Panel I: The Capacity to Prevent
LEE HAMILTON: Thank you very much for coming. I am Lee Hamilton, and I am the President of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It is my pleasure to welcome you to this very important program, “The Responsibility to Protect - the Capacity to Prevent and the Capacity to Intervene.” I am very pleased that we have many friends and colleagues here, but I want to say a special word of welcome to Dr. David Hamburg, easily one of the outstanding public servants of my generation. David, we are delighted to have you here.
Today’s event is the second part of a program that featured a keynote address last night at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Samantha Power.
This two-part series is being cosponsored by the Wilson Center’s Africa Program and the Conflict Prevention Program and the Committee on Conscience of the Holocaust Museum. It is part of the month-long commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.
The horrific events in Rwanda prompted much reflection around the world. Many asked: How could this happen? Why didn’t the international community do more to prevent and stop the killing? What could be done in the future to prevent similar atrocities?
One initiative that I had the pleasure to be a part of was the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. We struggled with the question of when the international community should violate a state’s borders in order to stop suffering within those borders; when and how should we act. I’m not sure if [indecipherable] is here--she was going to be here; I think she’ll be coming along--but she helped a great deal in the work of that commission. The product of our work was the report entitled “The Responsibility to Protect.” It outlines scenarios for intervention and issues recommendations about how intervention should take place. That, of course, is not a simple issue. I am sure our Commission did not have all of the answers, but I was pleased that we could join the dialogue and contribute to a process of capacity-building that continues to this day.
The distinguished panelists you will hear from are a testament to how seriously the international community takes the responsibility to protect. With us are representatives of key institutions such as African Union, the European Commission, NATO and the United Nations, as well as other experts. Last week, the Wilson Center was pleased to hear from the Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who included the notion of a responsibility to protect in his major foreign policy address.
We are here because we want to learn the lessons of Rwanda. No doubt all of us feel a collective responsibility to prevent future genocide. Today you have the expertise and the opportunity to advance this dialogue and to ensure that words can and do lead to a tangible capacity to intervene and prevent further catastrophic suffering.
It is now my pleasure to turn over the floor to the very distinguished and able Director of the Wilson Center’s Africa Program, Howard Wolpe. Howard?
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you very much, Lee. I most appreciate the opening remarks, and I want to join in welcoming all of our guests, particularly the many people who have come in from some pretty far corners of the world to be with us today. I am most grateful for all of your presence and your participation in this program. I would also like to acknowledge the presence of the Ambassador from Rwanda who has just joined us here this afternoon as well.
I also want to express my appreciation to a few people who have helped to really provide the kind of support and assistance required not only for today’s event but for a whole series of events that have taken place this past six weeks. Anita Sharma of the Conflict Prevention Unit here at the Woodrow Wilson Center; Nicole Rumeau, my program associate, who has really lead and spearheaded all of the logistical support for this program; and Jerry Fowler, the Director of the Committee on Conscience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I don’t think Jerry is here yet, but he has been absolutely key to all of this activity.
When we structured the Remembering Rwanda commemorative activities, we had clearly in mind that we had two purposes. One was to remember not only the victims but also the survivors of the Rwanda genocide. The second was also doing an accounting of lessons learned in terms of the international failure to respond at the time of the genocide.
The international discourse in the past decade has moved rather dramatically in some ways as it relates to the question of international responsibilities. Sovereignty, which at one time was understood simply to mean and convey the notion of the inviolability of borders, has come to mean clearly something that invokes not only a set of rights that go with sovereignty but also a set of responsibilities. And as Lee alluded to, the report of the commission in which he participated carried that notion of responsibility a step further by offering up the notion that the international community also had a responsibility to protect citizens against systematic violations of human rights when a country either lacked the capacity or the will to provide such protection.
But while the dialogue may have advanced, I think it is less clear as to whether the capacity and/or the political will which is a part of capacity has advanced in an equivalent fashion. So what we really want to look at today is the extent to which the various international institutions can play a role and must play a role at times of crisis when there is at stake the systematic violation of human rights, the mass killings and other kinds of atrocities, and take a look at what has been learned since 1994, what kinds of capacities have emerged in that period of time, what are the remaining challenges before all of us as citizens and as institutional players in trying to create the capacity so that we do not have to constantly see more and more Rwandas.
It is my great pleasure to welcome the guests who will be on this initial panel. We have divided our program into two parts--first, a panel that will be focusing upon the capacity to prevent; we’ll then have a very brief break, there will be coffee and tea outside during that break, and then we’ll resume very quickly for the second panel, which will be focused on the capacity to intervene.
Let me now introduce our four panelists today, and I will introduce them all first and then we’ll go directly into their opening remarks. Our first speaker today will be Dr. David Hamburg, President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and President there for many years. He played the role as co-chair of the very important Carnegie Commission for the Study of the Prevention of Deadly Violence. He is a remarkable individual who I’m sure is well-known to most of you who are here today. His new book, No More Killing Fields: Preventing Deadly Conflict, addresses the very issues that are the center of our discussion this afternoon.
We have known each other for many years, and there is no one for whom I have greater respect in terms of the contributions he has made to the fields of conflict prevention and the way that we think about the management of conflict. I am delighted to have you here with us today, David.
Maria McLaughlin, to my right, will be our second speaker. Maria and I have known each other for a number of years as well, going back to our joint effort in the Burundi peace process. Maria currently is head of the Conflict Prevention Unit of the European Union. For a couple of years, she served as the assistant to my counterpart for the European Union, Aldo Ajello, the Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, and we were both jointly involved in both the Congo and the Burundi peace processes. Subsequently, Maria was seconded by the Irish Government to work with Julius Nyerere in the facilitation team on the Burundi peace process. We are now working together again as we continue some training activities that are an extension of our earlier work in the peace process. I am delighted to welcome you to Washington.
Mr. Danilo Turk, the Assistant Secretary- General of the United Nations, is a national of Slovenia who has been Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the United Nations since the 1st of February of the year 2000. He has responsibility at the United Nations for the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. He also supervises the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Decolonization Unit. Prior to assuming his current position at the United Nations, Mr. Turk served from September of 1992 as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations. In that capacity, he served on the Security Council from 1998 to 1999. He is a professor of international law as well by background and an expert on human rights. I am delighted again to welcome him.
Finally, our last speaker on the panel this afternoon is Mark Schneider, who is with the International Crisis Group serving as its Senior Vice President and as its special advisor on Latin America as well. He directs the Washington Advocacy Office of the International Crisis Group, which has, as we all know, emerged as really the principal nongovernmental advocacy organization focused upon the issues of crisis management and prevention internationally.
In his previous history, Mark has had a number of governmental positions, including that of Director of the Peace Corps, Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean for USAID, Chief of the Office of Analysis and Strategic Planning and Senior Policy Advisor at the Pan-American Health Organization, and as Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.
With that, let me invite each of our panelists to make their opening remarks. We are asking people to confine their remarks to 10 to 15 minutes so that we might have maximum time to have an engagement with all of you who are here today. I should indicate that today’s event is being webcast live and subsequently will be available on the Woodrow Wilson site.
With that, let me invite as our opening speaker David Hamburg.
DAVID HAMBURG: Thank you very much, Howard. I am delighted to be here. This is an exceedingly important topic and a very interesting and broadly international audience. The Wilson Center, as you know, is a splendid institution. I personally take a particular interest in the Prevention Program led by Anita Sharma which, as usual, reflects the foresight of Lee Hamilton as one of the great statesmen our country has produced in my lifetime. He and Howard Wolpe were two of the finest members of the House of Representatives; I don’t think in my lifetime they have produced two like that. And Howard was the probably the best friend that Africa has had in Congress during the years when he was there and chaired the Africa Committee, among other things.
The tenth anniversary of the Rwanda horror is a very good time to take stock of the problem of genocide, and particularly opportunities for preventing genocide. A study of the Rwanda situation was one of the 75 reports and books produced by the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, and basically, a senior military panel from several countries that we convened supported General Dallaire’s view that, with really a modest force and the proper mandate, most of the killing could have been prevented.
However, that’s where the problem would begin. It’s a very good place for the problem to begin, to prevent the killing, but what else would have been necessary in the long run to prevent recurrence of the killings of course is a very fundamental question which we did not deal with in that particular study.
In any event, the Rwanda horror has had many effects now, one of which was very beneficial, at the UN, and Danilo Turk will no doubt talk about it. I think it really is a landmark which hasn’t had the attention it deserves. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed a special advisor in his office for prevention of genocide and other mass murders. It is an extraordinary appointment which many of us in the field have yearned for over a period of years. It may seem straightforward, but it is actually a very difficult thing to achieve in the UN. I’m sure that Danilo Turk will say something about that, but that is one really landmark advance in the prevention field altogether. I think the occasion of Rwanda did a great deal to make that possible.
Now, the horror of genocide has brought into focus the fact that it is recurring on several continents, including Europe. There was a time when we thought that the Holocaust was the end of all that, never again, and so on, but in no way. The recurrence in different parts of the world has made it clear that this is still a dreadful problem, very much with us. No continent, even one as rich and fancy as Europe, has been spared. And the largest democracies have been severely criticized for their failure to act. Those of you who heard Samantha Power last night--I didn’t, but I’m sure I know what she said, having read her book and listened to her on various occasions--it is a devastating critique of the failure of this particular democracy. She could have said a lot more in the book about other large democracies, and some people have done that; they have a lot to feel badly about. Clearly, prevention of genocide is highly desirable, above all for moral reasons of our shared humanity, but also for reasons of international security. But is it feasible?
What I am going to say today very briefly tries to give reasons for believing that prevention is indeed within human capacity and indicates some ways in which this vital aim could be achieved.
