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Arria-formula Meeting on the Role of the Security Council in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Atrocity Crime Prevention

On Monday afternoon (10 December), an Arria-formula meeting has been scheduled on “Raising the effectiveness of atrocity crimes prevention: role of the United Nations Security Council and its Members”. The meeting has been organised by Poland, in partnership with Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Germany, Kuwait and Peru, and in cooperation with the UN Office for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the UN Office of Legal Affairs. The meeting coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention) as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which were adopted on 9 and 10 December 1948, respectively.

The meeting, open to all member states, will be held at 3 pm in Conference Room 6 and will be webcast on http://webtv.un.org/. The briefers will be Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel, and Samantha Capicotto, Director of Policy and Planning of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and Program Director of the Global Edition of the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention. Representatives of current and incoming Security Council members will be invited to intervene. Time permitting, other attendees will be allowed to speak as well. Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland) will chair.

The concept note circulated ahead of the meeting points out that over the years, an international legal framework developed prohibiting heinous crimes. It particularly mentions the prohibition on war crimes, developed and codified in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907; the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977; the Genocide Convention; the development of the concept of crimes against humanity through state practice and by international and domestic courts; and the ongoing work of the UN International Law Commission on this crime.

Despite the existence of this legal architecture, the organisers of the meeting stress that atrocity crimes continue to be committed, adversely affecting the maintenance of international peace and security and necessitating careful consideration by Council members of ways to support their early prevention. The concept note states that accountability for atrocity crimes can contribute to deterring and preventing further such crimes.

The meeting provides an opportunity to identify and discuss challenges and good practices relating to early prevention of atrocity crimes, and to consider the Council’s role and possible contribution to these prevention efforts. The concept note urges participants to focus their interventions on practical steps towards early and effective prevention of atrocity crimes, and to consider how to enhance the effectiveness of information gathering, dissemination and analysis and early warning mechanisms to this end, as well as the partnerships with other actors that could be most beneficial. It also urges Council members to think of ways in which other member states and UN field presences could contribute more effectively to atrocity crime prevention. The chair will compile a summary of the main points discussed.

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