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Libya and R2P


“In passing RtoP [relating to Libya], the Security Council helped bridge the gap between so-called legitimate (ethically justifiable) and legal (legally authorized) intervention.”

“RtoP, responding to the sense that these domestic harms warranted international response, solidified the Security Council’s claims to wider discretion. Yet it also restricted its ability to sanction intervention to the four situations listed in the RtoP document - genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

“[How] the intervention in Libya [develops] is sure to shape how RtoP is applied in the future.”

- Michael W. Doyle, Harold Brown Professor of International Affairs, Law, and Political Science at Columbia University, and Chair of the United Nations Democracy Fund Advisory Board. See his comment in Foreign Affairs here.


Rejecting arguments that governments in sovereign states have the absolute right to do as they please within their own borders, the world's leaders drew the line at mass murder.

“They endorsed a continuum of escalating responses from political condemnation, to sanctions and embargoes and, ultimately -in rare and extreme cases -to military intervention.”

- Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock. See their comment in the Ottawa Citizen here

“People in the human rights community, UN supporters and advocates of ‘the responsibility to protect’ have a great deal riding on the success of this intervention in Libya.

“For the sake of the people in Benghazi and for the long term project of building a world in which international humanitarian law is respected–and when not, enforced through collective action at the Security Council — let’s hope this works.”

- Mark Leon Goldberg. See his comment in UN Dispatch here

“Intervention is controversial both when it happens and when it does not. Everyone can agree that 800,000 Rawandan victims was too many (sorry for that) but is 1,000 in Libya not enough to justify a response? R2P is not a panacea, but it is an idea that at least offers a vision of how a moral world order might work.”

- David O’Brien. See his comment (written Mar 4, before the international intervention began) in the Winnipeg Free Press here