April 2019


a) GAAMAC’s interview with Ms. Karen Smith, United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect.

Two months after her appointment this past 7 January, Ms. Smith shares her reflections on the current state of atrocity prevention and on what she sees as her priorities for 2019. 

b) The Africa Working Group’s “Manual on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention” is now available in English and in French on the GAAMAC website!

The initiative to create this Manual originates from the global meeting GAAMAC II held in Manila in February 2016, when the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, invited all participants to brainstorm and formulate concrete proposals to more effectively prevent atrocities on the ground. This resulted in the formation of a regional African working group which decided to realize this Manual as a first step.

This first regional product from the Africa Working Group aims to share lessons learned and good practices in the establishment and management of national mechanisms to strengthen atrocity prevention, drawn from existing experiences in African countries.

The Manual has been showcased and revised after intensive discussions held at the global meeting GAAMAC III in Uganda in May 2018. It is currently available in English and in French on the GAAMAC Website.

The Spanish version will come out soon – stay tuned!


a) On 11 April 2019 in Geneva, GAAMAC Steering Group members Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, Switzerland, Tanzania, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect are co-hosting a panel discussion at the occasion of the 70 years of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Prevention Convention).

This event will provide an opportunity to take stock of achievements and failures in atrocity prevention in the over 70 years since the adoption of the Genocide Prevention Convention and to explore recommendations for more efficient prevention strategies in the future.

Distinguished panelists will share insights and reflection followed by a vivid discussion with the audience. The goal is to generate an in-depth joint reflection on how societies, states and civil society leaders can cooperate to considerably enhance the impact of prevention, and better contribute to the protection of vulnerable groups.


  • Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina and former President of the International Criminal Court
  • Felistas Mushi, Chairperson of Tanzania’s National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and all Forms of Discrimination
  • Wichert ten Have, Advisor to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
  • Iniyan Ilango, Independent Human Rights Advocate


  • Mô Bleeker, GAAMAC Chair and Swiss Special Envoy for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities

More information on how to register for this event or to watch the live streaming is available here.

b) Each year during the month of April, many people around the world dedicate time for remembrance and commemoration for the victims of genocide in observation of the "Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month". This year also marks 25 years since the start of the Genocide in Rwanda. More than 800’000 Rwandans, overwhelmingly Tutsis but also Hutus and others who were opposed to the genocide were killed between April and June 1994. Commemorations were held to honor the victims in Rwanda and around the world. In New York, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called “on all political, religious and civil society leaders to reject hate speech and discrimination, and to work vigorously to address and mitigate the root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred and intolerance.” The Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect published a Statement in commemoration of this 25th anniversary.

c) The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina is organizing a series of activities on 8 and 9 May 2019 in Buenos Aires to showcase its engagement within the Task Force on Justice, an initiative of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies chaired by Argentina, the Netherlands, Sierra Leone and the Elders. This two-day high-level panel on “The role of Access to Justice in the construction of just, peaceful and inclusive societies and the realization of SDG 16+” aims to discuss the latest developments on the provision of legal assistance and justice services, as well as access to justice for vulnerable people. The second day also features the launch of the Justice Report for Women, produced by the High-Level Group of Women and Girls of the Pathfinders, with the support of UN Women and the World Bank.


a) Peace Direct issued a new report as part of their “Local Voices for Peace” series. This report on Civil Society and Inclusive Peace is the result of a collaboration with the Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict with the aim to investigate the dynamics of inclusivity and peacebuilding. Drawing on the insights generated from two online consultations with local and international civil society peacebuilders from across the world, the report summarizes the key themes and issues of the discussion and develops recommendations to enrich the participation of civil society groups in peace processes.

b) Youth Association for Development (YAD) released a research report in the context of its project on Women, Peace and Security. This document summarizes the outcomes of research conducted by YAD in the region of Quetta, Pakistan under the N-Peace Network Youth Lead Initiative 2018. The study looks into the high levels of violence and insecurity that prevail in the Province of Baluchistan, focusing on the impact that conflicts have on women and addressing the question on how to provide opportunities for women and girls to participate in the peace and security agenda. 


a) United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed his deep concern about the current rise of xenophobia, racism and intolerance globally in a message on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In January this year, he already highlighted the need to tackle this issue, as he tasked Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to bring together the United Nations system to design a strategy and plan of action to combat hate speech.

b) Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, issued a Statement on reported upsurge of violence and mass killings in Mopti region, in central Mali following the attack of the Ogossagou village on 23 March 2019.

c) In March, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted an off-the-record dialogue which provided an opportunity to reflect on the real and practical impacts of the peace and security reforms two months into its official implementation, and to consider concrete areas for civil society to better engage with the United Nations (UN) to advance preventive approaches within the new structures.  Participants discussed the ways in which the reforms can strengthen the capacity for prevention at the field level and the key role that the reinvigorated Regional Coordinator will play in this. Participants agreed that the reforms represent an opportunity to bolster the narrative around prevention so that it is more welcomed by member states, and to strengthen its recognition among peace and security actors.

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform launched in 2016 continues to be engaged in discussions, assessment and analysis on how civil society can meaningfully support and partner with the UN. The Platform believes that the UN’s work on prevention would benefit from a systematic engagement with civil society and that the inclusion of diverse civil society expertise is crucial to achieving sustainable peace and development. The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform is co-facilitated by the Quaker UN Office, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict and the Department of Peacebuilding and Political Affairs. Most importantly, the Platform relies on a large network of global expert civil society organizations in support of collaborative prevention efforts.

d) TRIAL International published its fifth Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review (UJAR). The report analyzes 60 cases across 16 countries. The 2019 UJAR focuses on the challenges inherent to universal jurisdiction, and on the complexities arising from investigating and prosecuting mass crimes remotely. It looks at creative solutions to overcome the legacy of mass atrocity crimes and highlights the solutions and good practices that emerged in 2018 in this regard. The Review also shows that cooperation between a wide array of actors - both legal and non-legal - is essential for the success of universal jurisdiction cases.

e) For the first time, an alleged war crime criminal will be tried by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court. Alieu Kosiah, former commander of the ULIMO faction (United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy), will go to trial for allegedly committed war crimes between 1993 and 1995, during the first Liberian civil war. This indictment is the result of nearly five years of criminal investigation that was initiated by Liberian survivors of the war, supported by Civitas Maxima and its Liberia-based sister organization, the Global Justice and Research Project

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