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Responsibility To Protect

ten years on-what next ?

Published by Liberal International (LI) with the support of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Freedom. The views expressed in this publication are those of the
authors alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Freedom.
[2-3] Foreword [33-37] Angela Patnode

[4-5] What is RtoP? [38-43] Amb. Natalie Sabanadze

[6-13] LIs Work on RtoP [44] Liberal Visions on RtoP

[14] RtoP Conference in [45-46] Lord John Alderdice

[47-49] Celito F. Arlegue
[15] Overview
[50-53] Irwin Cotler
[16] Opening Remarks
[54-55] Khdor Habib MP
[17-20] Is RtoP Dead?
[56-58] Ingemund Hgg
[21] Working Lunch
[59-60] Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP
[23-25] The Future of RtoP
[61-62] Richard Moore
[26] Concluding Comment
[63-67] Why RtoP Matters
[28] Expert Outlook on RtoP
[68] About Us
[29-32] Jonas Claes

table of contents
As liberals we have

always believed that our
responsibility may extend
beyond the confinement of
our national borders.

A ssuming responsibility for

oneself and ones community
As Liberals, we have always
believed that our responsibility
to Protect (RtoP) norm since its
inception, its principal goal being
and respecting the basic rights of may extend beyond the the prevention of gross human
one another are key tenants of confinement of national borders; rights violations and genocide.
liberalism, notions the Friedrich it can reach across oceans and
Naumann Foundation for Freedom continents, it extends to everyone The responsibility to protect has
actively promotes in cooperation who is prevented from living their often, mistakenly, been equated
with its partners worldwide. lives in dignity. This is even truer in with military intervention, when
We are particularly pleased to a globalized world. German liberals such intervention is, in fact, only
work with Liberal International. have supported the Responsibility the last step in a long line of

measures designed to stop gross it: An ounce of prevention is
human rights violations. As in every worth a pound of cure. Let this
peacebuilding initiative, the alpha serve as a reminder that in the
and omega of RtoP is prevention. interconnected world of today,
looking away is simply not an
This is where we see our main option.
responsibility: Supporting citizens,
civil society organizations
and parties to strengthen
democratic structures in their
countries. We seek to help
them create accountability
mechanisms, further economic
development, and above
all foster dialogue between
citizens and across borders.
Although often consumed
by domestic turmoil, Europe Dr. Hans H. Stein, Director
must not shrink from its global
responsibility to protect. As
European and Transatlantic
Michael Ignatieff, a liberal thinker Dialogue, Friedrich
and member of the International Naumann Foundation for
Commission on Intervention and Freedom
State Sovereignty, rightly puts

What is RtoP?
An Introduction to the Responsibility to Protect

R ecognising the failure to

adequately respond to the
1. The State carries the primary
responsibility for the protection
means to protect populations
from these crimes. If a State fails
most heinous crimes known to of populations from genocide, to protect its populations or is in
humankind, world leaders made war crimes, crimes against fact the perpetrator of crimes,
a historic commitment to protect humanity and ethnic cleansing. the international community
populations from genocide, must be prepared to take
war crimes, ethnic cleansing 2. The international community stronger measures, including
and crimes against humanity at has a responsibility to assist States the collective use of force
the United Nations (UN) 2005 in fulfilling this responsibility. through the UN Security Council.
World Summit. This commitment,
entitled the Responsibility 3. The international community Since the end of the Second
to Protect, stipulates that: should use appropriate diplomatic, World War, an international effort
humanitarian and other peaceful has been undertaken to protect

civilians in armed conflict and in Cambodia, Rwanda, and
prevent genocide, crimes against Bosnia demonstrated massive
humanity, and war crimes. In failures by the international
1948 the Convention on the community to prevent mass
Prevention and Punishment of atrocities. Thus, near the end of the
the Crime of Genocide was 1990s there was a recognised
adopted by the United Nations, need to shift the debate about
and entered into force three years crisis prevention and response:
later. The Convention was the the security of the community
steppingstone in the international and the individual, not only
communitys attempt to ensure the state, must be priorities
the horrors witnessed during for national and international
the Holocaust would never policies.
occur again. However, the
resounding promise of Never
Again would prove to be hollow.

The end of the 20th Century

marked a change in the nature
of armed conflict: large inter-
state wars were replaced by
violent internal conflicts, where
the vast majority of casualties
are now civilians. The genocides

Source: International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect 5

LIs Work on RtoP
Liberals have been at the forefront of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) doctrine since its inception
in 2001. Liberal International (LI) which counts more than 100 political parties and affiliates
among its membership has actively advocated this humanitarian principle. This chapter
offers a glimpse at the progress of LIs RtoP activities since the International Commission on
Intervention and State Sovereignty of Canada released the Responsibility to Protect report in 2001.

LI advocacy on RtoP
2004: Liberal Mission visited Darfur, Sudan
Liberals including Mr. Jasper Veen (then-LI Political Adviser) visited Darfur, Sudan, where armed conflict
had produced thousands of refugees. To draw international attention to the situation in the northeast African
country, Mr. Veen presented a report to Liberal Internationals Executive Committee meeting in San Jose,
Costa Rica, where he made an early call on the African Union to step in and resolve the situation.

Sanctions on the government alone will not make the Sudanese
authority more trustworthy, he noted. The report concluded by
indicating that a clearly mandated African Union force, which permits
the use of forces if necessary, would be required to stem atrocities.

2005: Resolution on RtoP adopted by the 51st Congress (Sofia,

Delegates from the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), the country
from which the historic RtoP report was published, seized the
agenda at LIs 51st congress by tabling a resolution on RtoP

to LIs highest decision-making body for the first time. This
There must now be a
resolution provided the doctrine with a central platform for serious commitment
promotion and debate amongst international liberal leaders. from all governments
The adopted resolution stated that LI would seek the evolution to the development of
of international law to build a coalition for RtoP and develop the effective mechanisms
international communitys thinking and action to unite for human such as comprehensive
rights. The Congress also adopted a resolution on freedom and and coordinated early
security, calling for appropriate sanctions against regimes offering
support for terrorists. Building on LIs earlier RtoP work, the
warning systems and more
investment in preventive

resolution drew attention to the human rights violations in Darfur, diplomacy.
Sudan, urging immediate action from UN on the humanitarian issue.
-- Lord Robertson
The Lord Garden Memorial
Lecture, June 2008

2006: Panel on RtoP at the 54th Congress (Marrakech, Morocco)
In November, as a context of the LI 54th Congress in Marrakech, Morocco,
Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire (LPC, Canada) led a panel on RtoP.

2008: Liberals express outrage over Kenya violence

Liberals around the world came together with one voice to express
their outrage at the violent fallout following the 2007 Presidential
elections in Kenya, which cost hundreds of lives. In his statement,
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Party in the UK, Rt. Hon. Nick
Clegg MP (Liberal Democrats, UK) said that the UK has a moral
responsibility to lead the international community in tackling this crisis.

2008: LI calls on the African Union to intervene in Chad

As the security situation in Chad deteriorated, leaving more than 1,000
people injured in its capital NDjamena, Liberal International called on the
African Union (AU) to take action and intervene to prevent further violence. It is the duty of Liberal
International and its member
parties to remind people, all
over the world, of their
2011: Liberals call for further international action in Libya
Liberals around the world called for further international action
responsibility to protect, and
that is the priority of the new

against the violent, thuggish regime of Muammar Gaddafi. While LI Human Rights Committee.
the UN, EU and individual countries had imposed sanctions on the
-- Richard Moore (LI Patron;
regime earlier in the year, the then-LI President, Hans van Baalen
LibDems, UK), at the RtoP
MEP (VVD, The Netherlands), went further and issued a statement Conference, October 2011
calling on the UN Security Council to enforce a no-fly-zone above Libya.

Then-Vice Chancellor of Germany, Guido Westerwelle (FDP, Germany), brought forward the idea
of appointing a special international envoy to evaluate and coordinate humanitarian efforts. Prior to
the 57th Congress held in Manila, The Philippines, a draft Resolution on Responsibility to Protect was
proposed by Democraten 66 (D66, The Netherlands), Centerpartiet (Sweden) and International Federation
of Liberal Youth (IFLRY). Underpinning the ambitions of the proposing political organisations, the
resolution sought to inspire governments around the world to vote in accordance with the spirit
of RtoP at the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, without being selective or biased.

2011: Liberals call for further international action on Syria

As violence escalated against anti-government demonstrators in Syria, liberal
leaders called for urgent intervention. The then-LI Vice President, Abir Al-Sahlani MP
(Centerpartiet, Sweden), urged the UN to step in and work harder to tackle the situation.

2011: RtoP Conference (London, United Kingdom)

In the margin of Liberal Internationals 187th Executive Committee meeting in London, United Kingdom,
LI organised a conference on RtoP in October 2011. The conference consisted of 3 panels, discussing RtoP
in principle, in practice, and its future. Participants reaffirmed that RtoP is a legal concept but
warned that its interpretation and application is expressed with a regional bias. Intervention should be
maintained until there is certainly no potential for atrocities to resume, insisted Sam Rainsy MP
(Cambodia National Rescue Party, Cambodia). Highlighting the challenges of RtoP, Lousewies van der
Laan (D66, The Netherlands), drew on her experience as a former Chief of Cabinet to the President of
the International Criminal Court (ICC), noting that the Rome Statue Treaty had not been ratified by key
players like USA, Russia and China; it only dealt with 3 issues: ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity
and war crimes; and it can only deal with activities which had been exercised by state leaders,

not non-governmental actors. Han ten Broeke MP (VVD, The Netherlands) pointed out we should
not forget the primary responsibility to protect rests in the sovereign states. To follow up the event, Mr.
Ingemund Hgg (LI Patron, Sweden) urged liberals to promote the RtoP discussion beyond the political elites.

