The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) applauds President Obama’s Executive Order, made on May 18, outlining a comprehensive approach to mass atrocity prevention and response.
The President called mass atrocity prevention and detection a “core national security interest of the United States.” The order makes permanent the Atrocity Prevention Board charged with coordinating a whole-of-government approach to prevent mass atrocities and genocide.
The order also defines the term “mass atrocity” for the first time under U.S. law as “large scale and deliberate attacks on civilians.” The Executive Order, however, makes no specific recommendations for legislation that would enhance U.S. efforts to stop or mitigate mass atrocities.
CJA Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn said: “President Obama correctly notes that accountability is one of the essential tools in addressing mass atrocities. No perpetrator of the worst mass atrocity crimes, found in U.S. custody, should be able to escape justice. There are gaping holes in the U.S. criminal and civil system that Congress should address immediately to ensure that the United States is not a safe haven for mass atrocity criminals.”
CJA urges Congress to pass a crimes against humanity bill to give the Department of Justice a tool it sorely lacks in prosecuting these criminals. Congress should also provide victims and survivors with additional civil remedies, beyond causes of action for torture and extrajudicial killing provided for in the Torture Victim Protection Act, that are often the best or only means of securing accountability against those who have committed atrocities abroad.
About the Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other severe human rights abuses around the world through litigation, policy advocacy and outreach in pursuit of truth, justice and redress for victims and survivors. www.cja.org
For Immediate Release
May 19, 2016
Contact: Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544