In April the Hague Institute for Global Justice released a report assessing the Obama administration’s efforts in mass atrocity and genocide prevention. The report identifies lessons for the Trump administration as well as other governments and non-state actors who share the goal of preventing and stopping mass atrocities.
President Obama declared mass atrocity prevention “a core national security interest” of the U.S. in 2011, and established the interagency Atrocity Prevention Board (APB) in 2012. He reaffirmed that position in 2016 with an executive order that continued the APB, laid out support from the executive branch, and updated the terms of the APB’s mission.
However, the Hague Institute found that while the Obama administration declared mass atrocity prevention a “moral responsibility” of the U.S., atrocity prevention never rose to a level comparable to other U.S. national security interests, such as weapons of mass destruction proliferation, terrorism, or energy security. Among their other findings, the Hague Institute notes that Washington was unable to effectively integrate diplomatic and military tools to prevent atrocities. The Hague Institute also reports that a lack of information sharing and cooperation – in the interest of not compromising the APB’s sources or methods – impeded broader mobilization of atrocity prevention efforts.
The Hague Institute makes several recommendations to the executive branch for improving mass atrocity prevention. These recommendations include:
- further institutionalizing the APB, to include providing dedicated full-time personnel resources to offices within departments and agencies that service and support the APB and its sub-group;
- opening channels of information, providing greater disclosure of information;
- increasing mass atrocity prevention training with each department and agency;
- strengthening the integration and coordination of political-military planning and mass atrocity prevention decision-making; and
- launch diplomatic efforts to strengthen the capacities of international partners, sharing procedural and institutional lessons.
The report also includes recommendations to congress and civil society.
For more information about this report, please follow the link below.
In the Shadow of Syria: Assessing the Obama Administration’s Efforts on Mass Atrocity Prevention, The Hague Institute for Global Justice