Antoine Garapon [through interpreter]: This is going to be our first roundtable on the latest developments in the prevention of genocide but before we move into the subject, per se, I wanted to tell you that the Advanced Institute for Justice is extremely pleased to be associated with this initiative. We believe it to be essential for us as judges, as specialists in the legal field, in general.
And we’re particularly pleased with this linkage between the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the Shoah Memorial, two great, highly respected institutions that also represent two different approaches, two mindsets that are different. And this plurality is something that we are going to look into more deeply this morning. The word genocide is a term which is so impressive it is such a basically frightening term that it could-- can inhibit thinking to some degree. And I this roundtable we want to take a deeper look at everything that this part of this term and also the expression prevention of genocide to give a framework for this… word.
We can say that there have been four phases in the whole concept or crimes against humanity. The first one was repression. This is the reflex of legal experts and of the public, in general. In the face of horror, the first instinct is to punish. The second phase was to look for reconciliation. Reconciliation through truth and reconciliation commissions. To look for direct reconciliation by changing the rules of this process and the trials.
The third was the idea of reparation and, here too, we have seen this is a much more recent phase. We have seen all of the tensions and all of the issues that are raised by the idea of reparations through civil society, through the civilian systems of justice by means of money. Is this possible? Is it possible for civilian justice -- civil society-- the justice of civil society to repair such events as shown?
And then there’s the fourth phase, now, which is the fourth era of justice with respect to this type of tragedy which is that of prevention. And here I would really like to focus on something. I would like to focus on the fact that this whole idea of prevention of genocide is a true break. It is an epistemological change, sea change because the idea is to deal with genocide as an ordinary event, i.e., apply criminology, apply the learnings of classical criminology, delinquency, apply this to, again, to this extraordinary event which is genocide.
In fact, in France we’ve seen the pioneering work by Jacques Semelin on this issue, this work coming after all of the work accomplished by the historians, the idea being how can we mobilize historical knowledge. How can we mobilize, marshal knowledge in general, in psychology, in political science, in history, in anthropology, how can all of this knowledge, all of these learnings be marshaled, mobilized to prevent the return of mass violence? This being said and not withstanding and this is personally what I feel in this theme of preventing genocide, this being said, as I said, there is this idea that the movement which is a very special approach, consisting in de-politicizing an event considering it to be a social phenomenon like others. And proceeding then to re-politicizing it and re-introducing it into the concerns of our political leaders.
What would be interesting to see in this roundtable is to hear the different points of view on this theme of preventing genocide. First of all, the point of view of the United Nations, we are extremely pleased here to be receiving Francis, to welcome Francis Deng, who is the special advisor to the United Nations on the prevention of genocide. He will be contributing his bird’s eye view which is that of the United Nations.
We will also have the point of view of Mike Abramowitz who was closely associated with what in French we would call the white book on the prevention of genocide which is an event. This book [Genocide Prevention Task Force Report] is an event. We will see how this was received in the United States. We will see what kind of an impact this book had not only on the government but also in American Civil Society.
And lastly, Jacques Semelin, whom I’ve all ready mentioned, who is a professor of political science at the Institute of Political Studies Sciences-Po. And whom we owe a great deal of work and including… which was a very important book he published and also his encyclopedia on mass violence which… is part of the same phenomena and which I think that his approach will also be different because a good symposium is there not only to celebrate unity but also to get a better understanding of different points of view, mindsets and sensitivities. I now give the floor with no longer delay to Francis Deng.
Francis Deng: I’m tempted to begin with the story of what happened to me yesterday at the airport. And which, in a sense, highlights the anomaly of my Chinese name. The taxi driver told me, he called my number, and said, “I will have your name with me and I hope we don’t miss one another.” So I came, saw him, walked up to him ,and he just looked at me and looked through me. And I said, “I am Francis Deng.” He said, “You are Francis Deng?” Later in the car, he said to me, “I must confess that coming from Singapore with the name Deng, I thought you were Chinese.”
In a way this is something that happens to me all of the time. I was at a meeting, a conference with the Chinese ambassador and the second day he saw my name tag and he said, “You are the other Chinese I’ve been looking for. How did you happen to have Chinese name?” And I said, “My ancestor came from China a long time ago. He intermarried with the Africans. And then the African son, this is what happened to us.” He looked at me and said, “Really?”
Anyway, it’s a great pleasure to be here. And I want to express my particular appreciation to the organizers, the two principal organizers, the Holocaust Museum and the Shoah Memorial and their partners. I don’t know whether our task has been made much easier because of the excellent presentations this morning in your opening speech. In a way, issues have been cleared, which makes it easier but, of course, following that excellent performance makes our task also not so easy. I think the level of participation here and seeing the room of very high level people, high quality people in the field, is testament to the fact that we didn’t all want to correct the failures of the past and to try to create a better future. But that is a formidable task.
And I would like before I get into the essence of what we do, I’d like to give you an overview of how I see the premise of the crisis, the problem we face. And that is even though talking for me being in the organization, the United Nations, even though we are so called United Nations in itself, not so united. It’s an organization of acutely divided countries that suffer from severe crisis of identity. And with this crisis identity there’s a cleavage between those who are identified by the identity framework of the nation as citizens who enjoy all of the rights and the dignity of citizenship. Those who are discriminated, excluded, marginalized and sometimes dehumanized by a group. Very often these people suffer from gross inequalities, denied national protection, persecuted and falling within the vacuum of responsibility.
