The Responsibility to Protect Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty December 2001 United Nations
The Commission Initiated by Lloyd Axworthy Gareth Evans, Co-Chair Mohamed Sahnoun, Co-Chair Gisèle Côté-Harper Michael Ignatieff Klaus Naumann Fidel Ramos Eduardo Stein Lee Hamilton Vladimir Lukin Cyril Ramaphosa Cornelio Sommaruga Ramesh Thakur
The Report Address the question- When, if ever, is it appropriate for states to take military action against another, for the purpose of human protection of the resident peoples?
New Internationalist, 1999 Open air graveEthiopia - Eritrea border
The Report • Is there a right of intervention? • How and when should it be exercised? • Under whose authority? • Is intervention an assault on sovereignty? • One of the most controversial and difficult of all international relations questions.
Basic Principles • State sovereignty implies responsibility for protecting own people. • International responsibility when state is unwilling or unable to halt or avert the serious harm to its population.
Foundations • Obligations inherent in the concept of sovereignty. • The responsibility of the UN Security Council.
Foundations • Specific legal obligations: • human rights and protection declarations. • covenants and treaties. • humanitarian law. • The developing practice of states, regional organizations and the Security Council.
Elements • The responsibility to prevent • address root causes. • The responsibility to react • respond with appropriate measures. • The responsibility to rebuild • full assistance with recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation.
BBC, 1999 The Balkansburning oil, polluted water
Priorities • Prevention is the single most important dimension. • Less intrusive and coercive measures always considered before more coercive and intrusive ones are applied.
Principles for Military Intervention • Just cause threshold • Precautionary principles • Right authority • Operational principles
Just Cause Threshold To warrant military intervention there must be serious and irreparable harm: • Large scale loss of life. • Large scale ethnic cleansing.
New Internationalist, 1999 Bujumbura, Burundi 1996 ethnic massacre
Precautionary Principles • Right intention: • primary purpose must be to halt or avert human suffering. • multilateral operations, clearly supported by the victims concerned. • Last resort: • every non-military option explored. • reasonable grounds for believing lesser measures would not have succeeded.
Precautionary Principles • Proportional means: • scale, duration and intensity of should be the minimum necessary. • Reasonable prospects: • reasonable chance of success. • consequences of action not worse than the consequences of inaction.
Right Authority • Security Council most appropriate body. • Authorization always sought prior to intervention. • Security Council should deal promptly with requests. • The Permanent Five members should agree not to apply their veto power.
Right Authority • If a proposal is rejected or not dealt with in a reasonable time, alternative options are: • General Assembly consideration under the “Uniting for Peace” procedure. • action by regional or sub-regional organizations.
Right Authority • The Security Council must always consider its immense responsibility. • inaction may lead to concerned states resorting to other means. • the nature and credibility of the United Nations may suffer.
Operational Principles • Clear objectives at all times. • Common military approach among involved partners: • unity of command and clear communications. • Acceptance of limitations, incrementalism and gradualism: • objective human protection, not state defeat.
Operational Principles • Proportional rules of engagement that adhere to international humanitarian law. • Force protection not the principal objective. • Maximum coordination with humanitarian organizations.
The Right to Intervene? • Traditional term- has inherent problems. • Focuses on the claims, rights and prerogatives of the intervening states. • Does not account for preventive effort or follow-up assistance. • Intrinsically more confrontational.
Objectives of a New Approach • Clearer rules, procedures and criteria for determining whether, when and how to intervene. • Legitimate military intervention when necessary and after all other approaches have failed.
Objectives of a New Approach • Effective military intervention carried out only for the purposes proposed, that minimizes the human costs. • Eliminate the causes of conflict while enhancing the prospects for durable and sustainable peace.
Human Security • Security of people: • physical safety. • economic and social well being. • dignity and worth as human beings. • human rights and fundamental freedoms. • The Universal Declaration of human Rights (1948) embodies the moral code, political consensus and legal synthesis of human rights.
Responsibility to Protect Responsibility for protecting the lives of citizens lies with: • The sovereign state. • Domestic authorities acting in partnership with external actors. • International organizations.
Sovereignty • Sovereignty does not grant unlimited power to a state regarding its own people. • Implies a dual responsibility: • externally, respecting other states. • internally, respecting dignity and rights of own population.
Genocide in Rwanda BBC, 2001
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Meaning of Intervention • “Intervention” potentially covers a large number of activities. • controversial term. • This report- “action taken against a state, without its consent, for claimed humanitarian or protective purposes.”
UN Intervention • Legitimate because it is authorized by a representative international body. • Unilateral intervention illegitimate because of self-interests. • States must renounce unilateral use of force for national purposes.
United Nations UN General Assembly
Security Council (SC) Issues Authority and credibility questions: • Legal capacity to authorize military intervention. • Political will. • Generally uneven performance. • Unrepresentative membership. • Permanent Five veto power.
United Nations UN Security Council
SC Past Performance • Often fallen short of responsibilities. • Due to factors such as: • sheer lack of interest. • concern about political impacts. • disagreements between permanent 5 members. • reluctance to bear the financial and personnel burdens of international action.
SC - Report Conclusions • Security Council most appropriate body for decisions about: • overriding state sovereignty. • mobilizing military resources. • Goal - to make the Security Council work better than it has.
SC - Proposed Improvements • A “code of conduct” for the use of the veto. • a permanent member would not obstruct passing an otherwise majority resolution. • Clear, responsible and consistent leadership. • never abdicating responsibility. • valuing human life above politics.
“If the collective conscience of humanity…cannot find in the United Nations its greatest tribune, there is a grave danger that it will look elsewhere for peace and for justice.” Kofi Annan World Health Organization, 2001
Responsibility to Prevent • First with the sovereign state. • Failed prevention can have international consequences.
Responsibility to Prevent • Strong support from the international community is often needed: • development assistance. • support for local initiatives to advance good governance, human rights and/or rule of law. • mediation efforts.
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Prevention Resources • Organization of African Unity - 1993 Mechanism for Conflict Prevention , Management and Settlement. • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - developed a number of mechanisms for preventing conflict in Europe. • Increasingly significant role of NGOs.
Responsibility to React • Intervention from a broader community of states: • in situations of compelling human need. • if prevention has failed. • Coercive measures include political, economic or judicial measures and, only in extreme cases, military action.
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Measures Short of Military Action • Sanctions • do not directly interfere with the capacity of a domestic authority to operate. • often indiscriminate - need to avoid doing more harm than good. • in Iraq sanctions are resulting in massive harm to the civilian population.
Types of Sanctions • Military • arms embargoes. • ending military cooperation and training programs. • Economic • financial sanctions targeting assets. • restrictions on income generating activities. • aviation bans.
Types of Sanctions • Political and Diplomatic • restrictions on diplomatic representation. • restrictions on travel. • expulsion from international or regional bodies.