In July 2004, the UN created a new post—the special adviser on the prevention of genocide. This office was established in the midst of the conflict in Darfur and heralded as a means by which the UN could respond more expeditiously and appropriately to mass atrocity crimes. This article first examines the nature of this new office and analyzes its competencies in order to identify whether it does constitute a significant development. Second, the article assesses the record of this office since its establishment, and particularly the nature of its recommendations to the Security Council and the council's response. It will be argued that while the special adviser on the prevention of genocide comprises certain novel features, it is not sufficiently empowered to overcome the primary obstacle to the prevention and cessation of genocide, namely the lack of political will amongst the permanent five members on the Security Council.