So we assume that as long as they are in their own countries they’ll be protected by their own governments. The opposite is the case. But then when they seek external protection because where else do they turn when they have been dispossessed internally? Then sovereignty is held as a barricade against them. This is why and I will get more into details about this later, this is why we stipulate sovereignty as responsibility, a concept that has now been made more authoritative by the responsibility to protect. And which means that the state has first and foremost the responsibility to protect its people. If it doesn’t have the capacity, to call on the international community to assist it, to discharge its national responsibility. But this should not be mistaken to mean therefore, we just leave the issue with the state under the sovereignty of the state, because there is a third dimension that a state fails, it does not call on the international community. People are suffering and dying. The world cannot afford to sit and watch and do nothing.
And that’s where the third aspect comes in, a more collective, forceful way of the international community stepping in to fill the vacuum of responsibility. I’ll come back later to the three pillars implicit in this and, in particular, under the responsibility of sovereignty, under the responsibility to protect. What is important is to emphasize that sovereignty and responsibility do imply accountability. It is not a question of being soft on government. It’s a question of engaging governments and trying to win their cooperation because in the end that is the most effective way of bringing protection to the national level, to the local level, to the citizens. But if that fails the obligation is on the international community to step in and do something about it.
Now, because of these difficulties, when the issue of violence, mass atrocities, genocide reach a certain level intervention becomes extremely difficult. And because it’s very costly, especially military intervention, it’s very costly both in human terms and in material resources. It is only when a state collapses or is so weak that you can get in and impose your will or the interests of the intervening states are so high that it is worth the risk. Otherwise, as we have seen over and over again people get into denial, into debate: “Is it genocide, is it not?” Of course, the perpetrators deny. And those who would be called upon to intervene also deny because of the consequences of intervention.
So while we think of genocide as so heinous a crime that humanity should be expected to be unified in preventing it and punishing it when it occurs, the reality is denial. And this is why all of the cases we know for sure in genocide are in hindsight. Hindsight when it’s history. And when, to some extent, it may be that those who are perpetrating genocide have been defeated and it becomes a judgment of the victor over the vanquished. This is why early prevention is critically important.
Now, prevention itself requires a lot of analysis, proper analysis of what the nature of the problem, the dynamics of the problem are. It is with that that I now talk about our mandate. The U.N. mandate on genocide prevention is a direct result of international failure to stop genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans. And Kofi Annan who was personally involved and who carried the baggage of that failure was instrumental or critical in forming or establishing the office. And the office is tasked to do primarily a collection of information primarily from within the United Nations and elsewhere, to analyze that information and act as an early warning mechanism to the secretary general and through him to the security council making recommendations for effective action. And to liaise with the entire U.N. system and the international community. This special advisor is, therefore, a catalyst for alerting, advocating, mobilizing for action. And all-in-all in a sense becoming a focal point for collective global action.
And yet, as the chairman just said, the mandate on genocide prevention is seen as a very sensitive issue, something people want to avoid. It’s not a topic of comfortable conversation. And I found with my colleagues working with governments that if the g-word comes with a title people tend to shy away from it because they think it complicates matters, it complicates their working with the government. And frankly, this is where I thought very hard and decided number one: optimism is a tool for action. It’s a means for action. Pessimism leads to a dead end. And so one has to have a degree of optimism to be able to do otherwise you’re defeated before you start. But to do means defining the problem in a way that is doable. And the way we see it in the office, we want to move genocide from being seen as this terrible thing people don’t want to talk about, don’t want to touch, tend to avoid. So something you bring town to earth as an extreme form of identity related conflicts. And these conflicts emanate not from shared differences, but from the implications of the those differences in terms of access to power, resources, the dignity of citizenship and all of the rights associated with citizenship.
And as I said before, in many of these countries, torn apart by genocidal conflict, there is an in-group and an out-group and people who are so grossly mistreated that the situation becomes intolerable and they react sometimes in violent means. And then, of course, the counter-insurgency clamps down on them and you have the makings of genocide. It becomes a kind of existential threat that may not be justified but subjectively even if it’s more group minority were to resort to some means of resisting the gross inequalities they suffer, they may be seen as posing a serious threat. And then you have a genocidal situation.
If that is the case, then the natural response should be to develop a strategy for constructively managing diversity. And managing diversity simply means creating a situation of good governance, of democracy, respect for human rights, treatment of all groups irrespective of their identities as citizens, unequal footing. And no self-respecting government can quarrel with a vision of how you accommodate the diversities of your country and work towards a unity of equality, unity in diversity, where everybody has a place of dignity and respectability. It then becomes a question of practical ways of pursuing that.
Now, we know that genocide doesn’t just jump at you. It is preceded by what has been described by the precursors, by other crimes. And therefore, it’s a question of laying a framework with indicators or what we might call risk factors that need to be looked into and catered for. My office has developed what we call a framework of analysis by which we assess situations and the risk of genocide. It has eight sets of factors. and they range -- and perhaps in the interest of time I won’t read them.
But basically it has to do with existence of intergroup relations and history of discrimination and violation of respect for human rights; circumstances that prevent the capacity of a state to prevent genocide; presence of illegal arms and armed elements; motivation of leading actors and acts that encourage divisions; dynamic factors and circumstances that facilitate perpetration genocide; acts of genocide themselves; and evidence of intent to destroy in whole or in part; and other potential trigger factors such as elections which in almost all cases play a very important role in risking mass violence.
