Mass Violence and Atrocities | Readout and Recommendations

Violent Nonstate Actors as Perpetrators and Enablers of Atrocity Crimes

January 2016


Recent world events have highlighted the threat posed by violent nonstate actors that perpetrate mass atrocity crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes. To examine the challenges facing the international community from these new threats, a roundtable workshop of experts and policymakers was convened at the Airlie Center outside Washington, DC, as part of the Stanley Center’s 56th annual Strategy for Peace Conference held October 14-16, 2015.

Titled “Nonstate Actors as Perpetrators and Enablers of Mass Atrocity Violence,” the roundtable considered the range of nonstate actors that operate as direct perpetrators or third-party enablers of atrocity violence, identifying the varied motives and means that drive their actions, and the policy responses available for prevention and protection.

Within this discussion, participants examined the immediate policy challenges posed by terrorist groups and networks as perpetrators of atrocity violence and the relationship between atrocity prevention, counterterrorism, and preventing and countering violent extremism.

This policy dialogue brief presents the key themes of the discussion and offers the recommendations of roundtable participants.