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La Responsabilité de Protéger: Où en est l’Union Européenne?

Les Cahiers du RMES

Le Réseau Multidisciplinaire d’Études Stratégiques

November 2009


The Réseau Multidisciplinaire d’Etudes Stratégiques (RMES) included in its Fall 2009 publication Les Cahiers du RMES, an article by Galia Glume and Quentin Martens discussing RtoP and the extent to which the EU has implemented the norm, La Responsabilité de Protéger: Où en est l’Union Européenne?


The article begins with a brief summary of RtoP and its evolution in the international community. It discusses the developments that led to the formulation of the RtoP concept, including the adoption of international laws such as the Geneva Convention and the increase in international crises. The article also discusses the ICISS report and the presence of RtoP in the United Nations.


According to the authors, the European Union, though supportive of RtoP, has yet to define the concept or mainstream RtoP in EU activities. There have been contrasting views on the scope of RtoP within Member States of the EU. Specifically, France advocated that the scope be broadened to include recovery from natural disasters, while the European Commission maintained that RtoP should only apply to the four crimes. The EU Parliament, the organ which has been the most consistently supportive of the norm, has yet to decide how RtoP can be implemented and the role that Member States should play in this implementation. Though the phrase ‘Responsibility to Protect’ may be included in speeches, RtoP principles are not being put into practice. The article explores the diplomatic and coercive tools of the European Union and how these tools have been employed in the past.   


The authors conclude with several recommendations for the EU and call on Member States and EU organs to continue debating the norm, with input from civil society, to define the principles and apply them to EU law. Other recommendations include building early warning mechanisms within the EU and incorporating RtoP into the European Security and Defense Policy, appointing a Special Representative for RtoP, and creating a special military division or stand-by army dedicated to missions of protection.



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