Preventing Genocide - Monday, 11 October 2010

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley CB DSO PhD MA in War Gallery, Leeds.
Click image to enlarge.

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley – Director General and Master of the Armouries – has delivered a keynote speech examining the role of military leadership in preventing mass atrocities.

Lt Gen Riley – a veteran of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq – was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for bravery and distinguished conduct during his 36-year British Army career.

He delivered his speech to members of the US military at the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention in Poland last month. Instructors and professors from the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation delivered further seminars – covering mass atrocities not only during the Holocaust but more recently in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Darfur.

Lt Gen Riley said, “I was asked to talk about the prevention of mass atrocities against civilians from the point of view of my own experience – in particular highlighting disconnections between weak political leadership and lack of action; early detection, prevention, military response; the complexities of the environment and the capabilities needed. I discussed some aspects of my time in Croatia and Bosnia between 1992 and 1999 and also some words about Iraq and Afghanistan.”

In order to help prevent atrocities, Lt Gen Riley concluded that military powers need:

Lt Gen Riley concluded, “Sounds like common sense? That’s all it is. My fear is that the next generation of politicians will be even less likely to address a problem until it is a crisis, having felt keenly the weight of public and media opposition to the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. This may lead to a move away from intervention, even when it is necessary and right.”


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Notes to editors