2011: ELF Seminar on Libya and RtoP (Brussels, Belgium)

At the seminar organised by the European Liberal Forum (ELF) in November, Lord Paddy Ashdown
(LibDems, UK), High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002-06), addressed a seminar regarding
Libya and the future of liberal interventionism. Mr. Joris Voorhoeve (D66, The Netherlands) also took part
in the seminar and indicated that Libya offered a good example of how things should be done, adding
that it was not a complete success as one had to take responsibility for the aftercare of intervention.

2012: Resolution including RtoP was adopted at the 58th Congress (Abidjan, Cote dIvoire)
Against the backdrop of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, LIs 58th Congress in Abidjan, Cote
dIvoire, included the RtoP principle in the World Today Resolution, after reaching an overview of the geo-political
situation tabled to every congress. Followed by a breakfast meeting on the RtoP issue, the Congress expressed
belief in the need to create safe zones in the north and in the south of Syria and guarantee humanitarian
corridors. The resolution added that only international intervention would turn the tide of massacre. The
resolution reiterated that any solution in Syria must be taken in accordance with the will of and full
involvement of the Syrian people, without which the country could not find a durable solution for the crisis.

2013: Human Rights Committee Panel on RtoP in Syria (Beirut, Lebanon)

With the conflict in neighbouring Syria raging, liberals from around the world came together in Beirut,
Lebanon for LIs 190th Executive Committee meeting. Organised by the Human Rights Committee of Liberal
International, a panel on RtoP in Syria debated How Should Liberals Deal with the Situation in Syria? Is

Syria the end of RtoP? While the international cooperation was
regarded indeed as an important step, Lord John Alderdice
(LibDems, UK) stressed that the West had in fact driven
Syria to further isolation. He urged some responsibility
from the international community in order to address
major underlying regional tensions that sustained violence.

2014: Meeting of Liberal Parliamentarians at UN Human Rights

The second Liberal Internationals annual liberal parliamentarians
meeting was held within the framework of the 26th session
of the UN Human Rights Council in June. Under the themes

Protection of Human Rights in Areas of Conflict: Cases of Highest
International Priority, participants noted that liberals should It must be a main task
unite to project a common, peaceful voice of the conflict in Syria. and responsibility for
Without cooperation we cannot make a significant contribution, liberals and liberal
parties to be driving
the parliamentarians noted. After meeting with UN Deputy High
Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Alexander Aleinikoff, the meeting and active in discussions
about the principles of

concluded that LI and liberal parties from around the
world should act as a catalyst for the world community while responsibility to protect.
proximity with local communities on the ground is crucial.
-- Ingemund Hgg (LI
Patron, Sweden), in the
follow-up note on the

2015: Human Rights Bulletin on RtoP
The second edition of LI Human Rights Bulletin, published
in March, focused exclusively on RtoP. In the articles Hon. Lloyd
Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs (1996-2000) (LPC, Canada)
urged supporters and practitioners to build on the RtoP framework
so that it can form the basis of effective international action in the
protection of people, and get away from loose coalitions of the willing
with limited rules of agreement, and sporadic coordination. Mr. Chito
Gascon, The Philippines Human Rights Commissioner and member
of the LI Human Rights Committee (Liberal Party, The Philippines),
wrote of internal armed conflicts blighting several countries
across Southeast Asia. These conflicts have not yet undermined the
positive economic development of the region, noted Mr. Gascon,
however if left unattended substantial development gains made
in the region risked being compromised. Offering practical advice,
he called for the introduction of a reform plan for RtoP, including
the early warning mechanisms that prevent escalation of violence.
Everything must be
done to ensure universal
compliance with human
rights and to provide

2015: Written Statement on RtoP presented to the United Nations

for prompt and effective
recourse when non-

Human Rights Council (Geneva, Switzerland) compliance occurs.
In the 10th anniversary year of the adoption of the Responsibility
to Protect Principle, Liberal International presented a written -- Chito Gascon
(LP, The Philippines),
statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council, entitled
LI Human Rights Bulletin,
Responsibility to protect ten years on: ed. 2, 2015

strengthening the global approach to the prevention and elimination of mass
atrocities. Drawing on the situation in Syria, the statement called upon the
international community to invest in development, economic capacity and democracy-building
in fragile states as a first step to prevent mass atrocities. The statement also urged the
international community to formulate a strategy to tackle atrocities committed by non-state groups.
LI pledged to promote public awareness on RtoP, as well as developing a roadmap for the future.

R toP
overv iew
The Responsibility
to Protect: Ten Years
on. What Next?

O n 10th December 2015, ten

years after the adoption of RtoP
international relations today. Parliament in Brussels, having
been received the previous
principles by the member states Together with its partners Alliance evening at the headquarters of
of the United Nations World of Liberal and Democrats for Open VLD (LI full member) by
Summit, Liberal International Europe Group (ALDE - LI full LI Past President, Ms. Annemie
brought together politicians, member) and Friedrich Naumann Neyts. The meeting was conducted
academics, and diplomats to Foundation for Liberty (FNF - over three distinct sessions.
debate and identify whether LI cooperating organisation),
the doctrine can survive under Liberal International convened
the strains placed on RtoP in the meeting in the European
C hair of Liberal Internationals
Human Rights Committee and
application of the principle the faulty implementation and
in practice. RtoP enables the even the potential for abuse of
LI Vice-President, Mr. Markus international community to work RtoP; liberals should work on and
Lning (FDP, Germany) opened against the inhumane activities, improve the system, he concluded.
the meeting by outlining the which used to be regarded as a
tensions between the perception domestic issue, noted Mr. Lning.
of RtoP and the inconsistent However the world has seen
Is RtoP Dead?
Syria, Ukraine and beyond
C haired by LI Past President, (Future Movement, Lebanon)
Annemie Neyts (Open VLD, detailed the humanitarian costs
Belgium), the opening panel of sustained violence in Syria and
laid out the ongoing challenges also in the neighbouring states.
facing RtoP today. Past President In Lebanon, approximately 1.5
Neyts recalled the initial steps million refugees have entered the
undertaken by Liberal Internationalcountry since March 2011. Today,

to promote RtoP as part of the Mr. Habib noted, almost half of the
global work of the international population in Lebanon is Syrian, The political divisions
liberal family. It was under her resulting in a major security issue and the security
presidency that LI initiated a in the country. Introducing the challenges affected
the functioning of the
study visit to Sudan and brought
the importance of RtoP to the
attention of Liberals world-wide.
Lebanon Crisis Response Plan
drafted in 2015, Mr. Habib called
for an inclusive discussion on
[Lenanese] government
and other constitutional

economy, politics and security
Delivering a first-hand account from which both the Lebanese -- Khdor Habib, MP
of the consequences of the and the refugees would benefit. (Future Movement,
conflict in Syria, Mr. Khodr Habib Ukraines former Minister of Lebanon)

Defence, Mr. Anatoliy Grytsenko, Member of the European accepting refugees, Ms. Patnode
spoke of the abuse of RtoP Parliament, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, noted the different forms of
in Ukraine, where Russia has of MRF - LIs ethnic Turkish RtoP implementation. RtoP is
intervened under the auspices of minority party in Bulgaria (LI full facing some challenges yet, she
RtoP. Consequently, Ukraine has member) cautioned of the ease added, there are also positive
now come to the point of no return, with which interventionism can facts about the norm: states have
Mr. Grytsenko said. The country is quickly slide into imperialism. shown an increasing willingness
under pressure to run elections To avoid the abuse of RtoP, to implement RtoP; cross party
in the occupied areas, which Mr. Kyuchyuk said, a universal parliamentary groups on atrocity
Western countries mistakenly responsibility to protect should prevention have been formed
thought to be an effective answer always be grounded in education in countries such as UK; and the
to the crisis. As an anti-corruption and promoted internationally.
actor targeting money laundering, UN General Assembly has also
Mr. Grytsenko also asserted Despite criticisms of RtoP in the continued to participate in national
that part of the road to peace context of the Syrian crisis, Ms. dialogs on RtoP. Furthermore,
must resolve internal corruption Angela Patnode (USA) who was there has been an increase in the
amongst Ukrainian MPs, even representing the International number of NGOs and civil society
though Western countries show Coalition for the Responsibility activists working on the issue.
hesitation to impose sanctions to Protect presented examples
against them. He concluded the where RtoP has been successfully
presentation by emphasising the applied in less obvious ways.
need to implement the Minsk Citing 10 UN resolutions to
Agreement, which is supported investigate the situation in Syria
by Germany, France and Russia. in addition to numerous countries

D iscussion centred primarily on
possible solutions to the crisis
in Syria. Vice-President of the
International Network of Liberal
Women, Ms. Khadija el-Morabit
(Morocco), presented a speech
from the UN Human Rights

