ICGLR / Beyond Intractability Knowledge Base

ICGLR / Beyond Intractability
Genocide Prevention Knowledge Base


Knowledge Base Access
Knowledge Base information is available in the following categories:

General Materials

Materials Organized by Task

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the Governance Commons, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, and the Beyond Intractability Project began jointly assembling this computerized knowledge base and reference tool to support the work of those struggling against acts of genocidal violence and other mass atrocities, as well as those working to help societies recover from such events. (Contact information for participating organizations is found at the bottom of this page.)

The Knowledge Base

The project is "Web-centric", in that its primary focus is on organizing and making more readily accessible information that is currently freely available over the Web (along with some information from sources, such as academic journals, that can only be accessed through universities and other institutions that pay the required subscription fees). While we will, on occasion, generate new information to fill in gaps in the knowledge base, the vast majority of the information comes from the Beyond Intractability system or other, existing sources to which we link directly.

DVD Version 
Since there are many people in the Great Lakes Region of Africa who could benefit from the knowledge base who are working in areas without reliable Internet access, we are periodically creating DVD-based versions of the knowledge base for off-line use. The DVDs, which are clearly dated, offer a snapshot of what one would have been able to find, had one been online at the time the DVD was made. To the maximum extent possible, the webpages included on the DVD are rendered as they would have appeared to anyone surfing the web on the date of publication. Also included is a link to the original page from which the DVD version of the page was obtained. Many features of the knowledge base, such as search and comments, do not work on the DVD version and the number of articles available is also more limited than what is available through the online version. Still, available DVD contents constitute a fairly extensive library with several hundred articles.

Given the speed with which this project is being developed, we believe that the DVDs should be replaced with updated versions at least once every six months. As is clearly indicated on the DVD label, the materials are being offered free of charge and are not to be sold. Also, all copyrights belong to the copyright holder which is clearly indicated on each file. This DVD is simply a means of making the Internet accessible in areas that are not well served.

Web Version 
If at all possible, we urge users to avoid using the DVD and access the system online at: http://www.beyondintractability.org/special/icglr

The Web-based system contains numerous resources that we were unable to put on the DVD version. Those who follow links to resources included in the web version will be channeled through an intermediate page that we use to gather user comments on and ratings of the various resources. More importantly, users will have an opportunity to participate in an online discussion of how we can build upon the ideas contained in the knowledge base in ways that improve our collective ability to deal more effectively with the problem of genocide. Another advantage of using the web-based version is that users will be able to take advantage of system updates as soon as they are made.

