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military action against Libya in March 2011, the sharp end of the RtoP stick—the use of military force—had been replaced by evasiveness and skittishness from diplomats, scholars, and policy analysts.
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