Model may help prevent conflict

A forecasting model developed by University of Otago researchers to predict where atrocities might occur could be used to prevent future conflicts.

The model, which uses determining factors such as political instability and neighbouring state conflicts, has gained international attention after presentations in Washington DC, Berlin, Paris, and Canberra.

Otago University National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies researcher Dr Charles Butcher said the ''Atrocity Forecasting Project'' predicted atrocities now happening in the Central African Republic.

The model placed the country at the top of its list for at-risk states for genocide/politicide for the period 2011-15. The model could be used for predicting genocide and could help prevent instances of mass violence, Dr Butcher said.

''One of our primary aims was to provide policy-makers with an early-warning system that complemented shorter-term monitoring and peace-building efforts,'' he said.

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