First, I want to take a few challenges from the 1930s. Let’s cast our minds back to the immediate pre-Holocaust period. In the book to which Howard kindly referred, No More Killing Fields, which was my attempt to pull out some of the highlights of the Commission’s many, many volumes and to add some suggestions of my own, I listed a number of points that I though we should learn from the early 1930s that have a bearing on the 21st century.
The catastrophe of World War II and its associated Holocaust is probably the most powerful stimulus for prevention that one could imagine, and I tried to make the case in a chapter of that book that it could have been prevented and how it could have been prevented and why it wasn’t prevented. But let me try to briefly state some of the lessons that I think should be of significance for us today.
Number one, egregious human rights violations within a country are often associated with a high risk of mass violence, both through internal polarization and through external aggression. Number two, prejudice and ethnocentrism are very dangerous, especially in the form of hyper-nationalistic fervor or religious fanatical orientations. They can spread like an infectious disease throughout populations and national boundaries. Once turned loose in virulent form, they are very hard to contain. Number three, wishful thinking by leaders and by publics leads to serious blunders. Elaborate rationalizations based on wishful assumptions can foster widespread denial, avoidance of serious problems, and delay in facing them. A fundamental opportunity to prevent deadly conflict lies in taking early warning seriously. Number four, a major challenge is learning to make accurate appraisals of hyper-aggressive leaders. They are often paranoid, deceitful, grandiose and intimidating. When they offer reassurances, it is tempting to believe that the danger has passed. Realistic appraisal must take into account their behavior over a period of years in a variety of conflict situations. Number five, dictators and demagogues can readily play on the serious frustrations that people experience during times of severe economic and social hardship. Such frustration is highly conducive to aggressive behavior and makes the public receptive to demagogic appeals. Longstanding tensions between ethnic, religious, or other groups provides a fault line along which harsh leaders may stir up survival emotions as if to say “We of the in group must deal very harshly with the out group in order to survive”--a recurrent theme throughout history.
Number six, the human species is susceptible to genocide. The historical record makes this abundantly clear. The constraints against it are not powerful, especially when there is an autocrat or dictator in control, and the culture has established prejudicial stereotypes to provide a convenient target. Number seven, circumstances of extreme turbulence such as war, revolution, a failed state, or economic freefall, are conducive to mass expulsion or genocide in the context of highly inflammatory leadership and authoritarian social structures. Number eight, the absence of clear opposition is conducive to the escalation of hatred and violence. Number nine, either internal or external opposition--preferably both--can be helpful. There could be a constructive interplay between opposition to a violent regime within a country and beyond its borders. For outsiders, it should be a powerful warning when the leadership is intransigent and uses terror against such opposition.
Number ten, the best opportunity to prevent genocide is through international cooperative action to overthrow or at least powerfully constrain a genocidal regime, if possible, on the basis of strong warning information before the genocide is underway. Fear induced by a terrorist-aggressor can readily lead to an overestimate of the strength or the difficulties in confronting the problem, as we saw with the enormous, ridiculous French overestimate of German strength at the time when the Nazis went into the Rheinland, which was the last opportunity in 1936 for easy prevention of World War II and the Holocaust. After that, it would have become much more difficult. This overestimating of strength of the virulent aggressor is conducive to appeasement and then whets the appetite of the aggressor.
Number eleven, alternative approaches and policies beyond appeasement are usually available. There are usually more ways to block an aggressor than initially meet the eye, especially if the problem is recognized early and dealt with in a resolute way through international cooperation. By the way, through this whole period, the run-up to World War II and the Holocaust, there was a pitiful lack of international cooperation, which I try to spell out in the book, but it really breaks your heart how ridiculous was the absence of international cooperation even among the established democracies, let alone with others who had great stakes in the matter, like Poland the Soviet Union. Careful preparation for serious danger is helpful, especially since it is so difficult to improvise under severe stress. Think about the Cuban missile crisis. Having institutional structures, criteria for intervention, problem-solving procedures, and an array of tools and strategies--all these contribute to rational assessment, sound contingency planning, and effective responses.
Number thirteen, leadership against genocide is crucial. This involves the vision to recognize real dangers and the courage to address them, not impulsively but carefully. It requires the ability to transcend wishful thinking and can be greatly enhanced by building professional competence in a small advisory group to the relevant leader and the institutional setting in which leaders make decisions so that they can get the best available information, analyze it carefully, weigh their options, and reach conclusions for the general well-being. Moreover, authentic leaders must have the capacity to build constituencies for prevention through a strong base of public information and skill in forming political coalitions. They must be able to work with other democratic leaders on the basis of mutual respect. Incidentally, much of what I think is meant by “political will,” a rather vague but strong term, is the capacity to build a constituency for prevention and to mobilize publics to understand what is at stake in prevention and how prevention can be done.
Number fourteen, the multiple failures of cooperation in the face of grave danger during the 1930s, even among major democracies, points vividly to the need for international cooperation, pooling strengths, sharing burdens, dividing labor as necessary to cope with serious dangers. If anybody thinks that that applies to Iraq at the present time, so be it. Number fifteen, since dictatorial and/or failed states are so dangerous in their predispositions to mass violence, it is vitally important to build competent democratic states. To do so, the international community will have to produce intellectual, technical, financial, and moral resources to aid democratically inclined leaders and peoples all over the world. Such aid, usually multilateral in origin, may have to be sustained over many years as capacity is built within the country or region for coping with its own problems in its own way. Number sixteen, the painful lessons of American isolationism and unilateralism in the 1920s and 1930s are even more salient now in the maximally interdependent and pervasively armed world that we have today.
Seventeenth, and finally on this point, many of these considerations apply not only to ethnic cleansing and genocide, but also to interstate warfare and intrastate violence, which has recently been so prevalent.
There is quite a bit of excellent new research on genocide that provides clues to future prevention. There are several major studies, which I obviously can’t go into in detail, that further illuminate the Holocaust and also enrich our understanding of genocides and ethnic cleansing before and after the Holocaust, with special attention to those of the 20th century. These are comparative, in-depth studies, not only of intrinsic interest but of significant implications for prevention of genocide in the future. They deal with the Suharto regime in Indonesia and East Timor, with the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, with various African disasters as Burundi in 1972 and Ethiopia in 1974, and of course, the ultimate, in Rwanda. They deal with Bosnia. They also benefit from the opening up of archives that were inaccessible until recent years, particularly the Nazi archives and the archives of the Soviet Union. They clarify the conditions under which a stereotypical enemy can be turned into a justified object of extermination and provide examples in history, some of the factors involved in the level of leadership. But the main point--well, let me put it this way, my useful oversimplification of several of these studies -- is that a population that is largely ignorant, bigoted, badly frightened, such a population is incited by inflammatory leaders for their own various purposes, political or psychological, or whatever purposes the leaders can act on, such as vulnerable population. The whole question of the interplay between malevolent leaders and susceptible populations has been clarified to a considerable extent by recent research by people like Norman Naimark at Stanford.
All of these studies show that we have been kidding ourselves about warning time. There is all this stuff about how can you know--you don’t know--by the time you realize, it’s too late. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like just another conflict, and all of a sudden now, you have a genocide. What these studies show is that the warning time is not to be measured in days or weeks, not to be measured in months--it is to be measured in years. It takes a lot for even the most malevolent leaders to build up all the things that need to be done to cross the threshold to mass violence.
Let’s forget about the rationalization that we have no warning, that we don’t know. The real challenge is now to strengthen our institutions, to use what we know and to add to what we know, to have responses more or less ready--the more ready, the better--to react quickly when there are warning signs of genocide in the offing. And the genocide may be long-term offing, some years in the offing, but highly probable, or it may be, of course, closer up where we failed to act, and the time is shorter.
But the real issue is not the warning. Sure, there is more to be learned, or refinements to be learned, about warning, but the real issue is to prepare a set of responses and contingency plans that are meaningful and that are to the extent possible based in institutions that have real strength, like the European Union and the UN, about which we will hear more later.
I think that the issue of warning time has got to be faced, that genocide prevention requires a variety of response options related to different sorts of warning--what can and should be done, by whom, in response to different kinds of warnings--that genocide is probably on the horizon. A variety of government and international organizations and nongovernmental organizations have to be alerted, prepared, and ready to undertake appropriate response at every stage. For this crucial reason, efficacy in genocide prevention could be greatly enhanced by a strong international center established for this specific purpose in a powerful institution and/or a set of cooperating governments--but not have to be improvised at the moment by a single government or a single organization. I think that is too difficult. The International Center for Genocide Prevention would collect the appropriate staff, advisory groups, governing bodies, network of relationships, expertise, and contingency plans to mobilize the requisite knowledge and skills to meet the immense challenges of this historic mission.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you very much, David, for really setting up the discussion that follows that flows very nicely into the institutional responses and assessment.
With that, I would like to invite Assistant Secretary General Turk to make his opening remarks.
DANILO TURK: Thank you very much, Mr. Wolpe.
I am very pleased to be here at this important discussion. Let me start by saying that I see a particular advantage of the approach suggested this afternoon in the fact that there will be two panels. One will be inquiring on the capacity to prevent and the other on the capacity to intervene. I say so because very often, the capacity to prevent does not mean all that much without the existence of capacity to intervene and the will to intervene, not necessarily acting to intervene. I think it is seldom that there are discussions which cover both aspects and I believe it is very welcome that this discussion does.
Now, what I propose to do in my introductory remarks would be to refer to issues of prevention of armed conflict in a slightly larger context and also to prevention of genocide as a part of that vision and activity. I think this is important. The United Nations is involved in a fairly intense discussion on these issues right now and also is involved in practical aspects and practical activity. Obviously, the idea of prevention of armed conflict is not new, and even without an history inquiry, one is aware of such mechanisms as those established for peaceful settlement of disputes among states, such as good offices, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and National Court of Justice, which have been established to prevent the outbreak of armed conflict and to help the peaceful management of relations among states.
