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UN Security Council has a 'Responsibility to Protect' human security within states - also by military means17.12.2008 - (idw) Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council
When a state manifestly fails to protect its population against genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, the Security Council has an external 'Responsibility to Protect'. If the situation is determined to constitute a threat to peace and peaceful means found inadequate, the Council has a right to decide on military intervention according to international law. This is claimed in a doctoral dissertation by Diana Amnéus at the Department of Law, Stockholm University in Sweden, which will soon be publicly defended.
Security Council practice on humanitarian intervention after the Cold War in for example Bosnia, Somalia, and Rwanda supports such an expanded right for the Council to act in the face of gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. UN member states also recognised the principle of 'Responsibility to Protect' at the 2005 UN World Summit in New York, acknowledging this right and responsibility of the Council.
Each individual state carries the internal and primary 'Responsibility to Protect' its population against grave crimes in international law.
"A military intervention is a last resort and comes into question only after diplomatic, political, and economic measures are found inadequate to stop mass atrocities", says Diana Amnéus.
In the future, regional organisations may also be given a legal right to carry out humanitarian interventions to stop such grave crimes, even without a Security Council mandate. In her dissertation, Diana Amnéus shows that an international customary law development along these lines has begun. However, more practice of humanitarian interventions by regional organisations, such as in Kosovo (1999) and Liberia (1991), is needed to confirm such a right, and more states must support its formalisation into law.
"In the case of Darfur, not only Sudan but also the UN Security Council and the African Union (AU) have failed to protect the population against mass atrocities, despite the summer 2007 resolution in the Security Council which established the joint UN and AU force, UNAMID." All too often, there is not enough political will or sufficient resources among states for the realisation of the principle 'Responsibility to Protect'.
"Thus, the number of future cases of genuine humanitarian intervention is potentially lower than the number of cases that run the risk of abusing the principle, as in the case of Georgia, for instance. Therefore, I don't support the emergence of a customary right for regional organisations and individual states to use military force to protect people", says Diana Amnéus. "It is also crucial to safeguard the prohibition on the use of force in international law."
The public defense of the dissertation will take place on December 19, at 10:00 a.m., Arrhenius Laboratories, Hall G, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm. The external examiner is Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell, University of Notre Dame, School of Law, USA. The defense will be held in English.
Name of dissertation: Responsibility to Protect by Military Means - Emerging Norms on Humanitarian Intervention?
For more information:
Diana Amnéus, cell phone: +46 (0)70-441 31 03, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org December 22-23 and 27-30 most likely available between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. CET.
Phone: +46 (0)8-16 40 90, e-mail email@example.com
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