Accountability for Mass Starvation:
Testing the Limits of the Law

The objective

Global Rights Compliance (‘GRC’) in partnership with The World Peace Foundation (‘WPF’) combine their expertise on conflict and food insecurity to identify how International Law may be used to advance the prevention, prohibition and accountability for mass starvation. Our collective determination is to make mass starvation unthinkable. The Project will work towards operationalising UN Security Council Resolution S/ RES/2417 (‘UNSC 2417). We aim to increase the likelihood that global leaders in a position to inflict or fail to prevent mass starvation, will act to avoid it. This will happen when the public demands nothing less and the law is fit for purpose. Addressing conflict-induced hunger and ensuring that UNSC 2417 is more than just well intentioned rhetoric demands an infusion of resources, creative strategic thinking, and energy to create and sustain the political will to end the political and military practices that cause mass starvation and to ensure accountability when violations occur.

Accounting for mass starvation

Accountability and justice will be both the beginning and the end of this project. As UNSC 2417 states:

"Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare may constitute a war crime."

Delineating the elements of this offence, disentangling what is permissible and impermissible in warfare, and understanding the complementary enforcement regimes, will help to clarify the law and build a range of relevant skills enhancing the potential for redress and accountability. Through the creation of expert tools, training and advocacy The Project will develop local, regional and international capacity to identify, prevent and seek accountability for starvation in furtherance of humanitarian protection for millions of women, children and men.

The five components of the project
  1. Widespread consultation with relevant multidisciplinary stakeholders, including with key UN agencies, regional and international bodies and humanitarian actors to enable expert interchange and coordination concerning the variety of existing approaches to the prevention, prohibition and to accountability for mass starvation.
  2. The preparation of a comprehensive ‘Analysis and Accountability’ Expert Report on mass starvation: containing a detailed analysis of real-life (conflict and economic) case studies designed to provide an authoritative assessment of the available prospects of accountability.
  3. Legal and Analytical Tools and Capacity Building: establishing best practice on how to identify, document and seek accountability for mass starvation.
  4. Engagement of Humanitarian Organisations and Accountability Mechanisms: including the submission of complaints to international and regional humanitarian organisations and accountability mechanisms.
  5. Outreach to Civil Society: to ensure widespread dissemination of the practical steps required for accountability.
The Leaders

Managing Partner of GRC, Wayne Jordash QC’s career has spanned all of the international courts and tribunals. He is recognised by the Legal 500 UK as “one of the world’s leading international criminal lawyers”. Alex de Waal is the Executive Director of the WPF, considered one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa, his scholarly work and practice on famines is unparalleled. Catriona Murdoch is a British lawyer, appointed to the UN MICT and consulting with GRC. She leads GRC’s Mass Starvation Accountability Project. Bridget Conley is a Research Director at WPF, where she is the lead researcher on WPF’s Mass Atrocities program. Her specializations include the topics of genocide, museums and memorialization.

More information
How to get involved

If you are an individual or organisation and are able to offer expertise; or are interested in discussing investigative work and the secure submission of documentation; or would like to register for our training programme please contact

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