11 July 2012
Facebook: Join us
Twitter: Follow us
Become an NGO Supporter
II. Syria: No sign of relenting violence as the international community searches for a new peace plan
1. International Federation for Human Rights –Strengthening the Mandate of the UN Mission in Syria
2. Hugh White, Sydney Morning Herald –A Syrian intervention must be weighed against the costs
3. Tim Dunne and Sarah Teitt, Lowy Institute for International Policy: The Interpreter –Firing blanks at R2P
1. Human Rights Watch –African Union: Support International Justice
2. Coalition for the ICC –Thomas Lubanga Sentenced to 14 Years Imprisonment in First ICC Trial: Global Coalition Welcomes Sentencing as a Milestone in Fight against Impunity in eastern DRC
1. Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P –R2P Ideas in Brief: The Responsibility to Prevent – Applying a Casual Framework to the 3 Pillars
2. Louise Arbour, The Globe and Mail –For Justice and Civilians, don’t rule out regime change
3. Resonance FM Radio –Talking Africa: Interview with West Africa Civil Society Institute
4. Fergus Watt, World Federalist Movement Canada –Implementing R2P: It doesn’t get any easier
1. Oliver Stuenkel, Post-Western World –Emerging powers remain divided on R2P and RwP
2. Alex Bellamy, Griffith Asia Institute –Stopping genocide and mass atrocities – the problem of regime change
3. Omar Halim, Centre for Non Traditional Security Studies –The Responsibility to Protect – A Way Forward
4. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung –The Responsibility to Protect: Views from South Africa, Brazil, India and Germany
5. Julia Hoffman and Andre Nollkaemper, Amsterdam University Press —Book: Responsibility to Protect – From Principle to Practice
6. W. Andy Knight, Frazer Egerton, New Book: The Routledge Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect
17-19 July, Discussion- Peacebuilding in Rwanda: A Conversation with Survivor and Peacebuilder, The Aegis Trust
24 July, Symposium – Imagine the Unimaginable: Ending Genocide in the 21st century,United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
26 July, Lecture – The Responsibility to Protect, New Zealand Red Cross
On 19 June 2012, the Permanent Missions of Australia, Hungary, Nigeria, Thailand, and Uruguay to the United Nations in Geneva organized a side-event in the Human Rights Council to discuss the Council’s role in implementing the human rights dimension of the responsibility to protect. The event focused specifically on the Council’s capacity to operationalize of the first two pillars of RtoP, namely, the protection responsibilities of the state; and the commitment of the international community to provide assistance to states in fulfilling their protection obligations through capacity building and assistance. Participants also touched on best practices and current initiatives in the prevention of mass atrocities. The event included an expert panel, featuring General Martin Luther Agwai, Deputy Military Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Peacekeeping Operations; H.E. Mr. José Luis Cancela, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations in New York; Edward Luck, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect; H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and past-President of the Human Rights Council, and Dr Csaba Törő, Senior research fellow, Hungarian Institute of International Affairs. Gareth Evans, former Australian Foreign Secretary, moderated the panel and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, participated via a video message. Following the panel, representatives from permanent missions and civil society were invited to give informal remarks.
The side-event was the first occasion during which members of the Human Rights Council were invited to discuss the Responsibility to Protect in Geneva, and represented an important step in promoting RtoP advocacy as well as implementation in the Council. William Pace, Executive-Director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, a Steering Committee Member of the ICRtoP, attended and participated in the event on behalf of the Coalition. Mr. Pace responded to the experts’ presentations and, highlighting the importance of the side-event in a statement distributed to participants, strongly supported “the initiative of the Human Rights Council to devote increased attention to the Responsibility to Protect and to assess its capacity to assist states in protecting their populations from egregious threats to humanity.” Mr. Pace’s statement also reminded that, “The Human Rights Council is a key institution for the implementation of this new norm, serving both as a forum for rapid consideration of potential threats, and can authorize a variety of preventive tools to assist Member States in protecting populations.”
See the summary of the event from the United Nations Association in the United Kingdom, whose Peace and Security Programmes Coordinator, James Kearney, attended the meeting.
ICRtoP will collect the statements given by expert panelists during the event. Thus far, we encourage you to view the remarks by:
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
Gareth Evans, former Foreign Minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group, Moderator
Please also view the following statements distributed from the floor by civil society:
William Pace, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
Naomi Kikoler, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
II. Syria: No sign of relenting violence as the international community searches for a new peace plan
Crisis continues with violence from government and opposition
Violence from both government and opposition fighters has continued unabated since the 16 June suspension of the United Nations Observer Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). On 9 June, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recorded an updated death toll of 17,000 killed since the start of 16-month uprising. This followed a 22 June report from UN Relief Coordination that 1.5 million Syrians were in need of humanitarian aid and assistance. On 23 June, the Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, announced that he had been granted access to Syria from 23 to 25 June -- the first time since the Commission was established in September 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)-- and entered the country to begin talks with senior Syrian officials with the aim of starting an investigation. Pinheiro reported on 27 June, in a statement during a meeting of the 20th session of the HRC, that the Commission believed that, “further militarization of the crisis will be catastrophic for the people of Syria and the region,” and that, “the cessation of hostilities is of paramount importance.”
