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TEIMUN 11th July - 17th July 2011


Topic III:

The Concept of Responsibility to Protect                

Introduction   The  end  of  the  Second  World  War  marked  a  new  era  for  the  development  of  international  law,  and  the   developments   in   the   immediate   aftermath   of   the   war   formed   the   foundation   of   the   concept   referred   to   as  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (henceforth  R2P).  The  attempt  to  ensure  that  the  horrors  of  the  Second   World  War  would  not  be  repeated  propelled  the  international  community  to  initiate  an  effort  to  prevent   mass  atrocities,  crimes  against  humanity  and  war  crimes.  The  first  attempt  at  this  was  the  Convention   for  the  Prevention  and  Punishment  of  the  Crime  of  Genocide  of  1948.  Yet,  albeit  all  the  good  intentions,   50  years  on,  as  renowned  scholar  William  Schabas  curtly  puts,  the  Convention  failed  to  achieve  what  it   was  set  out  to  do.   ‘Some   must   have   believed,   in   1948,   that   the   unthinkable   crime   of   genocide   would   never   recur.   Perhaps  the  gaps  in  the  convention  are  only  the  oversights  of  optimistic  negotiators,  mistaken  in   the  belief  that  they  were  erecting  a  monument  to  the  past  rather  than  a  weapon  to  police  the   future.   Their   naiveté   may   be   forgiven.   A   failure   to   learn   the   lessons   of   the   fifty   years   since   its   adoption  cannot.’1     Indeed   it   is   difficult   to   prove   Schabas   wrong   when   one   takes   a   brief   look   at   our   near   history.   The   Rwandan   Genocide   of   1994,   the   conflicts   in   Somalia,   Bosnia   and   Kosovo,   and   Sudan   are   all   but   a   few   examples   that   the   ‘resounding   promise   of   ‘Never   Again’   proved   to   be   hollow’2.   In   fact,   Barbara   Harff   asserts   that   37   genocides   and   politicides   occurred   between   1955   and   2001.3   The   aforementioned   certainly   reflects   a   trend   in   the   changing   nature   of   warfare.   With   large   inter-­‐state   wars   replaced   with   lengthy  and  violent  internal  conflict,  there  is  a  need  to  reframe  the  debate  regarding  the  prevention  of   mass   atrocities   and   crimes   against   humanity.   This   necessity   makes   the   concept   of   R2P   all   the   more   relevant   in   the   era   of   modern   warfare   where   civilian   fatalities   overwhelmingly   outweigh   military   casualties.   Accordingly,  discussions  in  the  international  arena  shifted  their  focus  from  the  Genocide  Convention  to   finding  sustainable  ways  to  deal  with  situations  where  States  failed  in  protecting  their  populations  and   sometimes  even  intentionally  or  negligently  harmed  civilians.  The  concept  that  took  the  center  stage  at   the  time,  i.e.  throughout  the  1990s,  was  that  of  humanitarian  intervention.  Yet,  the  implementation  of   the   concept   satisfied   neither   the   proponents   nor   the   critics.   External   military   intervention   for   human   protection   purposes   has   been   controversial   both   when   it   has   happened   -­‐   as   in   Somalia,   Bosnia   and   Kosovo  -­‐  and  when  it  has  failed  to  happen,  as  in  Rwanda.4  UN  action,  if  taken  at  all,  was  widely  seen  as   ‘too   little   too   late,   misconceived,   poorly   executed’5   by   the   proponents   of   humanitarian   intervention,   whereas  critics  have  pointed  out  that  the  concept  of  humanitarian  intervention  was  a  convenient  way  to                                                                                                                             1

 William  Schabas,  The  Genocide  Convention  at  Fifty,  Washington:  United  States  Institute   of  Peace,  Special  Report,  7  January  1999,  p.  8.   2  International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011     3  Barbara  Harff,  ‘No  Lessons  Learned  from  the  Holocaust?  Assessing  Risks  of  Genocide  and  Political  Mass  Murder  since  1955’,   American  Political  Science  Review,  Vol.  97,  No.1,  2003,  pp.  57-­‐73.   4  The  International  Commission  on  Intervention  and  State  Sovereignty.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect”.  December  2001.   5  Evans,  Gareth  and  Mohamed  Sahnoun.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect”.  Foreign  Affairs,  Volume  81,  No  6.  Pg.  99-­‐110  

