The prevention of atrocity crimes (genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity), is one of the great challenges of our times. This course offers a unique opportunity to study atrocity prevention and examine the ways in which prevention is practiced in the field alongside some of the world’s leading practitioners and scholars. It examines the causes of atrocity crimes, and how they escalate from patterns of human rights violations, the challenge and practices of early warning and the practical dilemmas associated with translating early warning into early preventive action.
Participants will explore the challenge of assessing the effectiveness of different types of preventions, focusing on preventive diplomacy, field operations, humanitarian action, civil society action, economic inducements and other mean of prevention. During this course, participants will learn different ways of examining and evaluating atrocity prevention, to understand and compare the different actors engaged in this work, to consider the relationship between gender, human rights, and the prevention of atrocity crimes, and to understand, assess and utilise key tools such as preventive diplomacy, peaceful measures, coercive measures, the protection of civilians in complex operations, transitional justice and accountability, and the prevention of recurrence. These insights and skills will be put to the test in a series of exercises.
The Dubrovnik Atrocity Prevention School will introduce participants to the foundations and challenges of atrocity prevention and put special emphasis on the implementation of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) principle agreed by all UN member states in 2005. More specifically, course participants will, inter alia, learn to:
identify risks for atrocity crimes in a given society
understand the relationship between certain types of human rights violations and atrocity crimes/risks
consider which preventive and responsive measures are available in such situation
analyze the challenges that exist at the national, regional and international level to effective and timely atrocity prevention
understand the gendered dimensions of atrocity crimes and prevention
examine good practices that exist in the field of atrocity prevention
evaluate the potential and impact of various mechanisms and institutions that work on atrocity prevention at the national, regional and international level
assess the role civil society and regional organizations can play in atrocity prevention
The course will apply a participant-centered learning approach and employ case-studies, presentations, simulations, and excursions. Each course will draw on expert guest lecturers, including members of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points and other practitioners who will be invited to share their experience of working on atrocity prevention.
After completion of the course, student participants can participate in an optional exam in order to achieve 5 ECTS. Details will be announced prior to the course. After the course, all participants are expected to be able to apply their new knowledge on atrocity prevention in their own field of studies or work assignment.
The course targets graduate students with a strong academic record and a documented interest in the field of atrocity prevention and R2P.
All course participants are expected to participate actively in the classroom discussions. All teaching will be conducted in English.