The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) held its first online course in Romania from September 14 through October 4 of 2020. Organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania and the Public Ministry of Romania, the three-week online course entitled “Introduction to Mass Atrocity Prevention” welcomed military prosecutors, judges, diplomats, experts from different ministries, police officers, as well as representatives of academia.
The intensive and interactive virtual training program was developed in the Romanian language, with a particular focus on the country’s transitional justice process. Attendees not only learned how a framework for effective atrocity prevention can be applied practically in their work, but also about the role that they can play in supporting prevention-centric programs that foster the construction of a more resilient and inclusive society.
Over the course of the first week of instruction, participants were introduced to the concepts and legal definitions of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, as well as the processes by which these atrocity crimes occur. The second week of the course was dedicated to a detailed analysis of risk factors for mass atrocities and different processes of transitional justice, ranging from the pursuit of justice to the politics of memory. The third and final week considered the process of confronting the past in Romania. During this week, participants discussed a variety of transitional justice mechanisms, as well as the memory of past atrocities related to the Holocaust and the country’s Communist regime before analyzing both with the use a prevention lens.
The virtual course concluded with a conference session that introduced participants to the National Network for Genocide Prevention and Multidisciplinary Research of Mass Graves and other important governmental initiatives related to prevention. Colonel Magistrate Irinel Rotariu, Focal Point of the National Network, encouraged participants to think about creative ways of engaging in the consolidation of the expert network through their existing professional responsibilities.
Dr. Gabriela Ghindea, AIPG’s Director of Mediterranean Basin Programs, remarked:
We are delighted to have continued AIPG’s excellent cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Public Ministry of Romania during this difficult year. The development of educational programs in the field of atrocity prevention remains a priority of paramount importance for all three institutional partners and, given the disruptive impact of the ongoing pandemic at all societal levels, it is clear to see that continuous commitment to the prevention agenda is more relevant than ever for Romania!