interfere   with   national   sovereignty.   As   Evans   also   points   out,   the   fate   of   the   concept   of   humanitarian   intervention   was   sealed   by   ‘cantankerous   exchanges   in   which   fervent   supporters   of   intervention   on   humanitarian  grounds,  opposed  by  anxious  defenders  of  state  sovereignty  dug  themselves  deeper  and   deeper  into  opposing  trenches.’6     Troubled   by   this   divide,   the   by   then   Secretary   General   of   the   United   Nations,   Kofi   Annan,   made   pleas   to   the  United  Nations  General  Assembly,  first  in  1999  and  then  again  in  2000  asking  states  to  come  up  with   a  new  consensus  on  how  to  approach  situations  where  grave  harm  was  done  to  civilian  populations,  and   asked  ‘if  humanitarian  intervention  is,  indeed,  an  unacceptable  assault  on  sovereignty,  how  should  we   respond   to   a   Rwanda,   to   a   Srebrenica   -­‐   to   gross   and   systematic   violations   of   human   rights   that   affect   every  precept  of  our  common  humanity?’7   In  response  to  this,  in  September  2000,  the  Canadian  Government  announced  at  the  General  Assembly   that   it   would   undertake   the   establishment   of   the   International   Commission   on   Intervention   and   State   Sovereignty   (ICISS).8   Building   on   Francis   Deng's   idea   of   sovereignty   as   responsibility,   the   Commission   addressed   the   question   of   when   state   sovereignty   and   produced   one   of   the   more   influential   works   in   the   field   of   R2P.9   Upcoming   sections   of   this   Background   Paper   will   discuss   the   developments   in   the   international  community  after  the  release  of  this  influential  report  in  detail.  Yet,  it  is  important  to  note   already  at  this  stage  that  it  was  four  years  after  the  release  of  this  influential  report  that  the  UN  took   steps  to  commit  to  the  concept  of  R2P  at  its  2005  World  Summit.     However,   for   all   this   apparent   progress,   the   concept   of   R2P   could   not   escape   harsh   criticism   and   an   uncertain  outlook.  Some  critics  argue  that  R2P  is  an  imperialist  doctrine  that  threatens  to  undermine  the   national  sovereignty  and  political  autonomy  of  the  developing  or  less  developed  countries.  On  the  other   hand,   critics   have   also   argued   that   the   concept   of   R2P   promises   little   protection   to   vulnerable   populations.10   In   addition,   disagreements   regarding   the   precise   function   and   the   proper   use   of   R2P   persist.  For  instance,  some  scholars  argue  that  France  (in  relation  to  Myanmar)  and  Russia  (in  relation  to   Georgia)  used  R2P  to  justify  the  actual  or  potential  use  of  coercive  force  in  contexts  where  there  was  no   apparent  inability  or  failure  to  protect  the  respective  states’  populations.  On  the  other  hand,  R2P  was   not   invoked   in   the   context   of   Somalia,   Afghanistan,   and   Iraq   regardless   of   the   commission   of   grave   atrocities  against  the  populations  of  these  countries.11       The   aforementioned   criticisms   are   exactly   why   the   United   Nations   General   Assembly   has   an   indispensible  role  in  making  R2P  functional.  As  the  current  Secretary  General  Ban  Ki-­‐Moon  states  in  his   2009   report   to   the   General   Assembly,   ‘the   best   way   to   discourage   States   from   misusing   the   responsibility   to   protect   for   inappropriate   purposes   would   be   to   develop   fully   the   United   Nations                                                                                                                             6

 Ibid.    The  International  Commission  on  Intervention  and  State  Sovereignty.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect”.  December  2001   8  ibid.   9  International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011   10  Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.   11  ibid.   7

strategy,  standards,  processes,  tools  and  practices  for  the  responsibility  to  protect.’   12  Accordingly,  that   is  the  role  of  the  General  Assembly  in  TEIMUN  2011;  to  fully  define  the  scope  and  proper  use  of  R2P,  a   task   especially   relevant   given   the   commission   of   mass   atrocities   in   Libya   and   Syria   in   the   past   few   months.     Responsibility  to  Protect  in  the  United  Nations     As   briefly   outlined   in   the   introduction,   the   principle   underlying   the   concept   of   R2P   is   the   idea   that   sovereignty   is   responsibility.   Although   this   idea   was   previously   elaborated   upon   in   academic   circles,   it   was   the   report   by   the   ICISS   that   formally   introduced   the   idea   to   the   discussions   of   the   international   community.  In  its  report,  the  ICISS  suggested  that  it  was  desirable  to  frame  the  international  discussion   regarding   the   prevention   of   mass   atrocities   in   the   language   of   a   ‘responsibility   to   protect’   affected   populations  rather  than  a  ‘right  to  intervene  for  human  protection  purposes’.  The  Commission  believed   that  the  latter  term  was  not  suited  to  the  purposes  of  prevention  of  mass  atrocities  because  it  focuses   on  the  ‘claims,  rights  and  prerogatives  of  the  potentially  intervening  states  much  more  so  than  on  the   urgent   needs   of   the   potential   beneficiaries   of   the   action’.   Additionally,   by   making   intervention   the   main   point   of   discussion,   the   Commission   asserted,   the   term   humanitarian   intervention   unfairly   disregards   ‘the  need  for  either  prior  preventive  effort  or  subsequent  follow-­‐up  assistance,  both  of  which  have  been   too   often   neglected   in   practice’.13   In   other   words,   the   Commission   saw   R2P   as   an   umbrella   concept   that   embraces   not   only   the   ‘responsibility   to   react’,   but   also   the   ‘responsibility   to   prevent’   and   the   ‘responsibility  to  rebuild’,  whereas  the  term  humanitarian  intervention  only  implies  a  ‘responsibility  to   react’.   Although   the   report   itself   is   fairly   extensive,   for   the   purposes   of   this   background   paper   it   suffices   to  state  that  after  establishing  a  need  to  change  terminology,  the  ICISS  report  continued  to  discuss  the   more   substantive   aspects   of   the   concept   of   R2P.   It   contains   sections   on   when   military   intervention   is   justifiable,  possible  preventative  measures,  and  measures  for  post-­‐conflict  reconstruction.     Although   the   report   by   the   ICISS   is   rather   detailed   in   nature,   it   was   not   until   2005   that   the   United   Nations   took   action   regarding   the   concept   of   R2P.   It   was   during   the   drafting   of   the   ICISS   Report   that   the   9/11   attacks   occurred   and   when   the   report   was   released   in   December   2001,   the   attention   of   the   international  community  had  already  ‘shifted  away  from  consideration  of  measures  to  prevent  genocide   and   mass   atrocity   toward   measures   for   the   prevention   and   preemption   of   terrorist   activities   and   the   proliferation   of   weapons   of   mass   destruction’.14   What   was   even   more   detrimental   for   the   concept   of   R2P   was   the   fact   that   the   US   intervention   in   Iraq   was   carried   out   with   the   premise   of   humanitarian   intervention.      