I think it is fitting here in Washington and in the Woodrow Wilson Center to spend a few seconds thinking about Woodrow Wilson and Elihu Root and other great leaders of the early 20th century, who have introduced a comprehensive system of prevention of disputes or settlement of disputes as a mechanism of prevention of war. Of course, illusions were part of that approach and part of that experience. Nevertheless, valid elements of that have remained. Peaceful settlement of disputes is a reality today, and very often combined with new, innovative techniques.
Let me just by way of example mention the Bakassi Peninsula dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon, which has been settled by the International Court of Justice in a judgment, but the implementation of that judgment requires further measures, including assistance of the United Nations and other actors in the limitation and facilitation of the implementation of the judgment. So we see that some of the classic legal techniques can and must be complemented by other techniques.
All this is relevant here because genocide often happens in the time of war, in times of armed conflict, most often, either in large-scale world conflicts like World War I and World War II or regional wars, or even low-intensity wars within the states. So prevention of armed conflict in all these techniques is relevant. But one should also not forget that organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union have been established with the aim of prevention of armed conflict as the central objective, and one should not overlook the fact that today, a few days after the expansion of the European Union, that important organization brings together 25 states in the area in which war has become unthinkable. That is a major achievement in terms of prevention of armed conflict.
However, on the other hand, the complexity of armed conflicts which we witnessed in the late 20th century, the end of the 20th century, many of which have been intrastate rather than interstate, called for additional techniques, additional approaches. Some of them were extremely successful, and let me mention as one such successful technique or mechanism the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities as a part of OSCE. Max van der Stoel, who has been until a few years ago the High Commissioner, has made important achievements in the Balkans, in the Baltics, and other parts of the OSCE area--something that was not very largely reported, and often there was not much to report, but precisely that was his success. It is very widely recognized in circles of those who know what was going on in the OSCE area in the immediate aftermath of the cold war.
This brings me to the question of how this issue of conflict prevention, given that history and given this kind of experience, was discussed in the 1990s in the United Nations. This is not an unimportant aspect, and I would like to draw your attention to it because the discussion among member-states of the universal organization, the United Nations, shows the level of political commitment of prevention that exists among states.
In the first ever Summit Meeting of the Security Council in January 1992, the then Secretary-General Boutros Ghali was requested to prepare a comprehensive report on maintenance of international peace. As you know, that report, “An Agenda for Peace,” was published in June 1992, and it had an important section on prevention of armed conflict, following which the General Assembly had a working group that discussed this matter further, but there were no results, and that is a part of political reality as it was in the early 1990s. Member-states very often feared internationalization of problems, political problems, which may be perceived as potential armed conflicts and preferred to deal with them domestically or bilaterally, or even sometimes ignore them altogether.
I think that that momentum that was created in the immediate aftermath of the ending of the cold war, and which was used to a very good effect in OSCE, was missed in the United Nations.
Fortunately, the discussion was carried further by the Carnegie Commission on Prevention of Deadly Conflict, which produced an important report to which David Hamburg referred and in which he had a major role in 1997. That report in turn influenced much of the subsequent thinking in the United Nations. It had an important influence on what happened later on.
It is interesting that the revival of the discussions on prevention of armed conflict toward the end of the last decade, the end of the 1990s, included the United Nations Security Council quite intensely.
Following the two speeches of the Secretary General in the General Assembly in the openings of 1998 and 1992, which were devoted to prevention and to what would be called “the responsibility to protect,” or what the Secretary-General at that time termed “two concepts of sovereignty,” the Security Council had a discussion on prevention of armed conflict and produced a Presidential Statement in November of 1999 and then later on commissioned a report by the Secretary-General which was published in the year 2001. I think that report of 2001, which took advantage of a slightly changing political climate in the United Nations, and the conceptual evolution which happened through the report of the Carnegie Commission, now offer the platform for further work in the area of prevention.
I’ll turn to some more specific things shortly, but before that, I would like to say a few specific issues about prevention of genocide. Like prevention of armed conflict, prevention of genocide obviously is very much a part of the concept from the very beginning in the international law. The 1948 Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is about prevention of genocide, but that concept of prevention is rather narrow. The Convention sees criminalization of genocide, making it a crime in all national legal systems and using the judicial means for combating that crime as the instrument of prevention. Of course, that is too narrow, and as we now know, it would not be enough to rely on that technique only. On the other hand, the Convention in Article 8 contains a provision which involves all states parties to the Convention, when they see a need, to refer a possible genocide to an appropriate organ of the United Nations. So a preventive idea which goes beyond the judicial mechanisms is already embodied in that convention.
Now, that Article 8 was never used, and it is quite sad that it was never used. I remember my time as Ambassador of Slovenia, a newly-independent country and a member of the United Nations, in the early 1990s, when at the initiative of Human Rights Watch, some of the delegations in the UN, including the Netherlands, Canada, and some others, tried to convince their governments--and I was successful in convincing my government; I don’t know how successful my other colleagues were--to use the Convention against genocide as an instrument to put pressure on Iraq. At that time, the documents on Operation Anfal, which was taking place at the late stages of the Iran-Iraq war and which was a systemic effort to annihilate part of the Kurdish population in Iraq, that documentation became known and available. It would be legally quite possible to initiate proceedings before the International Court of Justice in accordance with the Convention against Genocide to which Iraq was a party. That effort unfortunately did not succeed, and I am still sad that it did not succeed because issues of violations of the late 1980s should have been brought before the international fora much earlier. Of course, if that happened, then I believe the subsequent history would have been different.
But I think that that is another example which shows the deficiencies of the political attitudes in the early nineties, and of course, the most dramatic consequence of that was the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the international community and the United Nations as part of its organizational structure did not have enough will to act.
This obviously has changed over time. I refer to the 2001 report as a political platform which helped moving the discussion of prevention of armed conflicts further. Subsequent to that, the General Assembly last year adopted, for the first time in its history, a consensus resolution on prevention of armed conflict, so the ideas which were put in the report are now also part of the General Assembly doctrine.
There were many developments at the practical level. The Secretary-General has been active in a preventive sense vis-a-vis the Security Council and using his Special Envoys. I mentioned the Bakassi Peninsula before. I should mention his envoys in places such as Myanmar or the Great Lakes. In Burundi, the Arusha Conference was an important instrument which did help stabilize the situation and prevent the worst possible outcome at different periods. And of course, there are special mechanisms on human rights, special rapporteurs on such massive violations as torture, arbitrary detention, and others, which make a contribution. All that diverse set of mechanisms helps in creating a structure that can potentially and is actually used for preventive purposes.
Now, for the big question of prevention of genocide, obviously, all this may not be enough. The Secretary-General earlier this year launched the idea of establishing a post of a Special Advisor for Prevention of Genocide which will be linked to his own office. The purpose of that Office of the Special Advisor would be to organize and streamline the information that exists in the United Nations System and the activities that can be pursued through various mechanisms of the United Nations System for the purpose of prevention of genocide.
It is important that the political support for that idea came immediately. First, there was a conference on prevention of genocide in Stockholm in January, later also in informal consultations in the Security Council, and the Secretary-General is likely to appoint a person for that job in the coming weeks or months. This will be an important institutional innovation and will add to the capacity to prevent. I would not want to speculate on how far that will go, but I would like to say that the prevention philosophy is very much part of the political philosophy of the Secretary-General and the UN mechanisms. This is a different time than the early 1990s, and I think one can be more hopeful.
Obviously, in the discussion, there may be questions about specific issues which are on the agenda of the United Nations at this point, and I would be happy to refer to them later.
I would like to stop here and make just one final point. When thinking about prevention of armed conflict and the prevention of genocide as a part of that broad strategy, one should these days pay particular attention to the questions of post-conflict peace-building. That is because very often, armed conflicts erupt in places where there were conflicts before, and unless these places are properly stabilized and given proper institutional framework, it will be difficult.
Now, just one aspect of this endeavor and one illustration of complexities involved is the question of impunity, the question of judicial systems to be put in place in such areas; the need to understand that criminal justice is an instrument of truth, and truth can be sought primarily by criminal justice but also through other mechanisms like truth commissions and others. All that is important for long-term stabilization of post-conflict situations and prevention of recurrence of conflict. It is a complex area--I don’t wish to dwell on it in detail in this introduction--but one which should not be forgotten.
With this, Mr. Chairman, I would like to end my initial remarks, and as I said, I will be happy to refer to specific cases in the discussion should there be an interest. Thank you.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you very much for that institutional and historical review. I was particularly interested in your very last comment; it happens to be an area that I am personally engaged in currently, and there’s a subject about that that I’d like to get back to when we open it up for discussion. So thank you very much.
MARIA MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you very much, Howard. Let me say that it is a great pleasure to be here. I am one of the people who traveled a long distance, and I’m very glad that I did so.
I thought that I would divide my talk into perhaps four parts to talk mostly about what we have done in the last ten years in the European Union in terms of our structures, our institutions, what we are politically, because I think that a lot has changed since Rwanda and since Bosnia, and perhaps on this side of the Atlantic, some might not be as familiar with it. Then, I will talk a little bit about what we have done in practical terms, are we more ready? And I will look at the question of our readiness to prevent genocide now, to recognize the symptoms, information and early warning. Thirdly, what we have done in terms of our instruments, the new instruments that we have, how we have refined our existing instruments, and our capacity to prevent. And lastly, to say something about the vexed question of political will, and I’d like to come back to some of the comments that David Hamburg made on that.
Firstly, when we look back to 1994 and Rwanda and of course the disaster of Bosnia, which were taking place at roughly the same time, and one thinks about the impotence of Europe, one has to say, as I think Danilo Turk pointed out, that Europe has actually come a long way in the meantime.
In 1994, the European Union was still very much an organization that was engaged in economic integration within Europe, only beginning to face up to the fall of the Iron Curtain and to the possibility of new relations with Eastern European neighbors who we had felt for a long time were cut off, and in fact, some had lost hope of recovering contact with.