According to opposition groups, 29 June was recorded as having the highest death toll in a single day since the start of the crisis, with 125 confirmed civilian deaths and an estimated 65 deaths of opposition fighters. Attacks from both the opposition and government forces remained steady, including an account of opposition fighters attacking a pro-Assad television station on 27 June as well as continuous shelling by Syrian forces in Homs and Rastan. On 3 July, Human Rights Watch issued a report, “Torture Archipelago: Arbitrary Arrests, Torture and Enforced Disappearances in Syria’s Underground Prisons since March 2011”, providing details on 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies, including the commanders in charge, torture methods used, locations, and agencies responsible as identified by detainees and defectors. As internal strife continued throughout the country, dozens of military troops defected, as well as general Manaf Tlas, a close friend of President Assad. A second high-level defection came on 11 July as Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Al Fares, left government in protest of Assad’s crackdown. “This is just the beginning of a series of defections on the diplomatic level. We are in touch with several ambassadors,” said Mohamed Sermini, a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC). Following the unprecedented levels of violence in early July and the inability of UNSMIS to fulfill its mandate, the Mission’s Chief Military Obsever Major-General Robert Mood announced on 5 July that UNSMIS would restructure itself in an attempt to resume activity.
Member States and Annan search for new peace plan
On 21 June, the Arab League responded to accusations by the United States that Russia was supplying arms and helicopters to Syrian forces, and called on Russia to stop providing military supplies as well as for the mandate of UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan to be strengthened. On 28 June, Annan proposed a “unity government” in which President Bashar al-Assad and opposition members would form a transitional government to end the civil war. The plan was backed by many states, including all five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, but rejected by the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights because it did not call for Assad to step down. It was also rejected by Assad himself who remained opposed to any external solution.
The UN-backed Action Group met on 30 June and included the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar and the European Union. The Group forged an agreement for peaceful political transition in Syria and released details in a communiqué which calls for a transitional government that “could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups … but would exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine ... the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation.” Potential progress was made on 9 July when Annan and Assad stated that they had agreed to a peace approach to be presented to the opposition.
On 11 June, Russia announced its intention not to join an arms embargo on Syria and promised additional supplies to Assad’s government, and held consultations with the opposition in an attempt to move towards “realistic and constructive approaches,” according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Also on 11 June, Kofi Annan briefed the UN Security Council (UNSC) and Russia circulated a draft resolution amongst UNSC members proposing a three-month extension of UNSMIS. Britain, France and the United States were prepared to counter the proposal with a draft of their own which would combine the six-point plan with a plan for political transition under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
1. Strengthening the Mandate of the UN Mission in Syria
International Federation for Human Rights
11 July 2012
This open letter was issued to UN Security Council Ambassadors from Amnesty International, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Human Rights Watch.
We write to urge you to renew the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) and to ensure that it retains a strong human rights mandate when the Security Council discusses the future of the mission on July 18, 2012.
Sixteen months into a crisis that, according to the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a Syrian monitoring group, has so far left more than 14,000 people dead, the situation is as urgent as ever. The Syrian government continues to commit human rights violations across the country as part of a widespread, and systematic, attack on its civilian population accompanied by arbitrary detention and torture. As well as crimes against humanity, government forces are also responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes. Meanwhile, human rights abuses, including possible war crimes, by the armed opposition are also on the rise, despite diplomatic initiatives to stop the violence.
We believe that in large part the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate because the perpetrators of violations believe that they can act with impunity, as there has been limited international capacity to monitor developments and independently investigate events or verify claims. Indeed, under its current configuration, it has been difficult for UNSMIS to even monitor the distinct human rights elements of the six-point plan. A scaled-up human rights component would not only give the required attention to all human rights issues underpinning the six point plan, it would help provide a measure of protection for Syria’s civilian population by acting as the impartial “eyes and ears” of the international community. As outlined in Ban Ki-Moon’s recent report on UNSMIS, the mission “can play a valuable role in supporting political dialogue and local confidence building, in establishing facts on the ground, and reporting clearly and objectively to the international community”. (…)
We therefore strongly urge Security Council members to strengthen the human rights monitoring capabilities of UNSMIS under the new configuration which, according to the report UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent to the Council on July 6, should “enhance attention to the political track and rights issues“. As the Secretary General explained, “continued efforts on detention and rights issues would complement and benefit from the Mission’s primary political engagement functions“
In particular, we recommend the following measures:
The resolution renewing UNSMIS should explicitly include a strong and adequately staffed human rights component, providing the mission with sufficient expertise, including gender and children’s rights experts, and equipment to document and report on crimes against humanity, war crimes and other grave human rights abuses committed by all sides. UN human rights monitors should have a rapid reaction capability to investigate specific incidents and a permanent presence in a few cities outside Damascus. Moreover, such staff need adequate protection and support – both internationally and locally - in order to pursue their work effectively;
The Security Council should demand that Syria grant full access to UNSMIS monitors and members of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council;
The Security Council should demand in particular full and without notice access for UNSMIS to all detention centers, acknowledged and unacknowledged, which are often also torture centers, as well as unconditional access to political prisoners at all times; (…)
The Security Council should require UNSMIS to regularly and publicly publish its findings on human rights violations and provide the human rights component with the necessary capacity to do so. (…)
Read full letter.
