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RtoP Alive and Well after Libya

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2011


With the exception of Raphael Lemkin's efforts on behalf of the 1948 Genocide Convention, no idea has moved faster in the international normative arena than “the responsibility to protect” (RtoP), which was formulated in 2001 by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). Friends and foes have pointed to the commission's conceptual contribution to reframing sovereignty as contingent rather than absolute, and to establishing a framework for forestalling or stopping mass atrocities via a three-pronged responsibility—to prevent, to react, and to rebuild. But until the international military action against Libya in March 2011, the sharp end of the RtoP stick—the use of military force—had been replaced by evasiveness and skittishness from diplomats, scholars, and policy analysts.

Roundtable: Libya, RtoP, and Humanitarian Intervention
Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2011

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2 See Barnett, Michael and Weiss, Thomas G., Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread (London: Routledge, 2011)Google Scholar.

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