HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION: THE UNITED NATIONS AND COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY

Susan Breau

This book examines the doctrine of humanitarian intervention in light of the end of the cold war and the first decade of institutional and state practice under the revitalised United Nations. This book queries whether the United Nations by Security Council Resolution or in the absence of such resolution, a nation or group of nations, has the legal right to intervene forcefully against another nation’s territorial integrity to end extreme violations of human rights.

This work will trace an evolution in practice from an emphasis on what states do to each other to what states do to their own citizens.  This development has resulted in United Nations interventions in what were traditionally considered internal matters of state sovereignty under Article 2 (7) of the United Nations Charter.  The practice of the 1990’s and the early 21st century has disclosed a startling shift in United Nations peacekeeping to peacemaking and peace enforcement within sovereign states.  This practice has resulted in a new international order, which permits intervention by the world body when massive violations of human rights occur in the context in a civil war.  In that context this book will discuss the actions in Somalia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Haiti, East Timor, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi and the inaction in Rwanda and Darfur.

This publication will be one of the first comprehensive analysis of the recommendation of the United Nations High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change that there is a collective responsibility to protect citizens in the face of massive violations of human rights.

In the circumstances of unilateral humanitarian intervention this study examines whether or not customary international law is developing a doctrine which will allow intervention by states, collectively or individually when the United Nations fails to act.  In this context the book will review all alleged cases of unilateral intervention since the end of the Second World War including the most recent case of Kosovo.

The study will also review the process of intervention in the context of International Humanitarian Law and the relatively new international law institution of post-conflict transitional administration. 

The conclusion of this publication is that although there is not yet a doctrine of customary law that permits unilateral humanitarian intervention there is a clear trend towards a collective responsibility to intervene in cases of massive violations of human rights.

This book will be of great interest to policy makers in government especially in the areas of peace and security and human rights and to practitioners in human rights and international law and to academics in both the disciplines of international relations and international law.

ISBN 10: 1 905017 08 1

ISBN 13: 978 1 905017 08 9

 • Hardback • 499pp • 2005 • £85.00