The Ferencz international justice Initiative
As part of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide’s holistic work to prevent, deter, and address atrocities, the Ferencz International Justice Initiative assists those affected by genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in their pursuit of justice and accountability. Through this work, the Ferencz Initiative supports those seeking redress—rather than revenge—for past crimes, in an attempt to deter future crimes. By supporting victims, affected communities, and their representatives, we seek to advance justice for mass atrocities. In this way, the Ferencz Initiative strives to fulfill the mission of “law not war,” which is championed by former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz, whose generosity makes this work possible.
The Ferencz Initiative recognizes that justice and accountability for atrocity crimes can take many different forms in different contexts. While it will often require prosecuting those most responsible in a court of law, it may also involve efforts to discover the truth of what has happened, to preserve the memories of those affected, and ultimately to seek healing and reconciliation. Understanding how best to achieve justice and accountability in different situations requires the direct input of affected individuals and communities.
To accomplish these goals, the Ferencz Initiative works in three primary areas: policy, research, and education. In our policy work, we help empower victims and their representatives to be agents of change by using the rule of law, and connect those seeking justice in their communities with leading international experts, key government actors, and multilateral institutions and processes. The Ferencz Initiative supports research about the most effective ways to promote justice and accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, including ways to empower survivors of atrocity crimes to pursue justice and accountability. We also seek to educate the public, students, government actors, and other leaders on the importance of accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity and Ben Ferencz’s mission of “law not war.” This work leverages the broader agenda of the Simon-Skjodt Center to help drive and inform national and international policy debates around ending atrocity crimes and seeking justice for the victims.