United States Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities

On August 4th, 2011, the White House released a memoranda on the creation of an Interagency Atrocities Prevention Board and Corresponding Interagency Review.

The importance of the board and accompanying review is summarized by saying that, “our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods.  America’s reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide”. The directive further states that, “in the face of a potential mass atrocity, our options are never limited to either sending in the military or standing by and doing nothing. The actions that can be taken are many they range from economic to diplomatic interventions, and from non combat military actions to outright intervention”

The interagency review will have the purpose of determining the parameters (membership, mandate, structure, necessary supports) the Atrocities Prevention Board will operate within. The Atrocities Prevention Board will eventually act as a focal point for coordinating the United States’ approach to the future prevention of mass atrocities and genocide. The interagency review is to be completed by the end of November, with the Atrocities Prevention Board beginning work by the end of the year.

The complete memoranda is available here.

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