15 Years on the Front Lines:
Crisis Group 1995-2010
From the President
When I became the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 1996, the UN had just launched a radical and daring new initiative in conflict management : personal criminal responsibility for war crimes. It of course had very little idea how to do it.
This is when I first discovered the International Crisis Group.
For anyone working on the Balkans at that time, Crisis Group was the first port of call for a sophisticated, impartial and pragmatic understanding of the inner workings of a conflict, the political minefields, and the opportunities for positive action. In just a few years, the organisation would go on to earn that reputation for its work in most of the world’s serious conflict zones.
Crisis Group is now in its 15th year of operation. In institutional terms this adolescent period is not as rebellious as it is in other life cycles. In fact, it is for us la force de l’âge, as we have established our methodology, secured a steady stream of funding and developed a reputation that gives us access both to information sources and to advocacy targets. This publication tells our story. Some of the characters depicted in it are older in reality than they appear in the pictures. We’ve included some of their memories, because we are, above all, the total sum of their talents. We set out to make the world a better place. The ultimate destination is elusive, but better is a relative term.
We look to the future with the same sense of excitement as existed 15 years ago. Conflict prevention and resolution are increasingly complex. The protagonists are no longer exclusively state entities : indeed, in many cases the erosion of the state and the absence of any semblance of rule of law form the very incubator of lethal armed conflict. Influential actors operate in a growing number of regional and sub-regional political institutions. Victims of conflict are no longer willing to settle for peace without justice. Women are seeking a seat at the table.
Crisis Group will continue to thrive in this complex environment, and its influence will grow. Working on the ground, close to all but indebted to none, it will remain true to the vision that made it the splendid organisation that it is today.
President & CEO, International Crisis Group
Download the full PDF version of Crisis Group's 15 Year Anniversary brochure.
Watch an interactive multimedia presentation on Crisis Group's first 15 years.