Since its inception, the responsibility to protect (R2P) principle has been progressively narrowed in its scope and application in order to capture widespread support from governments and civil society. However, as this chapter will explore, R2P came perilously close to failing to recognize the gendered dimension of mass atrocity crimes and the prevention of these crimes. The chapter examines how R2P came to be characterized as ‘gender blind’, and details how, since 2006, the principle’s supporters have engaged and responded to this challenge. The author argues that there is a need to continually theorize and engage in areas of common discourse to collectively progress the mutual agenda of gender equitable human protection.
Kwesi Aning and Frank Okyere
The African Union has been acclaimed for its effort in adopting policies that seek to protect civilian populations from mass atrocity crimes. It has transited from the principle of non-interference to non-indifference through the adoption of Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of 2000, which enjoins it to intervene in respect of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Article 4(h) and the responsibility to protect share striking commonalities—both are rooted in the notion of sovereignty as responsibility. However, limited progress has been made in translating these normative principles into concrete action. This chapter notes the lingering issues of sovereignty and limited capacity for enforcement, as well as the state-centric approach to prevention without regard for local sources of resilience. Effective implementation of R2P should address the challenges of cooperation between the AU and other organs, and consider hybrid forms of prevention which exist in many African states.
Fateh Azzam and Coralie Hindawi
This chapter looks at Arab perspectives on the responsibility to protect, both at a conventional, state-focused level, and at the level of civil society. The study shows that the Arab region’s views on R2P are varied, nuanced, and subject to change, varying not only between governments and citizens, but also among citizens themselves. The positions expose a widespread tension between a strong attachment to sovereignty, and a willingness to provide support to populations facing danger, in particular fellow Arabs and Muslims. At the same time, the region is united over the perception of an international double standard, which, from an Arab perspective, is symbolized at its worst by the Security Council’s inaction on Palestine. Arab reactions to other conflicts, such as Libya or Syria, however, indicate that although explicit references to the concept are rare, a lively debate on the very idea of R2P is going on in the region.
There is a tendency to view R2P diffusion in the Asia Pacific region as a function of ‘norm containment’, which explains endorsement of R2P as a result of the weakening, deconstruction, or dilution of R2P to render it more compatible with the region’s state-centred security norms and practices. This chapter demonstrates, however, that R2P has diffused in the Asia Pacific region through a dynamic process of negotiation and compromise between international R2P norm advocates and Asia Pacific actors, which has witnessed concession and accommodation on both sides. Through case study analysis of how the governments of Japan and India have engaged with R2P, the chapter argues that the Asia Pacific’s socialization to R2P is most aptly characterized as a balance of R2P norm containment and localization, witnessed in Asia Pacific actors shaping the contours of the R2P norm and accommodating its prescriptions through gradual, incremental normative and institutional change.
Policy practitioners and scholars have tended to treat the responsibility to protect (R2P) and peacebuilding as separate domains. This chapter, in contrast, argues that these two domains are more closely connected than both the policy discourse and much of the academic literature would suggest. Peacebuilding appears to be an integral part of R2P, and peacebuilding strategies aimed at reducing the risks of conflict relapse are core strategies for preventing atrocity crimes. Further, the use of coercive military force to stop an imminent or actual atrocity crime creates its own requirement for post-crisis peacebuilding. Thus, closer analysis of the relationship between peacebuilding and R2P would benefit both practitioners and scholars.
This chapter examines how the agenda of prevention of armed conflict relates to the principle of the responsibility to protect (R2P). While R2P was originally assumed to be fully compatible with the goals and principles of traditional conflict prevention, subsequent research has disentangled the relationship between R2P and conflict prevention, arguing that conflict prevention is a necessary but not a sufficient component of atrocity prevention, and that atrocity prevention needs to include a strategy for deterring potential perpetrators. Recent scholarship has started to examine the implications of marrying R2P to international criminal law categories. What follows from R2P’s move to crimes is an individualization of the principle, as well as a shift towards partiality, intrusion, and coercion. This means that where a threat of atrocity crimes occurs in the context of armed conflict, it cannot simply be assumed that R2P and conflict prevention are pulling in the same direction.
Charles T. Hunt
This chapter examines the international response to Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election crisis in 2010/11. In particular, it analyses the elements that relate to the responsibility to protect (R2P), including how R2P informed the political and practical responses to the crisis. It identifies the major contentions/issues that the case highlights about the nature and future of R2P. It argues that despite the relative inattention paid to this case in the academic literature to date, the experience of Côte d’Ivoire offers important insights into the opportunities and challenges associated with all three pillars of R2P and recalls debates around the responsibility to rebuild as well as the emergent relationship between the R2P framework and protection of civilians in United Nations peace operations.
This chapter examines the application of R2P to Darfur by the UN Security Council. It outlines the Security Council’s engagement with Darfur prior to the 2005 agreement on R2P, and subsequent engagement with R2P in resolutions on Darfur. Drawing on original interview material, this chapter reveals the negotiations that led to the Security Council’s first application of R2P to a specific conflict. It argues that Darfur does not make a good ‘test case’ of R2P as the escalation and height of the Darfur conflict occurred prior to the international agreement on R2P in 2005. This means that the early warning and preventive components of R2P were not tested in the case of Darfur.
Arthur J. Boutellis
Authorized in the wake of the Srebrenica massacre and Rwandan genocide, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was the first of two UN peacekeeping missions to receive an explicit protection of civilians (POC) mandate in 2000. This chapter discusses the challenges the UN mission faced in implementing this POC mandate over 15 years of existence. It analyses how lessons from early protection crises led the mission to develop a series of innovative tools for a better peacekeeping response, up to the establishment of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in 2013. This chapter concludes with some lessons including the need for a shift from a largely UN-centric and troop-intensive approach to physical protection to a greater focus on strengthening national protection capacities as part of a broader political/stabilization strategy, which encourages and empowers the host government to shoulder its primary responsibility to protect its citizens.
The responsibility to protect (R2P) will soon face significant stress. As a perceived Western value, it could suffer as Western power recedes. It could also be undermined by Western double standards towards multilateral institutions and processes. To survive, R2P must be embraced by non-Western civilizations. They can do this by demonstrating that their civilizations share common values with the West, common values which actually have deep roots in the East. This chapter argues that since the sanctity of human life is a universal value, R2P could be embraced by other civilizations and survive. If R2P could be embedded into global norms of human responsibilities alongside those of human rights, it is even more likely to survive.