March 9, 2012
OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY:
'Responsibility to protect': the moral imperative to intervene in Syria: The moral imperative of the international 'responsibility to protect' doctrine, also known as R2P, compels the world to react and respond to the widespread persecution and killings in Syria. (James. P. Rudolph / March 8, 2012, CS Monitor)
R2P's current incarnation appeared in the Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, a committee created in 2001 under the auspices of the Canadian government but involving other members of the UN General Assembly. The central dilemma involved, on the one hand, the deeply rooted notion of sovereignty (a right that trumps nearly all others) and, on the other, the almost knee-jerk impulse to intervene on behalf of a besieged community.Thus the report had to find an accommodation. It did so not by turning international law on its head but rather by redefining sovereignty to include the element of responsibility. That is, sovereignty still involves exclusive control and supremacy over a defined territory, but it now includes the primary responsibility of the state to protect its own citizens from so-called mass atrocity crimes - i.e., genocide, crimes against humanity, etc.If the state cannot or will not live up to this basic responsibility, the traditional doctrine of non-intervention in internal affairs yields, and it is the international community's responsibility to react and respond.
The redefinition goes much deeper than that. Mass atrocities are not required. No regime is legitimate unless it governs by the consent of its people. Essentially, governments are required to meet Anglo-American standards or they are fair game.
Posted by Orrin Judd at March 9, 2012 6:10 AM