Experts Meeting on Conflict-Related Atrocity Crimes

Alongside the Cardozo Law School’s Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, AIPR co-organized an Experts Meeting on the Prevention of Conflict-Related Atrocity Crimes at the offices of White & Case LLP in New York City on October 11-12, 2018. The meeting brought together 18 international authorities, including government officials, security sector personnel, academics, and civil society representatives in order to review current research into the causes and precursors of conflict-related atrocity crimes as well as existing training methods and curricula related to the prevention of these crimes. As a result, the identification of existing gaps in these policy and training schemes were identified, with participants providing suggestions that will inform the development of a future training program to fill them.

The Experts Meeting, chaired by AIPR’s Director of Academic Programs Dr. James Waller, was opened with a series of introductory remarks made by representatives of the organizing parties. Following this, the first discussion segment began, with participants covering the state of conflict-related atrocity crimes training initiatives around the world and raising the importance of moving beyond a paradigm of basic compliance with the requirements of international humanitarian law and towards one that emphasizes comprehensive prevention throughout all phases of the conflict cycle. The first day of the event was then concluded following two additional discussion segments on current research endeavors and training practices related to prevention, respectively.

The second day of the program shifted the gathering’s focus from a reflective one to a proactive one and opened with introductory remarks from Volker Lehmann, Senior Policy Analyst at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Following this, participants engaged in a discussion dedicated to the identification of existing gaps in both policies and training processes for the prevention of conflict-related atrocity crimes. Building on the previous day’s talks, experts documented common thematic and practical areas in which current training and policy deficits exist within national institutions such as ministries of defense and state security forces. The final segment of the Experts Meeting capitalized on this, giving attendees the opportunity to develop the basis and structure of a week-long training program for future implementation, including conceptual and curricular priorities.