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The security Council's Responsibility to Protect

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The objective of this paper is to spell out the legal consequences of the concept "responsibility to protect" (R2P), postulated as a binding legal principle of international law, for the Security Council and its members. The paper is a thought experiment, because the binding legal force of R2P is not settled. My argument is that, once R2P is accepted as a full-fledged legal principle, the Security Council (and its members) would be under a legal obligation to authorize or to take sufficiently robust action in R2P situations. The paper then discusses the problems engendered by the acceptance of such a material obligation and suggests a procedural obligation to justify inaction instead.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of International and Constitutional Law, University of Basel, Switzerland


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