30 September 2011
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I. Sudan: Sudanese Armed Forces clash with rebel groups in Blue Nile and South Kordofan increase risk of civil war
1. International Crisis Group–Conflict Risk Alert: Stopping the Spread of Sudan’s New Civil War
2. Amnesty International –Sudan : Support for Human Rights Protection Must Not Be Based on Falsehoods
1.NGOs call for strong and urgent Security Council action on Syria
1. FIDH–Human Rights Council Draft Resolution on Yemen Out of Line with Past Action on Libya and Syria
1. Simon Adams, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect—R2P and the Libya Mission
2. Human Rights Watch–Guinea: Two years on, stadium massacre unpunished
1. Alex Bellamy- The Responsibility to Protect and the Problem of Regime Change
1. Workshop Report: "Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities"
12 November 2011 - Canadian Centre for Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P) Conference: Ten Years After the ICISS – Reflections for the Past and Future of the R2P
I. Sudan: Sudanese Armed Forces clash with rebel groups in Blue Nile and South Kordofan increase risk of civil war
Violent clashes continue in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions of Sudan. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir claimed on 28 September that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) would soon conquer the rebel stronghold, the town of Al-Kurmuk, in Blue Nile region, held by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N). The conflict between the two armies began on 1 September, but the SAF recently claimed that it had removed obstacles in the way of capturing the SPLM-N base. The International Crisis group reported on 26 September that the clashes in the Blue Nile increase the risk of civil war, and called for stronger mediation efforts by the AU High-Level Implementation (AUHIP) team, UN envoy Haile Menkerios and Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi to set clear benchmarks for the resolution of the conflict. The ICG recommended that the AUHIP, the UN envoy and Prime Minister Zenawi develop a strategy for an immediate cessation of hostilities and to make a commitment to inclusive national dialogue. Amnesty International warned the Human Rights Council that the ongoing human rights violations in both the Blue Nile state and South Kordofan remained insufficiently addressed in the HRC’s 29 September Resolution, which made note of the humanitarian situations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and called upon all parties to end the violence. The Resolution also called upon the OHCHR to support Sudan with technical support and training to improve human rights in the country.
1. Conflict Risk Alert: Stopping the Spread of Sudan’s New Civil War
International Crisis Group
26 September 2011
Civil war is spreading in Sudan, and concerted international action is needed to stem the violence and prevent it from engulfing the entire country and the wider region.
Khartoum’s most recent military offensive -- this time in Blue Nile state -- adds to fresh fighting between government and opposition forces in Southern Kordofan and recent hostilities in Abyei. With hundreds of thousands of people displaced, at least 20,000 of whom have fled into Ethiopia from Blue Nile in recent days, the growing war on multiple fronts poses serious dangers for the country, for its future relationship with the Republic of South Sudan and for the stability of the region as a whole.
The recently renewed conflict in these three areas is rooted in unimplemented provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Khartoum’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which ended a two-decade-long north-south civil war in Sudan that cost millions of lives. Those lagging issues include the failed democratic transformation of Sudan, stymied popular consultations, and the unresolved status of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces indigenous to the North.
After the end of the CPA, rather than negotiate with Sudanese opposition forces, NCP hardliners have opted for a military solution -- not an unusual policy response for the regime when confronted with opposition. This, however, is pushing Sudan’s disparate rebel movements and opposition forces together and could trigger a wider civil war for control of the country. (…)
The situation became volatile in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where many sided with the South during the civil war, but which remained in the North after Southern secession. The promised popular consultations were repeatedly delayed, and even when they started in Blue Nile state on September 2010, SPLM supporters and leadership lost confidence that their demand, namely the right to self-rule, would be met by Khartoum. The situation deteriorated further when Ahmed Haroun, a man indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, was re-elected governor of Southern Kordofan in July 2011, in elections the SPLM-North candidate, Abdel Azzizal-Hilu (also Deputy Chair of the SPLM-N and former Deputy-Governor of Southern Kordofan), claims were manipulated.(…)
After conflict broke out in the Blue Nile on 1 September, Khartoum formally banned the SPLM-N, arrested a number of prominent opposition leaders and declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile state and replaced its governor, Malik Agar.