Commissioner, urging a Syrian
force to provide safe passage for Dalen (The Netherlands), inquired Obstacles facing effective
what more could be done to
humanitarian assistance to civilians implementation of RtoP were
trapped inside Syria, with support overturn the poor media coverage also set out. Mr. Jonas Claes
from the international community. on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. (United States Institute of Peace,
In reply, Mr. Grytsenko called for USA) highlighted two major
Mr. Petras Austrevicius MEP the support of Western regions to issues that often distort ones
(Lithuania), cited corruption prevent the corruption, criticising understanding of the principle:
among local members of the Wests faulty attempt to
parliament in Ukraine as one impose a stay calm and dont (1) that the implementation has
reason why intervention failed provoke policy, which added to a double-standard as most media,
before the mission had taken off. the current disorder. He put a clear and in turn the wider public,
Chair of the Liberal International emphasis on the implementation measure the consistency of RtoP
LGBTI Work Group, Mr. Frank van of the Minsk Agreement. by military intervention alone and

(2) while protection is ideal, it LI Treasurer, Mr. Manfred
is often difficult to apply in Eisenbach (LI German Group,
practice owing to an absence of Germany), highlighted
clear justification for mobilising as problematic that the
the required resources without implementation of RtoP may
an obvious conflict, further, a consist of regime change, which
clear metric for measuring the non-democratic countries - such as
success of prevention means Russia and China determinately
making the case to governments resist. However, RtoP is not dead,
and international bodies is considering the successful case
problematic. of Libya, Mr. Kyuchyuk said.
Offering a proactive suggestion

Conversely, the case of Macedonia to improve the application and
presented by LI Secretary General, success rate of RtoP, Mr. Kyuchyuk If we seek to translate
Mr. Emil Kirjas (Macedonia) requested an enormous overhaul responsibility to protect
offered a rare and positive example of the UN Security Council in from words to actions
of conflict prevention, where order to incorporate a moral the world needs to
apart from the military security
component, the international
obligation for human rights.
accept our liberal vision
that responsibility for

human rights is universal.
community assisted political
parties and civil society in engaging -- Ilhan Kyuchyuk, MEP
in dialogue among different social (ALDE Party, MRF,
actors, ethnicities and religions. Bulgaria)

Working Lunch
Advancing RtoP within the framework of LI HRC

D rawing
international law was defined as
paramount by Finlands former
missions such as the task force
in Kosovo and the drone attacks
LI President of Honour, Mr. Prime Minister, Ms. Anneli in Syria. Mr. Lning concluded
Hans van Baalen MEP (VVD, Jtteenmki MEP (Keskusta, that there is a credibility gap
The Netherlands) noted the Finland) while Mr. Austrevicius, in the use of RtoP, which calls
strength of liberals globally to praising the participation of LI for the liberals everywhere
unite and advance the RtoP to the international discussion to be proactive in addressing.
agenda. Adherence to the rule of on RtoP, emphasised on-going

The Future of RtoP
Beyond the Transatlantic Cooperation
S haring his optimism ahead of
the second panel debate,
principle. ASEAN, he noted, now
has a Human Rights Committee.
the Executive Director of the
Council for Asian Liberals and Drawing on the precarious border
Democrats (CALD), Mr. Celito area her country shares with
Arlegue (Philippines), offered Russia, the Ambassador and
a positive progress report on Permanent Representative of

RtoP and conflict prevention in Georgia to Belgium, Luxembourg
Asia. Mr. Arlegue explained that and the European Union, Her I think with the evolution
Asia has developed a supportive Excellency Natalie Sabanadze of international law... we
environment to promote the (Georgia), charted Georgias can say that there is an
emerging consensus of
values underpinning RtoP;
the 3 pillars of the Association
understanding of the RtoP
project: it is a doctrine about good redefining sovereignty in
terms of responsibilities

of SouthEast Asian Nations intentions regarding international
and away from rights.
(ASEAN)political security, crisis and about both national
economy, and social contract and international responsibility. -- Ambassador Natalie
are connected to the RtoP Speaking from personal Sabanadze, (Georgia)

experience of the abuse of RtoP, responsible for this lack of integrity. it is a device for international
the Ambassador recalled that Promoting mechanisms cooperation to mitigate egregious
Russia rhetorically used RtoP through which RtoP can be acts of violence. Development
for intervention in Georgia and, strengthened was the subject of of robust institutions is also
more recently, in Ukraine; Ms. the presentation by Mr. Jonas essential for preventing scenarios
Sabanadze warned of further Claes, who drew attention to that might give rise for the
possibilities for exploitation of two areas: (1) that RtoP must need of an RtoP response.
the principle for political ends. reflect the right expectations and
(2) that RtoP does not equate to
Expanding on the risks associated military intervention. In limiting
with RtoP, Natalie Sabanadze coercive activity, Mr. Claes noted,
noted that identifying when a RtoP is first and foremost a
mission might have reached political tool, which enables the
its conclusion is an international community
inherent complexity
It is a moral to take the next step in
when applying RtoP, tool used prevention of atrocities.
adding that, it is difficult
to identify whether the
to consider Addressing the excuses
norm is applied evenly appropriate levied regarding
or merely reserved for
the Global South. Ms.
behaviours. international law, the
USIP senior research
Sabanadze saw a lack of consensus officer explained that RtoP does
and the weak authority of the UN not aim to make new law and it
Security Council as being partly is not a tactical blueprint; instead


Addressing the concerns of Ms.
Annemie Neyts as to whether
the United States considers the
European Unions perspective on
issues related to RtoP as being
important, Mr. Claes highlighted
the example of roundtable

debates between the USIP and EU
officials in Brussels, emphasising historical studies. Earlier instances taking place in 2005, when the UN
the fundamental, transatlantic of intervention good and bad Outcome Document was signed,
relationship as a source of can inform a lack of understanding delegates discussed what potential
momentum on RtoP, a position on the causes of conflict. This view action can be taken by liberal
endorsed by Mr. Arlegue. More was endorsed by Ambassador politicians in the current era, with
sceptically, H.E. Natalie Sabanadze Sabanadze, who pointed to a the ambassador reaffirming the
cautioned against the problems recent flourishing of academic need to continually debate subject
associated with excessive interest in RtoP, whilst Mr. Claes and identify new challenges as
outsourcing to local activists. emphasised the need to identify they occur. The panel concluded
a goal for every intervention. with all speakers calling for further
Applying a holistic approach to the understanding, discussions
trajectory of the RtoP principle LI With H.E. Natalie Sabanadze and engagement to solve the
Patron, Mr. Richard Moore, (UK), noting that discussions around barriers associated with RtoP.
proposed the need for comparative RtoP differ greatly in 2015 to those
Concluding Comment
L iberal International President
of Honour, Lord John Alderdice
coordinate their activities with
NGOs, businesses, philanthropists
(Liberal Democrats, UK), summed and academics in order to build
up the discussion by underlining the early conflict warning system.
that RtoP is a moral obligation. The
liberal parliamentarian, who is also 10 years is not enough for a principle
the Director of the Centre for the to be applied, he concluded,
Resolution of Intractable Conflict therefore LI has a responsibility
at the University of Oxford, warned to promulgate RtoP and
that it was unhelpful that RtoP
has become synonymous with
military intervention. Compelling
delegates to acknowledge that
establish a behavioural principle.
RtoP is a responsibility
to protect human beings
regardless of which side

of the border they are.
the current plague of violence
is a public health matter, Lord -- Lord John Alderdice (LI
Alderdice urged liberals to President of Honour, UK)

Conference Attendees
Group Photo


R toP
Jonas Claes
United States Institute of Peace

U nited
has a
Institute of
of the Atrocities Prevention Board.
Currently we remain engaged in this
expectations. Too often RtoP is
equated in the literature and policy
involvement in the field of atrocity domain through policy dialogues, articles with the use of military
prevention and RtoP. Most and an interagency course on force. It is a deep-rooted
noteworthy was our involvement in atrocity prevention tailored to mid- misperception that the invocation
the Genocide Prevention Task Force, to senior-level U.S. practitioners. of RtoP automatically allows for
co-chaired by former Secretaries Practice of RtoP as a Political the use of military force. RtoP cannot
Madeleine K. Albright and Bill Cohen. Instrment. be equated with humanitarian
The Task Force Report presented intervention. At its core, RtoP is
one of the most impactful policy Let me start by raising an about preventive non-coercive
blueprints USIP produced to date. important conceptual issue. One action: early warning, mediation, etc.
way to strengthen the position
Many of the recommendations were of RtoP in the international policy The toolbox for RtoP consists of
implemented, including the creation domain is by setting the right a broad range of tools, including