 ‘‘Implementing  the  Responsibility  to  Protect:  Report  of  the  Secretary-­‐General,’’  A/63/677,  January  12,  2009.    The  International  Commission  on  Intervention  and  State  Sovereignty.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect”.  December  2001.   14  International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011   12 13

Unfortunately,  it  was  not  until  the  initiation  of  mass  atrocities  in  Darfur  carried  out  in  the  course  of  a   conflict   and   killed   an   estimated   300   000   Darfuris15   that   the   international   community   took   up   the   debate   regarding   the   responsibility   to   protect   yet   again.   Accordingly,   the   Secretary   General   at   the   time,   Kofi   Annan,  made  a  new  pledge  to  Member  States  to  include  protection  from  genocide  as  a  part  of  a  new  UN   reform  agenda  and  formed  the  High  –level  Panel  on  Threats,  Challenges  and  Change.  In  December  2004,   this  High-­‐level  panel  released  its  report;  A  More  Secure  World:  Our  Shared  Responsibility,  which  included   the   endorsement   of   an   international   responsibility   to   protect   populations   from   grave   threats.16   Following  this,  the  Secretary  General  at  the  time,  Kofi  Annan,  published  his  own  report  titled  In  Larger   Freedom:  Towards  Development,  Security  and  Human  Rights  for  All,  where  he  also  remarked  the  need   for   governments   to   take   action   in   cases   of   grave   human   rights   violations   and   large   scale   violence   towards  the  civilian  population,  and  called  on  governments  to  embrace  the  responsibility  to  protect.17     Following   this   report,   in   the   2005   World   Summit,   the   historic   commitment   to   the   responsibility   to   protect  was  finally  made,  spearheaded,  in  particular,  by  Argentina,  Chile,  Guatemala,  Mexico,  Rwanda,   and   South   Africa.   In   Paragraphs   138-­‐139   of   the   World   Summit   outcome   document   Member   States   agreed  to  the  following:     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   diplom  atic,  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.  

  Despite  the  progress  made  in  the  2005  World  Summit,  it  took  the  Security  Council  six  months  to  reaffirm   the  commitments  made  to  R2P  in  the  Summit.  Russia,  China  and  three  of  the  non-­‐permanent  members   of  the  Council  at  the  time,  Algeria,  the  Philippines  and  Brazil,  initially  asserted  that  the  outcome  of  the   World  Summit  only  made  it  necessary  for  the  General  Assembly  to  deliberate  on  the  issue  and  that  it                                                                                                                             15

 International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011   16  Ibid.   17  ibid.  

was   premature   to   make   a   commitment   to   the   concept   in   the   Security   Council.18   Changes   in   non-­‐ permanent   membership   of   the   Security   Council   and   a   reformulation   of   the   language   of   the  resolution   prompted  the  Security  Council  to  finally  refer  to  the  concept  of  R2P  in  Resolution  1674  on  the  Protection   of  Civilians  in  Armed  Conflict.  Since  then,  the  Security  Council  reaffirmed  its  position  in  another  thematic   resolution   passed   in   2009,   Resolution   1894.19   However,   the   only   instance   when   the   Security   Council   openly  referred  to  the  responsibility  to  protect  relating  to  a  specific  conflict  has  been  in  Resolution  1706   regarding   the   situation   in   Darfur.20   Additionally,   even   though   Resolution   1706   referred   to   both   Resolution  1674  and  paragraphs  138  and  139  of  the  2005  World  Summit  Outcome  Document21,  at  the   time   of   its   adoption   several   Security   Council   members,   including   China   which   abstained   on   Resolution   1706,   expressed   concern   about   ‘the   diplomatic   pressure   brought   to   bear   to   secure   this   reaffirmation,   and   subsequent   resolutions   on   Darfur   have   shied   away   from   reiterating   it.’22   Therefore,   a   paragraph   referring   to   the   responsibility   to   protect   was   removed   from   Resolution   1769   (2007)   on   Darfur,   while   Resolution   1814   on   Somalia   referred   to   the   protection   of   civilians   and   Resolution   1674   without   any   reference  to  the  concept  of  responsibility  to  protect.23     Alex   Bellamy   argues   that   the   aforementioned   instances   point   towards   a   clear   trend;   even   though   the   Council  initially  displayed  a  willingness  to  use  the  concept  of  R2P  in  the  evaluation  of  ongoing  crises,  it   now  has  a  tendency  to  refer  to  R2P  only  in  thematic  resolutions,  which  he  argues  is  a  way  of  recognizing   that   the   use   of   the   principle   is   not   appropriate   ahead   of   further   consideration   by   the   General   Assembly.24  If  that  is  indeed  the  case,  the  United  Nations  General  Assembly  has  immense  responsibility   to  provide  the  Security  Council  with  a  framework  to  work  with  when  dealing  with  crises  that  might  call   for  the  invocation  of  the  principle  of  R2P.     Regarding  the  aforementioned  necessity,  it  could  be  stated  that  the  appointment  of  Ban  Ki-­‐Moon  as  the   next  Secretary  General  of  the  United  Nations  in  October  2006  has  been  detrimental  to  the  development   and  acceptance  of  R2P.  In  February  2008,  Edward  Luck  was  appointed  Special  Adviser  to  the  Secretary   General  with  a  focus  on  the  responsibility  to  protect  populations  from  genocide,  ethnic  cleansing,  war   crimes   and   crimes   against   humanity.   Following   his   appointment   and   extensive   consultations   with   Member  States,  the  Special  Advisor  proceeded  with  an  approach  whereby  he  made  a  sharp  distinction   between   what   has   been   agreed   by   the   Member   States   and   alternative   formulations   including   the   recommendations  of  the  ICISS.25  The  aforementioned  approach  has  also  largely  shaped  Ban  Ki-­‐Moon’s   approach  in  discussing  R2P.  He  identified  a  ‘narrow,  but  deep  approach’  whereby  the  idea  of  R2P  would   be   wholly   limited   to   what   was   agreed   in   2005   in   the   World   Summit,   but   would   utilize   ‘the   whole  


 UNSC,  S/PV.5319,  December  9,  2005,  pp.  10,  19;  and  UNSC,  S/PV.5319  (Resumption  1),  December  9,  2005,  pp.  3,  6.    Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.     20  ibid.   21  International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011   22  Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.   23  ibid.   24  ibid.   25  Ibid.   18 19

prevention  and  protection  toolkit’  available  to  the  United  Nations.26  Therefore,  it  could  be  stated  that   Secretary   General   Ban   Ki-­‐Moon’s   approach   to   R2P   is   principally   focused   on   implementation   of   the   concept  as  it  seems  to  be  accepted,  rather  than  reopening  the  thematic  discussion  on  R2P.     Accordingly,   in   his   Berlin   speech   in   July   2008,   and   the   report   on   Implementing   the   Responsibility   to   Protect   issued   on   12   January   2009,   the   Secretary   General   identified   three   pillars   relevant   in   the   implementation  of  R2P.       PILLAR  2   PILLAR  1   PILLAR  3           International  assistance   The  protection   Timely  and  decisive     responsibilities  of  the   and  capacity-­‐building   response   State         According  to  this  three  pillar  approach,  pillar  one  is  ‘the  enduring  responsibility  of  the  State  to  protect   its   populations,   whether   nationals   or   not,   from   genocide,   war   crimes,   ethnic   cleansing   and   crimes   against  humanity,  and  from  their  incitement.’  This  pillar  of  R2P,  the  Secretary  General  stipulates,  derives   from   the   nature   of   State   sovereignty   and   pre-­‐existing   legal   obligations,   rather   than   the   recent   acceptance   of   R2P.   The   second   pillar   of   R2P   is   ‘is   the   commitment   of   the   international   community   to   assist   States   in   meeting   those   obligations’.   This   pillar   seeks   to   involve   regional   and   subregional   arrangements,   civil   society   and   the   private   sector,   as   well   as   take   advantage   of   the   institutional   strengths   of   the   United   Nations   system.   In   his   report,   the   Secretary   General   stresses   that   this   often   neglected   pillar   is   critical   in   forging   a   sustainable   policy   in   the   implementation   of   R2P.   He   further   reminds  that  pillars  one  and  two  are  indispensible  in  formulating  a  successful  strategy  for  the  prevention   of   mass   atrocities   before   they   occur.   The   third   pillar   of   R2P   ‘is   the   responsibility   of   Member   States   to   respond  collectively  in  a  timely  and  decisive  manner  when  a  State  is  manifestly  failing  to  provide  such   protection.’  27 Regarding   pillar   three,   in   his   report   Secretary   General   Ban   Ki-­‐Moon   asserts   that   this   pillar,   although   widely  discussed,  is  in  general  understood  too  narrowly.  He  emphasizes  that  for  the  achievement  of  this   pillar   the   only   way   forward   is   not   military   intervention,   but   ‘a   reasoned,   calibrated   and   timely   response’   could   involve   a   variety   of   tools.   There   tools   include   ‘pacific   measures   under   Chapter   6   of   the   Charter,   coercive  ones  under  Chapter  7  and  collaboration  with  regional  or  subregional  arrangements.’28  Indeed,   one   of   the   most   celebrated   examples   of   a   pillar   three   approach   without   military   intervention   is   the   events  that  followed  post-­‐election  violence  in  Kenya  which  is  detailed  in  the  upcoming  sections  of  this   background  paper.     This   three-­‐pillar,   ‘narrow,   but   deep’   approach   gained   widespread   support   in   the   subsequent   General   Assembly   Debate   on   the   Responsibility   to   protect   held   in   July   2009.   Out   of   the   ninety   four   speakers,   representing  180  governments,  that  participated  in  the  debate,  only  four  (Cuba,  Venezuela,  Sudan  and   Nicaragua)  called  for  a  renegotiation  of  the  2005  agreement  reached  in  the  World  Summit.29                                                                                                                               26

