Aidan Hehir


In April 2004, on the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, the UN secretary- general established the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG). While the OSAPG has been hailed in some quarters as major institu- tional reform of significant importance, there has been no focused academic analysis of its mandate and work to date. This article addresses this gap and is based on a series interviews conducted with prominent members of the OSAPG itself and experts in the field of human rights. The article analyzes the differing perspectives on the OSAPG and identifies the major institutional weaknesses, methodological failings, and ongoing challenges facing the OSAPG as cited by the interviewees. While there is clearly broad—though not universal—support for the establishment of the OSAPG, there are a number of factors, both endogenous and exogenous, which appear to have limited the influence of the OSAPG, and it is not clear whether the office, as presently conceived, can realize the task it has been mandated.