In foreign policy, the European Union was basically an “aid and trade” shop. When our European leaders sat around to discuss due political strategy, when they discussed the major international issues of the day, it was in a very informal forum. It was called “European political cooperation,” and it took place outside of our institutional structures. It was not in the original Treaty of Rome. It was not in any of the revisions of the treaties that we had had, and in fact, it was only in 1993, just a year before Rwanda, that the notion of Common, Foreign and Security Policy was first mentioned as a European Union objective. I think it is very important to mention that because sometimes those of us who are working in the bureaucracy get frustrated at how slow we feel the progress to be in terms of integration of our foreign policy, but at the same time, I think we have to recognize that we have come a long way from where we were.
In 1994, we were still in a situation where, as Henry Kissinger once said, “If I want to call Europe, who do I call?” There was still no one to call in 1994. When the Rwanda genocide happened, I remember the general confusion at meetings of the European Union Foreign Ministers, where it was hard to get Rwanda on the agenda. It was hard to figure out who was going to take the lead on what. You had the interplay and relationships between certain EU member states that had historic ties with Rwanda for good or ill, and the embarrassment of other member states of the European Union to actually put the issues related to both ties on the table.
Since then, of course, we have had the Common, Foreign and Security Policy which has been officially stated as one of the key policies of the Union, and we have had the creation of the post of High Representative of the European Union that is presently held, of course, by Mr. Javier Solana, whom I am sure you know, former foreign minister of Spain and former Secretary-General of NATO. The creation of the post of High Representative cannot be underestimated in terms of the crystallization of foreign policy within the EU, because the High Representative has played a role not only in terms of acting as spokesman for the EU but also in terms of knocking heads together within the house in terms of talking to foreign ministers, putting forward policy proposals, putting forward long-term political strategies for the EU and actually getting the big issues on the table. That is something which we did not have 10 years ago, and I think now, we have seen in the Balkans, to a lesser extent in the Middle East, but also in Africa, I think we have seen the difference which the creation of a mixture Europe foreign policy has actually brought about.
We have also had the creation of some other institutions within our existing structures. It might sound a little bit arcane to you, but we have created something which we call the Political and Security Committee. This is a committee of ambassadors which didn’t exist 10 years ago, because 10 years ago, our ambassadors usually met to discuss such exciting topics as the Common Agricultural Policy and fisheries wars with Canada, and that sort of thing. The creation of the Political and Security Committee, which is exclusively devoted to foreign policy matters, meets three times a week in Brussels, and it has become, if I could say so, a kind of mini version at the European level of a kind of Security Council, writ very small, I should say, and no competition in store there. I think the creation of the Committee and the fact that we have over the last couple of years generated debates on political issues has had an extraordinary effect on the degree of coherence that we are now seeing coming out of our foreign ministers.
When I look back over the last 10 years and one looks at the issues that are talked about within the EU, the issues that are actually put on the table, exchanges made, values discussed, interests revealed, I think we have a far more open debate now than we had 10 years ago. I think we have far less embarrassment; we have far less diplomatic protocol within the EU than we had at the time of Rwanda, and I think that’s a very good thing, and indeed quite essential.
We also have the beginnings of a military capability. Now, some people on this side of the Atlantic tend to misunderstand or perhaps overestimate what this means. The military capability of the EU is stated by the Treaty of Amsterdam to refer to humanitarian, search and rescue, peacekeeping and peacemaking tasks. It is not meant to refer to a standing army or a capacity for EU defense at this stage, although there is theoretically the possibility of moving toward defense capabilities later on. I think this is also important. It has been quite a culture shock for those of us who had worked in the institutions for a long time. The first time we saw military men arriving in our buildings, it was quite a shock. We have now an EU military staff with a planning service and with a situation center. That is also important, because for the first time, we are starting to exchange military intelligence between the different member states of the EU, and we are starting to look at the possibilities of military interventions, and I’ll say a little bit about that in a moment.
So institutionally, then, I think a lot has changed. More is about to change. You have probably heard about the draft Constitutional Treaty which was drawn up last year by the Convention, a Convention made up of a wide group of European interests, representatives of our member states, of our national parliaments, of the European parliaments, of civil society organizations--quite a long exercise chaired by the former President of France, Giscard d’Estang. The Constitutional Treaty got stuck at the end of last year, as you may know, in disputes over who has more voting weights in the Council. But we are very happy that it is now back on the table, and we are expecting that it will be adopted by the Summit of European Leaders in June. I think that is going to also give a new elan to our institutional development.
Part of the proposal under the European Treaty is the creation of what we call the Joint External Action Service and the creation of a post of Foreign Minister. I think this is the most relevant thing to know from the foreign policy point of view. The creation of the Joint External Action Service would mean that at the level of the EU in Brussels, we would bring together all of the disparate institutions that are at the moment working in foreign policy--the Commission, the Council of Ministers. We would put them all together and make one truly European diplomatic service and one joint operational headquarters. Of course, the creation of the post of minister is seen as representing a step forward in terms of the capabilities and the role of the present High Representative.
We’ll see how far the Treaty gets. It has to go to ratification in the member states of the European, including referendums in some countries, and we still have to see how it goes down in some countries in particular, not mentioning any names. But that is to say that we are moving forward, I think, and as an institution now, we are a lot stronger than we were 10 years ago.
Let me come to what we have done in practical terms. By the way, if you want some background reading, you can read our basic policy platforms which were produced in 2001, so at the same time as the Secretary-General of the UN was producing his Report on Conflict Prevention, we had what we call the Gothenburg Program of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union produced at the end of June 2001. That is a very useful and important statement of EU policy on conflict prevention, so a lot of what I am going to say comes from that.
Two main points, really. The first is that we have made major strides in terms of information and early warning. We can truly no longer say--if we ever could--that, faced with a new Rwanda, we wouldn’t know what was happening. I mentioned already that we have the Political and Security Committee. We have a Situation Center now made up of members of the EU military staff. At the level of the Commission in aid policy, looking much more at the longer term, we have developed a set of conflict indicators which look at the root causes, and David Hamburg might be pleased to know that some of the things that he mentioned, like religious intolerance or ethnic intolerance, human rights violations, are actually very important elements in that set of indicators.
We are now conducting the second of a series of what we call Country Conflict Assessments. We started that last year. We found it a very painful exercise. It is always difficult in a bureaucracy to get your desk officers to spend time on this kind of thing because they don’t see the immediate daily relevance, but we are insisting that all of our desk officers and all of our delegations carry out a biannual Country Conflict Assessment, which is then summarized into a statement of what the conflict situation, what the human rights situation of the partner country is, and recommendations on what we should do to address the root causes. That is extremely important, and we can truly say that now, if we take the indicator of time in years, as was expressed earlier, we can see many years in advance where the problems in our partner countries might be.
I should also mention that a lot of this work, the work of the Country Conflict Assessments and the work of the Situation Center, is feeding into a watch list. We now have for the first time in the EU a watch list of countries in difficulty. I should say actually that it is not quite true to say that it is the first time. We did attempt it some years ago in relation to Africa, and this shows in itself the degree of maturity that we are reaching. We tried about six or seven years ago to have a watch list on African countries, and it fell apart, because one or two African countries discovered that they were on the watch list, and they started lobbying various member states of the EU, and all of a sudden, our member states got very nervous and said, well, maybe we’ll just shelf the whole idea of a watch list.
Now things are completely different. We are not afraid to say that we have the watch list. We are not afraid to say that it is discussed regularly by the Political and Security Committee. The list is actually confidential, of course, so countries don’t know whether they are on it or not. But the interesting thing is not so much in the choice of the countries but in the reactions of our own member states to putting on the list certain countries, because you see where one member state or another tries to wiggle out of having its particular friend on the list. And there, the fact that we have a stronger set of institutions and a greater level of peer pressure within the European Union has been very, very helpful. So we now have the capacity to be aware at a much earlier stage, and we can genuinely say that we are well-informed.
The second point relates to what we have done in terms of refining our instruments and our capacity to prevent. I mentioned that we have established conflict indicators in our development cooperation programs. What I think is more important there is that we have within the Commission--because we are responsible at my institution for the disbursement of development aid and external assistance--we have established there new platforms for cooperation with third countries which we call the Country Strategy Paper. The Country Strategy Paper was introduced about three years ago and is now the basic platform for our cooperation with all of our partners, and that is over 150 partner countries, by the way, because we are one of the most active and present donors internationally after the UN itself.
We did a survey recently on the Country Strategy Papers, and we discovered that conflict prevention now features in over 75 percent of all of our country strategies to one degree or another--obviously more in some cases than in others. That is a very important and very useful development, because it obliges us in our dialogue with the partner country to look at how our development cooperation is impacting on possible conflicts, possible human rights situations in our partner countries; but also, it obliges us to look at adapting better our assistance programs.
The European Commission has always been a fairly traditional donor. We are big on transport infrastructure. We are big on health and education. But we have always been pretty poor in areas such as good governance, institution building, and rule of law.
I can say that in the last 10 years, we have made major strides in that area. We are now much more involved in governance than we were. Starting with the Balkans, I think institution building and post-conflict reconstruction has become one of our key areas of activity. And for me, that is also part of developing the capacity to prevent recurrence of genocide in the future; it has become part of the strengthening of institutions in a democratic context.
On the “stick” side, if I could call it that, we have also made some progress in terms of non-military instruments. Ten years ago, we didn’t have any procedures in the European Union for sanctions. Now we have quite a well-developed sanctions policy, and actually, last week, the Political and Security Committee was discussing the circumstances in which the EU should apply sanctions in response to a number of difficulties including the threat of genocide, human rights violations, and other issues. It is absolutely essential to understand that we have now in some areas gone further than the UN has gone. In relation to visa bans, for example, we now have a ban on travel to the EU of a number of egregious human rights violators--I won’t mention any names--but I think that has been one of the most useful and one of the most successful of the new instruments that we have put in place.
