Research Talk 6

Protection First, Justice Later: International Responses to genocide and mass atrocities in a Post-Pandemic World

About the Presenter
 Dr. Raymond Kwun-Sun Lau

Assistant Professor

Department of Political Science and Sociology and

Member, CPS, NSU.

Around the world, audiences in the 1990s watched genocide and mass atrocities unfolding in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Srebrenica and Kosovo in horror and disbelief. Emerging from these disasters came an international commitment to safeguard and protect vulnerable communities, as laid out in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle, and an international responsibility to punish perpetrators, with the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This book explores the relationship between R2P and the ICC, challenging the assumption that they are always mutually reinforcing or complementary, and examining instead the many tensions which arise between the urgent imperative of saving lives, and the more long-term prospect of upholding justice and deterring future conflicts. Drawing on examples from Uganda, Kenya and Darfur, the author argues that adopting a ‘Protection First, Justice Later’ sequence approach is necessary for managing the tension and facilitating more effective and consistent international responses to genocide and mass atrocities.