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October 13, 2021

Atrocities Prevention & Response: A Good Governance Blueprint

United Nations General Assembly Hall

United Nations General Assembly Hall

Photo Credit: Basil D Soufi, 2011, CC BY 2.0 (, via Flickr


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.


This paper was authored by Dr. Beth Van Schaack. The views expressed herein represent the opinions of the author. They have not been reviewed or approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the position of the Association or any of its entities. Furthermore, nothing in this report should be considered legal advice in a specific case.

The Atrocity Crimes Initiative would like to thank Dr. Van Schaack for authoring this white paper, members of the Atrocity Prevention and Response Project’s board of advisors for their review and comments, and Kristin Smith and Michael Pates for managing its publication.