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Conference: Responsibility to Protect and Ethics

17 octobre 2014

The responsibility to protect (R2P) is now at the centre of debates on the legal framework for the protection of civilian populations and is the subject of intense controversy in international law. A concept resulting from the work of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), endorsed by the international community at the World Summit in September 2005 and endorsed by the Security Council in its Resolution 1674 (Protection of civilians in armed conflict), it seeks to overcome the controversies inherent in debates on the « right to humanitarian intervention and humanitarian interference ».

The notion has been considered by many observers as a « brilliant innovation ». R2P would represent a decisive step forward in the global fight to protect the civilian population against ethnic cleansing and crimes of genocide, war and humanity. As such, it constitutes, according to the formula of Boisson de Chazourne and Luigi Condorelli, a « brilliant diplomatic invention ».

Its boundaries, content and applications are still controversial. It raises the question of the articulation between the international legal order, essentially based on the consent of States and the legal order of the United Nations, based on the Charter and secondary legislation and the values that underpin its existence. Its legitimacy has been questioned by critics but it continues to gain support in the North, confirmed by declarations from States in the South. The African Union is the first regional organisation which, while emphasising the principles of sovereignty and non-interference, has included R2P in its statutes since 2005 by adopting the Ezulwini Consensus.

The principle of non-interference and the failure to properly implement the responsibility to protect in Libya are among the factors that hinder R2P and tend to discredit it. While its consecration was intended to reassure both those concerned by Western interventionism and those concerned about strengthening the legitimacy of the Security Council, through its composition, in order to ensure that what is legal is also legitimate, empirical observation of recent military and humanitarian interventions shows that deploying troops and protecting civilians are two different things. Is R2P a credible response to the intervention dilemma as formulated by Kofi Annan in March 2000, at the time the ICISS was being set up? It is wise to ask yourself the question of the legal, ethical and operational criteria for such an intervention. When can we start working? Under what conditions? And with what means?

Responsibility to protect and ethics of armed humanitarian intervention, ethical and legal considerations based on the Libyan case

Speaker: Ernest-Marie MBONDA, Professor of Ethics, Philosophy of Law and Political Philosophy at the Catholic University of Central Africa (Yaoundé, Cameroon)

Legal scope of R2P in international humanitarian law and the criteria for its implementation

Speaker: Jean Baptiste HARELIMANA, Doctor in International Law and lawyer at the Paris Bar.

Responsibility to Protect and the Ethics of Armed Humanitarian Intervention: Download the Analysis Note by Prof. Ernest-Marie MBONDA

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17 octobre 2014
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