At the Global Governance Institute, Vesalius College (VUB)
5, Pleinlaan, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
As the principle of Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) moves further away from discussions on norms towards operationalisation, and following the concerns raised by intervention in Libya, and the recent United Nations report on “The Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Arrangements in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)” (27 June 2011), plus the upcoming 2012 UN interactive dialogue on the operationalisation of RtoP, further thinking and clarity needs to be developed on the civilian and military capacities needed for a timely and decisive response under “pillar three” of the RtoP principle. Pillar three of the principle focuses on the international community’s responsibility to take timely and decisive action to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in those instances where a State is unable or unwilling to protect its own populations.
Indeed, NATO’s activities over Libya in pursuit of UN Resolution 1973 have again raised questions over the timeliness, legitimacy, proportionality and effectiveness of military action. Such issues have now been made more acute given the emphasis on the operationalisation of the RtoP principle, which has strong support from regional actors such as the European Union (EU). There is a need to analyse the consistency, legitimacy and effectiveness of civilian and military tools under RtoP, especially in terms of how they impact on and complement preventive and re-building strategies.
To weigh in on such issues the Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation, Global Action to Prevent War, the Global Governance Institute and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect organised a one-day workshop in Brussels. The workshop brought together policy-makers from the EU, UN and regional organisations and scholars to debate the civilian and military challenges posed by “pillar three” of the RtoP principle