2. A Syrian intervention must be weighed against the costs
Sydney Morning Herald
10 July 2012
It is easy to agree that the international community has a responsibility to intervene to protect innocent civilians from large-scale violence in Syria's escalating civil war. And it is easy to see that the chances of a diplomatic and political settlement to end the bloodshed are dwindling. So it seems increasingly clear the only way to fulfil our responsibility is through military intervention.
But it is much harder to decide what price the international community should be willing to pay to stop the violence. This is the question we face about Syria today. How do we balance the costs and risks of intervention against an unfolding tragedy?
Experienced people such as former foreign minister Gareth Evans, who did a lot to create the doctrine of an international responsibility to protect, clearly understood that intervention would not always be possible. They knew that the moral imperative to intervene would have to be weighed against the sheer practicalities of each specific situation.
Faced with appalling stories from Syria, however, these practicalities can quickly be forgotten. It can be easy to assume the West has the power and ability to intervene, and that if only the world's leaders had the moral sense and political courage to act accordingly, a solution could be found at a cost we could and should accept.
But this ignores the specific limitations to what military operations can do, and it also overestimates the broader dimensions of Western power. Even after the sobering lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, we in the West still too easily assume that we have the strength - and especially the military strength - to shape the affairs of other countries as we wish. (…)
It is especially weak in the kinds of land forces needed to control territories and populations as large as Syria's. That kind of intervention really would risk a rerun of Iraq and Afghanistan. Does the responsibility to protect require the West to take that route again? (…)
The lessons for Syria are stark. First, in situations like this the responsibility to protect idea of ''impartial intervention'' is an illusion. The only way we can help stop civilians being killed is to help one side win the war.
Second, the only practicable way for the West to do that is by a sustained campaign of air strikes against Syria's armed forces. This might not be easy. Syria has an extensive air defence network based on Russian surface-to-air missiles which can be very formidable.
Third, an air campaign would not work quickly and it might make the war and killing more bitter, at least for a while. Moreover, it would not defeat President Bashar al-Assad by itself, but only make it easier for his opponents to defeat him.
Fourth, it would give the West no influence over what happened then - who takes over in Damascus if and when Assad goes, where they take Syria, and how they treat those who opposed them.
This leaves open the question which still lingers over the intervention in Libya: does the responsibility to protect entail an open-ended responsibility to reconstruct as well? If so, we have a problem, because the West has no capacity to shape Syria's trajectory after Assad.
In the heat of a crisis it is easy to ignore such long-term consequences in the drive to well-intentioned immediate action. But good intentions are no guarantee of good outcomes, and ill-considered interventions can often end up doing more harm than good.
3. Firing blanks at R2P
Tim Dunne and Sarah Teitt
Lowy Institute for International Policy: The Interpreter
11 July 2012
This article was written in response to Hugh White’s article, “A Syrian intervention must be weighed against the costs,” published on 10 July. Tim Dunne is a Professor of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P, University of Queensland. Sarah Teitt is a Research Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P.
There are many reasons why the application of coercive Western military power against Syria is a bad idea. Professor Hugh White is right about that in his recent contribution to the debate.
Those associated with the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) have argued for a range of coercive and non-coercive measures against the Assad regime to prevent further atrocities. What the R2P movement has not done is advocate a military solution to the humanitarian problem. White is wrong to imply this has been the case.
Posts on this site and elsewhere on the Syrian crisis have lent strong support to coercive diplomacy and other measures short of military force. This is not because the R2P movement opposes force in all cases but because the R2P framework is a great deal more granulated than the simplistic intervention/non-intervention polarity often constructed by its critics.
In this light, many of the inferences White makes in relation to the lessons learned from Libya for the future of R2P are open to question.
First, White derides the idea of 'impartial intervention' as an 'illusion' and asks us to face the reality that 'the only way we can help stop civilians being killed is to help one side win the war'. The arrow of White's critique is surely aimed at traditional peacekeeping operations – guided by impartiality, neutrality and the non-use of force – rather than R2P operations. The failure of the orthodox peacekeeping doctrine during the Balkan wars was one of the drivers of the R2P framework. It was clear to R2P advocates that the international community had to take sides when the crime of genocide or ethnic cleansing was being committed. (…)
Second, the R2P framework recognises that while coercive military action may be necessary, it can never by free from bad moral consequences.