Now, the rebel forces are openly attempting to unify and pursue a policy of regime change. On 8 August 2011, Abdel Azziz al-Hilu met with the leaders of the Darfur rebel movements who rejected the Doha peace process in Kouda (an SPLM-N controlled area in Southern Kordofan), and afterwards, they announced a new alliance with a common objective: to change the regime in Khartoum by the use of force and popular uprising. (…)
In an effort to defuse the situation, Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi met with Malik Agar and Al-Hilu in Addis Ababa on 21 August, and on the same day, he took Malik to Khartoum to negotiate a way out of the danger. However, President Bashir responded by saying his government was unwilling to engage in further external negotiations and would not commit to the rejected framework. The door for direct SPLM-NCP talks was closed.
On 8 September, the SPLM-N officially split from the SPLM, formed a new leadership structure under Agar and vowed to continue war against Khartoum. On 16 September, the SPLM-N submitted a “road map for political transformation” to Zenawi to discuss with Bashir. It lists six conditions to be met by the government before the SPLM-N would accept a cessation of hostilities, including reinstituting Governor Malik Agar, allowing humanitarian access to affected people and agreeing to international investigations into crimes committed in both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. If Khartoum agrees to its proposals, the SPLM-N would want a mediator to negotiate the road map. Since Zenawi’s 17 September trip to Khartoum, there has been no reaction from the NCP. Hundreds of thousands are now displaced, fighting has intensified in both states, and the rainy season ends in three weeks, foreshadowing increased conflict. (…)
What is urgently needed is a new approach -- supported by the key external actors, including friends of Khartoum -- to deal with the internal crisis in the North and the conclusion of post-CPA agreements between the North and South. The AU and UN should continue to support North-South talks, and both parties should be brought back to focus on the key agreements that must be reached, most immediate being economic arrangements.
Meanwhile, the international community should unite behind a single approach to begin addressing internal Sudan crises. A sustainable solution to these must focus on a cessation of hostilities and an inclusive national dialogue consisting of renegotiating the relationship between the centre and peripheries, and agreement on decentralisation and a redistribution of power leading to a new constitution, on the basis of which a referendum and new elections should be held.
A negotiated settlement of disputes is in the interest of all parties. Neither the SAF nor the SPLM-N can achieve an outright military victory. Bashir and SAF generals must be made to understand that the current military strategy of using tribal militias, ethnic cleansing and allowing insurgencies to fester, only increases the risk of fragmentation and prolongs international interference. Likewise, the newly aligned opposition will face similar military challenges; the NCP regime is weakened but not powerless, and an alliance of the disparate opposition groups is unsustainable in the long-term. Widespread instability in North Sudan would not only exact a great toll on the Sudanese people but jeopardise the future of South Sudan. The parties should be helped by their international partners to recognise the imperative of a non-military solution. (…)
2. Sudan: Support for Human Rights Protection Must Not Be Based on Falsehoods
26 September 2011
Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the African Group, working with the USA and other interested delegations, to seek the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan at the current (18th) session of the UN Human Rights Council (the Council). The Independent Expert serves a crucial role in providing a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation in Sudan and in encouraging improvement in respecting human rights in Sudan.
However, Amnesty International regrets that the draft resolution on Technical assistance to the Sudan in the field of human rights, fails to acknowledge the severity of persistent and ongoing human rights violations in Sudan and in that regard is wholly inadequate.
While acknowledging the significant political developments, including the successful holding of the referendum and subsequent independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, the Council must also condemn the human rights violations and abuses that continue to characterize the situation in Sudan and do everything it can to end them and prevent their recurrence.
The draft resolution fails to adequately reflect the gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law taking place in Southern Kordofan, where conflict has been ongoing since June 2011. Indiscriminate aerial bombardments, destruction and looting of civilian property and allegations of extra-judicial killings, and arbitrary arrests have resulted in over 200,000 people displaced. Since 1 September, conflict has also broken out in neighbouring Blue Nile state.
Contrary to Sudan’s assertions that “there are no restrictions for humanitarian access there ,” Amnesty International has documented numerous instances since June 2011, of humanitarian access repeatedly being denied or severely restricted in the region.
