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We foster cutting-edge, policy-relevant, and practical research to identify new tools, approaches, and ways to redress atrocities, and we put this research in the hands of key decision-makers. Our research aims to build and contribute to a thriving “justice ecosystem” in which the seeds of our work with local justice champions in our Justice Advisory Groups can take root and blossom. Through our research, we aim to:

  • Better understand and inform policy-makers on how to tailor justice measures to more effectively prevent the recurrence of atrocities 

  • Develop new approaches for effective accountability and truth-seeking mechanisms

  • Incubate new ideas, mechanisms, and tools to fill gaps in the field, such as ways to create new financial instruments to support a victims fund

  • Connect inter-related disciplines that currently operate in silos 

Spotlight: White paper on considerations for civil society engagement with UN investigative mechanisms

In recent years the political momentum that once existed to establish independent tribunals and courts to address atrocity crimes—such as the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR)—has dissipated. In response, international justice actors have begun to seek out other options to pursue justice for atrocity crimes. This has led to the emergence of international, independent UN bodies that are mandated to investigate crimes, collect evidence, and prepare case-files for future criminal prosecutions. Recognizing the critical role that local civil society can play in these mechanisms, the Ferencz Initiative has conducted research to develop guidelines to inform and assist civil society organizations wishing to engage with them.

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Spotlight: Research on How, When, and Why the US Government Has Made Genocide Determinations

To mark the Genocide Convention’s 70th anniversary, the Ferencz International Justice Initiative commissioned a research project—led by former Ambassador Todd Buchwald and Adam Keith—to explore how the US government has utilized the Genocide Convention, including how, when, and why the US government has decided to say that genocide has occurred. The report seeks to compile for the first time the many occasions on which senior US government officials have publicly invoked the term "genocide" to describe the behind-the-scenes decision-making process leading to its use, and to draw out the lessons to be learned from that process. The report intends to prompt considered and concerted action in the face of mass atrocities. The study highlights that there is always something more that we can collectively do to prevent, respond to, and punish genocide and related crimes against humanity.

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