Responsibility to protect
The responsibility to protect (R2P or RtoP) is a United Nations initiative established in 2005. It consists of an emerging norm, or set of principles, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a right, but a responsibility. R2P focuses on preventing and halting four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, which it places under the generic umbrella term of, Mass Atrocity Crimes. The Responsibility to Protect has three "pillars".
- A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities;
- The international community has a responsibility to assist the state to fulfill its primary responsibility;
- If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.
In the international community R2P is a norm, not a law, however it is grounded in international law. R2P provides a framework for using tools that already exist, i.e. mediation, early warning mechanisms, economic sanctioning, and chapter VII powers, to prevent mass atrocities. Civil society organizations, States, regional organizations, and international institutions all have a role to play in the R2P process. The authority to employ the last resort and intervene militarily rests solely with United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly.
Following the genocide in Rwanda and the international community’s failure to intervene, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the question: When does the international community intervene for the sake of protecting populations?
The Canadian government established the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in September 2000. In February 2001, at the third round table meeting of the ICISS in London, Gareth Evans, Mohamed Sahnoun and Michael Ignatieff suggested the phrase "responsibility to protect" as a way to avoid the "right to intervene" or "obligation to intervene" doctrines and yet keep a degree of duty to act to resolve humanitarian crises.
In December 2001, the ICISS released its report, The Responsibility to Protect. The report presented the idea that sovereignty is a responsibility and that the international community had the responsibility to prevent mass atrocities. Economic, political, and social measures were to be used along with diplomatic engagement. Military intervention was presented as a last resort. R2P included efforts to rebuild by bringing security and justice to the victim population and by finding the root cause of the mass atrocities.
The African Union pioneered the concept that the international community has a responsibility to intervene in crisis situations if the State is failing to protect its population. In the founding charter in 2005, African nations declared that the "protection of human and peoples rights" would be a principal objective of the AU and that the Union had the right "to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity." The AU also adopted the Ezulwini Consensus in 2005, which welcomed R2P as a tool for the prevention of mass atrocities.
The United Nations mandate 
At the 2005 World Summit, Member States included R2P in the Outcome Document agreeing to Paragraphs 138 and 139. These paragraphs gave final language to the scope of R2P. It applies to the four mass atrocities crimes only. It also identifies to whom the R2P protocol applies, i.e., nations first, regional and international communities second.
Paragraphs 138 and 139 state:
138. Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.
139. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for the General Assembly to continue consideration of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law. We also intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out.
— 2005 World Summit Outcome Document.
In April 2006, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reaffirmed the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 in resolution (S/RES/1674). This formalized their support for the Responsibility to Protect. The next major advancement in R2P came in January 2009, when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a report called Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. His report led to a debate in the General Assembly in July 2009 and the first time since 2005 that the General Assembly had come together to discuss the responsibility to protect. Ninety-four member states spoke. Most supported the R2P principle although some important concerns were voiced. They discussed how to implement R2P in crisis situations around the world. The debate highlighted the need for regional organizations like the African Union to play a strong role in implementing R2P; the need for stronger early warning mechanisms in the United Nations; and the need to clarify the roles UN bodies would play in implementing R2P.
One outcome of the debate was the first resolution referencing R2P adopted by the General Assembly. The Resolution (A/RES/63/308) showed that the international community had not forgotten about the concept of the responsibility to protect and it decided "to continue its consideration of the responsibility to protect."
In practice 
Threshold for military interventions 
According to the International Commission for Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) Report in 2001 (which was not adopted by national governments), any form of a military intervention initiated under the premise of responsibility to protect must fulfill the following six criteria in order to be justified as an extraordinary measure of intervention:
- Just Cause - Is the threat a "serious and irreparable harm occurring to human beings"?
- Right Intention - Is the main intention of the military action to prevent human suffering or are there other motives?
- Final Resort - Has every other measure besides military invention been taken into account? (This does not mean that every measurement has to be applied and failed, but that there are reasonable grounds to believe that only military action would work in that situation)
- Legitimate Authority
- Proportional Means - Are the minimum necessary military means applied to secure human protection?
- Reasonable Prospect - Is it likely that military action will succeed in protecting human life, and are the consequences of this action sure not to be worse than no action at all?
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (February 2012)|
- First Liberian Civil War in 1989-1996
- Gulf war in 1990 and aftermath
- Bosnian Genocide in 1995
- Rwandan Genocide in 1994
- Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998, and since
- Kosovo in 1999
- Battle of Grozny (1999–2000)
- Second Liberian Civil War in 1999-2003
- Sierra Leone in 1999-2002
- Darfur from 2003
- Kenya: post Kenyan presidential election, 2007 crisis
- Georgia (country): Georgian–Ossetian conflict August 2008
- Libyan civil war in 2011
- 2011–2012 Syrian uprising
- Guatemalan Civil War (ended in 1996)
- Salvadoran Civil War (ended in 1992)
- Sudan internal conflict (2011–present)
How does the responsibility to protect differ from humanitarian intervention? 
Humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect (R2P) both agree on the fact that sovereignty is not absolute. However, the R2P doctrine shifts away from state-centred motivations to the interests of victims by focusing not on the right of states to intervene but on a responsibility to protect populations at risk. In addition, it introduces a new way of looking at the essence of sovereignty, moving away from issues of ‘control’ and emphasising ‘responsibility’ to one’s own citizens and the wider international community (Arbour, 2008; Evans, 2006-7).
Another contribution of R2P is to extend the intervention beyond a purely military intervention and to encompass a whole continuum of obligations:
- The responsibility to prevent: addressing root causes of internal conflict. The ICISS considered this to be the most important obligation.
- The responsibility to react: responding to situations of compelling human need with appropriate measures that could include sanctions, prosecutions or military intervention.
- The responsibility to rebuild: providing full assistance with recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation.
R2P and national sovereignty 
One of the main concerns surrounding R2P is that it infringes upon national sovereignty. This concern is rebutted by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the report Implementing the Responsibility to Protect. According to the first pillar of R2P, the state has the responsibility to protect its populations from mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing, and according to the second pillar the international community has the responsibility to help States fulfill their responsibility. Advocates of R2P claim that the only occasions where the international community will intervene in a State without its consent is when the state is either allowing mass atrocities to occur, or is committing them, in which case the State is no longer upholding its responsibilities as a sovereign. In this sense, R2P can be understood as reinforcing sovereignty. However it is not clear who makes this decision on behalf of the 'international community'.
Libya, 2011 
On March 19, 2011, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved resolution 1973 which reiterated the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan population. The UNSC resolution reaffirmed "that parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians...." It demanded "an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute 'crimes against humanity'.... It imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace, a no-fly zone, and tightened sanctions on the Gadaffi regime and its supporters." The resolution passed with 10 in favor, 0 against and 5 abstentions. Two of the five permanent members of the council abstained, China and Russia. The subsequent military action by NATO resulted in mixed opinions. Detractors of the intervention believe that problems in Libya are best resolved amongst Libyans. The Libyan case exposes a fundamental moral dilemma, as Henning Melber spelled out in D+C Development and Cooperation.
R2P scope 
The scope of R2P is often questioned. The concern is whether R2P should apply to more than the four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. For example, should R2P be used to protect civilians in peril following natural disasters? In general, the consensus is that the scope of R2P should remain narrow and well-defined. At the General Assembly debate on R2P in July 2009, several Member States reaffirmed the original scope of R2P and said that broadening the applicability of R2P could diminish its effectiveness.
Use of military intervention 
The question of military intervention under the third pillar of R2P remains controversial. Several states have argued that R2P should not allow the international community to intervene militarily on States, because to do so is an infringement upon sovereignty. Others argue that this a necessary facet of R2P, and is necessary as a last resort to stop mass atrocities. A related argument surrounds the question as to whether more specific criteria should be developed to determine when the Security Council should authorize military intervention.
Selectivity in the Security Council 
Another concern surrounding R2P is that the Security Council in the UN, when deciding to which crises R2P applies, have been selective and biased. A veto from one of the five permanent members brings bias to the process. As an example, the UNSC did not vote to intervene in Chechnya because Russia opposed such action. This has been acknowledged as an issue of major concern, and has hindered the implementation of R2P. Some of those involved advocate that the UNSC permanent members agree not to use their veto when proven mass atrocities are taking place.
See also 
- International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
- Human security
- Humanitarian intervention
- Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities
- Collective security
- Mogadishu Line
- Responsibility to protect in the People's Republic of China
- Peace and Security Council
- African Standby Force
- Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
- Panel of the Wise
- Westphalian sovereignty
- Iqbal, Zareen (April 29, 2010). "Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): MONUC’s Impending Withdrawal". International Institute for Justice and Development. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- "Mission Statement". United Nations: Office of the special adviser on the prevention of genocide. Retrieved 2012-January-7.
- "2005 World Summit Outcome". United Nations General Assembly, Sixtieth session, items 48 and 121 of the provisional agenda. A/60/L.1, 40 pages. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- Badescu, Cristina G. (2010). Humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect: security and human rights (Google eBook). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis e-Library. p. 110. ISBN 0-203-83454-2.
- http://otago.ourarchive.ac.nz/handle/10523/2279. (Judson 2012).
