Francis Deng stepped down from his position as UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide on 31 July 2012. In this role, Mr Deng was tasked with assessing situations that might lead to genocide, as well as making recommendations to prevent or halt mass atrocity crimes. Already a well-known name in the field of preventing genocide, Mr Deng is widely acknowledged as one of the sources for the idea of “Sovereignty as Responsibility”, the forerunner to the “Responsibility to Protect” norm.
The main challenge of this role was to promote R2P to national governments as a mechanism of ensuring the safety and security of civilian populations, whilst respecting national sovereignty. Mr Deng’s mandate was characterised by his unique approach to de-mystifying genocide, stressing that the most effective form of genocide prevention was to focus on how governments manage diversity within their populations. He established the Office as a hub for the support of national governments in their responsibility to protect the fundamental rights of populations within their borders.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr Adama Dieng of Senegal as the new Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide in July 2012. Mr Dieng is a distinguished legal and human rights expert, whose former titles include Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists and the UN Independent Expert for Haiti.