The «R2P» doctrine: responsibility of the states and international community to protect human rights

The article is devoted to the doctrine of «responsibility to protect» (widely referred to as «RtoP» or «R2P») that provides revised outlook on the so-called «right of humanitarian intervention» and gives the new answer to the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive (in particular military) action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state. The «R2P» doctrine was first elaborated in 2001 by the International Commission on Intervention
and State Sovereignty (ICISS) led by G. Evans and M. Sahnoun. Under the view of ICISS the responsibility to protect embraces three specific responsibilities: 1) the responsibility to prevent: to address both the root causes and direct causes of internal conflict and other manmade crises putting populations at risk; 2) the responsibility to react: to respond to situations of compelling human need with appropriate measures, which may include coercive measures like sanctions and international prosecution, and in extreme cases military intervention; 3) the responsibility to rebuild, that includes post-intervention obligations: to provide full assistance with recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation particularly after a military intervention. The «R2P» doctrine received renewed emphasis in 2004 due to the Report «A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility», developed by the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change. The Panel stated that the «R2P» doctrine is an emerging norm that sovereignty is not a right, but that states must protect their populations from mass atrocity crimes–namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. The international community has a responsibility to assist the state to fulfill its primary responsibility. If the state manifestly fails to protect its citizens from the four above mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered as the last resort. This concept was unanimously supported by 191 heads of state and government representatives at the 2005 General Assembly World Summit (para. 138 and 139 of World Summit Outcome). In 2009 the Secretary-General presents the report «Implementing the responsibility to protect» that provides the three-pillar strategy of the «R2P» doctrine implementation: «the protection responsibilities of the state», «international assistance and capacity-building» and «timely and decisive response». The latest includes the acceptance of military intervention for human protection purposes that must meet the criteria for military intervention. Six criteria were identified for defining when a situation is appropriate for military intervention: right authority, just cause, right intention, last resort, proportional means and reasonable prospects. At the conclusions it’s stated that further development and recognition of the «R2P» doctrine
will contribute to the fulfillment of the obligations of the state and international community to protect the populations from mass atrocity crimes as well as it will keep the individual state from violations of the norms and principles of international law.