If this is the case, if we’re talking about really how you manage diversities within your own country then, of course, the first order of responsibility, the first level of responsibility goes back to the state. And as I said earlier, with perhaps support for the state. This is the essence of the responsibility to protect. And a number of you here, including Gareth Evans, have traced also a concept that I developed at Brookings to deal with post-Cold War conflicts in Africa, ending after a series of case studies with the concept of sovereignty as responsibility. During the Cold War, we saw these conflicts as proxy wars of the superpowers. With the end of the Cold War, the withdrawal of the strategic interest of the major powers, we now could see problems in their proper context as regional or internal national. But responsibility also had to shift.
And so after doing a series of case studies, both regional and in country… the volume title, “Sovereignty as Responsibility,” which sees governance as essentially conflict prevention. And sees sovereignty as essentially a concept of responsibility both for one’s own people, for those under one’s jurisdiction and a responsibility that brings in external supporters if need be -- regional and global. Now, that is today the responsibility to protect with the three pillars: state responsibility, support for the capacity of the state, and last, collective action. But even the third pillar has these three phases, at least, can be diplomatic intersession, it can be sanctions, if need be and ultimately if circumstances warrant military action.
Now, my approach may be seen as comfortably emphasizing the responsibility of the state, respect for sovereignty and perhaps highlighting the first two pillars, support for the state and all of that. And I really want to repeat, again, because I know this is a topic that is quite controversial with some of our partners. I did want to emphasize that what I’m talking about is what is doable. Doable in the sense of motivating the state to believe that your position in not only legitimacy at home but your position in the community of nations depends very much on how you live up to your responsibilities for your own people. This is not just a blank check saying, okay, this is internal. There is accountability in it.
But more I’m not dismissing the third pillar, where there maybe we need to take a more assertive action, except that we know that is very difficult. We know that we are not well equipped to take care of that. It has to be there. It has to continuously be thought about and improved upon but it has to be there if, indeed, the international community is going to live up to the 2005 outcome document commitment.
I have also found that the regional approach is critically important. It is the countries of the region that are the first to be affected by what happens within a country even if only the outflow of refugees who come with their political baggage. And in some cases there is a solidarity there too. I recall a time when Salim Ahmed Salim, then the Secretary General of the OAU, was saying to the Africans, “We must give a new interpretation to sovereignty using our African cultural values because we in Africa.” He said, “We are our brother’s keepers. We don’t look at what is happening to your neighbor, our relative, and close our eyes and say this is a domestic matter. We get involved.”
And so we cannot be mindless of what happens within borders and that’s where the concept of the non-interference became, turned, recast as non-indifference. And that’s why the shift from OAU to AU in which I was somewhat involved as one of the panel made sure that there was a provision that would entitle the AU to intervene in a country where circumstances warranted, where atrocities were being committed and people are dying. To my surprise, contrary to what people expected, I mean someone was telling me… nobody is going to invite you to their country because you will be coming giving the impression that you suspect genocide. But I have been invited by the AU to address their Council of Peace and Security. They adopted our framework analysis to be a part of their early warning mechanism. I’m in contact with sub regional organizations, IGAD, ECOWAS, the Organization of American States. I’m going there tomorrow to the E.U. for dialogue with them. I’ve just come from Asia where to my surprise, nice surprise, Asia… was very, very responsive.
And, again, talking about constructive management of diversity. I’ve been invited to the countries of West Africa. We went to Guinea, where the prime minister and his minister said, when I came in, he said, “We were worrying that with your title that you are coming because you think there is genocide in our country. There’s no genocide but the way you have explained your approach about constructive management of diversity we do have serious problems of diversity and we need the international community to come and help us.” Let me say we are now working closely together, Ed Luck and myself to merge genocide prevention with the responsibility to protect. And this is very important because, as I said earlier, genocide is preceded by various violations and crimes. And if we broaden it to include R2P that should theoretically provide grounds for more constructive engagement with governments.
Paradoxically, I thought that if we moved in that direction it would make my task easier, but apparently, the responsibility to protect is still being seen in terms of the last pillar and people continue to talk about the threat of intervention. Yet, over the last three years we have seen absolutely a shift from initial attitude of even denying that there had been acceptance of the concept of R2P to now accepting and supporting it with some reservations, reservations that are increasingly getting less and less but will probably continue to be there. So we have to address them seriously.
Let me just conclude by saying that as I have defined the challenge of prevention structurally really it is a task for everybody and it is one for the collaboration of all within the U.N. and outside the U.N. But it is a tough one, and I want to close with a question, which I hope we can discuss. Recently in my visits in the Asian countries, at least, on two occasions, somebody said there had been a study or he reported on a discussion among the G5 that he saw dealing with the issue of if there were Rwanda today, if another Rwanda were to emerge today, are we equipped to perform differently? The answer these people gave was no, we are not. I would hope that if Rwanda were to occur today it cannot possibly happen the way it did before and the world not only watches, but pulls out. And what we heard today I hope is evidence that if something like that happened, certainly, we ought to do better than we did before. Thank you.
Antoine Garapon [through interpreter]: Thank you, sir, for your optimism. Listening to you, I was thinking of the sentence I heard one day from one of the players in the Middle Eastern country when he says pessimism is a luxury I cannot afford. And I think that this applies very clearly to what you have presented in the specificities and difficulties of your mandate and, in particular, the strong momentum that you are injecting yourself into it. Now, could we respond to genocide like the one in Rwanda brings us back to the question raised by some at the panel this morning is how can we build something? How can we build provisions that have built on the foundation of a long-term framework that will make this prevention durable in the long-term? I think that was the purpose of this white paper. It’s the purpose of what was presented by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen and which for the first time raises the question of concrete genocide prevention measures. And I’ll hand over now Mike Abramowitz to explain to us how this book [Genocide Prevention Task Force Report] is being received in the U.S.