 Ban  Ki-­‐moon,  ‘‘On  Responsible  Sovereignty:  International  Cooperation  for  a  Changed  World,’’  Berlin,  SG/SM11701,  July  15,   2008.   27  ‘‘Implementing  the  Responsibility  to  Protect:  Report  of  the  Secretary-­‐General,’’  A/63/677,  January  12,  2009.   28  Ibid.   29  Global  Centre  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect,  ‘‘Implementing  the  Responsibility  to  Protect:  Responding  to  the  UN  Secretary-­‐ General’s  Report,’’  June  2009,  p.  1.  

Following   the   July   2009   General   Assembly   Debate,   on   14   September   2009,   the   General   Assembly   adopted   its   first   resolution   on   R2P   introduced   by   the   delegation   of   Guatemala   and   was   co-­‐sponsored   by   67  Member  States.30  Resolution  A/RES/63/308  on  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  took  note  of  the  report   of   the   Secretary-­‐General   and   decided   to   continue   its   consideration   of   R2P.   That   is   why   the   General   Assembly  of  TEIMUN  2011  is  trusted  with  the  task  of  advancing  this  discussion  and  further  defining  the   framework  in  which  R2P  can  be  implemented.  The  delegates  are  invited  to  take  a  more  through  look  at   the  2009  report  by  the  Secretary  General  and  analyze  the  suggestions  it  makes  for  the  implementation   of  each  pillar.     R2P  in  Practice     Bellamy   holds   that   R2P   has   been   referred   to   in   nine   crises   and   the   tables   that   he   has   prepared   to   summarize   those   crises   are   quoted   in   Appendix   C.   The   variety   of   situations   where   the   concept   of   R2P   was  invoked  also  gives  a  good  idea  about  the  limitations  of  the  concept,  or  issues  regarding  the  concept   which  need  to  be  further  defined  or  specified.  There  are  several  criticisms  derived  from  past  instances   where  R2P  was  invoked  that  are  worth  mentioning.       The   first   criticism   is   regarding   the   rather   narrow   scope   of   R2P.   R2P   only   relates   to   the   four   crimes   specified   in   the   various   UN   documents;   genocide,   war   crimes,   crimes   against   humanity   and   ethnic   cleansing.   Yet,   some   proponents   of   the   concept   argue   that   limiting   the   applicability   of   R2P   to   these   four   crimes  renders  the  concept  less  beneficial  than  it  can  be.  In  Myanmar,  for  instance,  a  relevant  discussion   was  brought  up  when  the  government  refused  humanitarian  assistance  in  the  wake  of  Cyclone  Nargis  in   2008.  The  cyclone  devastated  the  Irrawaddy  delta  area  leaving  138  000  people  dead  or  missing  and  1.5   million  displaced.31  Regardless  of  the  scale  of  the  disaster,  Myanmar’s  military  regime  denied  access  to   humanitarian  aid  agencies  and  inhibited  the  delivery  of  much  needed  aid  materials,  even  though  offers   of  assistance  poured  in.32  Accordingly,  French  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs,  Bernard  Kouchner,  suggested   invoking   R2P   in   the   Security   Council   to   force   Myanmar   into   accepting   humanitarian   assistance.   The   suggestion   was   fiercely   opposed   by   China   and   ASEAN   which   argued   that   R2P   did   not   apply   to   natural   disasters.33  The  aforementioned  position  was  shared  by  UN  officials  since  they  believed  such  a  reframing   of  the  concept  could  jeopardize  the  consensus  already  reached  regarding  R2P.34  Thus,  it  can  be  stated   that  the  international  community,  regarding  the  scope  of  R2P,  largely  upheld  Secretary  General  Ban  Ki-­‐ Moon’s  approach  to  R2P,  ‘narrow,  but  deep’,  at  least  with  regards  to  the  former  part  of  the  statement.     Even  though  the  international  community  has  agreed  with  a  narrow  approach  to  R2P,  it  is  not  yet  clear  if   it   can   uphold   its   promise   for   an   approach   that   is  deep   i.e.   extensive   and   effective   in   its   implementation,   as   well.   In   his   report   of   2009,   the   Secretary   General   calls   upon   a   variety   of   efforts   to   be   undertaken                                                                                                                             30