To assume, as White does, that R2P advocates are too ready to send in the cavalry ignores a core facet of the R2P framework in relation to decision-making on the use of force. Interventions consistent with R2P must not only have the authority of the UN Security Council, they should also exhaust all non-coercive possibilities and pass the test of proportionality. Even if these conditions are satisfied, it is perfectly consistent with the R2P framework to argue that military action should be averted if there is a reasonable chance it could do more harm than good.
Third, White questions whether the intervention in Libya has pointed to an 'open-ended responsibility to reconstruct' as part of the R2P framework. (…) Too often the international community has considered its mission accomplished when the spike in mass killings has diminished, yet chronic long-run atrocities keep occurring due mainly to economic and social deprivation and failing political institutions.
(…) The limited attention span of Western capitals is perhaps the most significant challenge for R2P after Libya. For the cycle of violence to end, those states that are 'friends of R2P' must take the responsibility to rebuild more seriously.
As for Professor White's concern for a Syrian future after Assad, we seem to be inching closer to that day not through the overt threat or use of force but through tireless diplomacy on the part of the UN and through unrelenting scrutiny by humanitarian NGOs.
Western leaders may not have a choice but to plan for this eventuality. How we conceive of the problems of governance after this traumatic societal experience, how weapons are put beyond use, how ordinary people are put back to use and how civilian protection can be part of the international and domestic policy priorities in post-Assad Syria; these are the pressing political questions. Firing blanks at R2P is not the place to find answers.
1. African Union: Support International Justice
Human Rights Watch
10 July 2012
The following letter was sent to Foreign Ministers of African States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court from thirty African and international civil society organizations, including four ICRtoP Members: the Coalition for Justice and Accountability (Sierra Leone), Human Rights Network Uganda, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists – Kenya.
On the occasion of the 19th summit of the African Union, which will be held in Addis Ababa from July 9-16, 2012, African civil society organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa write to address Your Excellencies on events that surround the relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Union (AU). (…)
The African Union has made a commitment to ending impunity, as enshrined in its Constitutive Act (Article 4(h)(o)), and has illustrated this commitment on different occasions. (…)
Beyond the AU forum, individual African states have independently reaffirmed their commitments to ending impunity. This includes the requests by the governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Côte d’Ivoire to the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes committed in their countries.
A number of African states have incorporated genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and cooperation with the ICC into their domestic law. Mauritius adopted such legislation in 2012, and other countries—including Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa—previously enacted such laws.
There is also a growing list of countries—including Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Niger, and Burkina Faso—that have expressly stated that they will arrest individuals subject to arrest warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the ICC if they enter their territory. While some have tried to assert that the ICC is biased against Africans, African countries have voluntarily demonstrated their commitment to the ICC delivering justice for crimes committed on their territories.
In June 2012 the government of Malawi took a courageous stand by indicating it would not host the AU summit if the AU insisted that ICC suspect Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be welcomed to Malawi for the event. While the AU has called for states not to cooperate in the arrest of President al-Bashir, the request is contrary to the fight against impunity and the fulfillment of international legal obligations of African states that are ICC states parties.
In addition, the Special Court for Sierra Leone—the hybrid criminal court established by agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone—handed down a judgment in April 2012 against former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in supporting rebels in Sierra Leone that committed heinous crimes.
In June 2012 Fatou Bensouda from the Gambia became the ICC’s chief prosecutor. Ms. Bensouda was the AU's endorsed candidate. We encourage all states to accord her office the necessary support to undertake her duties and responsibilities effectively.
The AU’s indication of its commitment to end impunity and its leadership in trying to resolve conflicts and secure peace on the continent is important. The below discussion provides further recommendations to promote justice for victims of the gravest crimes. (…)
To preserve the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court and its ability to deliver justice, there must be cooperation with the ICC and respect for the court’s decisions. (…)
We, the undersigned organizations, are concerned about decisions by the African Union calling on member states not to cooperate with the ICC, especially with respect to the pending arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. (…)
(…) Accordingly, we call on ICC states parties to decline to renew the AU call for non-cooperation in the arrest of ICC suspects at the upcoming summit. (…)
We understand that the draft protocol for the extension of the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (African Court) to prosecute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity was approved by African justice ministers and attorneys general in May 2012.
We believe there remain a number of issues regarding the establishment of a just, credible, and effective regional criminal court. Firstly, it is necessary to weigh the implications of the expansion of the African Court’s jurisdiction given the challenges the current court faces in implementing its human rights mandate. Specifically, a regional criminal court would involve financial obligations that may hamper the resources available for effective dispensation of the African Court’s human rights mandate. (…)
Secondly, it is necessary to clarify the proposed expanded jurisdiction with regard to the ICC. Increased opportunities for justice are positive in principle, but it will be important to ensure that the court’s expanded mandate does not in actuality impede justice. (…)
The undersigned organizations furthermore call for a transparent and open process of consultation as the next steps are taken with regard to expansion of the African Court. (…)
Read full letter.
