In late September to early October 2010, Michael Abramowitz and Andrew
S. Natsios traveled on a bearing witness trip to South Sudan, which is
poised to vote in January 2011 on a referendum for independence. As it
approaches these crossroads, Sudan -- which has a history of
group-targeted violence -- displays many warning signs for mass
atrocities against civilians in the lead-up to and following the
Only in recent history has international law evolved to define and punish mass violence against civilians. Now well-established as the legal foundation for civilian protection, two categories of international law that seek to criminalize mass atrocities – genocide and crimes against humanity – were developed in response to World War II and the Holocaust.
In February 2009 the Museum hosted a two day seminar, “Speech, Power, Violence,” examining the relationship between speech acts and group-targeted violence. The gathering assembled academics, journalists, political analysts, policy professionals, and conflict analysts who shared research, expertise and insights on the role of hate speech in situations of genocide and related crimes against humanity.
The Museum regularly hosts presentations related to the prevention and punishment of genocide. In lectures, panel discussions, films, and interviews, analysts offer expert insight into the places where genocide has occurred and the questions of how to prevent and punish it.
Co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen, the Genocide Prevention Task Force released its final report on December 8, 2008. The report makes the case for why genocide and mass atrocities threaten core American values and national interests, and how the U.S. government can prevent these crimes in the future. The Task Force was jointly convened by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiatives use interactive tools to bear witness to current threats of genocide across the globe. In World is Witness and Crisis in Darfur, data, photographs, video, and eyewitness testimony in Google Earth help inform citizens, governments, and institutions about current and potential genocides and related crimes against humanity.