RSSRoundtable: Libya, RtoP, and Humanitarian Intervention

Libya and Responsibility to Protect: Great-Power Permission or International Obligation?

| May 3, 2012
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The military attack on Libya in 2011 has rightly been interpreted as a significant milestone in the life of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.  It is the first UN military mission explicitly justified as a reaction to a government’s failure to live up its responsibility to protect its citizens.  R2P activists have celebrated that it […]

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Introduction

| August 12, 2011
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The NATO-led intervention in Libya, Operation Unified Protector, is noteworthy for two central reasons. First, it is the first instance in over a decade of what Andrew Cottey calls “classical humanitarian intervention”—that is, humanitarian intervention that lacks the consent of the government of the target state, has a significant military and forcible element, and is […]

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RtoP Alive and Well after Libya

| August 12, 2011
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With the exception of Raphael Lemkin’s efforts on behalf of the 1948 Genocide Convention, no idea has moved faster in the international normative arena than “the responsibility to protect” (RtoP), which was formulated in 2001 by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). Friends and foes have pointed to the commission’s conceptual contribution […]

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“Leading from Behind”: The Responsibility to Protect, the Obama Doctrine, and Humanitarian Intervention after Libya

| August 12, 2011
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Humanitarian intervention has always been more popular in theory than in practice. In the face of unspeakable acts, the desire to do something, anything, is understandable. States have tended to be reluctant to act on such desires, however, leading to the present situation in which there are scores of books and countless articles articulating the […]

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The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention in Libya

| August 12, 2011
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Wars and interventions bring to the fore certain ethical issues. For instance, NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999 raised questions about the moral import of UN Security Council authorization (given that the Council did not authorize the action), and the means employed by interveners (given NATO’s use of cluster bombs and its targeting of dual-use […]

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Libya and the Responsibility to Protect: The Exception and the Norm

| August 12, 2011
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The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) played an important role in shaping the world’s response to actual and threatened atrocities in Libya. Not least, the adoption of Resolution 1973 by the UN Security Council on May 17, 2011, approving a no-fly zone over Libya and calling for “all necessary measures” to protect civilians, reflected a change […]

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Civilian Protection in Libya: Putting Coercion and Controversy Back into RtoP

| August 12, 2011
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It is unclear how the crisis in Libya—and NATO’s ongoing aerial campaign—will affect the fortunes and trajectory of the principle of the responsibility to protect (RtoP). There is much wisdom in Thomas Weiss’s statement that today “the main challenge facing the responsibility to protect is how to act, not how to build normative consensus.” As […]

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