2. Thomas Lubanga Sentenced to 14 Years Imprisonment in First ICC Trial: Global Coalition Welcomes Sentencing as a Milestone in Fight against Impunity in eastern DRC
Coalition for the International Criminal Court
10 July 2012
(…) Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC)—the world’s first permanent international court to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide—today sentenced former Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga to 14 years imprisonment in the Court’s first landmark trial. The Coalition for the ICC welcomed the sentencing as a milestone in the fight against impunity in the troubled Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“This sentence sends out a stark warning across the world to those engaged in the use of child soldiers that their criminal actions will land them in prison,” said Armel Luhiriri, Francophone Africa situations liaison for the Coalition for the ICC—a global network of more than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. “As important as this day is for the ICC and the victims it seeks to assist, we must not forget that Lubanga’s co-accused, Bosco Ntaganda, remains at large and despite an ICC arrest warrant issued against him”, added Luhiriri. “Ntaganda allegedly continues to commit crimes in eastern DRC. (…)
In March of this year Lubanga was found guilty of the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the DRC between September 2002 and August 2003.(…)
ICC judges are expected to order soon that victims be awarded reparations for the harm they have suffered as a consequence of Lubanga’s criminal actions. It will be the first time that the Court will act on its groundbreaking reparations mandate, a first in international criminal jurisdictions.
“The DRC Coalition for the ICC welcomes the decision of the judges to sentence Lubanga to 14 years in prison,” said André Kito, coordinator of the DRC Coalition for the ICC. “That said, civil society organizations and victims still regret that the scope of charges was not broad enough since other crimes perpetrated such as sexual violence, summary executions and pillage were excluded. We are also frustrated that sexual violence was not considered at sentencing as an aggravating factor due to the absence of any evidence presented to the Chamber.”
"It is essential that the ICC undertakes adequate and swift outreach to victims and affected communities to explain the sentence and what the next steps are, including reparation proceedings. It is important that justice is done, but also that victims see and understand that justice is done," said Carla Ferstman, director of REDRESS. (…)
The Lubanga trial is a milestone for the Rome Statute which entered into force ten years ago. The Lubanga case is one of the few international criminal cases in history to charge an individual with acts of enlistment and conscription of child soldiers. As such, the trial has done much to highlight the gravity of the crime of using child soldiers and has helped to bring the issue into international focus. During the proceedings, ten former child soldiers testified, as did a number of expert witnesses. (…)
Read full press release.
1. R2P Ideas in Brief: The Responsibility to Prevent – Applying a Casual Framework to the 3 Pillars
Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Since its unanimous support at the 2005 World Summit, much of the focus of R2P has been on Pillar 3 concerns, either in the face of imminent atrocities, or after such violence has already been committed. However, two recent events have seen a broadening of this emphasis to encourage a greater commitment to prevention: Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon’s declaration that 2012 be known as the ‘year of prevention’, and US President Barack Obama’s announcement of the establishment of an Atrocities Prevention Board.
While all 3 Pillars of R2P prioritise prevention, many challenges remain. Most significantly, operationalising a broad 3 Pillar approach to the prevention of mass atrocities needs to be informed by an understanding of both root causes and escalating factors of such violence.
Sound preventive strategies need to be premised on an understanding of the range of factors that contribute to the commission of widespread or systematic violence. Effective prevention requires careful analysis of the complex, inter- weaving factors that lead to risk of atrocities over the long term, as well as an understanding of pathways by which risk escalates into the commission of atrocities.
This briefing paper outlines a framework to account for the causes, and in turn onset, of mass atrocities. By highlighting the complex interaction between long term preconditions and crisis events, the framework demonstrates that effective prevention needs to incorporate a combination of long term measures aimed at reducing the risk of future atrocities, as well as measures designed to prevent their imminent commission. This suggests that preventive policies need to utilise all 3 Pillars of the Secretary-General’s approach to implementing R2P. (…)
See the full publication.
2. For justice and civilians, don’t rule out regime change
The Globe and Mail
26 June 2012
Louise Arbour is President and CEO of the International Crisis Group.
Responsibility to protect – the emerging principle that states can intervene in other states to prevent mass atrocities, invoked in the case of Libya – suffers from the same uncomfortable relationship with peace that justice does. In both cases, the desired objective – protecting civilians or bringing criminals to justice – falls short of, or is often even at odds with, the objective of peace. Humanitarian or judicial objectives address only the manner in which the conflict unfolds, not its ultimate resolution.
(…) Under both international criminal justice and R2P, the interventionist role of the international community is predicated on the fact that the state in crisis, which has the primary responsibility for protecting its people and dispensing justice, is “unwilling or unable” to do so.
