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This book is about the prevention of genocide and mass killing, presenting a pragmatic theory founded on the theories of crime prevention.
A series of mass atrocities over the past decade and a half, together with the emergence of the normative belief that governments are responsible for the protection of their people (the 'Responsibility to Protect' norm), has led to the development of a network of scholars, policymakers and activists who are dedicated to identifying and preventing genocide and mass killing. One of the challenges the "prevention community" faces is that current research explains why and how atrocities happen but pays only minor attention to figuring out how to prevent them. This book responds to this challenge in three ways. First, it treats genocide and mass killing as criminal activities, by drawing on the criminology literature and its analytical categories of perpetrators, victims, third parties and situations. Second, existing studies look at cases where genocide and mass killing happened. There are very few detailed investigations of countries where genocide and mass killing did not occur, despite expectations of large-scale violence. Third, the book provides a rigorous investigation of preventive measures and the conditions under which they have worked. The comparative study of negative and positive cases provides analytical leverage on the question of which preventive measures can work in a given set of circumstances
The theoretical framework provides a process model-or pattern of interactive behaviors-that helps policymakers recognize extremely dangerous situations. It identifies "interruption points" or opportunities for third parties to try to prevent mass killing. The abstract interruption points become practical policy guides when matched with menus of diplomatic and military options for preventive action. The analysis is compared with ongoing efforts within the US government and the United Nations to develop capabilities to prevent "normal" violence from becoming mass killing. The analytical framework is applied in two pairs of case studies that compare countries where genocide or mass killing occurred with countries where it did not, even though observers expected it to happen. Burundi in the 1990s managed to avoid following the path of neighboring Rwanda, despite having many contextual and political similarities. CÃ´te d'Ivoire in the 2000s was a country in crisis with a president who attempted unsuccessfully to remain in power by inciting violence. It is compared with Darfur in the 2000s, where mass killing happened in the context of insufficient measures to stop it. Analyzing "negative" cases and "positive" cases highlights the prevention mechanisms that were employed by local, national and international actors. It also allows for assessment of the conditions under which those prevention tools are likely to work.
This book will be of much interest to students of genocide, political violence, the responsibility to protect, criminology, war and conflict studies and IR in general.
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