Panel Discussion on Preventing and Ending Atrocity Crimes

Preview Language:   English
22-Sep-2016 01:14:21
Preventing and ending atrocity crimes: a key challenge for the UN Security Council.

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The UN Security Council’s frequent inability to take effective action to prevent or end genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes – the worst crimes under international law – has been a stain on its
reputation and a challenge for the whole membership of the United Nations. In order to ensure a more
effective Security Council response in the future given its primary responsibility to maintain international
peace and security under the United Nations Charter, UN Member States from all regional groups have
endorsed two separate but complementary initiatives: The Code of Conduct, as elaborated by the
Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency Group (ACT), and a joint French/Mexican proposal on
voluntarily suspending the veto in situations of mass atrocities.

112 States (including eight current members of the Security Council) have endorsed the ACT Code of
Conduct, thereby not only pledging not to vote against a credible draft resolution aimed at preventing or
ending genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, but also to support timely Security Council
action to this end. Prior to the official launch of the ACT Code of Conduct, France proposed that
permanent members of the Security Council should make a voluntary commitment to refrain from using
their veto in situations of mass atrocities. Mexico was quick to fully support the French proposal, and
therefore France and Mexico launched a joint 'political declaration on suspension of veto powers in cases
of mass atrocity’, a year ago.

The panel discussion will aim to explore the progress made and remaining implementation challenges of
both the Code of Conduct and French/Mexican proposal, by addressing among others the following
-A majority of Security Council members have committed themselves to the Code of Conduct–
how can this commitment best be turned into action in the Council?
-What can supporters of the Code of Conduct and the French/Mexican proposal outside the
Security Council do to further the aim of preventing or ending atrocity crimes and to inspire
application of the respective initiatives in the Council? How can these initiatives be better
applied? Would there be any procedural trigger for these initiatives to be implemented?
-How can States and civil society, based on their commitment to the Code of Conduct and the
French/Mexican proposal, and the Secretariat, especially in light of the Human Rights Up Front
initiative and the Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes developed by the Office on Genocide
Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, work together to prevent atrocities?
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