diplomatic, economic, legal, President Obama stressed the atrocity prevention lens.
and military instruments. RtoP this point, emphasizing The RtoP label is rarely applied.
instruments can be coercive and that Preventing mass Originally genocide prevention was
cooperative, and operational or violence is our moral duty. the label of choice, but that
structural. If the context permits, the presented too high of a threshold.
instruments gradually move towards But morality is not the #1 answer, Operationally RtoP and AP look 95%
a higher level of intrusiveness. In since its practice faces significant the same; it is mostly a different
my presentations or guest lectures political constraints. Is RtoP a legal label for similar activities. In
at universities I will always ask the instrument? Some say it is not, addition, U.S. officials generally
students the following question: Is as it does not create new legal consider RtoP to be one part of a
RtoP is primarily a moral, political, obligations. RtoP merely realigns broader U.S. atrocity prevention
legal, or tactical instrument? existing sources of international toolbox. Atrocity Prevention (AP)
There is no wrong answer to this law, like the Genocide Convention, has advanced significantly in the
question, but I generally rank these or International Humanitarian Law. U.S., not just politically, but also
adjectives in order of relevance. Others may argue RtoP presents a institutionally and operationally.
source of customary law. But it could Politically, the first Obama
First and foremost, RtoP presents be argued that, so far, the practice Administration did a lot to advance
a political commitment. RtoP is remains too inconsistent. Finally, I this agenda. AP was considered
meant to trigger an automated would not consider RtoP a tactical a priority in several strategic
consideration of your response instrument. RtoP does not explain documents. In a 2011 Presidential
options, in the face of imminent or the how part; what instruments Study Directive (PSD-10), Obama
ongoing atrocities. When it occurs, are the most useful in given context? highlighted the prevention of mass
what options do we have? RtoP also The State of RtoP in the US, and the atrocities and genocide as a core
has strong moral underpinnings, as Promise of Transatlantic Engagement national security interests and a
it guides towards appropriate state in the United States, government moral responsibility of the U.S.
behavior. In his 2011 speech, officials predominantly adopt The debate remains whether it is

in fact a national security priority: strategies, by scanning the horizon atrocity analysts are active. And
Three types of justifications could be for emerging risk and fragility, and dedicated courses have been
provided for this: proposing coordinated action. established, through the Foreign
The APB faces considerable Service Institute, the military
1.Direct threat to U.S. challenges however: It remains academies, and the Pentagon.
territory and its citizens. an unfunded mandate, it is very
dependent on supportive Operationally there have been some
2.Threat to international stability. personalities, and faces the risk signs of progress as well. In terms
of lower prioritization with the of intelligence gathering and the
3.Threat to values and principles upcoming change in Administration. prioritization of atrocity risk. There
the USG stands for the consensus However, more important than the has been the first ever National
within the U.S. political establishment institution itself is the ripple effect Intelligence Estimate on Global
about the first justification has not PSD-10 created, beyond the APB. Risk of Mass Atrocities, the APB
yet extended to the second and third The involvement informed U.S. policies
justification. Institutionally some of the USG in AP While the stated on Burma, CAR
progress has been made as well. At goes far beyond commitment of and South Sudan,
the NSC, the position of Director for the APB meetings the U.S. and EU to and there has been
War Crimes and Civilian Protection and activities.
was created, and in August 2011, Within several
preventing atrocities the mixed U.S. and
President Obama authorized the agencies, dedicated should theoretically experience in places
creation of the interagency APB. personnel has been allow for cooperation, like Libya; Kyrgyzstan
appointed, and the coordination is in 2010; Syria, etc.
This Board, comprised of senior Task Forces have
officials from across the USG, been set up. Within surprisingly low While the stated
is responsible for developing the intelligence commitment of
atrocity prevention and response community, over half a dozen the U.S. and EU to preventing

atrocities should theoretically allow apply repressive measures, does
for cooperation, the coordination present the RtoP community
between both governments and with a sizeable conundrum. The
non-governmental organizations is international normative weight of
surprisingly low. However, there is RtoP has problems competing with
some low-hanging fruit within reach. the national security-driven impulses.

On Risk Assessment, conversations Yet, there has been significant

have been held between EEAS and progress in making RtoP lingo more
the CSO unit at the U.S. Department central to Security Council discussions;
of State. A key actor to include in we are yet another step away from
these conversations is the private our traditional ad hoc approach,
sector, which invests significantly towards a normalization of RtoP, and
in risk analysis already. In part, the automated consideration of options.
future of RtoP will depend on the
way it engages with competing or
alternative international security
priorities, like violent extremism.
Some argue that counter-terrorism
and atrocity prevention are simply
different ways to talk about the
same problem, i.e. violent attacks
against civilian populations (Be
llamy). But the risk of CVE efforts
undermining atrocity prevention
objectives, or emboldening states to

Angela Patnode
International Coalition for the Responsibility
to Protect
In hearing the other panelists
presentations, its clear that theres
contexts when comparing
responses to Syria to other RtoP
intervention and saw the goal
of RtoP as prevention and early
a lot of frustration in how RtoP situations, particularly Libya. response. Ill outline four general
has been utilized or not utilized in Finally, Ill go over some real categories of how RtoP has
Syria and Ukraine. I can assure you institutional progress that shows that been operationalized here.
that this frustration is very much commitment to RtoP is not dead, but
shared by RtoP practitioners as well. actually thriving in a number of ways. First, international organizations
have reminded the government of
Nevertheless, I want to take a As many, including Heather Syria of its RtoP dozens of times,
slightly different angle during this Hurlburt and Homa Hassan have while the international community
presentation by first discussing stated, RtoP has been implemented has cited its own responsibility
how actors have upheld their RtoP in Syria, and arguably in the very way under Pillars II and III in this regard.
in Syria. Next, Ill go over why its founders intended - who did All parties, even Russia and
its necessary to recall the different not want to legitimize military China, agreed that mass killings were

occurring early on in the crisis, and instrumental in documenting these Meanwhile, when the Security
that the situation is a legitimate abuses, and will be a central tool Council has been able to act, it has
matter for the international when we have the opportunity done so in often innovative and
community to debate and to hold perpetrators to account. creative ways. The most famous
respond to. This stands in sharp The General Assembly, meanwhile, example of this is Resolution
contrast to the Balkans, where has passed five resolutions, 2118, which supported the OPCWs
such factors took years to establish. some of which have served as procedures or eliminating Syrias
shadow resolutions of vetoed chemical weapons stockpile. This
Second, though we are all aware of Security Council drafts. They was followed up by the more recent
the failures of the Security Council to therefore were not only Resolution 2235, which established
properly address the crisis, other condemning the events in Syria a Joint Investigative Mechanism to
UN organs and mechanisms but were also condemning identify those responsible for using
have acted in an unprecedented Security Council inaction. On chemical weapons. In addition,
fashion, within their mandates, three occasions, the GA even another unprecedented move by the
when responding to the crisis. The specifically called for Assads Council includes Resolution 2165,
Secretary-General, for example, has resignation, resolutions which only which allowed for humanitarian aid
used his power to send observers, 12 states voted against out of 193 delivery across borders. This was the
chemical weapons investigators, states. While these resolutions first time that the Council authorized
and a special representative. do not save lives, they have an operational measure without the
The Human Rights Council has and will continue to have an consent of the Syrian authorities.
passed ten resolutions on the impact on behavioral development
Syrian crisis, one of which within the UN system, and can Thirdly, regional organizations
established a Commission of assist in shifting the international have also taken exceptional
Inquiry to investigate violations of community towards action in measures. The Arab League and
international humanitarian law. the long run. the Organization of the Islamic
The Commission has been Conference suspended Syria, with

the Arab League also sending an has tracked human rights violations, harsh indifference shown to past
observation force and passing including through, inter alia, the use examples of atrocities. As pointed
sanctions. Several states joined of torture in 27 detention facilities out by Thomas Weiss, the steady
the Arab League in passing such and the use of barrel bombs and stream of condemnations levied at
sanctions, including Norway, U.S., cluster munitions on civilians. Assad stands in sharp contrast to
Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Amnesty International uncovered the deafening silence that greeted
Canada, Turkey and the EU. the use of starvation as a tactic the 1982 Hama massacre, in which
In addition, external of war by the Syrian regime. Assads father killed 40,000. The
countries, particularly Lebanon, ICRtoP member Permanent Peace strong UN response, which I outlined
Jordan, Turkey, (and now the EU) have Movement held a training for Syrian earlier, is also remarkably different
absorbed millions of Syrian refugees, activists on civilian protection and than the UNs quiet and deliberate
despite heavy economic and social conferences on the possession/use of inaction to the genocide in Rwanda.
tolls. By accepting such refugees, small arms and light weapons in Syria. For a norm that is only ten years
these states are helping to fulfill their old, this is significant progress.
Pillar II responsibilities. All of these measures,
When the Security of course, probably Moreover, it remains unclear
Fourth, civil society Council has been able provide scant comfort whether additional measures
groups have
to act, it has done so to the millions of Syrian under RtoP, such as the use of
consistently monitored victims of atrocities. military force earlier in the
the crisis, with the in often innovative As considerable as conflict, would have saved
Syrian Observatory for and creative ways they may be, we more Syrian lives. Though the
Human Rights serving can all agree that international response to Syria is
as the only organization keeping a they have been insufficient to often compared unfavorably to
death toll after the UN announced protect populations in Syria. the famous RtoP intervention in
it could no longer verify reports. However, it becomes impressive Libya, these were two extremely
ICRtoP member Human Rights Watch when you compare it to the different situations. Of course, the