The Council must demand that the government of Sudan provide unfettered access to humanitarian organizations in all affected areas, in order to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the population. It must remain seized of the situation throughout Sudan while giving particular attention to these regions, including by requesting the Independent Expert to present a report on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to the Council’s next session in March 2012 (…)
Civilians and police were killed in Rastan on 30 September, a town north of Damascus, where residents report that 1000 soldiers, who defected from the Syrian army, have gathered and begun fighting Syrian security forces. Offensive operations from both sides may dramatically increase the already horrific level of violence against civilians. Amnesty International has continued to report cases of detention and torture of Syrian activists, most recently on 27 September when police threatened and attempted to arrest a Syrian man who filmed a protest in Damascus.
Syria was given some attention during the opening debate of the 65th session of the General Assembly. Notably, Botswana’s Vice President Mompati Merafhe criticized the Security Council for inaction in the face of crimes against humanity, saying,
“The Council’s condemnation of human rights violations and the military assault on civilians by Syria came rather too late. It failed to convey a clear and unequivocal message of revulsion on the Syrian authorities and to urge them to respect international humanitarian law and human rights. Crimes against humanity have been committed in Syria and the leadership in that country should answer through the ICC.”
In an effort to break a deadlock in the Council caused by differing opinions over sanctions, France, Britain, Germany and Portugal proposed a new draft Resolution in the UN Security Councilon 28 September. The new draft represented a compromise, avoiding sanctions unless the violence continued while condemning the ongoing attacks on civilians. Russia rejected possible sanctions against Syria, and circulated a second draft resolution simply condemning the violence on both pro- and anti- government sides. The Security Council continues to deliberate, and may vote on a revised Resolution on or after 30 September. Meanwhile, the Syrian National Council is set to meet in Istanbul on 1 October to try to unify the opposition coalition.
1. Call for strong and urgent Security Council action on Syria
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
30 September 2011
Eight NGOs sent a letter to Member States in the Security Council urging a strong and rapid response to the crisis in Syria. The letter was signed by FIDH, Amnesty International, Avaaz, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Human Rights Watch, Reports without Borders, and United to End Genocide.
We, the eight human rights and advocacy organizations below, write to urge you to support a strong resolution in the Security Council on the situation in Syria. After months of ongoing human rights violations that very likely amount to crimes against humanity, it is necessary for the Security Council urgently to take formal action.
Since mass protests began in mid-March, the United Nations has estimated at least 2600 civilians have been killed across Syria, the majority of them protesters and local residents shot with live ammunition by the security forces and army. Thousands of others have been arrested or held incommunicado at unknown locations where torture is reported to be rife. Over 100 people have reportedly died in detention in highly suspicious circumstances.
We strongly urge Security Council members to support a resolution that, at the very least:
-Calls on the Syrian authorities to uphold
their responsibility to protect and immediately
cease systematic killing, use of torture and unlawful
detention of civilians.
-Demands that Syria abide by its international
obligations to respect fundamental human rights,
including the rights to freedom of expression and
-Demands that Syria cooperate fully with the
international Commission of Inquiry created by the
Human Rights Council, and provide it with immediate
and unfettered access, especially to places of
-Demands access for humanitarian missions, foreign
independent media and independent human rights
organizations and for the release of detained human
rights defenders and journalists.
-Clearly states that those individuals that have
committed crimes must be held accountable.
-Requires states to prevent the delivery of weapons to Syria.
-Articulates that there will be consequences if the
Syrian regime fails to comply with the Security Council measures.
Many bilateral, regional, and multilateral diplomatic efforts have failed to change Syria’s approach: government forces have continued to kill, arbitrarily detain and torture peaceful protesters. It is therefore incumbent upon the Security Council to do more than merely condemn the violence in Syria. At a minimum, in order to be effective, any Security Council resolution should contain the elements outlined above. During the recent UN General Assembly Debate, a wide cross-section of member states expressed concern about Syria. Strong action from the Council will bolster its credibility in the face of ongoing violations. (…)
Read the full letter.