We also have a code of conduct on arms exports which was started only in 1999. It is not binding on our member states. We would like to make it binding, but unfortunately, it would require unanimity to do so. But it has been very interesting over the last couple of years to note that every member state is obliged now at the end of the year to provide a full report to the European Union on its arms exports, on the profile of countries and on its method of control of end use. And it is interesting, even in the short five years since 1999, to see the evolution. In the year 2000, we had a one-and-a-half-page report that didn’t say anything at all. Now the member states feel under a lot more moral pressure to produce very detailed explanations of where their arms exports are going and according to what criteria.
Finally, we have made a lot of progress in relation to civilian crisis management. Danilo Turk did not mention this, but we started with the UN a dialogue last year--it was started by Prime Minister Berlesconi during the Italian Presidency with Kofi Annan--an EU-UN dialogue on crisis management. So we are working much more closely now on issues such as police, rule of law, how to cooperate in civilian administration in crisis or post-crisis situations. We have within the EU built up a number of capabilities on the civilian side, and as you may know, we have taken over a UN police operation in Bosnia. We have also established another police operation in Macedonia.
So we are gradually beginning to respond to our critics who in the past accused us of non-action, and quite rightly accused us in the past of non-action.
Finally, I mentioned the cooperation with the UN. I think one of the things that has been most hopeful for me has been the cooperation that we have established with other international organizations, particularly the regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa. We now have a very important structural dialogue with the African Union, and Mr. Mazimhaka is here and will no doubt mention something about the African Union’s capabilities in conflict prevention. We are a major partner for the African Union. We have supported them in establishing conflict prevention capacities at the headquarters in Addis Ababa, and you may know that we recently announced a package of 250 million euros to support peacekeeping in Africa by the African Union and African sub-regional organizations. That is something which I think was not even imaginable 10 years ago, so I think that has been a major stride forward.
I see that Howard is signaling to me that my time is up, so I would just conclude--I have lots more that I could say but perhaps could say so in response to your questions--just to conclude that I think the challenge that we face for the future, contrary to what is often believed, is not so much an institutional challenge. We tend to be obsessed in Brussels with institutional issues, with how much power goes to the Commission or to the Council of Ministers or to the European Parliament--and these are indeed fascinating questions--well, for some of us, at least--but much more important is the question of political will, which in our case, really translates into unity of purpose. That is probably the biggest challenge that is facing the European Union. There, I would agree very much with what David Hamburg said, that political will can be--I think his phrase was political will can be expressed as the capacity to build a constituency for prevention and to mobilize public opinion.
Our big problem in Europe is that we don’t have something called a “European public opinion” as such. We have 15 and now 25 public opinions to deal with. And we have not yet had a political leadership in Europe which is willing to take the risk of going out there to create something that might become a European public opinion. Jacques Delors tried to do it when he was President of the European Commission. He was popular in some quarters and excoriated in others. And a few Commissioners have managed to do so, but by and large, I think people tend to break down the constituencies into the national constituencies. And that is an important point to make here, because when the United States accuses us very often of inaction or not looking after even our own security, not to mention that of anybody else, this is actually the key reason why. It is the difficulty of getting across the public opinions, of mobilizing public opinion across 25 different member states.
Jean Monnet, who was one of the great founders of the European Union, having spent many years setting up the institution, said at the end of his life that if he had to start all over again, he would start with the culture and with the grassroots public level. And I think some of us are coming now to that conclusion after 40 years.
Thank you very much, Howard.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you very much, Maria, for a fascinating review and assessment. I am tempted to--I can’t help but resist observing that the United States is making its own contribution to European unity, and we are really working at it--you may have noticed.
Let me turn now to Mark Schneider.
MARK SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Howard.
Let me also commend the Woodrow Wilson Center and particularly Howard Wolpe and Anita for helping to organize the Remembering Rwanda Commemorative Project. I also concur with David Hamburg that Lee Hamilton is a national resource. And let me express my appreciation for the invitation to join with this distinguished panel and in a certain way to rededicate ourselves to present the next genocide from occurring.
Last year, I visited a place called Terrazin in the Czech Republic. It once served as a way station through which 87,000 men, women, and children passed on their way to places like Auschwitz and Dachau. Another 30,000 died in the Terrazin ghetto itself. It took a long time for the world to even believe that 6 million Jews had been killed under a determined policy that in a sense did not even have a name. It was not until 1943 that a Polish lawyer combined the Greek word for “race” or “tribe,” “geno,” with the Latin word for “killing.” Five years later, the international community adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and said never again.
Yet, despite the promises and the pledges and despite the treaties and the tribunals, the world did witness genocide again in Cambodia, ten years ago again in Rwanda, and it witnessed the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. And today it is witnessing another ethnic cleansing--mass killings and burnings and bombing of villages in Darfur in Western Sudan and the forced displacement of more than one million men, women, and children, 130,000 of them already refugees across the border into Chad.
When you burn down the villages of desperately poor farmers who survive on the bare essentials of what they plant and force them to flee into the wilderness and then deny them access to relief, you sentence them to death. And unless there is immediate action by the international community, we will be seeing the next genocide, and that must not be allowed to happen.
Every statement that we make deploring the failure to act in Rwanda a decade ago should be appended to one that demands action on Darfur today. The International Crisis Group has been issuing reports about this and other situations over the course of the last several months. The good news is that Secretary-General Kofi Annan addressed the issue in Geneva, directed the head of the World Food Programme to send a delegation to Darfur after the Khartoum Government refused a visa to Jan Egeland, Undersecretary General and coordinator of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs. Despite the watered-down resolution of the UN Human Rights Commission, at least the negotiations over that resolution did result in the permission for a human rights team and the World Food Programme to visit Darfur.
Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted a strong resolution, including a call for Security Council Action, which ICG and others had urged. The World Food Programme Director Jim Morris will be reporting to the Security Council on Friday. And here I recall what Dr. Hamburg noted about the danger of wishful thinking with respect to situations where there are aggressive leaders. On Friday, when the Security Council meets and receives the report from James Morris, I hope they will take the resolution that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted, and consider and hopefully adopt a resolution that includes Chapter 7 authority for the use of force if there is no end to the government-sponsored paramilitary violence of Janjaweed, if there is no end to the continuing violations of the ceasefire, and if the government continues to place obstacles before full international humanitarian access to the victims of this scorched-earth policy in Western Sudan.
The USAID administrator stated that there is a danger right now that 300,000 people could die over the next several months. And that estimate will climb if aid does not reach these people soon. We could well be reentering the days of darkness. It is important to recall that it doesn’t take a long time. What happened in Rwanda a decade ago occurred essentially the 100 days. In that period, some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. A UN peacekeeping mission was there but was not given the authority to intervene. The nations of the world essentially looked away. They failed to act. At that time, the Canadian General Dallaire sent seven messages to New York stating that he needed the authority to intervene to prevent what he then was calling mass murder.
The results have produced a series of reports and recommendations from the commissions that we have heard and in a sense to our own panel to examine what more can be done with respect to early warning, international responsibility, and the prevention of genocide. It was in fact the conviction that the genocide in Rwanda, the ethnic cleansing in Srebrenica, and the horrors of the RUF in Sierra Leone all were preventable that serves as the rationale for the formation of my organization, the International Crisis Group.
After a plane ride out of Sarajevo, the former Senator George Mitchell, Mort Abramowitz, Mark Malloch Brown, now head of UNDP, George Soros, and a man named Fred Cuny decided that there was a need in this post-Cold War world for an organization that combined reliable, on-the-ground analytic reporting with policy recommendations and high-level advocacy designed to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. ICG and other organizations in the NGO world are engaged in the task of making “never again” not merely a pledge , but a premise for action in the case of preventable human catastrophes.
We have heard today the discussion about the responsibility to protect and the importance of two elements--the capacity to prevent and the capacity to intervene when prevention fails. Gareth Evans, the President of ICG, also was the chair of that International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and he said: “Perhaps the main normative consequence of that concept of the responsibility to protect is that governments and the international community need to treat as a core obligation rather than as a marginal afterthought the responsibility to act to prevent deadly conflict.”
There are three elements that we have identified, and you have heard them today, with respect to the responsibility to prevent. The first is the early warning; the second is a prevention and response tool kit when there is evidence of potential conflict; and the third is the political will to act.
With respect to early warning, there has to be a capacity both, as you have heard from Dr. Hamburg, to identify the structural root causes of conflict as well as the proximate factors, the sparks that can ignite deadly violence. As far as early warning is concerned, we have identified through the commissions and through a variety of efforts to look back from past conflicts and to attempt to identify what are the structural elements. Perhaps the best definition was the definition that the Carnegie Commission on Deadly Conflict, chaired by Dr. Hamburg, summarized as “the absence of security, prosperity, and justice. When these conditions are left to fester, as happens far too often, response often remains limited until something produces an explosion. And that something is the immediate sparks that trigger deadly violence.”
When we look at what those sparks are, we see sudden drops in economic well-being, mass population movements, negative intervention by external actors, fragmentation of ruling elites, including security services, a sudden threat to a group’s control over natural resources, and events which sharply call into question government legitimacy, such as badly flawed elections.
We have heard that both the EU and the United Nations, and the fact is, the National Intelligence Council here, have been looking at this for some time. But it is interesting that the National Intelligence Council when it sets up its early warning list, its watch list, as to countries in which conflict may occur, it looks only six months into the future. That clearly is far too little in terms of dealing with structural causes. And one of the questions is to what degree one has to reorganize development cooperation in order to see it through a prism of how to prevent future deadly conflict.
