International Responses to the Risk of Genocide: A Comparative Analysis of Rwanda and South Sudan
Myrto Hatzigeorgopoulos

     
             
 

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  Executive Summary
South Sudan’s ongoing crisis has been overshadowed by the expansion of the Islamic State over parts of Iraq and Syria, by the most recent outbreak of Ebola and by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Yet, the violence that broke out mid-December 2013 in the newest state of the world is alarming and presents serious security implications for its wider region, already torn apart by decades of war. Risk factors of genocide and other atrocity crimes were identified by United Nations (UN) representatives on their visit to the country at the beginning of May 2014, and were reasserted by the United States’ (US) Secretary of State, John Kerry, on his subsequent visit to Juba.

Against this background, this document seeks to look into the risk assessment and into the means set in place by international actors, in particular by the United Nations and major powers, to prevent violence from escalating into genocide. Taking as reference case the international community’s reaction at the onset of the Rwandan Genocide, this paper will attempt to draw parallels and trends with the unfolding situation in South Sudan.

With the past failures casting a shadow over current challenges and amid growing inter-ethnic violence in several African countries, is the West sufficiently pulling its weight in the means it applies to mitigate risks of genocide in Africa? Has the Responsibility to Protect reinforced Western ability to prevent the emergence of genocide?

Keywords: genocide, genocide prevention, Rwanda, South Sudan, United Nations.
 

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