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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This introductory chapter charts the evolution of R2P as a response to repeated failure of international society to respond to genocide and mass atrocities in the 1990s. It shows that the principle emerged from attempts to protect civilians from attack whilst protecting principles of order in international society. In doing so, it suggests that over time debates about R2P have shifted away from concerns about the principle’s normative value and meaning towards questions about its implementation in the most difficult of cases. The chapter attempts to introduce the whole book by surveying the principal normative, political, and operational challenges that confront R2P today.

Keywords: United Nations, genocide, mass atrocities, international society, international law, humanitarianism, politics

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