It was interesting that Danilo Turk mentioned the Secretary-General’s response in 2001 to the Brahimi Report on UN Peacekeeping Reform. What you identified there was the absence of an adequate capacity for conflict prevention within the Secretariat of the United Nations, even though the Secretary-General stated, and I quote, “That lies at the heart of the mandate of the United Nations.” There simply is not a focus of information on coming conflicts, nor is there a direct responsibility in a sense until the naming of the specific post for Special Advisor on Genocide, to bring together all of the information that does exist within the various elements of the system and outside to bear on this question. I would argue as the Secretary-General actually did that. NGOs also have a role to play in that. ICG to some degree attempts to do it, and we pester Danilo and his colleagues, we brief the Permanent Representatives of the Security Council, and from time to time we are successful in bringing briefing materials to the Security Council missions, to the areas of conflict.
But that is just one element. The question is how do you create a system of early warning that brings information of potential conflicts to the decision makers in a timely and effective fashion, and that still is not being done. But to some degree, it is different from what it was 10 years ago. Today, NGOs on the ground in Darfur, with laptops and satellite telephones, are able to bring more information to decision makers than the traditional elements of the United Nations or, for that matter, bilateral governments.
The question is how we mobilize them. How do we ensure that the new Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Genocide has the benefit of that kind of information as well as the ability to tap the information that exists within all parts of the United Nations system? Can he task Danilo’s staff? Can he task the UNDP around the world? Can he task member governments’ intelligence services in order to obtain the information that permits the United Nations as the collective responsibility to act to prevent genocide with the information it needs?
Let me just add if I could that if you go beyond the question of early warning, it is clear that at times the information is there and has been there. At times perhaps the appropriate policy responses are not identified or the capacity to implement them does not exist. But more and more frequently, the missing element is the appalling lack of political will.
Let me just again add that with respect to the capacity to act, the preventive tool kit, if you will, the first and least costly are the longer-term tools to build up healthy structures, and the second are the emergency first aid, heart bypass, last-minute diplomatic triage to keep the patient from going into cardiac arrest of conflict and deadly violence. I think that one of the questions would be whether we have begun to refocus development cooperation on those long-term structural causes with a clear understanding that this is the best and most cost-effective way of preventing conflict. In a sense, development work, development assistance, particularly in a post-9/11 world, that strengthens governance, social justice, and economic growth with equity, is among the most effective mechanisms we can use to promote global security.
In addition, as you have heard from Danilo, there is still a need to expand fact-finding, mediation, ADR, preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment of force, sanctions, and the effective threat of force when authorized by a legitimate international body such as the UN Security Council is actually one of the most crucial tools of a diplomatic preventive tool kit.
Now it comes to the third element of the capacity to prevent--political will. None is more crucial. The problem with most discussions of political will is that we spend more time lamenting its absence than organizing its presence. We talk about it as if it is something that simply appears as an ingredient in a stew. Dr. Hamburg spoke about building a constituency for prevention. ICG believes that there are five key factors involved in doing that. One is having an institutional focal point for prevention, like the Secretary-General’s new office but with the capacity to actually act and bring to bear sufficient resources to get the job done. Second is to recognize and be able to articulate the alternative costs of acting versus failing to act. Third is to understand and address legitimate national interests, including being seen as a responsible international actor. Fourth is bringing to bear the moral and legal arguments of responsibility, whether specific treaty obligations or obligations of the UN Charter. And finally is to address clearly domestic or institutional political arguments. You have to generate political will. It doesn’t just happen by itself. You have to organize to bring it about, and that means that there is a role not merely for intelligent, competent, professional people within the institutions, but NGOs and the interested and concerned public in all of our countries.
There was a failure of political will in Rwanda and unfortunately, until now, there has been a failure of political will on Darfur. Elie Wiesel once said “Memory is the key word which combines past and present, past and future. Remembering means that we must renew our belief in humanity as a challenge to humanity and thus to give meaning to our weak endeavors.” Hopefully, by remembering the genocide that occurred in Rwanda ten years ago, we can prevent genocide from occurring in Darfur today and in other countries whose names we do not yet know tomorrow.
HOWARD WOLPE: Mark, thank you very much for reminding us of the immediacy of these issues. These are not simply abstract questions that we are discussing but things that are right in front of us as we speak.
We are going to move now into some Q and A. I’m going to take the chairman’s prerogative to ask the first question. Before I do so, there are some of you sitting around the wall, and there are plenty of seats here and up front, so please feel free to take a little bit more comfortable seat.
Let me ask the first question, and Nicole, you can start circulating the microphone. The question that I want to pose is really linked to all the interventions that we have had this afternoon and that arise out of my own experience in dealing with the Great Lakes set of conflicts over the last nine years. I have been struck by two kinds of disconnects as we try to think about capacities to prevent and in talking about prevention, I take fully on board Danilo’s observation at the end of his remarks about the importance of how we approach the post-conflict situation, because if we don’t deal with what produced the conflict then you may get a lot of coercive effort to try to force a cessation of the immediate violence, but if you don’t really think through the reconstruction process, that agreement or the end of the violence is seldom sustainable.
The two disconnects that I have seen have been, first of all, a disconnect between the macro level and the micro level. We always talk about these conflicts in terms of the belligerent parties, in terms of the underlying social dynamics or political dynamics of the society, forgetting that at the end of the day, it is individuals who must make peace, and that is the micro level. And one of the challenges for me has been to think through how do you develop mechanisms and processes that really focus upon the individuals who must make the peace at the end of the day.
You can talk about instituting all sorts of sanctions, whether positive or negative pressures and doing lots of kinds of things that can bring to bear an engagement with a government or a set of belligerent parties, but at the end of the day, if you want sustainable peace, you have got to deal with individuals.
That leads to the second disconnect, which is the disconnect between statecraft and broad policymaking on the one hand and techniques of conflict resolution on the other. We know a lot about how to get people in conflict to get beyond the conflict. We know, for example, that one of the challenges that people in conflict are involved and come out of the conflict with a total zero-sum mentality. What war is all about is the notion that one person’s survival literally depends upon the defeat or elimination of the other. One of the challenges for any kind of sustainable peace is to change that paradigm so that people begin to understand that they are linked and interdependent and that there is value to collaboration, that whatever their competition may be, their long-term self-interest will be sacrificed unless they can reclaim a sense of their interdependence and of the importance of collaboration.
We know that any sustainable resolution of conflict requires the building of trust among the folks who are the belligerent party leaders. Unless people can begin to trust one another so that their behavior is predictable, you cannot get sustainable agreements. We know there must be some kind of acceptance of rules of the game, about how the decisions get made, how should power be organized. I say “acceptance” as distinct from “agreement.” There is a difference between an agreement and a real acceptance of those rules of the game. You can go on and detail those elements.
We do know of training techniques that have been used by psychologists and by people concerned with organizational transformation for many, many years--interest-based bargaining techniques, some of the work that Roger Fisher has pioneered originally at Harvard and through the Conflict Management Group. Other techniques of simulations, role-playing, and the like, which we are now using in the Burundian context, in a project that we are involved in now here at the Woodrow Wilson Center and which I think have had some rather remarkable impact.
But the challenge for me is an institutional one--how do we get these two cultures, the folks who know something about those kinds of techniques, that can help people begin to get beyond their ethnic and political ghettoes in which people operate in conflict situations to begin to redefine their relationships to one another and see each other as literally needing each other, which ultimately is the key. How do we get that joined up with the folks who have the leverage to move the policy and to move the statecraft?
I remember--and I will close with this example of the frustration and invite the panelists to react--at one stage in the Burundi peace process when we were getting to the point of thinking we were about to implement a peace agreement, I had proposed that under the United Nations auspices within Bujumbura we establish some people who were trained facilitators, trainers, who were skilled in conflict resolution and the management of conflict who would be available under United Nations auspices to work with the parties in the resolution of the various issues and conflicts which were inevitably going to arise as people attempted to implement this Arusha Agreement. I mean, eyes glazed over. Trying to move from the broad notion that we have an agreement to implementation, there was just a huge disconnect. Let me just raise this as a question and solicit some reactions.
MARK SCHNEIDER: If you go back--and it is now 10 years, and my immediate experience on the ground level is in Central America, where there were efforts to do just that in terms of how do you implement the peace agreement, that is, to bring together concepts--Roger Fisher was involved--as to conflict management in an effort to help parties to implement a peace agreement. I remember particularly projects of bringing communities. If you do it right, you define your reconstruction projects with the concept in mind of how do you bridge the gaps that caused the conflict in the first place, so that if you have an ethic conflict and you look for ways to ensure that your resources are being used in projects that bring together both and that both benefit, and that both in some way see their interests and their gain dependent on the other gaining as well. That’s one thing.
The other is that we are not organized--neither the United Nations, neither EU, neither AID, or the U.S. Government--with respect to post-conflict reconstruction, to organize it in terms of this is the most important tool that we are undertaking in order to prevent future conflict. That is not the way that we are organized. Yet, as you mentioned--but it is not just simply anecdotal--the World Bank analyzed all conflicts going back 50 years, and the single most frequent factor that predicted future conflict was past conflict. So the failure to do post-conflict effectively is setting in motion the seeds for future conflict.
HOWARD WOLPE: Danilo?
DANILO TURK: Yes, in a telegraphic sense, because we need some time for further questions. One general point and one specific example. I think that the key to answering your question is the truth. I think the healing importance of truth, truth-telling and acceptance of truth in the post-conflict situation is central to everything that happens. I mentioned in my initial remarks the importance of justice as part of that larger need for truth, and I think that has been demonstrated in Central America, in other post-conflict situations, is being demonstrated in the Balkans and in Africa and so forth.
