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Prevention of Genocide Special Advisor Welcomed


UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Welcomed

NGOs Applaud Increased Attention to Halting Worst Human Rights Crimes

New York -- The NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) welcomed the creation of the post of UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, as announced during a meeting of the UN General Assembly today, designated as International Day of Reflection on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

As announced by UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, the Special Advisor's mandate will refer to genocide, mass murder and other large scale human rights violations, such as ethnic cleansing. The Advisor will work closely with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in examining existing and potential threats of genocide, and their links to international security.

"We welcome the appointment of a UN advisor on genocide as the tragedies of preventable genocides and mass crimes against humanity continue to plague our world," said Mr. William R. Pace, convenor of the more than 2,000 member CICC. "We will urge the UN Member States to provide this new post with the resources and authority needed for this crucial work," he said. "The truth is that the main problem is not early warning, but early action to prevent genocide. Hopefully," he added, "this new institution and the new International Criminal Court will work together to ensure that the UN Security Council, General Assembly and other organs of the international community respond more effectively to deter and prevent genocides."

>From the Palais des Nations in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced an Action Plan to Prevent Genocide, which includes the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide. The Secretary-General described the plan as calling for "greater efforts to achieve wide ratification of the Rome Statute, so that the new International Criminal Court can deal effectively with crimes against humanity, whenever national courts are unable or unwilling to do so."

As described during this morning's ceremony in New York, the Special Advisor's reporting to the UN Commission on Human Rights will act as an early warning mechanism to the Security Council and other parts of the UN system. The Advisor will report through the UN Secretary-General, and will make recommendations on actions to prevent genocide.

In the words of UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, while the role of the Advisor will be a crucial component of a rapid response mechanism, it will be the "Šaction or inaction of the Council that will be decisive [and UN] Member States must summon the political will to act when a warning is received."

About the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) The CICC is a global network of over 2,000 civil society organizations supporting a fair, effective and independent International Criminal Court. For more information, visit us online at http://www.iccnow.org

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