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Transatlantic Cooperation to Prevent Atrocities

Report: Allies Against Atrocities: The Imperative for Transatlantic Cooperation to Prevent and Stop Mass Killings

By Lee Feinstein & Tod Lindberg

March 2017

A generation after Rwanda and Bosnia, many of the world powers who apologized for their lack of an early and effective response to genocide during the 1990s have yet to organize themselves sufficiently to act early and effectively to prevent or stop mass atrocities. The horror of Syria is Exhibit A.

As responses to past atrocity crimes show, averting and halting atrocities requires a coordinated and sustained effort by local, regional, and international actors. This report argues that a multilateral response is necessary and that the transatlantic region has a critical role to play in shaping and leading these efforts.

The governments of the transatlantic community—the United States, Canada, and Europe—already devote significant resources and political capital to the prevention and amelioration of crises and conflicts, as well as to the pursuit of international development agendas. Without better cooperation among themselves and their like-minded cousins, efforts to address mass atrocities will continue to be reactive, slow, and devastating to human life and potential.

Individual transatlantic countries should be involved in those efforts, each bringing its unique capacities to the table. From the vantage point of the report's authors, the United States has a particularly important role to play in encouraging greater transatlantic cooperation among states on this issue.

Principle Recommendations

  • Devise and implement coordinated transatlantic atrocity prevention efforts

  • Internationalize atrocity prevention efforts

  • Improve coordination of financial sanctions

  • Develop an international legal framework adequate to the challenge of atrocity prevention

  • Prioritize civilian protection in military responses that include peacekeeping