How can the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) be implemented in Libya without the UN Security Council? What have been the consequences of inaction of Security Council in previous cases? In this analysis, the author explores these questions in the context of the Libyan crisis and provides a legal backdrop to R2P.
R2P, Africa and the EU: towards pragmatic international subsidiarity?
Analysis - 20 November 2008
by Damien Helly
To be implemented on the ground, the responsibility to protect (R2P) should first be accepted as a new norm on the basis of states’ commitments to new policy behaviour aimed at avoiding mass atrocities. This is controversial and has led to several highly politicised debates. But the very fact that debates are going on, particularly in the framework of the UN General Assembly, is a sign that R2P is not, as too many pessimists have argued, still-born.
Tremendous progress has already been achieved in the recognition of the norm and in concrete efforts to enhance capacities to prevent, react and rebuild. However, R2P is to some extent victim of its own success. It has raised expectations that have not been met, particularly in Darfur and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Controversies around R2P are nurtured by the severe lack of information, misunderstandings or political resistance about the concept and how it addresses sovereignty and noninterference. Debates about the implementation of R2P have raised new or confirmed old practical and operational challenges…
In this article, EUISS Research Fellow Damien Helly looks at how R2P can be promoted and implemented in Africa through the principle of subsidiarity, and what the EU can do to ensure that the R2P doctrine becomes more than just an expression of good intentions.