Government forces clashed with protestors again on 29 September, breaking a three-day period of calm, in both Sanaa and Taiz, killing at least one civilian and wounding others. Before the break in violence, Yemen experienced a week of brutal clashes that left over 100 dead. Supporters of tribal leader Shiekh Sadek al-Ahmar (whom protestors have rallied around in their quest to topple the government) have been struggling against those loyal President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Unexpectedly, Saleh returned to Yemen on 23 September after spending the last three months in Saudi Arabia recovering from a 3 June assassination attempt. Saleh immediately called for a ceasefire and early elections, but maintained that he would not be removed from power.
Despite constant media coverage of the events in Yemen and commentary from civil society, the response from the international community remains minimal. On 24 September, the Security Council issued a press statement urging all sides to halt violent attacks, allow access to humanitarian agencies and to approach negotiations on the basis of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative, would provide immunity for President Saleh provided he transfers power to the Yemeni Vice President. Later on 29 September, the Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution proposed by Yemen, following an HRC interactive dialogue on 19 September. These did not deter criticism from FIDH that the Council afforded more attention to the crises in Syria and Libya than the violence against civilians perpetrated in Yemen. The HRC’s Resolution condemned all violations of human rights in Yemen and recommended that Yemen address the report of the High Commissioner and move forward with negotiations based on the GCC initiative. The High Commission for Human Rights was asked to facilitate capacity building to establish a human rights institution and to provide a progress report during the Council’s nineteenth session.
1. Human Rights Council Draft Resolution on Yemen Out of Line with Past Action on Libya and Syria
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
27 September 2011
While Yemen is facing escalating violence and bloodshed, the draft resolution currently under consideration at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) fails to call for any measures to protect the civilian population. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organizations in Yemen, the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC) and Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) reiterate their calls to the UNHRC to adequately address the crisis in the country.
“The Council should accord the same attention to violations committed in Yemen as for those in Libya and Syria, and immediately address the crackdown in Yemen through the establishment of an international, independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry. The Council has the duty to take all necessary measures to ensure an immediate end to these grave human rights violations in Yemen, which, according to information received, could amount to international crimes,” said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH. In the same vein, the last report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also called for international investigations into incidents having resulted in a heavy loss of life. This is above all due to the ongoing climate of violence in Yemen, which constitutes a strain on the government’s ability to conduct truly impartial inquiries of its own.
Over the past week, more than 150 people have died in Yemen, most of which were unarmed demonstrators. Security forces and their affiliates have been employing live ammunition and snipers against protestors gathered in several areas of Sanaa and in Taiz. On September 24, witnesses and medics reported attacks involving heavy artillery by government forces on the main opposition protest camp in Sanaa, which led to the deaths of at least 17 protesters and opposition-allied soldiers. Armed clashes have escalated between Government security forces and anti-Government armed groups since September 18.
FIDH, HRITC and SAF express their utmost concern at the ongoing hostilities in Yemen and urge all parties to refrain from using violence and to guarantee the protection of civilians. Moreover, our organisations warn against the high risk of civil war which will further impact on the dire humanitarian situation that the population is facing.
Over the past few days, Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has announced his acceptance of the political initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council and his commitment to transferring power through elections. Our organisations recall that any political solution to the Yemeni crisis should not contravene the rights of victims and their families for seeking truth, justice and reparation. Impunity for those guilty of pepetrating severe human rights violations cannot constitute an option under any circumstances.
Read full article.
1. R2P and the Libya Mission
Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
28 September 2011
The Palestinian bid for statehood and traffic congestion weren't the only things going on in New York last week as the 66th U.N. General Assembly convened. One of the issues privately discussed by foreign ministers at the United Nations was the "responsibility to protect," or R2P. This concept was central to the U.N. mandate to protect civilians in Libya, which led to NATO's aerial involvement there. As the dust settles in Tripoli, it has become necessary to refute a powerful myth that has developed among some pundits and politicians. That myth is that R2P bestows "the right to intervene" in Libya. (…)
It is, therefore, time to remind ourselves of two essential facts.
The first is that NATO's action was clearly the lesser of two evils. If Benghazi had fallen to Kadafi, there is every indication that widespread, indiscriminate and deadly violence against civilians would have resulted. Former British statesman Paddy Ashdown's recent comment that we should measure our success by "the horrors we prevent, rather than the elegance of the outcome," is relevant in this regard.