most obvious difference is that the and ethnically diverse than Libya. not backed up empirically.
NATO intervention had the approval
of the Security Council. Additionally, Finally, Libya is full
There was significant The Security Council
however, the likelihood that a military of desert, with some has referred to RtoP
intervention in Syria would have scattered cities. Syria reason to believe in 38 resolutions,
succeeded was much lower than has several densely that the cure of all but three of
that of Libya, for four reasons also populated urban military intervention which have come
outlined by Weiss. First, Libya had areas, which made after the NATO
a cohesive opposition movement, surgical airstrikes
would have been intervention.
which was run inside the country, not only implausible worse than the
whereas Syrias is split in terms of but likely to cause disease
ideology, politics, and geography. Nor a lot of civilian
does the Syrian opposition have a deaths. We must not Meanwhile, participation in the
clear chain of command to organize forget the original aims and annual GA dialogue on RtoP has
operations, protests, or supplies. purposes of RtoP, which is to protect continued to grow steadily. The UN
Secondly, in Libya, 75% of the populations from atrocity crimes. Secretariat has continued to improve
population lived in areas under rebel There was, and still is, significant its capacity to respond to atrocity
control, but the Syrian opposition reason to believe that the cure of crimes, including by
cant maintain their hold over major military intervention would have implementing the Secretary -
population centers. Third, there was been worse than the disease. Progress Generals Human Rights up Front
a far greater anti-Qaddafi movement on RtoP Id now like to go beyond initiative, which aims to better the
among the Libyan people, but in Syria and Libya to discuss concrete, UNs ability to prevent and respond
Syria, a sizeable portion still support institutional progress on RtoP. First, to large-scale violations of human
Assad or are waiting to see how though many say that Libya blowback rights. Beyond the UN, states have
the tide turns. This makes sense, has killed RtoP, particularly within shown an increased willingness to
as Syria is much more culturally the Security Council, this assertion is uphold their primary responsibilities

to protect. Such steps have included to say that, despite the obvious
appointing an RtoP Focal Point, of difficulties that we have confronted
which there are now 52. Other states, in turning RtoP into practice, the
including the U.S. and those in Africas global community still believe in
Great Lakes region, have taken RtoP. The norm is here to stay.
this a step further by developing
national architectures to prevent In conclusion, Id like to again
or respond to atrocities. Still emphasize that RtoP is a principle,
others, including the UK, have not a tactic a norm intended
developed Parliamentary Groups to steer action. Therefore, saying
aimed at increasing legislators RtoP has failed in Syria, Ukraine,
involvement in atrocity prevention. or anywhere else is misguided.
Rather, it is the international
Lastly, but certainly not least, my community who has clearly failed
organization, the International to meet these obligations and live
Coalition for the Responsibility to up to its RtoP. Will the so-called
Protect, has seen a growing number application of RtoP, particularly
of civil society organizations join the third pillar responses, always
movement to implement RtoP. This be selective? Probably, yes. But
is a crucial sign of progress in our this selectivity and failure to fully
eyes, as civil society often serve implement RtoP just serves to
as the primary preventers and underscore the need for swift,
responders to atrocities, particularly preventive acttion before a crisis
in those states, such as Burma devolves into a state in which
or Sudan, where the state is the international consensus is needed.
perpetrator of such crimes. All this is Thank you

Natalie Sabanadze
Ambassador of Georgia to Belgium,
Luxembourg, and the EU

T his is a topic which is quite

close to my heart. I have not
is premised on a very
conception of
parameters for legitimacy for
international action. This is why the
thought about it for a few years. sovereignty as responsibility as overall topic of this panel is very
I left it off in 2012 and it was opposed to sovereignty as right important. We need to find a
interesting to go back and to look which was probably was never consensus among the international
how the debate has evolved. RtoP absolute but at least this was the community which involves both
first of all is a doctrine born out of prevailing understanding of the global south and north. It
good intentions and it is about sovereignty over the 20th is important to take criticisms
international responses to national Century and less so today. that are out there about the
crisis. It has both national and concept of RtoP seriously
international dimensions and As its core RtoP is concerned with as this is how we can refine the
it is about both national and legitimacy. The whole raison dtre framework and come up with
international responsibilities. RtoP of RtoP is an attempt to lay down better solutions to the challenges

which will increase the Lavrov referred to the international RtoP is a pretty good framework
legitimacy of the doctrine. norm of RtoP and the constitution and much better than any of
of Russian Federation saying that its decedents and any kind of
It is important that we minimize in it is a Constitutional obligation to discussion on humanitarian
these discussions the possibility for exercise RtoP when it comes to the intervention. There is an attempt to
misuse and abuse of RtoP which safety and security of their citizens. move the debate, and particularly
is realistic. There is nothing recently when I said that I looked
worse than a good concept born Later the same logic to a degree again at how the debate has
out of good intentions being was also used in Ukraine but less so evolved and especially how the
used for wrong purposes and for in the RtoP term which is also quite new special Advisor on RtoP to
actions to justify bad intentions. interesting. Why was RtoP specifically the UN Secretary General, Jennifer
not used in Ukraine but was used Welsh, whom I knew from my days at
I come from Georgia as you know in the case of Georgia? Perhaps it Oxford is interpreting this, it is very
and the personal encounter, says something about where this clear that there is an attempt
not academic but the real one, notion stands now and whether it is to move away from military
with RtoP was for me in 2008 a bit more contested perhaps than it intervention and to look at RtoP in
when Russia used the RtoP was then. If we go back much more general
rhetoric to justify its military to this idea of looking There is an terms and not
intervention in Georgia. It soon at criticism about RtoP increasing focus about coercive action.
dropped this language because and how it is practiced on prevention There is an increasing
it didnt fly and it was quite I think we have to look focus on prevention
clear but at least the justification at both conceptual and
and prevention and prevention of
to invade Georgia was to protect operational challenges of atrocities atrocities. This means
citizens which were living that this doctrine faces. emphasizing the three
in the breakaway region of South pillar approach that you have also
Ossetia. In his speech Foreign Minister Conceptually I have to say that mentioned the Chairman (Mr Celito

Arlegue). The three pillar approach is extremely attractive but it getting involved at all. It is difficult
precisely about focusing on is very difficult to exercise in practice. in the existing international system to
national and international I was working, before assuming this mobilize resources for prevention
dimensions. It is about national post, at the OSCE High because it is about
responsibilities of states and Commissioner for It is difficult in a non-event (about
international dimension comes national minorities: an the existing something that it is not
in the form of supporting states institution mandated international system supposed to happen
and capacity building to meet their specifically to do
to mobilize resources and doesnt happen).
responsibilities. It is only in the third conflict prevention. As a result it is very
pillar that we come with the idea We knew how for prevention difficult to measure
of action but again it is not only difficult it was to because it is about a success. How do you
about military action. There are mobilize resources non-event measure success of a
other means and considerations (political, material non-event? How can
such as prudence and reasonable and intellectual) to do the work you be sure that your
prospect for success qualify this of prevention. One problem that prevention or the efforts of the
action. Other methods can be is often encountered is either too prevention have actually worked?
used such as quiet diplomacy, much interest from those states Who can claim the credit? Sometimes
mediation, international pressure, concerned or involved or too this is also important. In the world of
referral to court, etc. Such little interest. If there is too much politics people want to claim credit
conceptualization of RtoP is interest then simply there could and be able to say that the investment
less contentions. Still challenges be an interest not in helping with that they have put into a specific case
remain as to how this can the prevention but leading to actually brought some dividend. It is
be applied in practice. certain outcome of the conflict. very difficult to measure and prove.
Of course it is not cheap. If we
Let me say a few words about If there is too little interest then speak about structural prevention
prevention. I think rhetorically it is again it is a problem of not this links to capacity building: the

second pillar. Then it takes a lot of state is not to help them to effectively many times. Can RtoP realistically
resources and consistency which is suppress decent but to help them be applied consistently or is it always
a long term approach which again to be able to deal with decent and going to be exercised in the case of
is not always easy to sell. In many conflict in a democratic framework. weak, small, failing states that are
respects the logic of doing politics This is not easy to do. It cannot be often from the South or so called
the way it is today is not conducive done quickly and it is very difficult Global South? This of course very
to prevention unfortunately. When to do in times of crises. This is much undermines the legitimacy of
it comes to state building I think a bit of double edged sword. the doctrine among non-Western
this is a very important dimension. The problem of unattended states and the initial resistance
This is precisely what we were consequences basically which to RtoP from non-Western states
doing also in that office: truing to every goodaction may have. very much can be explained by this.
assist states in building capacity, All of the above here and
to create legislative frameworks, particularly when we add here the Of course there is a big moral
to ensure that human rights are third pillar and that is deciding question: simply because we
protected and basically help them on when, how and where to get couldnt realistically protect or
meet their responsibilities. involved and the considerations such exercise RtoP in Chechnya in
as reasonable prospects for success, 1994 does it mean that we
But there again it is a delicate balance where it will work, is it prudent, is should automatically not do the
when it comes to Can RtoP realistically it going to make the same in Central Africa in 2014?
the situation of situation worse, etc. We are talking about saving lives
crisis because you
be applied consistently when all this comes and each one counts. Other
can get involved and or is it always to mind we end up conceptual challenges to building
you can strengthen going to be exercised in facing the problem consensus around RtoP include
the state a bit too the case of weak, of selection. This the conception of sovereignty. You
much. The idea of is something that mentioned ASEAN and that there
strengthening the small, failing states has been raised is a growing acceptance of RtoP.

