National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Atrocity Crimes

15 June 2018
National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Genocide and other Atrocity Crimes are officially established bodies that lead the development and implementation of a coordinated national strategy to prevent atrocities. They include various relevant representatives of the government and often also include members of civil society and academic representatives.

Samantha Capicotto and Rob Scharf of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation have carried out an assessment of National Mechanisms in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Costa Rica, Argentina and Paraguay.

They found four tasks and activities common to the mandate of these National Mechanisms:

  1. Risk assessment and early warning
  2. Training programs for civil servants and other relevant actors
  3. Elaboration of policies for the protection of vulnerable populations
  4. Communication and partnership building

They further provide three lessons learned:

  • National Mechanisms do not need to be formally integrated into the central government before they can begin to carry out their mandates.
  • National Mechanisms do not necessarily require their own dedicated resources in the beginning, though lack of dedicated funding risks their sustainability and continued effectiveness.
  • Information and data gathered by National Mechanisms have been used to issue formal policy recommendations, often providing crucial early warning for potential atrocities.

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