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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the use of force can prevent or end the atrocities of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. The historical record, however, shows both successes and failures, and points to certain factors—especially a coherent strategy—that improve the prospect of protecting civilians who are in imminent danger. There is broad diplomatic support among governments for military intervention in the context of the responsibility to protect (R2P) but that support has not resulted in a groundswell of interventions. In light of the risk and difficulty of military intervention, selective use of force is preferable to engaging in military intervention early and often. Caution ought to remain a guiding principle, balanced against the knowledge that R2P without the use of force is meaningless in the situations where it is needed the most.

Keywords: atrocities, civilians, intervention, military, prevent, strategy, use of force, responsibility to protect

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