Knowledge Base Status 

The Genocide Prevention Knowledge Base is not yet complete and there are numerous gaps that still need to be filled. Still, given the importance of the topic, we felt that it was important to get as much information out as soon as possible. We would greatly appreciate hearing about any materials that we ought to incorporate into the system. You can contact us by using the online comment system or by sending an e-mail directly to Ashad Stentongo at asentong@gmu.edu.
Organizational Structure
In order to make it easier for users to find information on topics of interest, we are organizing the initial version of the ICGLR / Beyond Intractability website and DVD so that users will be able to retrieve the information we have by topic. In cataloging system contents, we start with six general, overarching categories:
  • General overviews of the genocide problem and strategies for approaching it
  • Causes of Genocide - analysis of the political, social, economic, cultural, and psychological dynamics that increase the probability of genocidal behaviors
  • Impacts of Genicide over the short and long-term
  • Case studies and histories of genocidal or potentially genocidal events
  • Organizations doing genocide prevention or recovery-related work
  • Research & Theory -- Information about scholarly efforts to better understand the genocide problem and potential solutions
More specific, substantive topics are defined by the intersection of two dimensions: 1) Tasks -- things that any comprehensive effort to prevent (or at least limit) genocide need to be capable of doing (with different tasks required in different situations); and 2) Sectors -- aspects of the society with the skills and resources needed to perform different types of genocide prevention-related work. For the first DVD, however, we have not completely coded the sector information. That will be coming a bit later on the Web version, and on the second version of the DVD. In the meantime, the tasks that are broken out separately include:
Tasks / Capabilities
  • Preventive Actions -- Many organizations focus on taking a wide range of actions to try to prevent serious, inter-group conflict before it starts. While the following topics also constitute preventive action, the articles in this section are broader than those topics, addressing many different approaches to prevention.
  • Strengthening Co-existence -- Since virtually all societies include competing identity groups that view one another with hostility, suspicion, and distrust, there is a critical need for programs that help these groups learn how to coexist in ways that assure that the inevitable competition remains nonviolent. 
  • Protecting Rights -- A great deal of attention is being paid to what human rights are, and how they can be protected--both before rights violations take place, or afterwards to prevent recurrance. 
  • Early Warning -- Since, under the right circumstances, tensions can quickly escalate to violent (and sometimes catastrophic) confrontations, it is critical that crisis response efforts be undertaken as quickly as possible once violence begins. An effective early warning capability is an essential step to speed the intervention process.
  • Early / Crisis Response -- In situations where tensions have escalated to violent confrontation, it is important to have the ability to respond promptly in ways that are effective in bringing about an end to the violence. This may require that the "responsibility to protect" principle be invoked.
  • Large-Scale Intervention -- In cases where large-scale, genocidal violence is occuring, domestic and/or international actions capable of bringing about an end to the violence are required (this also may include the implementation of R2P-related responses).
  • Peacekeeping -- Once the violence has stopped, peacekeeping is often implemented to prevent future flare-ups.
  • Transitional Justice -- Also once the violence stops, the task of recovery begins with questions about whether and how best to hold perpetrators of the crimes accountable. Though tribunals and truth commissions are the best known approaches to transitional justice, there are other approaches as well. All are described in this section. 
  • Reconciliation -- As transitional justice issues are resolved (or at least underway), programs are needed to help societies with the forward-looking task of reconciling hostile relationships, making remediation when necessary, and restructuring the society in ways that will promote coexistence and discourage renewed violence.

We recognize that many resources pertain to multiple tasks and roles. In these cases, we tried to list them everywhere they apply or we put them in a special category for comprehensive resources that touch on almost everything.

Intervention Sectors (Future Capability)
Over the longer term, we are hoping to further organize the knowledge base by intervention sectors so that those working with particular types of organizations can more easily identify resources that would help them do their jobs more effectively. Accordingly, we are are working on organizing the knowledge base along the following dimensions.
  • Domestic Activities undertaken within a nation experiencing genocidal conflict
  • International Activities undertaken by other nations to help address the problem
  • Coordination Sector -- Organization that specialize in the coordination of genocide prevention activities. 
  • International Diplomatic Sector -- Institutions within the international community that are responsible for organizing efforts to prevent or respond to genocide.
  • Security Sector -- Genocide is an act of extreme violence that can often only be prevented or limited by security services capable of physically restraining those that employ such violence. 
  • Domestic Political Sector -- Political restructuring within affected societies that protects all groups must be central to any solution.
  • Transitional Justice Institutions -- National and international institutions designed to administer justice following periods of genocidal violence including both criminal courts and alternative programs such as truth and reconciliation commissions. 
  • Civil Society -- Civil society includes a broad range of activities undertaken by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to help societies promote coexistence at the psychological and social levels. 
  • Education Sector -- Programs designed to help people understand the history of terrible events, appreciate group differences within society and learn coexistence, and conflict resolution skills.
Designating materials appropriate to each sector is the next goal of the Web-based system, which will be reflected in the spring 2012 DVD release.
Contact Information
Nathan M. Byamukama
Secretary to the Regional Committee
Program Officer, Cross-Cutting Issues
International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)
P.O Box 7076, Bujumbura, Burundi
Phone +257 22 256824/5/7 (office)
Fax + 257 22 256828
Email: nathan.byamukama@icglr.org
Website: www.icglr.org
Tetsushi Ogata
Director of the Genocide Prevention Program
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
3351 Fairfax Dr. MSN 4D3, Arlington, VA 22201
Office: 703-993-4437
Fax: 703-993-1302