ASEAN countries are much more to this also in history and in There is an overlap now, especially,
traditional in their understanding international theory that go back to with an anti-terrorist agenda.
of sovereignty. This move away the 16th and 17th century from the
from sovereignty as right to do original thinkers on sovereignty. Other Operationally, the biggest challenge
basically whatever and to expect issues that we need to address are the is receiving timely authorisation form
non-intervention from other states limited diffusion of the language of the right authority timely here is
is still very strong among some RtoP: it is very much important as we live
countries and some regions. a UN terminology and
What happens in an anarchical system
Regional interpretations still vary there are different when atrocities are where there is no
also among countries with different uses and different committed by non- overarching authority
sizes. In Europe where pulling understandings of it state actors? over sovereign and
of sovereignty is much more in different regional supposedly equal
accepted this is probably not so and sub-regional contexts. You (Mr. states, so the question of right
much contested concept but in Celito Arlegue) mentioned ASEAN. I authority is a c-challenging one.
other cases it is. am more familiar with the OSCE, Individual states do not have a right
where there is a lot of use of in international law to intervene
Nevertheless I think with the the prevention language: conflict in the affairs of other states. Only
evolution of international law prevention, conflict resolution, early the Security Council has such right,
and practice and use of remedial warning mechanisms its not RtoP acting under Chapter 7 of the UN
succession even and growing cases language. I think in terms of coming up Charter, and given the propensity
of international action to prevent with some common understandings of states to use human rights as
and respond to large scale atrocities, it might help to find some consensus a justification for hostile acts against
we can say that there is an emerging on the terminology. There is also other states, and I use the example
consensus of redefining sovereignty the problem of non-state actors of Georgia, unilateral intervention
in terms of responsibilities and away what happens when atrocities are on humanitarian grounds should
from rights. There are antecedents committed by non-state actors? not be permitted in law. So the

Security Council is the closest we killings effectively and ensure they
get to the right authority and do not reoccur without, actually,
on the one hand this is prudent regime change. This was one of
because we have a clear diversity the main criticisms of the use of
of interests within the permanent RtoP in Libya: that it resulted in
five, so the likelihood that those five regime change. Can we realistically
will find a consensus on intervention say that when we have a regime
unless there is a very, very strong that perpetrates these crimes that
case, is small. On the other hand it should remain and that this is how
this is also a problem because we will try to prevent the killing it
consensus among the five is very is very difficult to do it and when you
difficult to achieve and normally have a regime change then what do
trying to get there delays the process you replace it with because leaving
in a situation of crisis and this is very a power vacuum can be very
costly in terms of lives. The lack dangerous and harmful for the very
of consensus or Security Council lives we are trying to save. So then
authorisation means we have there was this idea of responsibility
unilateral or multilateral intervention while protecting: I think this is very
but without Security Council consent. interesting and worth looking into.
The problem here is that this sets a
dangerous precedent that can be used I think it is very important to
by other states for different purposes. be having this debate because
this is the way we can address
Another operational challenge challenges, minimise risks, and
which was made evident by the advance the cause, which I believe
case in Libya is how to stop mass fundamentally is a just cause.


R toP

Lord John Alderdice
LI President of Honour, UK

W hy are we talking about RtoP

today? This was the question posed
a celebration of ten years of success.
When the United Nations was
primary focus has been lost and we are
descending again into global conflict.
by Liberal Internationals President established after World War II, the The same has happened with the
of Honour, Lord John Alderdice, first aim in its charter was to deal European project. It was forged out
as he evaluated the contributions with international conflicts and bring of the ashes of World War II to ensure
of the numerous expert panellists peace. Yet in the list of Sustainable that we never had another terrible
who had contributed to the debate. Development Goals (SDGs) just war in Europe, but because our
signed off this September in New leaders have become preoccupied
Ten years on from its acceptance by York, everything else comes ahead with free trade, the euro and a place
the United Nations we are focussing of peace. All that remains is a feeble at the top table of world affairs, the
on the important principle that we mention in SDG 16 (out of the 17) that primary purpose - peace in Europe
have a responsibility to protect each speaks of justice, good governance has been forgotten, and the whole
other across borders, but it is hardly and ending all violence. The UNs EU project is now in grave danger.

We must refocus on peace and example, the private sector has a role on concern for their own people.
conflict, and RtoP has a key role. to play because of its economic power LI has a responsibility to maintain a
and trans-border reach. Instead concern for each other across borders
In unpicking the patchy and of portraying violence as a conflict and continue to promulgate RtoP.
inconsistent application of RtoP, between good and evil, we need to
Lord Alderdice reminded delegates examine it as the major global public
that RtoP is a principle not a set health challenge. Can we persuade
of policies, which may succeed philanthropists, foundations and
or fail. We do not say of the Ten business owners to focus on this as
Commandments that because You much as they have on malaria, AIDS
shall do no murder has not stopped and tuberculosis? If we are to succeed
killing we should abandon the in protecting each other across
principle that murder is wrong. The borders we need to understand
question is how we implement the much more deeply the processes of
principle. After 10 years there are violent conflict, and as politicians we
already many lessons to be learnt must acknowledge our need to work
about applying the principle of RtoP. with others. If it is left only to politics
One that should have been clear from and political structures to prevent
the beginning, is that while military conflict we are unlikely to succeed.
intervention may be necessary for the noted the LI President of Honour.
implementation of RtoP, it should be
the last option, not the primary one. Summing up, Lord Alderdice
concluded, RtoP faces a profound
In finding a sustainable and successful challenge in the current uncertain
framework for RtoP a much more global environment, as people are
holistic approach is necessary. For tempted to turn inwards and focus

Celito F. Arlegue
Executive Director, Council of Asian Liberals
and Democrats (CALD)
T his afternoon, we were privileged
to hear the interventions of two
of the session about RtoP in Asia,
particularly Southeast Asia, I
(AICHR), the ASEAN Declaration on
Human Rights (ADHR), the ASEAN
distinguished speakers from the emphasized three (3) points: Commission for the Protection
diplomatic corp and the policy 1) RtoP is compatible with the and Promotion of the Rights of
community Her Excellency Association of Southeast Asian Women and Children (ACWC),
Natalie Sabanadze and Mr. Jonas Nations(ASEAN) goal of establishing among others; and
Claes. From the specific cases of a peaceful, just, democratic, people- 3) the Southeast Asian context,
Syria and Ukraine that we tackled centered and caring community; however, remains ripe for the
in the first panel, we moved to 2) ASEAN has existing onset of conflicts (ethnic, religious,
a more theoretical, policy-oriented institutions and mechanisms that resource, etc.) which may
discussion in this panel, particularly can help in the implementation of necessitate the application of the RtoP.
in relation to the future of RtoP. RtoP such as the ASEAN Charter,
the ASEAN Intergovernmental In the presentation of Ambassador
In my brief comment at the beginning Commission on Human Rights Sabanadze, she noted that RtoP

was borne out of good intentions 2) What should we do if non-state actors of risk analysis and assessment
and that it continues to be a are involved in the atrocities?; and a reiteration of his claim that
good framework for humanitarian 3) How do we stop mass killings RtoP should focus more on conflict
intervention (vis--vis military without regime change? Mr. Claes, prevention rather than military
intervention). She cautioned, in his intervention, agreed with the intervention.
however, that RtoP could also good ambassador as regards the The presentations of our two
be abused, citing in particular conceptualization of RtoP. He pointed distinguished speakers, and the
how Russia used the concept in out that RtoP should increasingly be points raised during the open
justifying its actions in Georgia. viewed as a preventive, non-coercive forum, led me to believe that we
Hence, she argued for the tool. He then moved on the political, agreed on the following points.
reconceptualization of RtoP by moral, legal and tactical aspects
moving away from military of RtoP, noting in particular that, 1) Reconceptualization of RtoP It
intervention to conflict an appropriate should be emphasized that RtoP
prevention. This might It should be invocation of the includes a range of tools, from the
not be easy though as emphasized that concept is not preventive to the coercive. In the
the logic of doing RtoP includes a range necessarily followed past, the success of RtoP was usually
politics is not conducive
for prevention.
of tools, from the by effective action. equated with the success of military
intervention. There should be a shift
preventive to the He also raised some from this line of thinking towards
She then raised very coercive issues and problems risk assessment/conflict prevention.
valid questions regarding in transatlantic This rethinking, however, might not
the future application of RtoP: relations which could impact on RtoP, be easy because of the following
highlighting specifically the need reasons: (a) it is difficult to mobilize
1) How do we ensure the consistent for a common understanding of the support and resources for a non-
and non-selective application of RtoP? concept. Finally, he proposed that event (i.e. conflict prevention); and
RtoP should move in the direction (b) a world threatened by

terrorism would increasingly
seek a coercive response.

2) Consensus on RtoP It is
important to note that even
the US and the EU are not
entirely in agreement about the
conceptualization and application of
RtoP. While this is understandable,
a common ground is imperative for
the future of RtoP. This could be
facilitated by studies/exchanges on
RtoP best practices, or by setting of
clear, definite goals
whenever RtoP is applied.

3) Prevention of RtoP Abuse

The international community
should be vigilant of attempts to
use RtoP to achieve selfish,
egoistical ends. RtoP should
also be consistently applied to
all comparable cases, otherwise
it may lose its credibility,
particularly in the developing world.

