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From Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect

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Chapter Summary

Thirteen years ago the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty published its voluminous report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). As international law knows no central legislator and state practice is often contradictory and inconsequential, doctrine may fill an important lacuna by devising overarching structures in an otherwise largely disordered legal reality. This may at least partly explain why in this field the conceiving of new concepts and approaches is so popular. R2P is presented as a wholly new instrument that is equivalent to an epochal step of development in international law. R2P applies to grave human rights breaches with "large scale loss of life or large scale ethnic cleansing". R2P is now a firmly established concept, and therefore it should be fairly unproblematic to look back, even if a strong relationship with humanitarian intervention thereby becomes evident.

Keywords: ethnic cleansing; human rights; humanitarian intervention; international law; Responsibility to Protect (R2P)



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