Second, before February Libya wasn't on anyone's watch list for mass atrocity crimes. Kadafi's regime was a renowned abuser of human rights, but it had not previously demonstrated an inclination to bomb its own cities or indiscriminately massacre people. The commission of mass atrocities was, like the Arab Spring that provoked it, sudden and unexpected.
The challenge after Libya is how to improve our capacity to respond to future R2P risk situations. Those of us whose business is preventing mass atrocity crimes need to get better at monitoring countries, states and conflicts before they reach "boiling point." When things do reach a critical stage, we need to ring alarm bells in a way that not only provides adequate warning but mobilizes meaningful responses.
We need to coordinate these responses locally, regionally and internationally. We need better policy instruments, learning not only from Libya and Ivory Coast but also Guinea, Kenya and other places where R2P has been invoked but military force was unnecessary. The standard Security Council menu — which ranges from envoys and mediation, to referral to the ICC, sanctions or a no-fly zone — is inadequate. We need a wider range of preventive, mediated and coercive options.
The situation in Libya moved so rapidly that it was too late for preventive responses. When a regime is already wantonly killing its own people, the options for policymakers are narrow, but that doesn't mean alternatives don't exist.
The bottom line is we don't need to choose between prevention or intervention, or between sovereignty and universalism. We need timely, proportional, multidimensional reactions to all R2P risk situations. We need a U.N. Security Council dedicated to nuance. Hesitation and inaction remain a recipe for complicity with evil.
Finally, we can't be distracted by the obfuscation of those who think that Kadafi should have been left to his own devices. Or those who argue that Libya is the sole benchmark by which to measure R2P. R2P is not regime change with mood lighting. Each crisis is unique. But a warning to President Bashar Assad of Syria: We are watching and learning.
Read the full article.
2. Guinea: Two years on, stadium massacre unpunished
Human Rights Watch
27 September 2011
No one has been held to account two years after Guinean security forces gunned down unarmed protesters at an opposition rally in Conakry, the capital, Human Rights Watch said today. The Guinean government needs to do more to ensure justice for victims of the massacre on September 28, 2009, Human Rights Watch said.
The killings occurred as tens of thousands of protesters gathered peacefully at the main stadium in the capital to protest the continued military rule of Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, then the country’s leader. Members of the Presidential Guard, gendarmes, anti-riot police, and militia in civilian clothes opened fire on the crowds in the packed stadium and on people struggling to escape. At least 150 people were killed, and more than 100 women at the rally suffered brutal sexual violence at the hands of the security forces.
“The stadium massacre was shocking, and yet two years later no one has been held to account,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The Guinean government should learn from the country's recurring cycles of violence that stability will not last if justice is swept under the rug.”
Human Rights Watch and the United Nations-led International Commission of Inquiry concluded that the killings, rapes, and other abuses by the security forces on September 28 and the days that followed were part of a widespread and systematic attack, and as such, very likely constituted crimes against humanity.
In October 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor confirmed that the situation in Guinea was under analysis, and that his office was determining whether to initiate a formal investigation. The ICC may open an investigation for the most serious crimes if member countries are unable or unwilling to do so. Later the same month, the government of Guinea committed to investigate and bring those responsible for the attacks to justice.
Three judges were named to an investigative panel in early 2010, and some progress has been made. In May 2010, the ICC reported that the investigating judges had interviewed 200 people. The following month, two people were reported detained for their alleged involvement in the crimes. Since then, a third person has been charged with crimes related to the September 2009 killings and rapes.