This language of inability or unwillingness is overly diplomatic. It obscures the reality that in many modern conflicts, including those in Libya and Syria, the state itself, or at least its officials, have embarked on a deliberate rampage against part of the population. This is a huge leap from “unwilling or unable.”
If a state launches a massive criminal enterprise against its people, why should “all necessary measures” fall short of disabling those responsible, including by forcibly removing them from power? (…)
The only reason not to tie regime change explicitly to the protection of civilians or justice is that doing so would make an already elusive Security Council consensus in support of intervention completely unattainable. The solution seems instead to be doing it by stealth or deceit, as in Libya. Or not at all, as with the unenforced ICC indictments.
(…) Political negotiations, not war, should drive regime change (or, in its more palatable form, “transition”). But disassociating the other two pressing concerns – civilian protection and justice – from regime change, at least officially, leaves them hostage to a political process that has no teeth.
3. Talking Africa: Interview with WACSI regarding RtoP
Resonance FM Radio
21 June 2012
This online podcast by Resonance FM in the UK includes an interview with Ms. Omolara Balogun, Policy Advocacy Officer of the West African Civil Society Institute (WACSI), in which the RtoP norm and the recent WACSI pilot training for civil society and multilateral peace support in Accra, Ghana are discussed in detail. The interview is the 2nd podcast listed and runs from 6:50 - 30:20 minutes
Hosted by Sonny Decker, “Talking Africa” is an African Development show from Bellsman Media Limited and the Africa Centre. The show discusses development issues about Africa, and the many aspects of African culture including music, art, literature, and food.
Listen to the podcast.
4. Implementing R2P: It doesn’t get any easier
World Federalist Movement- Canada
The ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) norm has travelled a slow, gradual road to the level of international acceptance it enjoys today. After its adoption at the 2005 World Summit, there were many governments that still contested the applicability and meaning of the new norm. It was not until 2009 that the United Nations General Assembly once again debated R2P. UN General Assembly debates have been held annually since then, and other UN organs have also more frequently referenced the norm.
But 2011 was when R2P really arrived. Twice last year, the responsibility to protect was invoked by the United Nations Security Council in Chapter VII resolutions mandating the protection of civilians, in Côte D’Ivoire and in Libya.
Gareth Evans – Australia’s former foreign minister and former co-chairman of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), and a leading R2P advocate – trumpeted this view last November in an article in Foreign Policy magazine entitled “End of the Argument: How we won the debate over stopping genocide.” Evans claimed that 10 years ago, “the international response to mass-atrocity crimes – genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other large-scale crimes against humanity – was a consensus-free zone.” Now, “R2P has become a commonplace of international diplomacy.” He claimed that the international community has gone from “complete ideological division on the response to mass-atrocity crimes to the current overwhelming consensus, at least on basic principles.”
Maybe so. But, having won the battle for acceptance of the idea “on basic principles,” now what?
More recent events, including failure to stop atrocities in Syria, Mali, Sudan and South Sudan, demonstrate the challenges to be overcome if R2P is to be implemented successfully on anything more than an occasional basis. It is time to turn our attention to what is colloquially called the “R2P toolkit.”
R2P will never become the hoped-for vehicle for transformational change if it is seen to represent nothing more than a wishful exhortation for governments to play more conscientiously in future by the same old rules that have so often been distorted or ignored in the past. Operationalizing R2P necessarily entails major reforms to global governance. (…)
Read the article.
1. Emerging powers remain divided on R2P and RwP
8 July 2012
The debate about military intervention and the 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P) is often seen as dominated by reckless and pro-interventionist Western powers on the one side, and strongly westphalian and amoral non-Western emerging powers on the other. Yet Russia's and China's traditional anti-interventionist position is strongly contrasted by Turkey's increasingly hawkish stance on Syria and India's and Brazil's reluctance to fully align with its fellow BRICS members (Brazil and India both voted in favor of a resolution in the UN General Assembly that condemned the violent crackdown in Syria). Thus, these two simple categories of 'West vs. the rest' no longer seem to be accurate. It also shows that in security matters, diverging national interests will make it difficult for the BRICS to develop a common position.
Turkey is a classic emerging power in many ways: similar to Brazil and India, it seeks a greater representation in today's international institutions, and its foreign policy over the past decade has been - just like Brazil's - extremely active. (…)
Yet Brazil's and Turkey's position on how to deal with the crisis in Syria now also differ considerably. After the massacre in Houla, which caused international condemnation, Brazil refused to expel Syria's diplomats to "keep open all channels of communication."
