordan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. During his term he worked extensively to promote and advance a range of issues strongly related to the Responsibility to Protect including international justice, peacekeeping and women’s rights. In 2004, for example, Kofi Annan appointed him as Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and in March 2005 Prince Zeid al-Hussein produced a seminal report on this topic. He also played an instrumental role in establishing the International Criminal Court, which serves as the sole international body tasked with ensuring accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and in 2002 served as the first president of the Court’s Assembly of State Parties. During his term at the UN, Prince Zeid al-Hussein also continued to stress the importance of responding to mass atrocities and ending impunity, as is evident in his speech to the Security Council at the 16 April 2014 meeting on the prevention and fight against genocide. His remarks eloquently captured the continued challenges faced by the categorization of people based on ethnicity, race, and religion, among other factors, and how such identifiers stir instability and crisis. The ICRtoP looks forward to working with Prince Zeid al-Hussein in his new role as his Office and civil society worldwide seek to advance and protect human rights.
Articles, Reports and Statements on the Norm and RtoP Crises1. Central African Republic: "They must all leave or die."
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
24 June 2014
War crimes and crimes against humanity have been perpetrated in the Central African Republic (CAR) and continue to be, state our organisations in a report published today. This report follows several fact-finding missions conducted in the CAR and establishes the responsibilities of the various parties to the conflict, the anti-Balaka and the Seleka. The Central African President has just seized the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has recently established a special investigation unit, the CSEI. Our organisations welcome this progress in favour of the fight against impunity for which they had advocated and call on the international community to support the investigations of the CSEI and of the ICC.
(…) This report, entitled "They must all leave or die", denounces also a conflict which takes its roots in the impunity of the crimes of the past. Because the national and international justice systems’ have been incapable of judging those most responsible for these crimes and who are today at the heart of the conflict.
Since 5 December 2013 and their offensive on the capital, Bangui, the anti-Balaka have been systematically attacking civilians, in particular Muslims. More than twenty enclaves containing between 15,000 and 20,000 Muslims are currently under siege by the anti-Balaka militia, who have benefited from the strategic withdrawal of the former Seleka to the north and the east of the country, where they continue to perpetrate serious human-rights violations and international crimes.
Amongst the Seleka, the presumed responsibilities of the former president, Michel Djotodia, his head of intelligence, Noureddine Adam, and the head of the Sudanese Janjaweed militia who ransacked and pillaged Darfour, General Moussa Assimeh seem established in light of the elements contained in the report. The presence among the Seleka of Abdoulaye Miskine, whose real name is Martin Koumtamadji, former head of the presidential guard under the presidency of Ange-Félix Patassé and allegedly responsible for the massacre in the cattle market in the PK12 district of Bangui in 2002, shows to what extent the current conflict in the CAR is also a ’conflict of impunity’.
As for the anti-Balaka, the investigations carried out have established the presence and the activism amongst them of numerous officers of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and of people close to the deposed president, François Bozizé. Most of the instructions given, the demands made and the actions carried out by the anti-Balaka are aimed at causing security, humanitarian and political chaos in order to enable the former president to return to the political scene in the CAR under the pretext of ’me or chaos’.
Read the report here.
2. The Responsibility to Protect after Libya – dead, dying or thriving?
24 June 2014
The UN Security Council has once again failed to protect the people of Syria from mass atrocities with Russia and China wielding another double veto on May 22 (to block a resolution that would have referred the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court). But does this mean the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), intended as a political and policy tool to halt mass atrocities, has also failed?
Intense backlash against R2P emerged in the wake of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya and the failure of the international community to respond adequately to the horrors in Syria. But how significant is that backlash? An analysis of Security Council records reveals that, far from dying with Libya or Syria as some would have expected, R2P policies continue to be invoked and implemented by the Council.
Empirical text analysis of all Security Council resolutions, presidential statements, and open meeting records from September 14, 2005 through February 28, 2014 reveals four trends in the frequency of R2P use, and all point to the norm’s continued utilization and entrenchment.