On January 19, 2011, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité, the head of the Presidential Guard, or red beret troops, at the time of the massacre, who has been directly implicated in the crimes. (…)
However, there has been scant information regarding the status of the investigation in the last several months and no indication of government efforts to locate the more than 100 bodies believed to have been disposed of secretly by the security forces, Human Rights Watch said. In addition, the military hierarchy has failed to put on administrative leave, pending investigation, soldiers and officers known to have taken part in the September 2009 violence. (…)
In addition, Human Rights Watch has identified several key challenges to ensuring that domestic investigations and prosecutions are conducted fairly, impartially, and effectively. These include the absence of a witness protection program, inadequate material resources for the judiciary, and antiquated penal codes. To ensure meaningful justice for the serious international crimes committed in 2009, the Guinean authorities should promptly and credibly address these issues, Human Rights Watch said. (…)
After demonstrations in Conakry on 27 September resulted in loss of life, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on authorities to allow peaceful protest and ensure that security forces avoid use of force against civilians. Looking ahead, the SG called on all parties to facilitate transparent and peaceful elections by settling disputes with peaceful resolutions.
See also International Crisis Group Report, ‘Guinea: Putting the transition back on track”.
I. The Responsibility to Protect and the Problem of Regime Change
27 September 2011
The use of attack helicopters by the UN mission in Cote d’Ivoire to oust Laurent Gbagbo from power in April 2011 and NATO’s decision to interpret UN Security Council Resolution 1973as permission for the use of airpower to assist the Transitional National Council of Libya to overthrow the Gaddafi regime provoked a strong response from several UN member states. Long-standing critics of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), Nicaragua and Venezuela, used particularly blunt language to criticise what they saw as the UN’s complicity in neo-imperialist interventionism dressed up in humanitarian garb. Nicaragua complained: “Once again we have witnessed the shameful manipulation of the slogan “protection of civilians” for dishonourable political purposes, seeking unequivocally and blatantly to impose regime change, attacking the sovereignty of a State Member of the United Nations and violating the Organization’s Charter. Once again, the logic of interventionism and hegemony has prevailed through a disastrous decision with incalculable potential consequences for tens of millions of individuals worldwide.” (…)
More worryingly than these stark criticisms from two of the half a dozen or so unreconstructed opponents of RtoP, however, was the fact that three members of the emerging ‘BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group – all of whom had moved over the past few years towards an accommodation with the new principle – also spoke out strongly against the UN’s and NATO’s actions in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya. (…)
The relationship between RtoP and regime change has long been an uncomfortable one. The principal objections to the 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty which coined the phrase Responsibility to Protect came from states and commentators worried about the widened potential for abuse that may accompany any relaxing of the general prohibition on force contained in Article 2(4) of the Charter.
In the light of these concerns, it is hardly surprising that the consensus that emerged on RtoP in 2005 depended to a great extent on efforts to distinguish it from the concept regime change. This was achieved in two principal ways. First, and most importantly, paragraph 139 of the World Summit Outcome Document stated quite categorically that any use of force must be expressly authorised by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter. (…) Second, the agreement was just as emphatic on the scope of RtoP. Whilst ICISS had failed to pin down precisely what it was that RtoP referred to (listing all manner of different forms of human insecurity at different junctures of the report), the 2005 World Summit agreement was absolutely clear that the principle referred to the crimes of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Because each of these crimes was already prohibited and because states committed to exercise their RtoP through the UN Charter, the principle emerged not as a new legal principle but rather as a political commitment to implement already existing law. Thus conceived, RtoP could only give rise to the use of force when the Security Council judged it necessary in order to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity or to protect populations from these four crimes.
Neither UNOCI (UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire)’s activities in Cote d’Ivoire nor NATO’s in Libya contravened the letter of this consensus. Both acted under Chapter VII resolutions which authorised the use of force to protect civilians. In the strictest sense, therefore, the problem was not so much the use of force to protect civilians from mass atrocities – in both cases this had been duly authorised by the Security Council – but the facts that this use of force resulted in regime change and that this result was intended by those responsible for implementing the Security Council’s decisions even though the Council itself had not specifically authorised regime change. Given the sensitivities identified earlier, it is not surprising that the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on RtoP, Edward Luck, responded to questions about the link between RtoP and regime change by insisting that the two were distinct. He told the Council on Foreign Relations, ‘I should say that it isn’t the goal of the responsibility to protect to change regimes. The goal is to protect populations. It may be in some cases that the only way to protect populations is to change the regime, but that certainly is not the goal of the R2P per se’. But Luck’s answer rightly points to a fundamental dilemma: in situations where a state is responsible for committing genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and/or crimes against humanity, how can the international community exercise its responsibility to protect populations without imposing regime change?
