Western Balkans Coalition for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Crimes Prevention

Annual, capacity building seminars

The annual Western Balkan Region Genocide Prevention Seminar is a seminar series that covers topics related to challenges presented by, and ways to inhibit, atrocity crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes in the Western Balkan Region (WBR). These workshops are part of a greater collective effort by CSOs in the WBR to identify, respond to, assess, and prevent these crimes within their communities. PCRC and the UNOGPRP organize and facilitate these annual seminars with the intention of educating civil society on how to react to and prevent war crimes and genocide in a timely manner.

Since 2011, over 100 CSOs throughout the WBR have attended this seminar. CSOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo have participated. CSOs are provided with extensive opportunities to collaborate and network during seminars, an activity many are not afforded during the course of their work. Representatives from PCRC and UNOGPRP facilitate discussions and presentations related to increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of CSOs efforts to prevent genocide and mass atrocities.

Each seminar focuses on key aspects of prevention and response mechanisms on both the international and domestic level. Participants learn the functions and methodology of the United Nation’s early-warning mechanism on genocide and mass atrocities, and about the existing structures for prevention in the WBR. Experts review the socio-historical dynamics and entry points for mass atrocity prevention and response, focusing on challenges and opportunities for civil society. Participants propose concrete measures to strengthen political will in the fight against mass atrocities. They discuss ways to improve their programming and projects that influence the political, education, and social spheres. Finally, participants further reflect on how member states, regional organizations, and civil society could contribute to prevention efforts and protect at-risk populations.

GPSs and follow-up meetings have been conducted in several countries throughout the WBR, including:

  • June 20 – 21, 2011: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • October 10 – 11, 2012: Budva, Montenegro
  • October 23 – 24, 2013: Skopje, North Macedonia
  • November 17 – 18, 2014: Belgrade, Serbia
  • March 9 – 10, 2016: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • February 21 – 22, 2017: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • February 12, 2018: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • October 8, 2019: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • June 21, 2021: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • January 17, 2023: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • June 2, 2023: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • March 21 – 22, 2024: Podgorica, Montenegro.

These seminars do not aim to identify accountability for the events that resulted in genocide and atrocities in the WBR. Rather, these GPSs take an objective look at why and how such events occurred and identify best practices for prevention. By participating in these annual seminars, CSOs affirm their devotion to solving issues of crimes against humanity and genocide. Throughout the course of the GPSs, CSOs are provided with tools to:

  • Report conditions “on the ground” to the appropriate actors;
  • Respond to concerns of local and regional partners by mobilizing appropriate action at the international level;
  • Organize local communities to counter hate speech and violence;
  • Utilize social media and other technologies in their efforts to prevent violent conflict.

For information about becoming a member or taking part in our activities email us at [email protected]