Michael Abramowitz: It’s a pleasure to see you all today. I want to say what an honor it is to share the stage with the panelists to my left, Antoine, Jacques, and, of course, Francis. I want to thank Dr. Deng for his remarks, but also more important for your contribution to our field over your long and illustrious career and your ideas about the responsibilities of sovereignty and about internally displaced persons have influenced us all. So thank you.
I would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the French Shoah Memorial, the hardworking staff of the U.S. Holocaust Museum and our partners at the American Bar Association. I also want to say something about my colleagues who worked in the Genocide Prevention Task Force. Antoine said some nice things about the Museum but we -- and I’ll talk about this in a bit -- we were among the conveners of this. But in this room are a number of the expert consultants who really worked on the report and made it as good as it was. And I would include Lawrence Woocher and Paul Stares, Tod Lindberg and I think we have a number of other experts who are here. If I didn’t mention you, forgive me, but I did want to recognize their work.
I also wanted to seize this opportunity to say a few words about the unusual program that I have had the privilege to direct for the past year-and-a-half at the Museum. The Committee on Conscience has a unique perch. Nothing else really exists like it in the human rights world. We are an initiative that was launched by really the visionary founders of the Museum to use the assets, the platform, and stature of the Museum to raise awareness, influence, policymakers and otherwise do what we can do to ensure that the crimes of the Holocaust are never repeated. And as I look all around the room I see potential partners and I would encourage all of you to be in touch with us if you have ideas about how we can advance our shared agenda.
My remarks today will focus on what is happening in the United States. That’s my job on this panel. I’m going to talk a little bit about the national government and civil society. And I want to just echo what Samantha said in her remarks, which is that we understand that the abolition of genocide and other mass atrocity crimes will only come through concerted international action. But the U.S. must play a leading role and that’s what I’m going to focus on in my remarks. And I know that others at the panel will be talking about other countries and I just wanted that understood. I would like to focus on a piece of the puzzle that sometimes receives insufficient attention although I will say that Samantha talked about it a bit today, what governments can do to strengthen their own capacities to prevent genocide and other kinds of mass violence.
Much important work has been done over the past two decades, by some in this very room to try to build a new international architecture to prevent and respond to the worst crimes. These include strengthening the system of accountability, including a new international criminal court; creating a dedicated office of genocide prevention at the United Nations; articulating and strengthening the responsibility to protect norm; and more recent efforts to create regional networks in Africa and elsewhere to prevent genocide.
We also have a new movement in civil society that is really quite new, that has emerged to press governments politically, to take more vigorous action, to prevent or halt mass atrocity crimes in places like Sudan, Burma, or Congo. But what sometimes gets lost is the need to put in place in every government of the world policies, practices, and structures that could help prevent the unfolding of such events in the future. Building the right governmental infrastructure and tools is a crucial step for enabling a will to protect. Unless leaders have the tools ready at their disposal, the best intelligence and early warning, effective preventive diplomacy, the right military training and doctrine and a decision-making process that prioritizes the protection of endangered peoples, the chances of success are diminished.
The Genocide Prevention Task Force offers some helpful guideposts, not just the recommendations themselves but the way in which they have been taken up by both the U.S. government and civil society. And I want to talk about the task today a bit, but largely in trying to explain how the Task Force did it’s work and suggested it might be a possible model for how Europe and other countries might develop ideas of their own to build up capacity and other ideas for advancing genocide prevention. So I’ll give a bit of a history which some of you in this room probably know but many don’t so I want to just reprise quickly.
Three years ago the Museum and its partners, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the American Academy of Diplomacy established a task force to create a blueprint for effective genocide prevention infrastructure. The Task Force was really largely aimed at the U.S. government. It had some other recommendations towards the international community, but, I think, it’s fair to say it was a largely U.S.-government focused document. The infrastructure that it advocated, we believed would contribute both to identifying conflicts at their earliest stages and triggering a response. Before violence starts or escalates, when all of the tools of prevention, non-military diplomacy have the best chance of success. And we asked two former U.S. cabinet official Madeleine Albright and Bill Cohen to lead a taskforce of exports. And we put on the Task Force a diverse group of bipartisan senior officials who had served in government during periods in which the U.S. had failed to avert genocide or respond effectively once violence had begun.
The resulting report provided a detailed plan of action. As a first matter, the Task Force acknowledged that the U.S. record on genocide has been mixed and that genocide prevention had often been dealt with as a foreign policy after-thought, that responsibility for such crises were fragmented among various agencies, and prone to bureaucratic lethargy and ad hoc decision-making. And so the Task Force argued as a central recommendation that genocide prevention needed to be elevated to a foreign-policy priority for the U.S. government and we rooted the case in core national security interests.
To make genocide prevention a priority the report outlined concrete recommendations including robust presidential leadership in the form of a clear public statement from the President that preventing genocide is in the national security interest, a whole of government approach, high-level person in the executive branch responsible for ensuring specific changes in doctrine in practice for the different arms of the U.S. government.
The Task Force also made a number of recommendations about setting up effective early warning mechanisms, training for foreign policy officials and strengthening and transforming in civil society in places ripe for experiencing conflict. Less than two years since its release, the Task Force’s impact has been significant, not only in specific, if an incomplete set of reforms.
