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Atrocity Prevention and Response Project

Furthering leading research on the legal and policy frameworks of atrocity prevention and promoting bipartisan and international support for prevention through collaboration, education, and advocacy.

Women, Peace and Security: Security Council Open Debate 2019

Women, Peace and Security: Security Council Open Debate 2019

Photo Credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 <>, via Flickr


Collective action from the international community often remains necessary to counter the complexities of unfolding atrocities across the prevention spectrum—from addressing root causes, establishing a legal basis for action, devising policies to mitigate risks, taking action to respond to and halt atrocities, ensuring accountability for the perpetrators and addressing the particular needs of impacted communities. While prompt and decisive action through the UN Security Council grows increasingly difficult to achieve, further innovations in atrocity prevention research, tools, and implementation mechanisms continue to evolve and progress at both the national and international level. In the United States, the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board (now the Early Warning Task Force) and the passage of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocity Prevention Act provide specific opportunities to examine and improve the U.S. government’s ability to identify and respond effectively to unfolding atrocities through a coordinated, whole-of-government approach. With these challenges and opportunities in mind, preventing future atrocities will require concerted effort from governments, international organizations, and civil society, including the legal profession.

The Atrocity Prevention and Response Project was created to implement ABA policies on atrocity prevention and to advance consideration of the legal and policy issues surrounding prevention. The Project seeks to further leading research on atrocity prevention and response, to advocate for improved U.S. government and international policies and processes, and to promote bipartisan and international support by convening relevant stakeholders and promoting constructive interaction.


Atrocities Prevention & Response: A Good Governance Blueprint

By: Dr. Beth Van Schaack, October 2021

From the recommendations of the 2008 Genocide Prevention Task Force, to the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board and the adoption in 2019 of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, the United States has developed an important institutional framework for atrocity prevention over the past decade. There remains significant work to be done, however, to re-prioritize efforts to strengthen atrocity prevention policies and toolkits. In this white paper, Beth Van Schaack outlines a broad range of components that could make up a robust, whole-of-government atrocities prevention agenda, spanning training, research, sanctions, legislation, transitional justice, and multilateral engagement.






Kristin Smith, Director, Atrocity Crimes Initiative ([email protected])