Mind the Gap(s): Global fragility and atrocity prevention


After passing into law at the end of 2019, the Global Fragility Act (GFA) represents a new U.S. approach to conflict-prone “fragile” states. The GFA seeks to coordinate U.S. government activities between agencies, including by required reporting to Congress and by authorizing over $1 billion in existing funds to support efforts of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. This has been billed by many as a massive victory for atrocity prevention as well – after all, many atrocity crimes are committed in the fragile states targeted by the GFA. However, with its focus on peacebuilding and development, there is a risk that successful tools used in response to atrocity crimes, such as investigations, prosecutions, and other elements of transitional justice, have been left out of the conversation. Bringing together experts from both government and civil society, this conversation will draw out the gaps between the international law of atrocity prevention and the response to fragile states by analyzing the impact of the new Global Fragility Act.  Does the U.S. focus on fragility help or hinder atrocity prevention? Can international law serve as a way to meld the two regimes together?


  • Susanna Campbell, American University School of International Service
  • Shukria Dellawar, Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Bridget Moix, Peace Direct
  • Wes Rist, American Society of International Law (Moderator)
  • Nicole Widdersheim, Simon Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

This session is part of the Society’s “Atrocity Prevention: The Role of International Law and Justice” signature topic.

Date and Location

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
American Society of International Law
Address 1: 
2223 Massachusetts Avenue NW
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