Now, specifically, I think that in places like the United Nations where we are trying to deal with specific situations, we have to learn the indigenous techniques with great care, techniques which are traditional, indigenous in the countries where we operate. Just one example--Bougainville is a small place with a fairly long war which left about 16,000 people dead, but there was a successful post-conflict operation of the United Nations, a small one but a successful one. It was not successful only because arms were eliminated but because the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General went to thousands, literally, of local events organized for reconciliation purposes. So he was always there with local communities, in local rituals, local festivities which were organized in subsequent stages, and the UN was very much a part of that indigenous process of reconciliation where we didn’t impose any techniques imported from abroad but rather integrated in the techniques developed traditionally.
HOWARD WOLPE: I’d love to pursue that, but the first person with the microphone, and then, following that, Greg Stanton.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
QUESTION: Is this working? I think it is. I actually did some consulting four or five years ago for both the UN Framework Team and for the European Commission when the preventive work was done by the Conflict Prevention Network. So I am really happy that the subject of this panel has covered some of the institutional developments that often don’t get reported outside the sort of professional elite circles as to what has actually been happening within the bureaucracies over the last ten years to be more prepared and so on.
You might say that the vertical link between headquarters and the field has been made in the sense that information, partly from ICG and other sources, and all of the bureaucracy’s early warning systems that have been created, is funneling up to headquarters; committees exist, various procedures for looking at that information, considering possible responses and so on, are operating to some extent. And there wasn’t too much attention to that in your remarks. It is sort of a technocratic, not particularly interesting subject. But those things presumably are having some effect in particular countries.
More broadly speaking, there have been successes in conflict prevention, and even though one can cite the Darfurs as continuing evidence of the failure of the international community. One should also be looking at the lessons that have been learned from the successes. Macedonia, both before 2001 and during 2001, is an outstanding example. There are successes that kind of help to dispel the disheartening image that the public or people new to the subject may have of this subject. It is not a new subject anymore. It is being done out there.
What I think is still a gap, though, in the capacity to prevent has to do with what you might call the horizontal link on the ground in particular countries. And everybody now has--UNDP, Secretariat, Framework Team, European Commission delegations, USAID, DFID--all of the donor organizations have their conflict watch list. They all do their conflict assessments. They all have an array of development programs that are operating in particular countries, some of which sponsor dialogues and conflict resolution kinds of activities, not just governance activity and institution-building and so on.
What is not happening so much except here and there is people walking across the hall in that small building that houses all the delegations in the capital city of these often small countries, and talking with their colleagues who are also interested in reading early warning information and conducting conflict prevention activities. One of the lessons that comes out of the research on what has succeeded from the successful cases is that you need a variety of players, each of which can bring to bear certain carrots and certain sticks to the situation--not everybody is equally able to do that--and apply them to an intelligent analysis of the various sources in a given context of an incipient conflict, and then respond in a coherent way.
I think that’s the real gap, and it is not that hard to achieve. I don’t think we need to wait for public opinion. I don’t think we need to cultivate a constituency. This is a rather easy thing that the organizations, if the respective people at the top would alert their people on the ground to work more together, to coordinate their strategies, this might actually make a big difference.
So I am interested in what more is happening if anything along those lines or what could be done.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you very much. I think we’ll take the three questions at a time and package them. Greg Stanton next and then the woman in the middle here.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is [indeciperhable] and I am with the Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit at the World Bank. I have two questions, actually, the first addressed to Dr. Hamburg. I would like to come back to your idea about developing an international center for the prevention of genocide to bring together the necessary skills and resources. I am just wondering if you had envisioned that within the UN to possibly build on the current appointment of the Secretary-General, or if you had envisioned an outside organization, especially considering that in some cases, stopping and preventing genocide requires a security force, how an independent organization would do that and how such an organization would be different from the Security Council.
My second question involves political will in Darfur, and as Ambassador Wolpe suggested, political will requires the mobilization of individuals. So I would like to address this question to the representatives from the UN and the EU. Number one, what are your organizations doing, politically speaking, very specifically and concretely to address the current situation in Darfur? And number two, what are you doing personally to advance the Darfur problem within your organizations?
HOWARD WOLPE: Okay, and then for the third question.
QUESTION: Greg Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, Coordinator of the International Campaign to End Genocide, and formerly a fellow here at the Woodrow Wilson Center. I just wanted to follow up, actually, on this same theme. I was thrilled, of course, as many of us were by the Secretary-General’s announcement that he will be creating a Special Advisor for Genocide Prevention, and I know that you had a great deal to do with that decision, Mr. Turk, and I thank you.
I was also very intrigued with David Hamburg’s proposal that we need a strong international center for genocide prevention. And he suggested, I think, a very interesting model for it, which was that this couldn’t necessarily be done by one single organization but instead would be something like an international network, kind of a coalition with a center, perhaps, in New York that could have a direct interface with the Special Advisor, a special relationship, perhaps, but that would nevertheless be sort of outside or somewhat independent in a way of the UN structure, because for budgetary reasons, I don’t think the UN is going to be able to probably give the Special Advisor more than a couple of staff members. By the way, we hope the Special Advisor will be full-time. But perhaps this center is where you professional organizations and people like David Hamburg and Mark Schneider and Howard and Maria and others who are here on this panel would be able to help us think through just how that kind of center could be organized and how it could assist this Special Advisor in doing that very important work.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you, Greg. Who would like to go first? David?
DAVID HAMBURG: Well, since a couple of the questions were addressed to this notion of an international center, let me say first of all that I do not have as yet a strong preference for the primary institutional base. I do believe there would have to be a network to function, but I think it needs a strong institutional base. I would like to see a very careful examination of the potential strengths and limitations of a number of organizations--the UN, the EU, the OSCE, NATO, et cetera. One can easily imagine, for example, in light of what you heard from Maria McLaughlin, that the EU might well be the best place for the primary location of it, with links to the UN for particular purposes and links perhaps to NATO for particular purposes. There are various ways to do it.
But let me if I may, just read quickly what I conceive of as to what the center would do. When you think hard about what it might do, it may help you to clarify whether the UN would be the best primary location, or the EU would be the best primary location, or what combination would be best.
Incidentally, on the UN, I tremendously admire what has happened under Kofi Annan, and let’s not forget Boutros Gali--his agenda for peace was very important. He made an unceremonious exit, but he started a process in the UN that Kofi Annan has carried much further. Nevertheless, the UN has within the General Assembly between 40 and 70 dictators represented depending on what criteria you use. There are a lot of dictatorships left. It’s much better than it was, but that constitutes a very formidable obstacle in my view. I know something about the hoops through which two consecutive Secretaries General have had to jump in order to cope with the dictators--and not to speak about the United States, which is a separate, major headache in its own right.
So the question whether the UN, despite all of its universality and legitimacy and high ideals and magnificent origins in the 1945-1948 period, whether it could do this job in the foreseeable future, let’s say in the lifetime of those in this room. I am not sure. It certainly ought to be part of it, but I’m not sure it ought to be the primary base.
Can I take a minute to read the functions of it?
HOWARD WOLPE: Please, go ahead.
DAVID HAMBURG: “One, systematically monitor the world’s conflict situations. Two, alert the relevant governments, the UN, pertinent regional organizations and pertinent NGOs. Three, educate publics in participating countries via the education ministry, the media, religious institutions, and NGOs on early warning about dangerous situations that have genocidal potential. Four, foster cooperative networks of likeminded institutions such as the scientific and scholarly communities, education and religious organizations, businesses and the media. In utilizing their various tools and strategies, the focus would be on preventing genocide and war. Five, attach a high priority in development aid and trade to education for conflict resolution, education for preventing genocide, education for overcoming prejudice and education for building peaceful conditions.
If you think I am hammering on that, I have just published a book with my wife called “Learning to Live Together: Preventing Hatred and Violence in Child and Adolescent Development.” That is a great need.
“Six, clarify modes of cooperation most likely to be affected in both near-term and long-term, for example, the building of democratic institutions. Seven, establish systematic, high-level, ongoing training of diplomats, military officers, development professionals, conflict resolution experts, education and religious and business leaders, in the nature and scope of genocides in modern history, ways of recognizing the dangers early, ways of responding that are likely to prevent disaster.
Incidentally, that high-level training for which we have a number of precedents, not so much in this field as in others. I could tell you about those, because in my time at Carnegie, we went out of our way to support such enterprises, as Howard Wolpe well knows--but that is a function I would love to see the Secretary-General support. Let’s just say for the fun of it that every year, the newly-appointed defense ministers, foreign ministers, and development ministers would be invited to New York or to Paris or whatever they found to be the most attractive place for a week or preferably two weeks, a very intensive, night-and-day work on prevention of deadly conflict and particularly prevention of genocide.
Such things do occur. I, for example, was involved very heavily over an extended period of time in having Soviet and American high-level military officers working together for a three-week period on the issues of most critical importance to avoiding nuclear war. Now, if you can do it in that context, I don’t think it is out of the question to do it in this context, and I think the Secretary-General would be a splendid convener for that.
My eighth and final point is maybe a repetition of what I have already said, but that this organization “should have the funds to support both education and research”--that is, to advance knowledge about this. We know there is a hell of a lot that we don’t know, and I think it ought to be able to support research, and it ought to be able to support education at every level, so it really is building a long-term basis for improving the possibility of preventing genocide.
If you think about functions like that, then you can map them onto the EU or the UN or NATO or the OSCE or whatever, and you can see there are good examples in each case--and how to stitch them together, I don’t know.
HOWARD WOLPE: Some of the people here will know that in the last year of the Clinton Administration, an effort was made to establish an international coalition against genocide that would have some of the same elements, which unfortunately got disrupted by the Congolese war and the crisis that was taking place at the time. But I am glad to see this advanced again and developed in the way in which you have done so, Dave.
DAVID HAMBURG: I advanced it then, too, without great success.
HOWARD WOLPE: Anybody else? Yes, Danilo?