But perhaps more important in something that I think of as atmospheric -- a palpable change of mindset at least in the United States about the primacy of prevention. And I’ll talk about the concrete responses first. I’m not going to go over the things that Samantha talked about but there’s a lot going on at the White House. What I’d like to also say is that there’s a lot going on in the rest of U.S. government, some of which, I think, has been inspired by the Task Force, others just by people very committed to these subjects being in positions of power, in the Pentagon, in the intelligence community, and in the State Department.
We now have at the State Department a genocide and mass atrocities working group looking at what the U.S. government will do in real-time when the signals foretell impending mass atrocity crimes. We’ve also interestingly seen changes at the Pentagon where Secretary Gates has established a new Office of the Rule of Law and International Humanitarian Policy. And one of their main charges is the adopting policies for the prevention of mass atrocities. And we’ve seen different statements coming out from the U.S. military in August. The U.S. Army issued a new doctrine that called on future forces to be prepared to conduct what they called mass atrocity response operations as part of the full spectrum of military operations. So these are still words on paper, but I think, the shift is clear, that the national security establishment is beginning to codify, and we saw that in the national security document as well that Samantha talked about that preventing genocide is a matter of strategy and policy.
The U.S. intelligence community has also joined the effort and it has embraced the Task Force report that there be regular assessments of threats of mass violence. I think it was very interesting that before he had resigned this year, Admiral Dennis Blair the Director of National Intelligence, testified before Congress about the risks of mass atrocities and he pointedly declared that Southern Sudan is at risk of a mass killing or genocide in the next three to five years. I’ve never heard such a frank statement from a senior government official in the intelligence world.
The U.S. Congress has also taken up the charge. Eleven U.S. senators recently introduced a bi-partisan resolution that calls for the administration to develop and communicate its approach for anticipating, preventing, and mitigating acts of genocide and other mass atrocities.
I also want to talk about what’s happening in civil society because I think that’s quite interesting. NGOs and activists and policy advocates have embraced the Task Force agenda and multiplied its reach and impact while broadening their efforts beyond individual cases like Darfur. Many organizations have individually taken up the Task Force recommendations as a program priority. Last year, the Genocide Intervention Network had a two-day conference on genocide prevention solely on the Task Force recommendation. So they had more than 800 grass-roots advocates in the room.
One of our co-sponsors here today, the American Bar Association brought the Task Force report to its annual meeting for endorsement and has become a major partner in efforts like this meeting to create an international network that can respond to mass atrocity crimes. A group of roughly a dozen leading U.S. and international NGOs formed a coalition, the prevention and protection working group that has taken up the Task Force recommendations in earnest as its advocacy agenda. The combined constituencies of these organizations number in the millions and each has been educating and galvanizing their members. U.S. civil society has been the engine, I believe, behind the congressional legislation, I mentioned, and have used their collective resources to call on the Obama Administration to take forward leaning steps.
The effect over the past two years has been an evolution in the United States in the genocide prevention movement. NGOs have broadened their work beyond specific crisis like Darfur or Congo and established an entirely new area of work for organizing, awareness-raising, and advocacy and prevention. And all of this work amplifies the message of genocide prevention and creates the feedback loop that will help make progress on the full range of recommendations in the report. Clearly, we have a long way to go especially in implementation. Setting policies, of course, does not ensure that policies will be implemented.
We do not have a fully functioning and global early warning system or a rapid deployment force with the capability of protecting civilians in situations of mass conflict, or a network of focal points within governments who are tasked with making this issue their number one priority every day. We badly need a massive public education campaign aimed at building the kind of political support that leaders need to take difficult decisions with domestic political repercussions that are often needed to prevent mass atrocities. This might be a role, for instance, that museums like mine or the Shoah Memorial might consider playing in this sphere. We need all of these tools because there will always be doubt and nuance and complexity and democracies when it comes to dealing with a specific crisis when, of course, there is only one result that if you don’t head off a tragedy then you have failed. No country can go at this alone.
Thankfully, around the world new organizations and networks are forming with genocide prevention or the responsibility to protect as their stated mission. And what’s needed now is for more states to develop their own institutions and structures for elevating the prevention of genocide as a policy priority. There ought to be officials like David Pressman in each and every government charged with organizing prevention efforts in each society and serving as a focal point for cooperating with other countries. And it’s heartening, I should say, the Global Center and other friends in the R2P movement are trying right now to create this movement of focal points, and I want to recognize that. The Genocide Prevention Task Force offers some helpful suggestions but it is certainly not the last word. There is no cookie-cutter approach to this issue. Each government or international institution needs to find structures and staffing approaches that fit their own bureaucracy and culture. I only suggest humbly that the model of the high level that we did in the United States might be applicable to Europe or other countries as a way of stimulating reforms appropriate to their own systems. What is essential is that each government act urgently to adopt genocide prevention as a mission. We don’t want to wait for another avoidable catastrophe to take place before we adopt the necessary reforms to give true meaning to the words never again. Thank you.
Antoine Garapon [through interpreter]: Thank you, Mike. And I believe too that one of the big questions is that of the implementation of recommendations. Genocide prevention is a long-term issue. It’s not just a question of seeing early warning signs. It’s not just a question of seeing risk factors. You also have to be able to raise the awareness, in particular, as you underscored in mobilizing the information intelligence community as you rightly said. And when… immediately it’s led to a meeting at Sciences-Po, the business school where… they’re giving an organizational blueprint and taking into account the strategic doctrine of the French government. Jacques Semelin.
Jacques Semelin [through interpreter]: Thank you to the Shoah Memorial and to the U.S. Holocaust Museum for organizing what is, I think, a historic meeting here, in particular, in this highly symbolic venue. Symbolic for the history and the memory of the Shoah.
