In response to the ongoing mass murder of Black Sudanese groups in the Darfur region of Sudan by Sudanese government troops and Arab militias, the US government sent the Darfur Atrocities Documentation Team to various points along the Chad/Sudan in order to interview refugees from Darfur. Based on their investigation, US Secretary of State Colin Powell formally announced that ‘genocide has occurred in Darfur and may still be occurring.’ The United States officially accused the government of Sudan of perpetrating genocide - the first time that any government has officially and publicly accused another government of genocide. As a result the United States played a key role in pressuring the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution calling for several measures, including an official UN Commission of Inquiry to conduct a genocide investigation in Sudan itself. This was the first time that any signatory of the Genocide Convention actually triggered provisions of the Convention requiring a UN Security Council response while genocide was occurring.
This book is comprised of essays from contributors who were involved in designing the project and hiring and training investigators, interpreters, and support personnel; US government and nongovernmental organization (NGO) officials involved in the genesis of the project as well as the analysis of the data; and numerous scholars, not all of whom were directly involved with the project, who critique aspects of the documentation project as well as its significance.