- Hehir, Aidan; Cunliffe, Philip, ed. (2011), "Chapter 7, The responsibility to protect and international law", Critical Perspectives on the Responsibility to Protect: Interrogating Theory, Practice, New York, NY: Taylor and Francis e-Library, pp. 84–100, ISBN 0-203-83429-1
- Haines, Steven; Kassimeris, George, ed. (2010), "Chapter 18, Humanitarian Intervention: Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and the Use of Force", The Ashgate research companion to modern warfare, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, pp. 307–329, ISBN 978-0-7546-7410-8
- Evans, Gareth; Sahnoun, Mohamed, Co-chairs (2001). The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Ottawa, ON, Canada: International Development Research Centre, Minister of Foreign Affairs. p. 108. ISBN 0-88936-960-7.
- "Constitutive Acts of the African Union". Documents and speeches. African Union Summit, South Africa 2002. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "The common African position on the proposed reform of the United Nations: "The Ezulwini Consensus"". Executive Council, 7th Extraordinary Session, March 7,8, 2005 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ext/EX.CL/2 (VII). African Union. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Resolution 1674 (2006), S/RES/1674 (2006)". General distribution to the media. United Nations Security Council. April 28, 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-07. Re: The protection of civilians in armed conflict.
- "Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, Implementing the responsibility to protect: Report of the Secretary-General. A/63/677". General distribution to the media. United Nations General Assembly, Sixty-third session: Agenda items 44 and 107. January 12, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Implementing the responsibility to protect. The 2009 General Assembly Debate: An Assessment". GCR2P Report. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies. CUNY. August 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Report on the General Assembly Plenary Debate on the Responsibility to Protect". International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, New York, NY. September 15, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 63/308. The responsibility to protect. A/RES/63/308". General distribution to the media. United Nations General Assembly, Sixty-third session: Agenda items 44 and 107. October 7, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-07. Decides to continue its consideration of the responsibility to protect. 105th plenary meeting, September 14, 2009.
- Evans, G. (2006). From Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect, Wisconsin International Law Journal, 3(2), p. 710
- Evans, G. (2006). From Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect, Wisconsin International Law Journal, 3(2)
- Russians accused of Grozny massacres, BBC News, February 23, 2000
- Revealed: Russia's worst war crime in Chechnya, The Guardian, March 5, 2000
- , Genocide Watch, February 2012
- GSDRC (2013). International legal frameworks for humanitarian action: Topic guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham
- GSDRC (2013). International legal frameworks for humanitarian action: Topic guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham
- Moran, Rick; Horowitz, David, editor (March 28, 2011). "Libya and the Soros Doctrine". FrontPage Mag. Retrieved 2012-January-7.
- Ban Ki-moon, Implementing the Responsibility to Protect, p. 7-8
- "Security Council Approves 'No-fly Zone' over Libya, authorizing 'all necessary measures' to protect civilians, by vote of 10 in favour with 5 abstentions. (Includes the full text of resolution 1973)". Security Council SC/10200. United Nations, Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York, NY. March 17, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
- "Libya: Nigeria votes in favour of no-fly resolution". Vanguard (Nigeria). 18 March 2011.
- Protests against the 2011 military intervention in Libya
- Seybolt, Taylor B. (2007). Humanitarian military intervention: the conditions for success and failure. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Inc. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-19-925243-5.
- Weiss, Thomas G. (2005). Military-civilian interactions: humanitarian crises and the responsibility to protect (Google eBook). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. p. 188. ISBN 0-7425-3016-7.
Further reading 
- Judson. AM. "Where is R2P grounded in international law", Otago University, 2012. PDF available at http://otago.ourarchive.ac.nz/handle/10523/2279.
- Baylis and Smith, The Globalization of World Politics, Oxford University Press, 1997, p 394
- Deng, Francis, Rothchild, Donald, et al. "Sovereignty as Responsibility Conflict Management in Africa". (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, September 1996). c. 290pp.
- Downes, Paul. Melville's Benito Cereno and Humanitarian Intervention South Atlantic Quarterly. 103.2-3. Spring/Summer 2004 465-488.
- Evans, Gareth. The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All. (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, September 2008)
- Evans, Gareth and Mohamed Sahnoun. "The Responsibility to Protect" Foreign Affairs. November/December 2002.
- Hehir, Aidan. "The Responsibility to Protect: Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?" International Relations. 24/2 2010.
- Köchler, Hans, Humanitarian Intervention in the Context of Modern Power Politics. Is the Revival of the Doctrine of "Just War" Compatible with the International Rule of Law? (Studies in International Relations, XXVI.) Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2001.
- IPI's Edward C. Luck briefs UN General Assembly on R2P, 9 August 2010
- Whose Responsibility to Protect?, debate between four R2P practitioners, October 2009.
- Newt Gingrich and George J. Mitchell, Report Card from America: UN Reform, International Herald Tribune, 28 November 2005 (American Enterprise Institute)
- Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
- International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
- Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P