Preventing Genocide: Reigniting the Staying Power of the Convention
Acknowledging historical and present challenges that States and international actors have faced in giving effect to the prevention of mass atrocities under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, this paper proposes amending the Convention with an Additional Protocol that will codify a framework for early warning assessment and breathe new life into the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. The catalyst for the call for this Additional Protocol is the evolving persecution of Rohingya in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. Academics and humanitarian groups have proposed various applications of early warning; however, there is a lack of global consensus on a precise or comprehensive definition, much less a mechanism. Inspired by the known successes and opportunities of the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture, the advancement of an Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide will draw attention to the break-down of the Genocide Convention’s workability. The drafting of an Additional Protocol will bring UN Member States together to agree on approaches and effectivity of early warning assessment. Such a Protocol will also enshrine a framework that empowers States with practical tools and resources through a network that collaborates with new and existing human rights bodies. Executing an Additional Protocol to elevate its preventive aspirations will reignite the Genocide Convention’s staying power, once again demanding global discourse and evaluation of our collective desire to “never again” allow these mass atrocities to occur.