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The Responsibility to Protect as International Crimes Prevention

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image of Global Responsibility to Protect

In 2005 the UN’s World Summit endorsed the idea that its members have a responsibility to prevent and halt genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes. Insufficient attention has been paid to clarifying how the definitions and evolving jurisprudence relating to these international crimes can provide clarity in identifying the unlawful acts that the Responsibility to Protect seeks to prevent and to halt. Specifically, an analysis of the elements of the crimes establishes the following parameters: attacks directed against any civilian population, committed in a widespread or systematic manner, in furtherance of a state or organizational policy, irrespective of the existence of discriminatory intent or an armed conflict. This conclusion makes reference to four ‘crimes’ redundant: crime against humanity alone provides an appropriate framework for conceptualizing and implementing the Responsibility to Protect. Although analysts focused on international crimes tend to prioritize accountability, such an approach need not be reactive. The essence of the Responsibility to Protect is best characterized as international crimes prevention.


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