 International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011   31  Jurgen  Haacke,  ‘‘Myanmar,  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  and  the  Need  for  Practical  Assistance,’’  Global  Responsibility  to   Protect  1,  no.  2  (2009),  p.  156.   32  Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.   33  Ibid.   34  Julian  Borger  and  Ian  MacKinnon,  ‘‘Bypass  Junta’s  Permission  for  Aid,  US  and  France  Urge,’’  Guardian  

under   the   three   pillars   of   R2P.   The   range   of   measures   he   proposes   in   his   report   range   from   further   research  into  why  some  states  fall  to  conflict  while  their  neighbours  do  perfectly  fine,  and  assisting  the   Human  Rights  Council  to  sharpening  its  focus,  to  creating  a  standing  or  standby  rapid-­‐response  civilian   and   police   capacity   for   emergencies.35   When   one   looks   at   the   suggestions   made   by   the   Secretary   General,  one  also  wonders  under  whose  authority  and  direction  these  suggestions  will  be  implemented   and  if  there  is  political  will  to  actually  make  all  these  mechanisms  functional.  One  of  the  best  examples   for  a  lack  of  political  will  to  actually  implement  R2P  is  Somalia  in  2006.  This  particular  conflict  has  not   commonly  been  viewed  through  the  prism  of  R2P,  despite  the  commission  of  war  crimes,  crimes  against   humanity,   and   ethnic   cleansing.36  In  fact,  international  response  was  slow  and  fragmented.  Even  though   after   months   of   diplomatic   talks,   the   United   States   introduced   a   draft   resolution   authorizing   the   deployment  of  peacekeepers  under  the  auspices  of  the  Intergovernmental  Authority  on  Development37   and  won  the  support  of  China,  Russia  and  African  members,  European  governments  expressed  certain   concerns.38   In   the   end,   the   peacekeeping   mission   was   a   lost   cause   from   the   beginning   given   a   gap   of   almost  $300  million  between  the  mission’s  projected  annual  cost  and  Western  donations.39  Accordingly,   the  General  Assembly  must  consider  the  practicality  of  the  suggestions  for  the  implementation  of  R2P.     This  links  in  strongly  to  another  concern  brought  about  by  critics  of  R2P  that  the  concept  could  be  used   as  an  ‘excuse’  by  more  economically  and  militarily  strong  states  to  intervene  in  states  that  are  weaker  in   terms   of   the   aforementioned   aspects,   and   the   selectivity   of   the   Security   Council.   Surely,   the   former   concern   has   been   brought   up   many   times   with   regards   to   humanitarian   intervention   as   well,   and   it   would   indeed   seem   like   a   consideration   if   one   would   take   a   look   at   how   Russia   invoked   R2P   in   the   context  of  Georgia.  Following  a  military  assault  by  Georgia’s  nationalist  government  to  restore  ‘order’  in   the  region  of  South  Ossetia,  Russia  responded  by  quickly  routing  and  pushing  the  Georgian  army  back   into   Georgia   proper,   taking   the   city   of   Gori.40   Subsequently,   Russia   argued   that   the   intervention   was   carried   out   in   the   light   of   commission   of   mass   atrocities   by   Georgia,   which   she   claimed   amounted   to   ‘genocide’.41  Additionally,  in  an  interview  given  to  BBC  Russian  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs  Sergei  Lavrov   stated  that  they  acted  in  their  responsibility  to  protect  the  Georgian  population  from  the  commission  of   mass   atrocities.42   Yet,   these   arguments   won   little   support   in   the   international   community,   which   can   be   said   to   prove   the   aforementioned   assertion   by   Secretary   General   Ban   Ki-­‐Moon   that   ‘the   best   way   to   discourage   States   from   misusing   the   responsibility   to   protect   for   inappropriate   purposes   would   be   to   develop  fully  the  United  Nations  strategy,  standards,  processes,  tools  and  practices  for  the  responsibility   to  protect.’  43      