Irwin Cotler
Former Attorney General of Canada

I take the responsibility to protect to

be, among other things, the struggle
rights and human dignity. of the killing fields in Syria that
have gone un-addressed let alone
against hate, against racism, against We meet also in the 70th anniversary un-redressed and have led to the
mass atrocity, against indifference year of the liberation of Auschwitz greatest humanitarian catastrophe
and against the crime of genocide; the most brutal extermination since the Second World War. I have
all this as part of the larger struggle camp of the 20th century a met with survivors from the Syrian
for international justice, for human reminder of horrors too terrible to be killing fields the scorched earth
rights and human dignity in our time, believed, but not too terrible to have policy that has targeted innocent
and which underpins the importance happened and a reminder too that civilians, beginning with the criminal
and compellability of RtoP as a Never Again must not be an idle Assad regime and then with ISIS.
foundational principle with respect slogan, but a remembrance to act.
to the pursuit and implementation Simply put, we have a situation now
of international justice, human We meet also on the fifth anniversary of more than 300,000 killed, some 12

million displaced people, and close to rejoinder to the RtoP doctrine, but And so, on this anniversary
5 million refugees a kind of mocking that it is a mocking rejoinder to of anniversaries, we need to
rejoinder to the Responsibility to what happens if you dont take RtoP ask ourselves: What is it that
Protect doctrine. When I say this, its seriously, and if you dont implement we have learned? And no less
not so much a rejoinder to the doctrine RtoP as was initially conceived. importantly: What is it that we
as it is a rejoinder to our inaction must do? And where is RtoP in all
with respect to giving expression and As Vclav Havel and Desmond of this, in both the prevention and
implementation to that doctrine. Tutu put it, and I quote: protection against mass atrocities?

I remember that those of us who The Responsibility to Protect is the Perhaps the most painful chapter
wrote three years ago again and most significant development in is the one documenting the
again about the need to give defense of human rights since the mass atrocities of the Rwandan
expression to the RtoP doctrine were codification of those rights enshrined genocide to read is to weep, not
told at the time, Well, you know, if in the Universal Declaration of only at the horrific slaughter of
you intervene, this is going to lead Human Rights in the aftermath of innocents, but at the inaction and
to civil war, this is going to lead to World War II and the Holocaust. Yet, indifference which made it possible.
sectarian warfare, this is going to six years (they wrote this in 2011,
lead to jihadism in Syria. but one can say this There are no heroes in Samantha
All the things we were RtoP is a now 10 years later) and Powers telling, save for one:
told would happen if frustratingly millions of preventable Canadian General Romo Dallaire,
we intervened, I hate to elusive promise deaths after the adoption who not only warned of the
say, happened because of RtoP by the 2005 impending genocide in his fax of
we did not intervene early and World Summit, its implementation January, 1994, but would plead for
effectively. If you want to know the remains far from a reality. Instead, help again and again. Warnings,
tragedy of Syria in relation to RtoP, (as they concluded) RtoP is a which went ignored, unheeded,
it isnt so much that it is a mocking frustratingly elusive promise. if not rebuffed and repudiated.

Seven years later, in 2001, 192 What is to be done? agency council in government
states unanimously adopted that would be a focal point for the
the Responsibility to Protect The time has come for governments prevention and combating of these
doctrine, the most important and parliaments in concert with civil international crimes and which
normative, if not juridical doctrine. society to reaffirm our commitment would also reflect and represent our
to R2P, whose implementation remains commitment to R2P in that regard.
It is not only Rwanda or Darfur whose as inadequate as it is incomplete.
genocide is also so unspeakable 4. To take the lead in the development
because it was also preventable. As 1. To reaffirm the Responsibility to and implementation of international
we meet, as I mentioned, in Syria, the Protect as an organising idiom for human rights and international
deaths, destruction and devastation our human rights foreign policy as humanitarian and criminal law, as
continue unabated, with the daily an organizing idiom of part of combating the
commission of mass atrocities our commitment to We need to ask culture of impunity.
and crimes against humanity. international justice. ourselves what is We have been too
it that we must do silent also in the
And so, we must ask ourselves: 2. To take the lead in matter of supporting
What have we learned and, more making mass atrocity where is RtoP in and assisting the
importantly: What must we do? prevention war all of this? International Criminal
And where is RtoP in all of this? In crimes, crimes against Court in combating
particular, how do we pour content humanity, ethnic cleansing, and the culture of impunity that is so
into what we mean by RtoP; and genocide as a centerpiece of our systematic and widespread in the
so as to ensure that RtoP like foreign policy as it must be a focal point international community today.
Never Again does not become of our international security doctrine.
an idle slogan or clich, but can 5. We need to take the lead in peace
serve for remembrance and action. 3. To establish a mass atrocities protection, invoking the paradigm of
prevention board, an inter- human security as being a focal point

as well of our RtoP. When I was Minister are the partnerships between
of Justice and Attorney General of government, parliaments, civil
Canada, our government invoked societies and NGOs. If you want to
the paradigm of human security as know why the Ottawa Landmines
a model for combating international Treaty was such an important and
terrorism, which itself is anchored successful initiative, it was because
in two foundational principles. of the involvement of governments
and parliaments, in an inclusive
a. We need to see international partnership with civil society and
terrorism as constituting an assault NGOs in the implementation of RtoP.
on the security of democracy and the
rights of its inhabitants to life, liberty, I hope and trust that this 10th
and security of the person. Therefore, anniversary of the RtoP doctrine
anti-terrorism is the promotion of may not only be which it is an
the protection of the democracy and important moment of remembrance,
human rights of human security. but may it also be a remembrance
to act and give expression to
b. We must always ensure that the implementation of RtoP.
anti-terrorism law and policy must
always comport to the rule of law,
adheres to constitutional rights,
prohibits torture, and must never
single out minorities for differential
and discriminatory treatment.
6. Finally, with regard to promoting,
protecting and implementing RtoP

Khdor Habib
Member of Parliament, Lebanon

I would like to focus in my

intervention on the Syrian refugee
Lebanon is today one of the countries
that suffered the most from the
-Around 50,000 Palestinian refugees in
Syria have moved to Lebanon since 2011
crisis. I believe that this crisis is one refugees crisis. The magnitude of -16% of Syrian refugees live
of the biggest refugee crisis ever the Syrian Refugee Crisis on Lebanon: in 2000 Informal Settlements
witnessed in history. The pictures -Since March 2011, the number -26% of the population of Lebanese
of today illegal migrants trying to of people residing in Lebanon prisons are Syrian nationals
cross to Europe is an indicator has increased by at least 30% -There is a significant increase
of this crisis. More than 700,000 -The number of Syrians residing in in human trafficking of Syrians
illegal migrants tried to cross to Lebanon has reached 1.5 Million and Palestinians from Syria
Europe this year by crossing the -1,187,000 Syrians are registered -86% of Syrian refugees live in
Mediterranean to Italy and Greece. with UNHRC as refugees 242 villages in Lebanon that
500,000 of them tried to cross to -Today, 1 in 4 is a refugee in Lebanon are considered to be poor
Greece more than 60% of them -50,000 Lebanese have -The Lebanese and the Syrians are
are Syrians. returned from Syria becoming partners in deprivation

-Since March 2011, the economic Officially, and since 2011, the Lebanese been unable to elect a President
losses due to the crisis in Syria have government has adopted a policy of since May 2014. The parliamentary
exceeded $7.5 Billion disassociation elections have been postponed
-Since 2011, the labour The main concern towards the Syrian twice since 2013. Finally, and unlike
force in Lebanon have remains that the crisis. Nonetheless, its predecessor, this government
increased by 50% different economic, some political groups has taken few decisions that
and unemployment in in Lebanon have been aimed at managing the Syrian
Lebanon have doubled social and publicly involved in displacement into Lebanon.
since 2011. More than developmental fighting in Syria in
4 years since the challenges should not support of the Syrian The main concern remains that
start of the Syrian
turn into political and regime. Hezbollah, the different economic, social and
revolution, we cannot for example, which is developmental challenges should not
anymore speak only security risks represented in both turn into political and security risks.
about the humanitarian the government and The government is working closely
consequences of the Syrian the parliament, has been military with local NGOs, international NGOs
crisis on Lebanon. We need to involved in the Syrian war since 2013. and international organisations. The
expand this discussion to include Around 1000 fighters from Hezbollah government of Lebanon has also
other consequences such as: lost their lives fighting in Syria. The drafted together with the UN a joint
The Demographic Impact, The political groups represented in the plan Lebanon Crisis Response Plan
Economic/Development Impact government have been unable to for 2015-2016 to ensure that the
and the Security/Political Impact. agree on the issue of establishing humanitarian response to the
The Lebanese people are divided formal camps. The political divisions Syrian crisis benefits Lebanon and
regarding the Syrian crisis and and the security challenges affected helps in stabilizing the country.
regarding the different policy the functioning of the government
options towards the Syrian and other constitutional institutions.
refugees in Lebanon. The Lebanese Parliament has