The analysis tracks the frequency of explicit references to the “responsibility to protect” (and equivalent phrases, e.g. “responsibility of government X to protect”) and categorizes those references as affirmative, negative, neutral or other, as well as by pillar of R2P referenced. These three pillars being: (i) the primary duty of the state concerned to prevent or halt atrocities; (ii) the responsibility of other states and the international community to assist in this effort; and (iii) where a state fails to prevent or halt mass atrocities, the responsibility of other states and the international community to act collectively, including with force if necessary.
The results reveal that the debate surrounding R2P has shifted. It is no longer a question of whether the international community has a responsibility in the face of atrocities; it is a question of what the best, most impactful solutions are to address a situation. Each of the four trends will be discussed in turn. (…)
The international community may not yet meet its obligation to ‘never again’ stand idly by in the face of mass atrocities, but states are actively invoking and strengthening their response mechanisms and, hopefully, paving the way for improved, rapid, and appropriate prevention and reaction in the future.
R2P is not dead. If anything, the debates and concern following the intervention in Libya and the shock to our common humanity from the ongoing crisis in Syria have deepened and expanded the normative internalization of the doctrine. What remains is moving that rhetorical commitment from words to deeds and using the moral and political legitimacy of R2P to implement smart, effective policies to prevent and put a stop to mass atrocities.
Read full article here
3. Statement by Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, on the situation in Iraq
18 June 2014
The Special Advisers to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, expressed deep concern at the deterioration in the situation in Iraq and the impact on Iraq’s populations.
The Special Advisers strongly condemned reports of attacks against the lives and physical integrity of civilians and other persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including attacks by terrorist and armed groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Such attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.
“The protection of civilians should be the primary focus of any strategy to address the current situation”, stated the Special Advisers, who reiterated the United Nations Secretary-General’s warning of the risk of further sectarian violence on a massive scale, within Iraq and beyond its borders, noting that the use of sectarian rhetoric could further exacerbate the conflict.
The Special Advisers raised special concern at the situation of religious and other minorities, noting that members of the Christian community were fleeing the northern city of Mosul en masse following the ISIL-led invasion. Noting the reports of incitement to destroy Christian churches, the Special Advisers underlined that: “Given the context of sectarian and confessional polarisation in the country, special consideration must be given to assisting religious and other minorities, which are particularly vulnerable”. The Special Advisers noted that the reported capture of the town of Tal Afar in north-western Iraq raises concerns about the well-being of Yazidis and other religious minorities living in the area.
They also reiterated the call by the United Nations Security Council for cooperation in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, adding that: “It is key that the Government of Iraq and Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum work with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and humanitarian agencies to ensure the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian relief”.
The Special Advisers called on all parties involved in the crisis and on Iraqi leaders - political, military, religious and community leaders – “to abandon strategies of violence and confrontation, undertake all possible efforts to prevent sectarian reprisals amid the ongoing violence and to engage constructively to ensure respect for diversity”. Finally, they also stressed that all States have an obligation to ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with international law, in particular human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
Read the full statement here.
4. The Central African Republic: From Predation to Stabilization
International Crisis Group
17 June 2014
Decades of misrule and state predation by CAR’s authorities and armed groups laid the ground for the country’s economic breakdown and state collapse in 2013. But the international intervention focuses mostly on security measures instead of a comprehensive stabilisation strategy. In its latest report, The Central African Crisis: From Predation to Stabilisation, the International Crisis Group outlines the need for an approach that combines a peace operation with economic incentives, state support and the fight against trafficking. (...)
Read the executive summary and recommendations here. To read the full report (currently only available in French), click here.
5. Should the Media Actively Support Transitional Justice Efforts?
Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide
International Center for Transitional Justice
12 June 2014
The role of the media in advancing transitional justice should be considered in light of the role it has played in the past as part of warfare to fuel incitement and hatred resulting in atrocities. I therefore argue that before we contemplate on the role of the media in transitional justice, it is useful to understand both the positive and negative role the media has played in the past, both as a tool to advance reconciliation and general human advancement and also a tool to manipulate populations and perpetrate evil resulting in unspeakable horrors that have shaken the conscience of mankind.