Jacques Semelin [through interpreter]: Now, I don’t want to talk about problems of how to define genocide and all of these vocabulary qualities, mass atrocities and so on. I don’t either want to talk about problems releasing early warning alerts because all of the major states have these systems, have these early warning systems for their own interests in crisis situations. Now, the question is to know to what extent they have what to do this. And, for example, like organization, international crisis prevention for protecting foreign populations which is not necessarily in their interest, in their national interest. And so the question that I would like to propose is the following: to what extent is there a political will on the part of states, such as the United States and others to truly prevent genocide?
And I’m thinking now of a document published by Henry Kissinger in 2006 in which he spoke of Rwanda and Darfur and when he was saying that paradoxically in the case of Darfur and Rwanda there was no preventive action undertaken because these crisis did not threaten the policies and interests of the major world states. And therefore, there was not unilateral nor even multilateral problem to the foundational, now with the foundational, very realistic approach taken by Kissinger.
I believe today we have two answers that we can give. The first is the Albright-Cohen report. And it’s true that as soon as the report came out I sought for an opportunity to invite its members to come and speak about it in Paris at Sciences-Po, and we organized a very exciting seminar on these issues. And following which I also wrote an article about the Task Force in the Journal of Prevention and Genocide Studies. And I gave it the title, “An International and Especially American Event.” Why? Because it is indeed an international event in as much as yes, it’s the first time that experts coming together to propose consistent recommendation to a state… and not of any state but it is the United States. And, I believe, that it’s following the remarkable book produced by Samantha that began to give some form of answer. Now, it’s quite a unique job. Neither the British nor the French have undertaken this type of approach. And so it truly is something that we must take our hats off to internationals here, but, that being said, it is an American event in as much as it is -- shall we say -- experts from the American bureaucracy who are expressing themselves at the high administration level of the U.S.
It’s a shame that they didn’t consult more with the genocide scholars because the report doesn’t really refer to a lot of case studies. And here I would like to make some critique. Please understand that critiquing is my job and that I’m actually very favorably disposed to the report as such. And I’m just coming as bringing that critical comment. I would say in answer to Kissinger, first, it’s on page two, certainly, it is part of the American higher national interest to prevent genocide. Why? Because there are regional crisis, there are refugee flows, that the result of the passivity of the major powers. And therefore, it is the responsibility of the American government to prevent and manage such crisis to avoid mass killings and so on. Now, this is a very strong argument and it’s all ready been used and particularly by the Carnegie Foundation report. And at the same time it is-- the report repeatedly mentioned it so much to the point that one wonders is it really convincing. As I said, there are no case studies. I mean somebody was mentioning Rwanda this morning but after the Rwanda there was the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo with several hundred thousand, if not millions, of dead. Now, is it really in the higher interest of the national U.S. interests to prevent massacres in the Congo? And it’s a question I ask.
And a second question is linked to this extraordinary sentence that you can find in the report: genocide can be prevented. They are not saying should be prevented or might be prevented. They’re saying can be prevented. And this makes me think of: “Yes, we can.” “Yes, we can.” For someone working on genocide who has been working on genocide for many years I would be more modest. I would take a more humble approach as one says because yes, I am one of these people who says genocide is not a fatality in the English and the text. At the same time, there are many cases where we want to say how would it have been possible to do something? And I take the liberty of pointing out that I worked for close to 10 years on a book called “Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide,” the aim of which was to explain this precisely. And this is where, I believe, there is a gap in the report. That’s not its aim. The aim was to convince the American administration, of course, but there is an optimism expressed in this report which is extraordinary and which from my point of view should talked about. In any case we need to have some seminars among ourselves to talk about that.
The third point and then I will have finished with this report is the vision that comes out of this report, mainly, the will, the resolve of its authors, to so to speak, impose, the United States as a leader, global leading, moral-- global moral leader for genocide prevention. And to create a coalition both of states, governments, and of NGOs working in the same direction. Now, I’m saying why not? Although, of course, this does pose problems of legitimacy because as you can well imagine many governments will not agree to having the United States being the leader in this respect.
There is a consequence, nevertheless, something nevertheless, which would make this more consistent. Now, it has to be clearly understood, now the United States, should the United States… join the 108 countries who have ratified, signed the statutes, the bylaws of the International Court of Justice. Could this approach really be understood if the United States, even though it’s very difficult for the United States to do this. But if the U.S.A. were to, nevertheless, accept their own citizens to be judged not only by an American court, but by an international and universal tribunal this is a question that I put forward. In a way I’m answering it by putting it forward. But basically I’m sorry that this recommendation since this is what it is termed, that this recommendation is not part of the report, all the more so and then I will have finished with my unpleasant remarks.
All the more so that the Convention for the Prevention of Genocide was adopted here in Paris in 1947 at the Palais de Chaillot as part of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It took 38 years for the United States to ratify this convention in 1986 as Samantha Power mentioned in her book. So I’m hoping that the United States will not wait 38 years before they join the ICC. So the second answer to the article of Mr. Kissinger is, of course, the multilateral response. This leads us to the United Nations which takes us to the responsibility to protect approach, I won’t take that away from Mr. Deng, accept in as much as the Canadians are the ones who really pushed this agenda at the time. Unfortunately, this highly important report was published at the time of September 11th. And, I think, that the impact that this report, this work task, this remarkable job could have had, this is basically the third aspect, the “responsibility to prevent” is a third aspect. And this, by the way, is what we’re talking about right here.
