1st Edition

Reviewing the Responsibility to Protect Origins, Implementation and Controversies

By Ramesh Thakur Copyright 2019
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume is a collection of some of the key essays by Ramesh Thakur on the origins, implementation and future prospects of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm.

    The book offers a comprehensive yet accessible review of the origins, evolution, advances and shortcomings of the R2P principle. A literature review is followed by an overview of the background, meaning and development of R2P. With a focus on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), Part I analyses the features of, and explains the factors that make for success and failure of commission diplomacy. Part II discusses the controversies surrounding efforts to implement R2P, including the role and importance of emerging powers. Part III describes the remaining protection gaps and explains why R2P will remain relevant because it is essentially demand driven. Finally, the book concludes with a look back at the origins of R2P and looks ahead to possible future directions.

    This book will be essential for students of the Responsibility to Protect, and of much interest to students of global governance, human rights, international law and international relations.

    1. Introduction

    2. The Responsibility to Protect at 15

    Part I: Origins, Meaning and Evolution

    3. High-level Panels

    4. Rwanda, Kosovo and the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty

    5. From the Right to Persecute to the Responsibility to Protect: Feuerbachian Inversions of Rights and Responsibilities in State–Citizen Relations

    6. From Humanitarian Intervention to R2P: Cosmetic or Consequential?

    Part II: Implentation Controversies

    7. R2P after Libya and Syria: Engaging Emerging Powers

    8. R2P’s ‘Structural’ Problems: A Response to Roland Paris

    9. The UN Secretary-General and the Forgotten Third R2P Responsibility

    Part III: Demands For and Gaps in Atrocity Protection

    10. Protection Gaps for Civilian Victims of Political Violence

    11. Atrocity Crimes and Global Governance

    12. Looking Back to Look Ahead


    Ramesh Thakur is Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, Canberra. He is a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and was a Responsibility to Protect Commissioner. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the UN, R2P and global governance.

    'In a world of increased conflict, mass atrocities and political turmoil – and at a time when many academic writers have retreated into despair – Ramesh Thakur always writes with impressive passion, power and clarity of vision. His words are much-needed intellectual ammunition for those of us who are trying to prevent mass atrocities and build a better world at the United Nations and beyond.'--Simon Adams, Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, New York, USA

    'Starting with his service as a commissioner and a principal author of the original ICISS report, and continuing afterwards as an analyst and advocate, no one has been more insightful than Ramesh Thakur about R2P’s normative and operational impacts.'--Thomas G. Weiss, Presidential Professor of Political Science and Director Emeritus, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA

    'Over two decades, Ramesh Thakur has made an immense contribution to the development, implementation, and analysis of the Responsibility to Protect principle. In this volume, he brings his keen analytical eye to the most important questions surrounding the global campaign to prevent and end atrocity crimes. Combining the unique insights of one of the principle’s key progenitors with wisdom derived from years of practical experience and painstaking research, this volume sheds important light on the campaign to end atrocities thus far and the lessons that must be learned for the future.' --Alex J. Bellamy, The University of Queensland, Australia

    'The book is an excellent introduction to the Responsibility to Protect for all those unacquainted with the subject-matter; but it is also immensely valuable for those familiar with the field, providing an insider’s account of the early days of the conceptualization of the principle and a detailed history of almost two decades of sustained advocacy. The book blends sophisticated scholarly analysis with the wisdom derived from practice. It is highly recommended reading.'--Noele Crossley, International Affairs

    'This work provides a balanced re-assurance by an authorative voice that, despite R2P remaining conceptually contested in academic discourse, and its implementation and non-implementation controversial in the policy community, there has been no effort to rescind it as the organising principle of the United Nations (UN) for responding to the threat of mass attrocity crimes.'--Anthony Bizos, South African Journal of International Affairs

    'The use of force in international relations tends to have unpredictable consequences. We thus need solid and structured standards for its use. The world is unwilling to accept genocidal practices, like what we saw in the Holocaust or in Rwanda. R2P is a valuable doctrinal tool to build a better world. Thakur is one of its forgers, and in this book he provides us with numerous elements to appraise it.'--Jorge Heine, Pensamiento Propio