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Should we stop the Next genocide?
Carnegie Council
Erik Schechter
19 August 2010
Erik Schechter is a freelance security affairs writer and former correspondent for both The Jerusalem Post and Jerusalem Report.
(…) clash between legality and morality is what galvanized the ill-starred Responsibility to Protect (R2P) movement, which argued that the international community has the responsibility to stop genocides—even if doing so means attacking a sovereign state. The R2P-backed 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty even says that, if the UN obstructs anti-genocide efforts, "concerned states may not rule out other means to meet the gravity and urgency of that situation—and that the stature and credibility of the United Nations may suffer thereby."
However, repeated attempts in 2004-2005 to get the UN to ground Responsibility to Protect in law led to a watered-down, multilateral version of humanitarian intervention that differed little from previous understandings of Security Council power. So, for example, the 2005 World Summit Outcome document states "we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis …"
R2P efforts notwithstanding, Byers thinks that the ban on humanitarian intervention should stand lest this new exception to the rule be misused. If a country is truly incensed by international inaction on genocide, let it do what must be done. The intervention would still be illegal, but if carried out for the right reasons, the "act will be forgiven." (...)

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