It may well be that Luck is right to argue that in some situations only regime change will do – I think he is. But because of the deep concern on the part of many member states that RtoP could give rise to a regime change agenda and the equally deep global opposition to such an agenda, it is incumbent on us to explore the relationship more deeply in order to ascertain whether there are ways of maintaining a clear distinction between RtoP and regime change without sacrificing the protection of civilians. This is particularly urgent given the evidence that among other factors, the perception among the BRICS that the UN and NATO went too far in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya has encouraged them to block a timely, decisive and united response to the killing of civilians by the governments in Syria and Yemen.
1. Workshop Report: "Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities"
Madariaga– College of Europe Foundation and the Folke Bernadotte Academy
Workshop and Dialogue Forum, 12-13 May 2011
Within the framework of the Programme "Building Coherence, Skills and Synergies in Conflict Prevention", the Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation and the Folke Bernadotte Academy, with the support of the Hungarian Presidency of the EU and in close cooperation with the EU and the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office held a conference to promote the cause of genocide prevention. During the two-day event, over 80 participants focused on sharing experiences, lessons learned and best practices on how to narrow the gap between early warning and timely action on genocide prevention, and discussed the ways to create further cooperation within the international community.
Conference speakers included Ragnar Angeby of the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Véronique Arnault of the European External Action Service, Andrea Bartoli of George Mason University, Mô Bleeker of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Simona Cruciani of the Office of the United Nations Special Advisor on Genocide Prevention, Károly Gruber of the Hungarian Permanent Representation to the European Union, Thordis Ingadottir of Reykjavik University, Jan Jařab of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Luis Peral of the European Union Institute for Security Studies, Jonathan Prentice of the International Crisis Group, Michael Sahlin of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, James Smith of Aegis Trust, Olivia Swaak-Goldman of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Gyorgy Tatar of the Council of the European Union, Catherine Woollard of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, Richard Wright of the European External Action Service and ICRtoP Deputy Director Sapna Chhatpar Considine.
The May 2011 workshop also follows on from other events on prevention of genocide and mass atrocities that have taken place in Europe. On 15 November 2010 in Paris, France, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Mémorial de la Shoah organised a symposium entitled “Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities: Goals and Challenges of International Cooperation”. The key themes discussed at the event centred on the need for effective implementation rather than the normative consensus on genocide and humanitarian intervention. Recommendations from the symposium suggested that the EU should take a high-level panel approach to the prevention of mass atrocities in order to build Europe-wide support, the creation in each government of a senior level “focal point” on prevention and the need for an international network for genocide prevention comprised of governments, regional organisations and NGOs. (...)
Sapna Chhatpar Considine, Deputy Director of the International Coalition for Responsibility to Protect, discussed the entrenchment of the Responsibility to Protect in EU doctrine and the potential opportunities for region-to-region learning and cooperation on the implementation of the norm. Ms. Considine highlighted the EU-Africa Joint Strategy and the EU-ASEAN plan of action as a useful entry points for EU engagement in other regions.
Read the full report.
1. Conference: Ten Years After the ICISS – Reflections for the Past and Future of the R2P
Canadian Centre for Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P)
12 November 2011, 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
Munk School of Global Affairs
University of Toronto
On 12 November 2011, the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P) will host a conference, “Ten Years After the ICISS – Reflections for the Past and Future of the R2P.” The event will take place between 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM at the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs. Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect Dr. Edward Luck will give the keynote remarks.
8:30am- 9:30am: Registration/breakfast
9:30am- 9:45am: Welcome remarks from co-chairs & introduction to our group
9:45am-10:15am: Keynote speech by Dr. Ed Luck, Special Adviser to the UNSG on R2P
10:15am-12:00pm: Panel 1>> Normative Panel
12:00pm- 1:00pm: Lunch break
1:15pm- 3:00pm: Panel 2 >> Legal Panel
3:00pm- 3:15pm: Coffee break
3:15pm- 5:00pm: Panel 3 >> Policy Panel
5:00pm- 5:15pm: Closing remarks
5:30pm- onwards: Cocktail reception *(to be confirmed)