This has led to disappointment in Turkey. After all, Brazil had shown some flexibility on the matter recently. As Matias Spektor argued in an op-ed in Folha de São Paulo recently, Brazil's stance on R2P is "in flux", pointing out that Brazil's support for the new idea of the "responsibility while protecting" indicated a growing flexibility and pragmatism regarding military intervention, something "unthinkable only a few years ago." In 2011, Brazil succeeded in including the 'Responsibility while Protecting' (RwP) into the final IBSA Summit Declaration, garnering India's and South Africa's support. (…)
Rising powers are unable - just like established powers in many cases- to find a common position on Syria because their individual strategic interests at stake diverge significantly. Turkey shares a long border with Syria and rightly believes the crisis could not only affect Lebanon, but also political stability in Turkey itself.
Russia, for its part, is right to point out that Western powers have no credible plan about who should rule in a post-Assad Syria. Just like China, it is concerned that another military intervention will set a dangerous precedent. In principle, Brazil and India share this concern, but they also have to deal with a public that is increasingly pushing their respective governments to assume a more active stance against massive human rights abuses committed by the Assad regime. (…)
Yet Russia's situation is indeed particular: Syria is also Russia's last client state in the Middle East, and Assad is seen as a bastion against Islamist extremists who pose a potent threat to Russia. In addition, Russia's reluctance to let go of Assad has allowed it to be an important voice in the international debate about the matter, no small achievement for the former superpower.
Syria has clearly shown that R2P has its limits, and RwP has not gained the necessary traction to have any impact in the debate. The search for better concepts and ideas continues, and emerging powers will no doubt be part of it.
2. Stopping genocide and mass atrocities – the problem of regime change
Griffith Asia Institute
6 July 2012
Should international action to protect people from genocide and mass atrocities every result in regime change? Recalling Pol Pot’s murderous rule in Cambodia, Idi Amin’s reign of terror in Uganda, the fate of Liberians living under the rule of Charles Taylor, history teaches us that when states massacre and abuse sections of their own population, regime change is sometimes needed to bring the killing to an end. But some are rightly concerned that this could be used by unscrupulous governments to justify armed intervention for their own selfish purposes. In this post, I propose five potential checks to guard against such abuses whilst recognising that regime change may sometimes be necessary to save lives.
First, intervention must have a mandate from the Security Council. (…)
Second, states that champion intervention should be expected to demonstrate their humanitarian intent by acknowledging – through their words and deeds – a duty to prevent genocide and mass atrocities and respond in the most effective ways possible. (…)
The third test relates to the use of humanitarian justifications and their relationship to the known facts of the case. The simplest test of an actor’s intention is to compare what they say they are doing with what is known about the case. (…)
Fourth, the calibration of means and ends. Would-be interveners should select strategies that enable them to prevail without undermining humanitarian outcomes. (…)
Fifth, states that intervene in the affairs of others ought to recognise a duty to help the country rebuild its infrastructure, restore its autonomy, and re-establish its self-determination. (…)
We can be confident in thinking that interventions aimed at halting genocide and mass atrocities that satisfy these five conditions – Security Council authorization, recognition of humanitarian duties, an obvious connection between justifications and known facts, the calibration of ends and means, and evident commitment to long-term peacebuilding – are pursued primarily with humanitarian intent. We may also feel confident that in such circumstances the causal flow between protection and regime change is in the right direction – namely, that if it occurs, regime change is a contribution to the pursuit of protection from genocide and mass atrocities. (…)
3. The Responsibility to Protect – A Way Forward
Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
This Insight investigates the origins and evolution of international intervention from the foundation of the United Nations in 1945 up to and beyond the inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. It focuses on the role of United Nations peacekeeping forces and the internal and external bids and influences on their establishment. This Insight argues that the international community cannot stand by while mass atrocities occur but needs to recognise the reasons behind the reluctance to endorse the Responsibility to Protect in developing states. It evaluates under what conditions the Responsibility to Protect is able to operate and suggests ways forward (…)
Under the present circumstances, there is no doubt that our globalised world cannot watch idly as events in Somalia; Darfur, Sudan; Myanmar or Zimbabwe unfold. It should be noted that there is a significant difference between Somalia on the one hand, and Myanmar, Zimbabwe, and perhaps Sudan on the other. In Somalia, there is no functioning government that is capable of controlling the whole country. The country is essentially carved into areas that are each controlled by various clans and sub-clans. The difference these days, compared to two decades ago, is the emergence of Islamist groups such as Al Shahab. Therefore, there is no institution in Somalia that can exercise authority throughout the whole country and is capable of protecting the whole population. Somalia is a failed state.
In Myanmar and Zimbabwe, on the other hand, the government is capable of exercising physical control over the whole country. The government is however antagonistic to certain groups within their own populations, for various reasons. In this case, the government is capable of protecting the sovereignty of the nation state vis-à-vis outsiders, yet there could be a significant number of its people who suffer or are made to suffer. The case of Darfur in Sudan is probably somewhere in between these two cases, where the government seems to be in control of significant amounts of its territory, but either undertakes or allows ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity to take place in its Darfur region (…)
Read the full issue.
