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Implementing R2P in Libya – how to overcome the inaction of the UN Security Council

Analysis - 08 March 2011

by Luis Peral

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The UN Security Council Resolution 1970 on the situation in Libya does not provide a satisfactory answer to the question of how the international community should intervene to prevent the massacre of civilians that is allegedly currently taking place in that country. This means that an alternative approach must be considered.

If the body whose primary responsibility it is to preserve international peace and security does not provide a timely – i.e. immediate – response to a ‘gross and systematic violation of human rights’ characterised by attacks on the civilian population which ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’, as the Resolution acknowledges, other actors in the international community are entitled to take the lead under international law and implement the Principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), provided certain legal conditions are met.