Ingemund Hgg
LI Patron, Sweden

T he principles of Responsibility to
Protect are compatible with basic
Universal Declaration of Human
Rights was adopted by the UN in
shares the recognition of one
common humanity, and provides a
liberal ideas. In this note I will focus on 1948. The great religious traditions minimum solution to deal with its
important issues of terminology and take for granted the principle of miseries (A world made new.
the need to develop an understanding common humanity. Islam, Buddhism, Eleanor Roosevelt and the unive
of conditions when responsibility to Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, rsal declaration of human rights, by
protect applies. An understanding Hinduism, Taoism, and more of their Mary Ann Glendon, 2001, p 233).
to be deeply rooted in the minds of variants share a recognition of the
the populations of our nations, which human conditions. Their explanation Even if Glendon in her excellent book
means continuing public discussion. of it and their solutions for it may does not make a reference to non-
differ but not their concerns. religious beliefs it would be easy and
Basic human rights are universal. natural to add such views as part
This was evident when the UN The idea of universal human rights of the deep concerns for basic

human rights. Basic human rights are for example,) gives arguments for the wants to regard sovereignty as
definitely not only a Western idea. acceptance of economic and social responsibility and on that line go
And they constitute a solid basis for the rights as real human rights in his great from sovereignty as
principles of responsibility to protect. work The idea of justice (2010, p control to sovereignty as
355 ff.). Even if he does not discuss responsibility in both internal
Human security includes as responsibility to protect functions and
formulated in the ICSS Report 2001 directly I find his views on This does not mean external duties
concern for human rights, but human rights compatible that sovereignty as (Op.cit., p. 13). This
broader than that in its scope and with conditions for control is outdated does not mean that
increasingly providing a conceptual responsibility to protect.
framework for international action
but that sovereignty sovereignty
as control
outdated but
(Op.cit., p. 6). Human security The ICSS commission as responsibility that sovereignty as
means the security of people their wants to avoid the must be added responsibility must
physical safety, their economic and phrase humanitarian be added, even if
social well-being, respect for their intervention. Humanitarian such responsibility can come into
dignity and worth as human beings, organizations object to the use conflict with the control definition
and the protection of their human of humanitarian when it comes of sovereignty. Acceptance of the
rights and fundamental freedoms. military intervention and the principles of responsibility to protect
(Op.cit., p. 15). The meaning of to commission understands that. For liberals acceptance of what
be broader in scope than human (ICSS Report, p. 9). Further, the responsibility to protect is and stands
rights is not clear to me. Human commission prefers not to talk for is important. This is not easy as
rights declarations include both first- about a right to intervene this responsibility is not a simple
generation and second-generation and instead talks about a clear responsibility and further, not
rights. Though the latter rights have responsibility to protect. a static thing. An understanding
been criticised as diluting the and acceptance in the populations
concept of human rights Amartya Sen, Similarly the commission in our countries of responsibility to

protect must therefore build UN secretary general report from
on discussion and elaboration 16 February 2009 it is stressed that
over time with new experience States should engage in a process
and interpretation. of self-reflection to understand
how RtoP principles are universal
Similar to the fact that human and can also be integrated in
rights is not something you can local values and standards.
learn once and for all. The
wordings are not in themselves A liberal task Suchself-reflection
norms but can in the longer time involves neverending open
perspective strongly influence discussions and dialogues in
development of norms for action. our countries. It must be a main
It is not enough that the political liberal task and responsibility
leaders and elites understand the for liberals and liberal parties
responsibility to protect principles. to be driving and active in
As to moral appeal, preventing, such discussions about the
averting and halting human suffering principles of Responsibility
all the catastrophic loss and misery to Protect.
that go with slaughter and ethnic
cleansing and mass starvation
are inspiring and legitimizing
motives in almost any political
environment (Op,cit., p. 71). We
should not underestimate the need
for discussion and dialogue about
the principles in our countries. In the

Ilhan Kyuchyuk
Member of the European Parliament, Bulgaria

D ear colleagues, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and

crimes against humanity. Having
to perform a moral obligation.

As the European Parliament is said that it is valuable to note However, when interventionism is
one of the international pillars the fact that in the post-Cold used as a cloak for other interests
of Human rights protection it is a war situation of world politics the then it is a form of cultural
great honour for me to welcome norm Responsibility to Protect imperialism (or aggression). Namely,
you here to day and to discuss with has always been related to then we are facing the problem of
you important human rights issues. the emergence of humanitarian selectivity of interventionism and
Responsibility to protect is interventionism. Of course, this consequently of responsibility to
an international security and is not a problem as long as a protect. The problem of selectivity
human rights norm that aims humanitarian intervention aims or double standards is that major
to address failures of the to promote and encourage powers, including Security Council
international community to respect for human rights, to holders of a veto, will always
prevent and stop genocides, enforce an UN resolution or be able to resist pressure, and

ultimately intervention, in a way that we try to avoid resentment by non- a local level (governments and public
smaller and weaker powers cannot. liberal states, put emphasis on opinion) but also on international
Thus, in the eyes of many experts, state rights and keep to one (international organisations
political observers, colleagues principles of international order and international community). If
and most importantly public (sovereignty and domestic we manage to succeed, then state
opinion, interventionism and in jurisdiction). What sovereignty will be conditional and
particular the norm is more chilling is the not absolute, consistent actions
of responsibility to All of this is a fact that the problem will be taken and there will be
protect is dead. NATO result of our of selectivity will sustaining commitments to others.
interventions in Kosovo inactivity because go beyond Syria and
and Libya can serve as Ukraine, for instance In my liberal vision, responsibility
good examples of how
we try to avoid Burundi. What we to protect is still alive and for sure it
we managed in a resentment by have to do to solve the will always be alive since the norm
capacity of international non-liberal states problem of selectivity? originates from liberal tradition and
community to avoid We liberals define thinking. However, if we seek to
war crimes, ethnic cleansing and ourselves as people with translate responsibility to protect
crimes against humanity. In light of cosmopolitan perspectives rather from words to actions the world
this, it is more than important to than communitarian ones, people needs to accept our liberal vision.
note that our inactivity in cases who believe in universal rights over Here, comes the question how this
of Syria and Ukraine already has community rights, who are tolerant will happen. The answer to this
resulted to the deaths of half a towards different cultures and who question is very simple indeed,
million people, unseen since Second respect both individual and collective through education and again
World War refugee crisis, state rights. Therefore, we seek universal education in liberal values and norms.
destruction and upsurge of responsibility for human rights.
international terrorism. All of this To achieve this goal, we need to Thank you!
is a result of our inactivity because promote our liberal vision not only on

Richard Moore
LI Patron, UK

T his is a time when the Responsibility

to Protect has seldom been so
he used chemical weapons on his
own civilian population, led to the
other Syrians who oppose Assads
tyranny. The atrocities of Daesh
relevant and seldom been so mass exodus of refugees now are boasted of being part of a jihad
difficult to fulfil. Its neglect in multiplied by the atrocity of Daesh. to exterminate Jews, Christians,
the recent past is now leading This mass of desperate people has Yazidis, and any Muslims who do
to a crisis, which according to the produced such different responses not share Daeshs corrupted view
President of the European Council, in the member states of the of Islam and its wild distortion of
Donald Tusk, and the Prime European Union that its cohesion is the Caliphate. The Caliphate of the
Minister of France, puts the future threatened as never before. While Ottomans for generations practised
of the European Union in peril. the murderous attacks of Assad are religious toleration that the raison
not explicitly aimed at the Sunni dtat of Daeshs version is to
The failure to protect the victims of population of Syria that is their destroy all other religions and all
President Assad of Syria, even when effect together of course with any Muslims judged to be heretics.

No government however seems make a reality of the responsibility
willing to invoke the principle of to protect is seemingly obvious.
the responsibility to protect in Iraq
and Syria. If it is to remain a dead It is a gloomy prospect on which the
letter we may soon be faced with Liberal International must continue
even greater horrors elsewhere. If to focus. There is hope that the great
extremist Islamists gain home in victory of the Canadian liberals, who
Egypt the eight million Christian Copts did so much to foster the idea of the
will be in peril. The brutalities of the Responsibility to Protect will give
present dictatorship in Cairo provide renewed impetus to one of the
plenty of excuse for the armed moral imperatives of our time.
rising of the Egyptian majority who
voted for the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is certainly the duty of civilised

governments to concert plans for
protecting the Copts rather than
relying on the persistence in power
of the dictator Sisi. When we are
witnessing also the beginnings of a
repetition of the Rwandan horror
in neighbouring Burundi and, while
it has vanished from the screens
and the headlines, the continued
ethnic cleansing of Africans by
the Army in Darfur, the need to

to protect
Overview of RtoP Development

1948 1994 2001

After World War II the UN The modern turning The Canadian government
resolution 260 of 9 Decem- point for the notion released a report
ber 1948 adopted the of Responsibility to which held that
convention on the Protect (RtoP) came state sovereignty is a
Prevention and Punishment out of the Rwanda responsibility, and that the
of the Crime of Genocide experience. international community
as a direct response to the could, as a last resort, use
horror of the Holocaust. military intervention to
prevent mass astrocities.

2005 2009
At the 2005 World Summit The UN Secretary General,
member states included Ban Ki-moon released a
RtoP in the Outcome report which argued for the
Document. The next year implementation
the UN Security Council for RtoP and its arguments
formalized were subsequently
their support of RtoP by discussed at the 2009 UN
reaffirming the provisions General Assembly.
made in this document.

Source: Our World in Data 65

Number of active genocides and politicides*
around the world, 1955 - 2015

# of genocides & politicides

1955 1975 1995 2015


*Politicide are the destruction of a political movement Source: Our World in Data
Map of genocide and politicide deaths around
the world since 1955

in terms of the
number of deaths, 0 being less than
300 and 5 being more than 256,000
Source: Our World in Data 67
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