The Crimes Against Humanity Program at Human Rights First seeks to reduce the incidence and duration of mass atrocities around the world by proposing and implementing practical policy approaches for the U.S. government and other international actors. Through research, analysis, public education, and advocacy, Human Rights First seeks to improve responses to particular cases of mass atrocities, and to contribute to the establishment of effective mechanisms to halt crimes against humanity.
The work of the Crimes Against Humanity Program builds on the organization's longstanding work to create a system of international justice capable of prosecuting the worst human rights crimes. Starting in the mid-1990s, Human Rights First's International Justice program made substantial contributions to the establishment of international tribunals and courts with jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide. We played a key role in the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and assisted a number of states parties with the process of implementing the provisions of the statute of the court (the Rome Statute) in their national legal systems. Now, faced with the continuation of such crimes, our work has moved into a related area, with an emphasis on actions aimed at stopping such crimes while they are underway.
The Crimes Against Humanity Program’s current focus is on increasing attention to the role of third party actors who enable the commission of atrocities. This focus grew out of previous work to reduce arms transfers to those who commit atrocities in Darfur, Sudan. The enablers of mass atrocities are those countries, commercial entities, and individuals that provide resources, goods, services, and other forms of practical support that are critical to the ability of the perpetrators to commit their crimes. We spotlight the problematic role played by enablers of atrocities, and we identify approaches and tools for policy makers to tackle these actors as a core element of their efforts to prevent and mitigate the world’s worst crimes.
The Crimes Against Humanity Program's section of the Human Rights First website contains the following three sections, each of which includes content from the corresponding period of the program's work:
Enablers of Atrocities (2008 to present):
Covers our current work targeting the "enablers" of mass atrocities, including our commentaries, press releases, and other content, and also covers our work on halting arms transfers to Darfur, Sudan.
Responding to Atrocities (through 2007):
Covers Human Rights First's advocacy on the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, including the H.O.P.E. for Darfur campaign and analysis regarding the International Criminal Court. This section also includes information on HRF's advocacy on Burma, Zimbabwe, and other countries where mass crimes have taken place.
International Justice (through 2005):
Includes documents and information on combating impunity by promoting the establishment of international tribunals and courts with jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide.