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date: 19 January 2021

International Law and the Responsibility to Protectlocked

  • B. Welling HallB. Welling HallFriends Committee on National Legislation, Earlham College
  •  and Nadira KhudayberdievaNadira KhudayberdievaGlobal Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Summary

The notion of responsibility to protect (R2P) emerged as a legal challenge to what F. R. Teson called “the moral and legal enclosure of states.” The development of the R2P doctrine coincided with the surge in popularity of the democratic peace thesis, according to which the creation of a security community rests not on the existence of a common enemy, but on the “positive shared foundation of democracy and cooperation.” The R2P doctrine was developed by international lawyers in response to the failure of the international community to prevent or react effectively enough to the commission of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, Bosnia, Haiti, and elsewhere during the last decade of the 20th century and the first of the 21st century. Some scholars of international law argue that R2P reconceptualizes sovereignty as a legal construct and expands the international toolkit for the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict. The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) report, The Responsibility to Protect, lays emphasis on military intervention as a key component of R2P. Others, however, claim that R2P simply provides new, legal justifications for the use of force. International law scholarship on R2P is overwhelmingly dedicated to the question of when and how R2P might be invoked to support military intervention (jus ad bellum) and the relationship between R2P and international criminal tribunals (jus post bellum). One area that deserves attention from scholars is a “law instead of war,” or jus non bello.

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