As mass atrocities increase in Africa, scholar Samantha Lakin reflects on lessons learned in the 23 years since Rwanda’s genocide that could help prevent future atrocities.
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Despite continuing crises on the continent, important norms, practices, and institutions have emerged since the Rwandan experience with the objective of preventing genocides.
The Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes describes specific risk factors that signal increases in susceptibility of a country to genocide. Awareness of the warning signs is important, for if states were to wait for an escalation in violence to meet the legal definition of genocide before acting, it would be too late to stop it. One risk factor most associated with genocide is identity-based discrimination. To prevent genocide, states must have the will to protect their citizens’ human rights and promote the rule of law. Providing a safe place for diverse peoples to coexist peacefully builds states’ resiliency.
Chapter 2 in Anstey, M., Meerts, P. & Zartman, I. W. (eds.). The Slippery Slope to Genocide: Reducing Identity Conflicts and Preventing Mass Murder. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Without deep engagement, neighbors may find it easier to respond to perceived differences and devalue each other more. Humanizing the other and deep contact are... Continue Reading
DRC’s political crisis has galvanized and revived many of the estimated 70 armed groups currently active in the country, making the nexus between political and sectarian violence by armed militias a key feature of the DRC’s political instability.
Despite their shortcomings, African peace operations have saved lives, built security sector capacity, and helped mitigate conflict—reducing pressure on international actors to become directly involved.
Despite the serious humanitarian and economic tolls generated by Burundi’s crisis, the reaction of its neighbors has been remarkably subdued.
Proposed justice measures in South Sudan—including the Hybrid Court—can be pursued despite disruptions in the implementation of the peace agreement.
Examples from Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania offer lessons of how ethical leadership is central to maintaining public trust in the security sector and ultimately preserving stability and peace.
A spike in political violence since mid-2016 has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in South Sudan since its decades-long civil war with Sudan.
Over the past two years, it has become increasingly clear that undermining the Arusha Accords, once hailed as Burundi’s best chance for peace, is a key objective of the Nkurunziza government.
Calls for African countries to withdraw from the ICC overlook the strong role Africa had in establishing the Rome Statute and the ongoing support the Court retains on the continent.