02 February 2011
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World leaders made a historic commitment to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity in their endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) at the United Nations 2005 World Summit. The Responsibility to Protect stipulates that: the State carries the primary responsibility to protect its populations from mass atrocities; the international community has the responsibility to assist States in fulfilling this responsibility; and the international community should use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to protect populations from these crimes, including coercive measures, such as collective force through the UN Security Council.
Several states have begun to demonstrate their continued support for RtoP by including references to the norm in strategic policy papers, namely France, Germany, Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile Ghana, Denmark, Argentina, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Uruguay, and the United States have appointed focal points who will serve as national coordinators on RtoP.
In the attached paper, please find relevant excerpts referencing RtoP from the following documents:
See excerpts of document in chart here
1. Propose the adoption of Resolutions on RtoP. A resolution would contain the following elements:
• Recalling that the primary responsibility to protect populations from mass atrocity crimes and violations rests with the state; and that there is a responsibility of the international community when the state manifestly fails to protect its populations;
• Identifying that the circumstances reaching the threshold for the Responsibility to Protect relates to specific crimes, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing;
•Recognition that the Responsibility to Protect entails first and foremost the prevention of atrocities by measures short of military force;
•That the use of force is a last resort only to be authorized by the UN, to halt or avert mass atrocities when the state has been unwilling or unable to do so and peaceful means have failed.
2. Strengthen national and international capacity to prevent mass atrocities. This would include:
• Reviewing early-warning mechanisms specifically for the prevention of mass atrocities; economic capacity (assessment of resources available for structural and direct prevention, reaction and rebuilding); legal measures that must be put in place so that the government is able to prosecute or support prosecutions (including by joining ICC) and to adopt sanctions targeting individuals or corporations; and military doctrine and capacities;
• Ensuring coordination among governmental departments, in particular, ministries and agencies for foreign affairs, defense and development. For example, through the creation of focal points for RtoP;
• Calling for national security strategies to incorporate the protection of populations from atrocity crimes, wherever they occur, as a national security priority and to outline steps that the government is prepared to take diplomatically, financially, legally and militarily within own government and through regional organizations;
• Create emergency fund to respond to mass atrocities, aid victims.
3. Mobilize to prevent or react to specific crises where populations are suffering from mass atrocities:
• Encourage support for preventing and halting mass atrocities from other governments through the UN, through regional partnerships, and also to mitigate opposition from those governments that are principally opposed to international action directed at internal conduct of states;
• At early stages of conflict, hold hearings to assess government responses including multilateral and bilateral engagements;
• Support sending diplomatic missions to country;
•Allocate funds for the protection of victims.To see the list of all current ICRtoP members and their work on RtoP at the national, regional and international levels, seewww.responsibilitytoprotect.org.