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.
Chiara de Franco, Christoph Meyer, and Karen E. Smith
This chapter analyses acceptance and implementation of the norm of the responsibility to protect by the European Union and its member states. Although European states have accepted the norm, and supported its development at the UN, progress in implementing it has been patchier. The chapter looks at the degree to which there has been programmatic, bureaucratic and operational implementation of the norm by the EU in particular. It finds there are wide divergences in Europe over the use of military force with regard to pillar 3 of R2P, a lack of EU bureaucratic capacity and will to implement pillars 1 and 2 of R2P, and confusion over the clarity of the norm which has led to the conflation of conflict prevention with mass atrocity prevention.
Edward C. Luck
This chapter examines the implementation of R2P within the UN system, focusing especially on the evolving role of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General. It sketches the institutional and political context that shaped the decision to appoint a UN Special Adviser, reflects on how the mandates and practices associated with this position have developed over the years, and assesses how the normative, operational, and institutional challenges ahead are shaping up for the implementation of R2P within the UN. The chapter argues that the position of Special Adviser is still evolving and far from firmly entrenched in the UN bureaucracy. Since its future prospects, and those of the related post of Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, remain to be determined, the chapter addresses the mandates for both positions in some detail and puts forward some suggestions for how they could be further developed in the future.
The responsibility to protect and the International Criminal Court share a recent history and a similar normative structure. The responsibilities to protect and prosecute reside first and foremost in the state and both normative regimes insist that a residual responsibility rests with international society. Yet R2P has not sought to allocate residual responsibility to an institution that notionally transcends power politics. For some critics, R2P should follow the ICC’s lead and delegate decision-making on humanitarian intervention to a supranational body. By focusing on the continuing politicization of international criminal justice under the ICC this chapter illustrates how R2P’s difficulties cannot be fixed by simply creating independent judicial bodies. A more consistent approach to R2P is contingent on a changed conception of P5 responsibility. Changing legal frameworks without changing this political reality will simply add to the disappointment of those who lament the compromises made in the World Summit Outcome Document.
On 28 February 2008, Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga signed the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation Act and the Principles of Partnership establishing a coalition government. These agreements marked the end of one of the darkest moments in Kenyan history: eight weeks of bloodshed following the contested presidential elections of 27 December 2007. This case has generated a significant degree of interest, particularly from the perspective of R2P. The overwhelmingly positive appraisal of this case has, however, generated a number of common misconceptions surrounding the post-election crisis in Kenya. These relate to nearly all aspects of the crisis: from the question of what facilitated the response and how the mediation unfolded to the degree it can be deemed a success story. Consequently, some of the key lessons from this case—which may be relevant for halting atrocities in other contexts—have gone largely unnoticed.
This chapter explores why Latin American countries have endorsed, or objected to, the principle of the responsibility to protect. Through an exploration of the various positions held by Latin American (LA) countries in international discussions on R2P the chapter aims to account for the role that the region has played in efforts to develop and consolidate the R2P norm. It finds that those countries that experienced mass atrocities have been more willing to accept R2P. Assessments of the relative costs and benefits of a multilateral solution to atrocity crimes have been influenced by the countries’ own record of massive human rights violations and democratization process. The chapter also situates current R2P discourse and practice in a context of regional contestation over human rights and rampant criminal homicidal violence. It concludes that in such a context the capacity of LA countries to engage normatively with R2P will most likely wane.
In March 2011, for the first time in its history, the responsibility to protect (R2P) principle was invoked by the UN Security Council while imposing coercive military measures against a UN Member State without its consent. However, neither the ferocity of the subsequent diplomatic debate around R2P, nor the intensity of the current crisis in post-Gadhafi Libya, should distract us from the fact that Resolutions 1970 and 1973 constituted an appropriate response to a complex mass atrocity situation. The problem was in the disputed implementation of the civilian protection mandate. This chapter argues that when prevention fails, most future R2P cases needing coercive responses, including military force, will continue to require both coercion and consent, with legal authorization of the Security Council and active dialogue about how a state can best uphold its responsibility to protect and how the international community can both assist and compel them to do so.
This chapter examines the crisis in Mali in 2012 with regard to the principle of responsibility to protect (R2P). The chapter discusses all three pillars of R2P, but in particular the decision by the UN Security Council to mandate an African-led intervention in Mali under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and the subsequent deployment of the French Opération Serval. While supporters of the intervention have highlighted the need to protect civilians facing the march of terrorist and extremist groups towards Bamako, other commentators warned against an international intervention that could securitize the situation and subdue the calls for a necessary political dialogue that could lead to long-term solutions for the country.
Myanmar has been linked to alleged past and potential future mass atrocities by international non-governmental organizations and, at times, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights. To date there has been no international commission of inquiry, let alone any referral to the International Criminal Court. Looking beyond controversial efforts to justify the forcible delivery of assistance following Naypyidaw’s problematic response to Cyclone Nargis, this chapter contextualizes and describes the extent of alleged R2P atrocities in Myanmar, outlines how the Myanmar government as well as the United Nations and regional organizations such as ASEAN and other key actors in the international community have implemented R2P either directly or indirectly, and offers a provisional explanation as regards the limited nature of the international community’s response to concerns that Naypyidaw has at least at times failed to exercise its R2P in the contexts of internal armed conflict and communal violence.
North Korea ranks among the least free societies in the world. The human rights situation inside the country has been described by the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Vitit Muntarbhorn as sui generis (in its own category). In 2014, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea released a landmark report. In its detailed and well-written report, the Commission found that North Korea commits crimes against humanity. This chapter discusses the report from the perspective of the responsibility to protect (R2P).
Michael W. Doyle
The responsibility to protect (R2P) is both a license for and a leash against forcible intervention. It succeeded in widening the scope of legitimate armed intervention by licensing some (protective) interventions but only because it was seen as a leash against other (exploitative) interventions. This chapter traces the origins of the R2P doctrine in the Kosovo and ICISS reports, highlights the special features of the 2005 Outcome Document, notes how the doctrine was strengthened in practice by careful attention to non-coercive measures in Myanmar, Kenya, and Guinea, and then examines the landmark case of its use to sanction and then intervene against Gadhafi’s regime in Libya in 2011. The chapter concludes by drawing lessons for the revision and revival of this important contribution to human security.