 ‘‘Implementing  the  Responsibility  to  Protect:  Report  of  the  Secretary-­‐General,’’  A/63/677,  January  12,  2009.    Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.   37  Intergovernmental  Authority  on  Development  is  a  sub-­‐regional  organisation  in  East  Africa   38  Colum  Lynch,  ‘‘U.S.  Peacekeeping  Plan  for  Somalia  Criticized,’’  Washington  Post,  November  29,  2006.   39  Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.   40  Ibid.   41  International  Crisis  Group,  ‘‘Russia  vs.  Georgia:  The  Fallout,’’  Europe  Report  no.  195,  August  22,  2008,  esp.  pp.  2–3.   42  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs  of  the  Russian  Federation  Sergey  Lavrov,  interview  with  the  BBC,  Moscow,  August  9,  2008.   43  ‘‘Implementing  the  Responsibility  to  Protect:  Report  of  the  Secretary-­‐General,’’  A/63/677,  January  12,  2009.   36

The   selectivity   of   the   Security   Council,   on   the   other   hand,   is   another   discussion.   Critics   refer   to   the   selectivity  of  the  Security  Council  as  an  obstacle  before  the  effective  implementation  of  pillar  three  as   permanent  members  can  veto  the  declaration  of  certain  crises  as  situations  needing  the  endorsement  of   R2P.     Indeed,   there   is   truth   in   this   statement.   However,   it   should   be   noted   that   the   approval   of   the   Security  Council  is  not  the  only  way  the  United  Nations  can  legitimize  the  use  of  force.  The  ‘Uniting  for   Peace’  procedure  by  the  General  Assembly,  for  instance,  is  an  equally  legit  way  of  authorizing  military   intervention  in  cases  of  mass  atrocities.     Even  though  in  the  previous  sections  this  paper  has  continually  referred  to  criticisms  regarding  R2P  in   practice,   it   should   be   noted   that   there   are   also   instances   where   the   international   community   has   asserted   that   the   implementation   of   R2P   has   been   vastly   successful,   most   notably   during   the   post-­‐ election   violence   in   Kenya.   Following   the   eruption   of   ethnic   violence   in   the   aftermath   of   the   elections   was  promptly  addressed  by  the  involvement  of  eminent  persons  mandated  by  the  African  Union  and  led   by   Kofi   Annan,   with   the   support   of   Ban   Ki-­‐Moon.   These   efforts   were   also   supported   by   a   Presidential   statement   issued   by   the   Security   Council   and   pleas   by   the   Secretary   General’s   Special   advisor   for   prevention   of   genocide,   Francis   Deng,   who   reminded   Kenyan   leaders   of   their   responsibility   to   protect   their   population.   As   a   result   of   all   these   efforts,   the   country’s   president,   Mwai   Kibaki,   and   his   main   opponent,  Raila  Odinga,  were  eased  into  concluding  a  power-­‐sharing  agreement,  which  prevented  what   most  observers  feared  to  be  the  start  of  yet  another  violent  and  drawn  out  conflict.44     As  the  quoted  examples  show  there  are  many  difficulties  associated  with  the  effective  implementation   of   R2P.   Yet,   good   examples   also   prove   that   if   R2P   can   be   properly   framed   and   effectively   defined,   it   can   prevent  conflicts  that  could  otherwise  prove  deadly  for  many.  It  is  the  task  of  the  General  Assembly  to   clearly  draw  the  lines  that  demarcate  the  borders  of  R2P  and  discuss  the  aspects  of  R2P  not  generally   recognized  or  well  understood.     Conclusion     This  Background  Paper  attempted  to  provide  a  brief  history  of  R2P,  clarify  its  definition  and  demonstrate   the   concerns   R2P   raises   in   practice.   From   that   analysis,   it   could   be   stated   that   R2P   is   a   relatively   new   concept   that   is   firmly   grounded   in   principles   which   are   much   older.   It   stems   from   the   idea   that   with   sovereignty   comes   responsibility,   and   for   that   reason   R2P   manages   to   escape   most   criticism   its   close   cousin   humanitarian   intervention   needs   to   endure   with   respect   to   sovereignty.   Additionally,   it   is   heralded  as  a  concept  superior  to  humanitarian  intervention  when  it  comes  to  the  prevention  of  ,  war   crimes,  ethnic  cleansing  and  crimes  against  humanity,  as  it  has  more  tools  available  to  it.     Yet,   the   aforementioned   is   also   where   R2Ps   weakness   lies   since   there   are   so   many   possibilities   under   this  concept,  it  is  not  clear  under  whose  authority  and  direction  these  possibilities  might  be  turned  into   reality,  and  maybe  more  importantly  it  is  unclear  when  and  in  what  order  those  possibilities  should  be   employed.  As  some  critics  suggest,  the  aforementioned  does  make  R2P  more  susceptible  to  abuse.  Yet,                                                                                                                             44

 Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,  no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169.  

