The “Libya and Humanitarian Intervention” Meme

by Chris Borgen

“Libya”and “humanitarian intervention” are being used more and more often in the same sentence.  Over at Ratio Juris, Patrick O’Donnell has a round-up of  blog posts and opinion pieces concerning humanitarian intervention and the situation in Libya. Patrick’s post is especially helpful for anyone trying to get up to speed on this issue as it includes a bibliography on humanitarian intervention, more generally.

Moreover, Anne-Marie Slaughter, recent head of Policy Planning at the State Department and now back at Princeton, has tweeted a call for intervention in Libya. Here’s the opening of a post about it from The Cable:

Former State Department Policy Planning Chief Anne-Marie Slaughter used her brand-new Twitter account on Thursday to call for international intervention on behalf of the Libyan people.

“The international community cannot stand by and watch the massacre of Libyan protesters. In Rwanda we watched. In Kosovo we acted,” Slaughter tweeted, in one of her first ever entries. She confirmed to The Cable that the Twitter account is genuine.

Stay tuned…

http://opiniojuris.org/2011/02/24/the-libya-and-humanitarian-intervention-meme/

5 Responses

  1. There are prequisite conditions for resorting to humanitarian intervention in International Law : 1- A mandate frome SC of UN to intervene militariraly in the respected state 2- Grave violations of Human rights law or Humanitarian law must have been confirmed by an international Independent Investigation Committee .3-The Humanitarian Intervention must adhere to International Law .4- It should not be permanant otherwise it changes to military occuoation . In this regard I confirm that what took place in Kosovo was not legally humanitarian intervention bue merely an act of repraisal from USA against former leader of Serbia at this time .

  2. Dear Dr Salama,

    If condition 1 (a UN Security Council resolution) of your 4 conditions is satisifed, why must condition 2 be seperately satisified?

    thank you

  3. I don’t read Anne-Marie’s tweet as necessarily advocating humanitarian intervention. She could be calling for Security Council action, or some other coordinated response short of humanitarian intervention.  Need more information on her position.

  4. Thank you, all, for the comments. Two quick responses:

    First, to Dr. Salama: while I agree that your formulation of humantiarian intervention or the “responsibility to protect” is the one heard most often, I do not think it is the only formulation out there. I believe, but may be incorrect in this matter, that both the U.S. and the U.K. have maintained an argument for the possibility of intervention without prior SC approval. Russia also used an alternative definition of humanitarian intervention when it went into South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  Regardless, any norm of humanitarian intervention seems to still be an emerging norm (at best) and as yet without a single, solid, definition accepted by policymakers.

    Roger: While I agree with you that Anne-Marie never used the words “military intervention,” I think it is hard to read her juxtaposition of staying out of Rwanda (amidst calls for military intervention) and acting in Kosovo (i.e. first NATO unilaterally–er, multilaterally–bombing Serbia followed by a UN-authorized multinational occupation and administration of the territory) as anything else. If she meant otherwise, then I think the twitter format did her a disservice.  It is hard to convey nuance in 140 characters or less.

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