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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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 ‘The Responsibility to Protect’: Applicability and Limitations

Wednesday 27 March, 2013
6pm - 7.30pm
At Dyason House
124 Jolimont Road East, Melbourne Victoria, Australia  

The emerging United Nations ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) doctrine provides a framework for the international community to intervene to protect populations from crimes against humanity where the state is complicit in, or unable or unwilling to stop them.  The doctrine was developed in response to the failure of states to protect civilian populations in conflict areas, particularly in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  Formally established in 2006, the principle has been increasingly invoked by the international community, most notably in Libya in 2011.
R2P faces many challenges as it evolves, with some questioning why the international community invoked it in Libya, but has yet to do so in Syria where state-sanctioned atrocities appear to be even worse.  Similarly, the international dilemma between respecting sovereignty whilst safeguarding human security means that R2P faces criticism of doing too little in some situations and too much in others – up to and including providing a pretext for some states to go to war against other sovereign states.(…)
To discuss the development, application and limitations of the Responsibility to Protect, the Institute is delighted to welcome Professor Spencer Zifcak. Professor Zifcak is the Allan Myers Professor of Law and Director of the Institute of Legal Studies at the Australian Catholic University.  He has research interests in the fields of international law, international and national human rights law, and international relations.  He has been a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford; Trinity College, Dublin; and the Faculty of Law, New York University.  In 2010 he was elected as a Benjamin Meaker Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol (UK).  Professor Zifcak is the recent past president of Liberty Victoria; a director of the policy think-tank the Australia Institute, and of the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University; a member of the Executive of Future Justice and of the Accountability Round Table.  He sits as a legal member of the Victorian Mental Health Tribunal and writes a periodic column for the Legal Affairs section of The Australian.

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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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