And this report was neutralized, this impact was neutralized by issues of security in the face of terrorism. So this job is being continued including in the United Nations. But in the United Nations you’re finding it difficult to put forward this whole concept of prevention of genocide. So what is at play here? What is in question is an international culture of genocide prevention including in the United Nations. Now, as concerns a multilateral response, the answer is concerned I wanted to come back to the role of Europe. This is part of my job this morning to talk to you about Europe and about the European Union. And I’d like to say that in the very foundation of Europe, the fathers of the European foundation in 1950, you have these elements after two, three wars, the Franco-German reconciliation is, in fact, marks the resolve to prevent wars and massacres in Europe. So in the very history of this international organization now called the European Union you have this DNA, this initial marker of the resolve to prevent. It will not have escaped you that the European Union today does not shine by its capacity to prevent genocides both in Darfur, in Rwanda and in other crisis areas. There’s a reason for this because there’s no common European policy. And if genocide prevention is based on a common foreign policy well there is no such policy within the European Union for genocide prevention notably except that and this is something that we can look at for a future seminar.
If we look at the history of Europe, since the end, since the fall of the Berlin Wall we can look at a few cases that are very interesting to study including as part of this conference, first of all, the Baltic Crisis. Well, we’re forgetting this but immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall things were extremely tense in the Baltic Countries. And I would like to pay tribute to… who in the 1990s had this idea of working on this issue of prevention in the sense that he put forward the way in which Europe could attract these new countries, more or less independent countries towards a model of economic and democratic integration as represented by the European Union. So prevention is not just an external action. It is also a rationale, a more structural rationale of prevention via the model as represented by the European Union.
The second case, which you also know, is that of Macedonia. At the beginning of the year 2000 after the failure of Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, it would seem that everyone got together to prevent the rise of violence in Macedonia. The European Union was very present also with NATO… And I think that this is very important which can found in Anglo-Saxon literature and that is the case of the Ivory Coast. It is certain that the French military after Rwanda disaster did not want to handle the Ivory Coast disaster, problem, issue, in the same way as Rwanda… So that despite the crisis and the clashes and cases of massacre to make sure that the position of France more or less supported abroad is less directly involved in managing this crisis.
So some concluding remarks. The first remark is that we cannot separate knowledge and prevention. I am one of those people who believe that prevention can develop, must develop through comparative knowledge of genocides. It is also the massviolence.org, we initiated in 2008 with the support of… here in France and Europe basically to create an international database not only for data but also for analysis of genocides and mass killings where you will find Rwanda, the Shoah, and other massacres examined on the basis of this same methodology.
As a scholar I speak now, there is the responsibility of prevention. This is something that is a duty of all of the governments today, but also for academic researchers we also have the responsibility of learning, of knowing and making known. And it is through the development of a common framework matrix at the international scale. It is on that basis that we can initiate international prevention. Secondly, this can be a basis that we with our dear American colleagues who are present here and our European colleagues who are present. I think we have a different history. Necessarily our approaches are different. In common, we probably have the legal framework. There is a legal approach to the prevention of genocide which follows a succession of human rights violations with the diplomatic declarations, first of all.
And secondly, you know, if there is-- then we use the media. And then we intervene potentially using the military. In other words, there is an escalation of resources to be used. I think that there is another approach which the United States can practice which is more political through an analysis of regional crisis of failed states and this approach would focus more on mediation processes, on processes having to do with economic aid. And here we’re talking about a more structural aspect of prevention. Maybe some issues that link to health, to epidemiology. I think that in the seminar it would be extremely important to study these different approaches.
Third remark and I’m almost finished. Let us not forget that prevention is not made up only of external intervention. Societies can also have the capacity to resist mass violence. I would like to draw your attention to a book I found particularly interesting by two American colleagues Daniel Chirot and McCauley, Why Not Kill Them All? Where this could happen, it could be done but it doesn’t happen. Their approach I believe, is too general, but highly interesting, i.e., within societies themselves there are resources that can prevent this. And in France looking at the Shoah -- just a footnote, but it’s extremely important. As you know there is a quarter of the Jewish population in France was deported during the Nazi period. Seventy-five percent were able to survive at the time. There was no policy of prevention. There was nothing there. So how? And Hitler wanted to kill all of the Jews. So how can we answer these questions if except by analyzing sociopolitical, socio-historical factors in French society that could explain this, explain the survival.
And by the way this is included since we’re talking about the need to strengthen, to boost civil society, the mechanisms of civil society. So we’re not only talking about an outside based approach for prevention. The last remark, clearly, Europe could be doing a great deal more in this area. For instance, the creation of a center in Hungary is, of course, a good thing. It should do much more because on this continent we not only have the tragedy of the Holocaust but we also have the tragedy of Stalin’s crimes. We have the whole history of colonialism. If there is any continent in the world that should be doing a great deal more and that should be instituting a policy for the prevention of genocides, it is clearly the European Union. And I’m saying that the European Union is going to have between 5 and 6,000 civil servants dedicated to the European service for external intervention. Now, among these five to 6,000 civil servants there should be at least a few who will work on the prevention of genocide in connection with Samantha Power or others who will work in this area. I think that you’re helping us, you’re pushing us further. Thanks to this Albright-Cohen report. And I would like to recall the sentence by Elie Wiesel whom I like a great deal: “Peace is not a gift given by God to men. It is a gift that human beings, people, give to themselves.” I hope this also applies to the prevention of genocides, in fact, I’m quite sure of it. And so between you and us that is just a start, I quote.