as   Secretary   General   Ban   Ki-­‐Moon   also   asserts,   this   is   not   a   problem   that   is   impossible   to   overcome   through   solid   formulation   of   policies,   standards   and   tools   to   implement   R2P,   the   effective   implementation   of   which   can   prevent   the   suffering   of   many.   That   is   where   the   role   of   the   General   Assembly   comes   in.   The   General   Assembly   is   the   single   most   suitable   forum   to   formulate   the   aforementioned   standards   and   policies,   and   that   is   the   task   entrusted   to   the   General   Assembly   in   TEIMUN  2011.     References   1. Ban   Ki-­‐moon,   ‘‘On   Responsible   Sovereignty:   International   Cooperation   for   a   Changed   World,’’   Berlin,  SG/SM11701,  July  15,  2008.   2. Barbara   Harff,   ‘No   Lessons   Learned   from   the   Holocaust?   Assessing   Risks   of   Genocide   and   Political   Mass   Murder   since   1955’,   American   Political   Science   Review,   Vol.   97,   No.1,   2003,   pp.   57-­‐73.   3. Bellamy,  Alex.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On”.  Ethics  &  International  Affairs,  24,   no.  2  (2010),  pp.  143–169   4. Colum  Lynch,  ‘‘U.S.  Peacekeeping  Plan  for  Somalia  Criticized,’’  Washington  Post,  November  29,   2006.   5. Evans,  Gareth  and  Mohamed  Sahnoun.  “The  Responsibility  to  Protect”.  Foreign  Affairs,  Volume   81,  No  6.  Pg.  99-­‐110   6. Global   Centre   for   the   Responsibility   to   Protect,   ‘‘Implementing   the   Responsibility   to   Protect:   Responding  to  the  UN  Secretary-­‐General’s  Report,’’  June  2009,  p.  1.   7. Julian   Borger   and   Ian   MacKinnon,   ‘‘Bypass   Junta’s   Permission   for   Aid,   US   and   France   Urge,’’   Guardian   8. Jurgen   Haacke,   ‘‘Myanmar,   the   Responsibility   to   Protect   and   the   Need   for   Practical   Assistance,’’   Global  Responsibility  to  Protect  1,  no.  2  (2009),  p.  156.   9. Minister   of   Foreign   Affairs   of   the   Russian   Federation   Sergey   Lavrov,   interview   with   the   BBC,   Moscow,  August  9,  2008.   10. ‘‘Implementing   the   Responsibility   to   Protect:   Report   of   the   Secretary-­‐General,’’   A/63/677,   January  12,  2009.   11. The   International   Commission   on   Intervention   and   State   Sovereignty.   “The   Responsibility   to   Protect”.  December  2001   12. International   Coalition   for   the   Responsibility   to   Protect   (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June  2011   13. UNSC,  S/PV.5319  (Resumption  1),  December  9,  2005,  pp.  3,  6.   14. UNSC,  S/PV.5319,  December  9,  2005,  pp.  10,  19   15. William   Schabas,   The   Genocide   Convention   at   Fifty,   Washington:   United   States   Institute   of   Peace,  Special  Report,  7  January  1999,  p.  8.        

Appendix    A  –  Relevant  Documents   2001   –   the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) Report on The Responsibility to Protect

2004   –   The   High-­‐level   Panel   on   Threats,   Challenges   and   Change,   "A   More   Secure   World,   Our   Shared   Responsibility"     2005  –  The  Secretary-­‐General,  "In  Larger  Freedom:  Towards  Development,  Security  and  Human  Rights   for  All"     2005  –  Responsibility  to  Protect  in  the  2005  World  Summit  Outcome  Document     2008  –  Secretary  General  Ban  ki-­‐Moon's  Berlin  Speech   2009  –  Secretar  y  General  Ban  ki-­‐Moon's  Report  "Implementing  the  Responsibility  to  Protect"         Appendix  B  –  R2P  in  the  African  Union   While   the   United   Nations   was   discussing   various   formulas   regarding   the   concept   of   R2P,   the   African   Union   was   having   a   seperate,   yet   relevant   discussion   on   the   concept.   In   2000,   the   African   Union   was   already   working   to   include   the   principles   underlying   R2P   in   the   Charter   of   the   African   Union.45   Accordingly,  Article  4(h)  of  the  Constitutive  Act  of  the  African  Union  affirms  the  ‘right   of   the   Union   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.’  Although  the  latter  does  not  convey  the  full   meaning   of   the   R2P,   which   establishes   a   responsibility   not   only   to   react,   but   also   prevent   and   rebuild,   it   still  is  significant  given  the  evolution  of  R2P  as  a  concept.   Following   this   endorsement,   the   African   Union   embraced   the   concept   of   the   responsibility   to   protect   and   accepted   the   Security   Council’s   authority   to   decide   on   the   legitimate   use   of   force   in   cases   of   genocide  and  crimes  against  humanity  in  a  document  known  as  the  Ezulwini  Consensus.  This  document   was   presented   at   the   African   Union’s   7th   Extraordinary   Session   of   the   Executive   Council   of   1-­‐8   March   2005,  in  Addis  Ababa,  Ethiopia.46                                                                                                                                   45

 International  Coalition  for  the  Responsibility  to  Protect  (ICRtoP),website:,  Accessed:  1  June   2011   46  ibid.  

Appendix  C   The  following  is  taken  from  Alex  Bellamy’s  article  titled  The  Responsibility  to  Protect—Five  Years  On.