An important advancement in the subject of humanitarian intervention is the idea of Responsibility to Protect, or R2P. This principle is outlined in a December 2001 report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereigntycomplete and exclusive control of all the people and property within a territory (ICISS). After the failure of the international community to successfully intervene in Rwanda, among other places, then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan posed the serious question of how to balance state sovereigntycomplete and exclusive control of all the people and property within a territory and protection of all peoples from crimes against humanity, such as genocide.The result was the ICISS report, which first mentioned the idea of R2P.
After much debate on the legality and necessity of humanitarian intervention, the commitment to R2P was made at the UN World Summit in 2005. Since then, the current UN Secretary General has continued moving forward in the implementation of R2P. It has three basic pillars:
• “Pillar One stresses that States have the primary responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
• Pillar Two addresses the commitment of the international community to provide assistance to States in building capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assist those under stress before crises and conflicts break out.
• Pillar Three focuses on the responsibility of international community to take timely and decisive action to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity when a State fails to protect its populations.” 135
As expected, R2P has a great number of critics as well as proponents. The critics maintain that states will only act only in their own interests, therefore making humanitarian interventions difficult and biased. It remains to be seen how R2P will be implemented and if it can positively affect the future of humanitarian intervention.
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