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External Military Interventions: Unilateral Use of Force for Human Protection Purposes
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

External military interventions for human protection purposes have for decades been the subject of major debates and controversies, both when they have been deployed and when the international community of States has failed to take action. Even if the UN, in the aftermath of the Second World War, was established above all else to “save succeeding generations form the scourge of war (...)”,[1] the absence of an explicit legal basis for the use of force undertaken for human protection purposes has come with immense costs. Not only in regards to the cost in human life and human suffering, it has additionally also posed, and it still poses, a great threat to the statute and credibility of the whole international legal system. This ultimately because States, in order to halt or prevent mass atrocities, have deployed military interventions without SC mandate. While this so called unilateral use of force for some States supposedly, when the SC is in deadlock and thus fails to mandate an intervention, is a necessary measure of last resort, for others such external interventions represent an infringement on State sovereignty and other basic principles of public international law. Obvious as it is, there is no simple solution to this Catch-22 dilemma. Hence, the only two exceptions to the UN Charters strong basis against the use of force are military measures authorized by the SC in response to “any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression” (Chapter VII, Article 39 & 42) or military measures taken in self-defense (Chapter VII, Article 51).

An attempt to once and for all find a genuine solution to this dilemma was taken by the ICISS with the introduction of the R2P concept in 2001, which also got endorsed at the World Summit four years later. However, by being carefully nuanced to express the intentions of the member States, the endorsed version of the R2P was narrower in its scope and thus different from what the ICISS originally envisioned the concept to be.  Altered to merely be a political commitment reiterating de lege lata governing the use of force, this concept, allegedly portraying one of the greatest achievements in the field of human rights this century, failed its first big hurdle.

By elevating criticism and concern in regards to the R2P being used as a slogan for intervention and regime change, the 2011 intervention in Libya, instead of strengthening international commitment to this emerging concept, made States even less prone and willing to intervene in Syria. Though an attempt to re-establish trust and consensus in regards to the R2P has been made at the GA informal interactive dialogue held on 5 September 2012, it is not until the international community of States, the P5 in particular, understand its fundamental importance and meaning that the concept will become fully operational. The international community of States will in other words only than truly accept and respect its responsibilities and States ultimately become be less prone to deploy unilateral, and hence illegal, use of force for human protection purposes.

[1] The 1945 Charter of the United Nations, Preamble.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , p. 58
National Category
Law
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-30065OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-30065DiVA, id: diva2:638273
Subject / course
Rättsvetenskap D
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2014-02-05 Created: 2013-07-29 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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