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R2P's "Ulterior Motive Exemption" and the Failure to Protect in Libya

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Bachman, Jeffrey

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Abstract Mass atrocity prevention has been controversial, both when members of the international community have taken action as well as when they have failed to do so. In 1999, then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the international community to reconcile the need to respect state sovereignty with the need to protect populations from egregious human rights violations. R2P’s emergence offered an opportunity to move past the discourse and practice associated with its predecessor-“humanitarian intervention.” However, while R2P has succeeded in changing the discourse, it has failed to make a change in practice. A source of this failure is R2P’s “ulterior motive exemption.” Using the R2P intervention in Libya as a case study, this article concludes that because ulterior motives existed: (1) NATO’s primary intent of civilian protection quickly evolved into the intent to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi; (2) in exceeding its mandate, NATO committed an act of aggression; (3) NATO continued to militarily support the rebels while they were committing war crimes and severe human rights violations; (4) NATO’s actions resulted in civilian casualties, which NATO has refused to investigate; and (5) NATO abdicated its responsibility to protect Libyans from the human suffering that continued subsequent to Qaddafi’s execution. (author's abstract)
Keywords UNO; UN Security Council; political intervention; humanitarian intervention; military intervention; international politics; international relations; conflict of interest; pressure-group politics; NATO; political instrument; results measurement; Libya; civil war; military conflict
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Free Keywords Responsibility to Protect; R2P
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 56-67
Journal Politics and Governance, 3 (2015) 4
Issue topic Mass Atrocity Prevention (Part II)
ISSN 2183-2463
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution