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date: 18 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

International intervention in Somalia has been characterized by two distinct phases of engagement, between 1992 and 1995 and again from 2002 onwards, which proved both fundamental to the development of the responsibility to protect (R2P) norm, and which generate important lessons for the further development of the norm. This chapter explores both phases of engagement, drawing six key lessons which international engagement in Somalia yield for the R2P norm, and for future international intervention in conflicts characterized by war crimes and the absence of a state and an established governance architecture. While the situation in Somalia is likely to remain complex for some time to come, international engagement in Somalia has both proved key to the development of R2P in the first instance, and demonstrated that in spite of the most extreme obstacles, measures can effectively be taken to contribute to the protection of a civilian population affected by a complex conflict situation, and to support a nascent state to meet its responsibility to protect.

Keywords: Somalia, responsibility to protect, protection of civilians, African Union, United Nations, Al Shabaab, conflict intervention, war crimes

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