4. The Responsibility to Protect: Views from South Africa, Brazil, India and Germany
Around 80 participants attended the dialogue meeting on R2P that took place on 7 June 2012 at the ISS in Pretoria. The meeting brought together high-ranking representatives of the Foreign Ministries of South Africa, Germany, India and Brazil, representatives of international think tanks from all participating countries, Members of Parliament, students, and the civil society.
This one-day policy dialogue was jointly organised by the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in cooperation with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the German Embassy in Pretoria. It was supported by the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) with funds provided by the German Federal Foreign Office. The conference sought to establish a platform for multilateral dialogue between Germany, India, Brazil and South Africa (GIBSA countries) in the area of Responsibility to Protect (R2P). (…)
Read the full report.
5. Book: Responsibility to Protect – From Principle to Practice
Julia Hoffman and Andre Nollkaemper
Amsterdam University Press
The tragic events during the 1990s in Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Kosovo, as well as the recent crisis in Libya, have triggered a fundamental rethinking of the role and responsibility of the international community in regard to mass atrocities. The principle of the Responsibility to Protect maintains that although individual nations bear the brunt of the responsibility to guard against genocide, ethnic cleaning, and crimes against humanity within their boundaries, the international community must step in when the state is unable or unwilling to provide such protection. This book assesses to what extent the principle is grounded in international law and examines how international institutions, including the United Nations, can contribute to the aim of protecting victims in cases of mass atrocities.
Find more information.
View the table of contents, here.
6. New Book: The Routledge Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect
Edited by: W. Andy Knight, Frazer Egerton
19 June 2012
Routledge has published a Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect, offering a comprehensive overview of the norm and issues related to its development and operationalization by experts from around the world.
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is amongst the most significant norms in global politics. As the authoritative guide to R2P, this edited volume gathers together the most respected and insightful voices to address key issues related to this emerging norm. The contributing authors do this over the course of three parts:
Part I: The Concept of R2P
Part II: Developing and Operationalising R2P
Part III: The view from Over Here
This book will be of much interest to students of R2P, humanitarian intervention, genocide, human rights, international law, peace studies, international organisations, security studies and IR.
Read more information.
1. Discussion – Peacebuilding in Rwanda: A Conversation with Survivor and Peacebuilder
The Aegis Trust
17-19 July 2012
Join The Aegis Trust for a discussion about Rwanda’s past, present and future. Genocide survivor and Director of Aegis Rwanda Freddy Mutanguha will be speaking about The Aegis Trust’s Kigali-based Peacebuilding Programme.
Bringing together young people from across the country, the Peacebuilding Programme works with a generation of Rwandans daily impacted by the country’s past and responsible for its future.
Having reached 214 Rwandan schools amounting to over 8,800 young people, the Peacebuilding Programme uses its cutting-edge model to inoculate against future genocide.
Freddy Mutanguha will discuss the challenges and achievements of the running the Programme and his hopes for the future of the small, but inspiring central African nation.
There will be three opportunities to take part in the event:
17 July 2012, 6pm-7pm (refreshments at 5:30)
The Royal Commonwealth Society, London
18 July 2012, 6pm-7pm (refreshments at 5:30)
The Royal Commonwealth Society, London
19 July 2012, 6:pm-7pm (refreshments at 5:30)
The Holocaust Centre, Newark, New Jersey
2. Symposium – Imagine the Unimaginable: Ending Genocide in the 21st century
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
24 July 2012, 8:00am – 1:00pm
Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Theater United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW Washington
Sixty-seven years after the Holocaust, genocide and crimes against humanity continue to pose a threat.
This groundbreaking symposium will bring together leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to look over the horizon at questions such as:
• What might genocide look like in the 21st century?
• How can we anticipate the effects of economic uncertainty, political upheaval, resource scarcity, population migration, and other factors on at-risk societies?
• How can we mobilize existing resources and create new capacities to respond to these potential threats?
• What roles can technology play and what innovative solutions might be developed to help prevent future genocides?
The Museum will also release the findings of a new public poll by Penn Schoen Berland that will shed light on American attitudes and awareness about genocide.
A Keynote Address will be given by Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State. (…)
Register or call 202.488.2562 for more information.
View the brochure of the event.
3. Lecture: Responsibility to Protect
New Zealand Red Cross
26 July 2012, 5:45– 7:00 PM
Lecture Theatre 2, Old Government Buildings, Pipitea campus, Victoria University Wellington
(…) Please join us for a thought-provoking public event examining different approaches to this important principle, how it enforces existing legal frameworks such as International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and its application in recent conflicts.
Featuring presentations from leading R2P experts Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope (Partner of the Humanitarian Advisory Group, and Fellow of the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law, University of Melbourne) will look at areas of commonality and points of difference between IHL and R2P and how they both have a role to play in the protection of vulnerable populations.
Colin Keating, former New Zealand Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former head of the New York based NGO the Security Council Report, will look at the development of the R2P concept through a political lens.
Read more information.
Thank you to Amelia Mae Wolf for compiling this listserv.