The World Peace Foundation at The Fletcher School program on mass atrocities, defined as widespread and systematic violence against civilians, primarily focuses on studying patterns of endings. In this program, ‘endings’ includes analysis of patterns of de-escalation of direct, lethal violence and other forms of harming civilians, and the study of recurrence in the context of global trends.

The existing conventional meta-narrative for genocide and mass atrocity against civilians is empirically and analytically strong on the origins and nature of such extreme violence, but takes a strictly normative turn when considering the endings of genocide or mass atrocity. The ‘ideal’ ending, which tends to preoccupy advocates and policymakers, consists of an international military intervention leading to a settlement that includes not only an end to genocide but also the establishment of peace and democracy along with an exercise in transitional justice that may include trials, assistance to the survivors, memorialization, compensation and reparation. What debates do exist generally focus on the legality and politics of international interventions to halt genocide and measures to bring perpetrators to justice. This projects aims to explore the oft-neglected empirical study of how genocides and mass atrocities have actually terminated.

The project outputs include an edited volume, How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, the Sudans, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq, ed. by Bridget Conley-Zilkic (Cambridge University Press, 2016); a policy briefing;  occassional paper, “Assessing the the Anti-Atrocity Toolbox” by Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Saskia Brechenmacher and Aditya Sarkar (February 2016); and multiple academic journal publications. The final outputs are a survey of endings across 40 cases of mass atrocities; which includes this compendium of cases and a scholarly article summarizing our main findings from the survey, with Chad Hazlett (UCLA).

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