If one would like to look at the negative role of the media, then we would need not go far to consider Julius Streicher, publisher of the anti-Semitic German weekly Der Stürmer who was convicted on October 1, 1946 by the Nuremberg Tribunal for crimes against humanity in connection with his incitement of the mass murder of Europe’s Jewish population. One can also consider the Media Case, as it was commonly known before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where Hassan Ngeze was found guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide through his publication, Kangura. And Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, founders of a radio station called Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) whose broadcasts after 6 April 1994 were confirmed by the ICTR’s Appeals Chamber to have directly incited the Rwandan population to commit genocide against the Tutsis. (…)
Read the full article here.
6. The Responsibility to Protect and International Law
Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
(…) No region of the world has escaped the scourge of genocide and mass atrocities in the past century or so.
When they have struck, time and again there have been impassioned appeals to put an end to mass atrocities. After the Holocaust, the world collectively proclaimed “Never Again!” and prohibited the crime of genocide in the Genocide Convention. In the decades that followed, war crimes and crimes against humanity came to be defined and prohibited too, through the Geneva Conventions (1949), subsequent protocols (1977) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998).
Yet despite this, until very recently humanity’s default response to mass killing, rape, and forced deportation was to stand aside and do very little to protect the victims of these crimes.
By and large, groups and individuals perpetrate these horrific crimes because it helps them achieve their political goals. Sadly, in a majority of cases since 1945 they have succeeded. Since that time, most episodes of mass killing have ended only when perpetrators themselves have decided to stop the bloodletting – usually because they have succeeded in achieving their goals.
One response to the problem of genocide and mass atrocities has come in the form of the Responsibility to Protect principle—or R2P as it has come to be known. In this lecture I will argue that although it is far from perfect -- as are all human- made things -- R2P offers the best chance in our own time to build an international community that is less tolerant of mass atrocities and more predisposed to preventing them and protecting people from them.
My optimism is based on the fact that R2P has achieved something that no other similar project has: a genuine and resilient international consensus.
That consensus, I will argue, stems from the fact that R2P is embedded in existing international law. It does not try to amend the law or tilt the fine balance between sovereignty concerns and the protection of populations from the very worst of crimes. Instead, R2P stands as a political commitment to implement existing legal obligations through existing instruments of international law. Its aim is not to override sovereignty, but to marshal the world’s efforts to build a world of sovereigns that take their responsibilities as seriously as their rights.
In this lecture I want to first focus on R2P as a principle – what it is, how it relates to existing law, and how it is being put into practice. Then, I want to examine the challenges that implementation creates and ways in which they might be overcome – suggesting that an important role can be played by concepts like RwP and governments, academics and civil society from this region. (…)
Read full lecture here.
RtoP Events and Educational Opportunities1. Call for Applications: UNITAR International Master's Degree in Conflictology
Deadline: 1 July 2014
The International Master’s Degree in Conflictology presents empirical knowledge and insight on conflict resolution, transformation, mediation and management, for conflicts of all importance, be they interpersonal or global. Practitioners and academics from prestigious universities, the United Nations and peace research institutes guide participants through the virtual learning environment, enabling them to learn about the peaceful resolution of conflicts and prepare for professional practice. This programme trains participants in all applications of conflictology and facilitates the development of professional projects by giving participants access to the largest network of people working to promote peace. (...)
For more information, click here.
2. Workshop on “Rising Powers and the Responsibility to Protect: Brazil, Liberal Norms, and the Responsibility while Protecting Concept"
Politics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
1 August 2014
As part of their latest project focusing on RtoP and the International Criminal Court as "examples of what ic alls the liberal trajectory of contemporary international society", this seminar will examine how rising powers view and implement the Responsibility to Protect. For more information, click here.