DANILO TURK: I think I have to comment on three questions that were asked, and I’ll do so quickly. First, on the question of the institutional arrangements which would allow the United Nations, for example--and I work with the United Nations, so I will focus on that--to incorporate conflict prevention philosophy in its daily activity. I think that that was one of the questions raised. I think we are trying, and there is some progress in that regard. The UN has what is called the Common Country Assessment System, and the UN Development Assistance Framework System, and periodically, within the UN’s country teams’ communications with governments, these assessments are discussed and made, and then, development assistance is organized.
Now, in that context, obviously, the question of potential for an armed conflict is a consideration, but of course, it has to be handled very carefully because one doesn’t want to suggest that every possible political complication will inevitably lead to armed conflict. So it requires a great deal of skill and care and very good cooperation with the governments concerned, and that is what is happening. We don’t want to suggest any spectacular events in this domain, but it is an important technique which I think has a very good future.
Second, the question on Darfur. There was a very personal tone to that, what have I done about this, and I will gladly tell you. I was involved in the drafting of the speech of the Secretary-General at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, and I can tell you there were and there continue to be two schools of thought about this issue, both within the Secretariat of the United Nations and in other settings.
One school of thought is that the ceasefire effort will eventually yield a solution, and the other is that a more proactive approach is necessary, and that proactive approach does not necessarily have to involve the actual use of military force, but it is not excluded. This is the other school of thought which exists, and the discussion is continuing in that regard.
Now, how does one relate this discussion to the question of generation of political will for prevention of genocide? The first thing is that there is obviously an assessment that there is a real threat of genocide, and I think at this point, we are in a situation where some kind of consensus might be possible. You have to understand that there are very different views among member states about this. The Secretary-General has been in touch with members of the Security Council continuously since the beginning of this year. It has been raised in a variety of informal contexts. The first open opportunity for a full discussion will be only this coming Friday. It is a process. And we will see which school of thought will have more weight in the Security Council at the end of this week. The jury is still out there, and it is not clear what the conclusion will be.
And of course, these are decisions which belong to member states in the Security Council.
Finally, the third question on the Advisor and the institutional underpinnings. I think one has to think about all the realities that affect this project, one of them being that the General Assembly, which is the decision making body for financial matters in the United Nations, will probably approach this project cautiously, to say the least. And obviously, the UN is constantly criticized for being too big and spending too much, and of course, there is always a political dimension to this. I think that one has to be realistic about what can we expect financially in that regard, so creation of a network independent of the United Nations would be very welcome, a network, an organization as well, if that becomes a possibility. But certainly as a minimum, I think an informal network organized through the internet and other ways would be extremely helpful, too.
HOWARD WOLPE: And Maria has one comment.
MARIA MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you. Actually, I had one comment, but now that Danilo Turk has spoken about Darfur, I thought I might add a little bit, so it’s two comments. On Darfur and what are we all doing personally within our organizations, well, I personally am responsible for a budget which we call the “rapid reaction mechanism” within the EU, which is actually pretty small beans in terms of our overall funds--it is about 30 million euros a year--but we are at the moment funding the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue based in Geneva, which has been responsible for setting up the ceasefire negotiations in Darfur. So that is my personal contribution.
But just to say that the EU as such has offered to support the efforts of the African Union, and I think it is very important that we refer again to the African Union in this, because I think at the moment, even today--and Mr. Mazimhaka may correct me--but I think there is a reconnaissance mission of the African Union actually on the ground in Darfur, headed by [indecipherable] who is the head of the Conflict Prevention Center there. And we have a military officer from the EU military staff participating in that. We have also offered to participate as international guarantors, along with the United States, in the Ceasefire Commission and in the joint commission, which will be the kind of political body overseeing the ceasefire mechanism. And in fact we have offered as well to provide--that is, if the African Union wishes to accept our offer--to provide a couple of monitors who would participate in it.
So that’s in practical terms, but Danilo Turk mentioned that there are different schools of thought within the UN on what to do. You may be aware that there have been different schools of thought within the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and the EU took some flack in the U.S. papers recently over the European position in the Human Rights Commission. The two schools of thought being, of course, one school of thought which is that we should pass a resolution condemning the government of Sudan immediately for human rights violations, and the other school of thought being that we should first appoint some kind of international investigation. And the second school of thought was the one that the EU went along with, again together with the African group.
I don’t want to get into the relative merits and demerits, but I think what is going to be important is an issue which perhaps has not been mentioned, and that is when the UN introduces, as we hope it will, a peacekeeping operation to support the overall peace process in the Sudan, I think one issue that perhaps would have to be looked at is the question of the geographic scope of that kind of mission. That’s a personal reflection that I offer to Danilo Turk. Obviously, it is going to be very, very tricky, and I wish the Secretary-General the best of luck with it.
The other comment I wanted to make was in reply to the first gentleman, because I think his question hasn’t been answered yet, or rather, his comment hasn’t been responded to. He commented that he thought the real gaps now in prevention were in terms of horizontal link at the field level between different external actors and donor organizations. I am not actually sure that that is the case, because I know from my own experience that all of our embassies, our delegations, our offices, meet each other all the time. They very often manage to have a similar analysis in the field of what is wrong in a particular country and how to respond. I think the problem has really been in our bureaucracies more at the headquarters level. And it might seem a matter of common sense, but I mentioned earlier on we have started a crisis management dialogue with the UN, and we have also started a desk-to-desk dialogue, because believe it or not, it was not in the historical tradition of our organizations for our desk officers not to speak to each other or even know each other, which is quite horrifying when you think about it, but I think we are actually taking steps to remedy that, and Danilo Turk has again been a key actor in that particular process.
And the very last comment is in relation to the success stories that you mentioned. You mentioned Macedonia, for example, as a success story. What are the factors in a success story? The grassroots is of course essential, but where I think we have seen success stories in Europe, I think that the personal implication of European political leaders has actually been very important. Mr. Solana and Commissioner Chris Patton, who is my boss, have actually personally engaged with the leaders in Macedonia and elsewhere in the Balkans in a way which we simply don’t do in other countries, because they are further away, because we can’t be everywhere. And I think that is absolutely essential.
I met recently with a new organization which has been set up in London called the Global Leadership Forum, the aim of which is to provide some mentoring to political leaders in difficult situations, and I just mention that because I think it is perhaps a new and maybe another useful little brick in the construction of our prevention activities.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you.
Let me explain what is going to happen now, and I’ll ask the cooperation of both the questioners and the panel. We began a bit late. I want to run this session until 3:15. We will then have a ten-minute break out there for coffee and tea, and then we will resume promptly at 3:25, so we can provide full justice to the second panel. With that, we have time for two quick questions, and please do make them brief--the gentleman here, and then, Don, you had a question.
QUESTION: What is happening in Darfur is indeed catastrophic and should not be allowed to continue. Mr. Schneider is definitely correct in urging action now. However, aren’t we being selective here? Why don’t we compare what is happening in Darfur with what is happening not in the past, in Rwanda or during the Second World War, but now? I wish Mr. Schneider would compare what is happening in Darfur with what is happening in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis. There is a conflict there, and there is also genocide. I would like to hear something about this. Thank you.
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you. Don?
QUESTION: As we talk about the question of political will, the current atmosphere post-9/11 and the focus on counterterrorism, many of the same actions that we are now using as an organizing principle, including for U.S. foreign assistance and EU foreign assistance to strengthen societies to be able to combat that are the same factors that we would be using in the capacity to prevent. And my question internally within the EU and the United Nations, and externally as pressure on governments--are you finding this a distraction, an overwhelming emphasis on counterterrorism that prevents people from focusing on these issues, or are you able to connect the dots and talk about chaotic situations that contribute both to potential terrorist activities as well as potential genocides and ethnic cleansings?
HOWARD WOLPE: Thank you. Mark?
MARK SCHNEIDER: I’ll take both questions. Let me take the second one first. I think that to the degree that the focus on counterterrorism looks at weak states and failing states and says that in order to prevent these states from becoming vulnerable to terrorist cooption or activity, there is a series of things that need to be done. I don’t think enough of that is being done to look at the long term of what can be done to provide assistance in the areas of governance and the full range--building institutions, economic and social development--for weak states and failing states. In terms of the allocation of resources, it doesn’t seem to me to be going in that direction. That’s number one.
Number two would be that on the specific activities aimed at strengthening governance institutions, I think that those have generally been the same kinds of activities that you would look to.
With respect to the first question, I’m glad you agree that there is a need for immediate action with respect to Darfur from the international institutions. I would say that as far as the organization is concerned, we have been pushing for the last several years for what we call an end-game with respect to the Middle East and the resolution of the Israel-Palestinian issue in terms of a two-state solution and pressing all institutions to help make that occur as rapidly as possible.
HOWARD WOLPE: I want to make one quick closing observation. I don’t think there is anyone who has been involved in these issues as practitioners over the last several years that will doubt the one consensus or conclusion that everyone expressed here about the overwhelming importance of political will in terms of making anything happen. Sometimes we also hide behind a technical discussion when the real issue is the mobilization of political will. Having said that, I also happen to believe that a part of beginning to build the political will is strengthening capacities, because oftentimes, it is a perception--
HOWARD WOLPE [continuing]: --risks are heightened when there is no capacity to respond in the appropriate fashion. And my hope is that as we begin to flesh out many of the things that are in process--and I have found really very interesting some of the work that is now underway within the United Nations, within the European Union, that was described today and these other concepts that were put on the table--that perhaps it may play a role in our effort to strengthen a constituency for the right kind of response in these situations.
I want to thank all of our panelists today for I think a remarkably incisive and useful discussion. Thank you so much.
Again, please do your best to be back in your seats so we can resume promptly in 10 minutes’ time. I should also draw your attention to the fact that Anita Sharma has put out on the table some copies of the report on the Carnegie Commission on the Study for the Prevention of Deadly Violence. There are also some reports from International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch related to the Darfur crisis.