Antoine Garapon [through interpreter]: Thank you very much, Jacques, for these observations that really initiate the debate precisely because it shows us the difference in approaches, the actual differences or virtual differences, what Europe could be doing. You’re quite right to be pointing out the fact that we have-- and, in fact, this is part of preventing genocides looking at stories, success stories, i.e., genocides that did not have. And it is true that on that score this is the very core of Europe that seeks to democratize through expansion, through integration. Our three panelists have asked a great many questions. We have a little over 10 minutes to ask some questions. So I would like you to very briefly ask these questions so as to enable everyone to express themselves. So the microphone, then it will be the gentlemen there. Mr. Bartoli:
Andrea Bartoli: Three quick questions. One for Jacques. It’s clear that prevention is connected to knowledge. And if Barbara Harff’s right, we need to take very seriously previous experiences of mass violence. You have an encyclopedia of mass violence. What is your sense of your own contribution to institutions like the Budapest Centers and the one that are emerging so that the synthesis of knowledge and policy may actually be more effective?
To Francis, the question is we were together in Arusha where the African leadership on genocide prevention emerged with revisiting the 2006 protocol that led to the creation in September of the regional committee on preventing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ambassador Mulamula and… are now in the Budapest Center Board of Directors -- there is a connection between this architecture. And I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more specifically on the role of regional organizations in this emerging architecture. To Mike, the question is about bipartisanship. One of the features of the report of the Task Force was deeply bipartisan. And we also know very well how in Washington these days there is a vitriolic distinction in the politics and in the discourse. And I was wondering what would be the position of the Museum to facilitate a bipartisan follow-up that will actually include the different level of the decision-making, especially, now that the House is in Republican hands?
George Weiss: It’s George Weiss from Radio La Benevolencija. We run large scale media educational campaigns in Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC, teaching populations a vocabulary propaganda and incitement. I just wonder this distinguished gathering here is a little bit of an ivory tower gathering, in so far as was often said, it doesn’t have very often the support of the populations in initiative to prevent genocide. All together Jacques Semelin and the psychologists we were work and other psychologists have distinguished a whole continuum violence that leads up to genocide. And that continuum is also present here in Europe and in other places, where populism becomes more and more rampant. And I just wonder if it wouldn’t be worthwhile to enlarge a little bit the whole definition of prevention genocide into preventing incitement to hatred, leading to mass atrocities and further on to genocide as a peak that can be reached maybe. But making it more understandable to the populations that it’s worthwhile to act against incitement to genocide. And only then act in some cases against genocide when it really happens. But then show them how it is rampant among all of them.
Antoine Garapon [through interpreter]: Two further questions.
Questioner [through interpreter]: Yes, I’m a researcher at the University of Paris XI. I work on genocides. Your theme which is the amnesty of ordinary mass criminals, my question is addressed to any one of the panelists. Mr. Deng closed his speech with the following sentence: “Are we equipped to react to a genocide such as the Rwanda genocide?” And Mr. Garapon repeated this question. And it’s on this lack of resources I wish to question to you. The international tribunal is a major step forward in the prevention of mass resources, but it deals almost exclusively with those who gave the orders in mass genocides. Now, to use the expression of Christopher Browning, ordinary mass criminals have almost always escaped justice with the notable counter example, a controversial example of Rwanda. My question is the following: would it not be time to equip the international community to avail itself of a credible alternative to amnesty in the event that such mass murders should occur again? This could constitute an additional means of prevention. Thank you very much.
Questioner [through interpreter]: Just a question or two. The first question has to do with the possibility for the international community to place more responsibility on heads of states and those of their collaborators who are accused or suspected of mass crimes and rather use that terminology as has suggested by Mr. Semelin because the present discussion about genocide war crimes, mass violence, et cetera, et cetera, there’s confusion in this terminology and this leads to a common place banality, let’s say, of different approaches to violence. Looking at the massacres in DRC what people is say there was no genocide. What does this mean? This means, okay, there was no genocide, but this means the other crimes are okay? I think that the international community and specifically those who are in charge of applying the different conventions that sanction and punish these crimes, the international community should, therefore, have a different approach, an approach for this.
I listened to Mr. Deng’s and Mr. Abramowitz’s and Mr. Semelin’s very rich presentations and I have the impression that if we talk too much about genocide, which of course is the most serious crime of all of the different kinds of military crimes leads us to forget that there are other crimes against humanity which leading to the deaths of several hundred thousand people, sometimes millions of people one even wonders why the word genocide applies to some cases but not to these. So question and our recommendation I think that we should be extremely careful as to the use of our terminology and what we highlight as being a genocide as oppose to other crimes against humanity because the other crimes then become more banal, more commonplace. Second question…
Antoine Garapon [through interpreter]: Excuse me, sir, but there is just 30 seconds.
Questioner [through interpreter]: Very brief, please. What are we doing vis-à-vis governments, notably African governments who refuse to ratify the convention which I establishes the ICC.
Questioner [through interpreter]: Thank you, Mo Bleeker, the Swiss Federal Foreign Ministry. Thank you for having organized this ministry. I have a very simple question. We started out with Argentina and Tanzania three years ago, we started organizing a series of regional forums. The great learning I draw from this is that leadership must be shared. I think that this is a major challenge for our future to really allow us to develop a multiple approaches to genocide. What Francis was talking about in terms of the management of diversity while we’re also working on creating an architecture for the purpose of preventing genocide. How are we going to do this together? How will we be able to include those who are not yet at that stage, today, China, some of the major Asian driving countries, I believe, is a very key issue?