According to a group of states participating in the Human Security Network, "[H]uman security means freedom from pervasive threats to people's rights, their safety or even their lives. In the face of repressive or weak states, advocates of human security argue that international actors have a responsibility to come to the aid of populations at risk. Ultimately, "peace and security — national, regional and international — are possible only if they are derived from peoples' security.
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These approaches all see the basis for sovereignty shifting from the absolute rights of state leaders to respect for the popular will and internal forms of governance based on international standards of democracy and human rights. Some observers charge that humanitarian intervention is simply the latest phase of Eurocentric domination. Human rights are the contemporary Western values being imposed in place of Christianity and the "standard of civilization" 24 in the 19th and early 20th century. Nevertheless, from many quarters the view is emerging that sovereignty is no longer sacrosanct.
William Zartman, ed. The debate began in earnest following Gerald B. Damrosch, ed.
Intervention means various forms of nonconsensual action that are often thought to directly challenge the principle of state sovereignty. With the exception of the subsequent examination of prevention, the remainder of this volume focuses on various aspects and instances of intervention. What follows is thus not an exhaustive account of the notion, but rather the conceptual foundation for subsequent analyses.
Many commentators would prefer to eliminate the "h" word, the modifier "humanitarian," before "intervention.
Former colonies recall the disingenuous application of the term for purposes that were anything except humanitarian. And many observers do not want the high ground automatically occupied by those who claim a humanitarian justification for going to war without a serious scrutiny of the specific merits of the case or prejudging whether a particular intervention is defensible or not. Such concerns are understandable and may serve some diplomatic or analytical purposes. However, "humanitarian intervention" is used throughout this volume because the term is employed in virtually all academic and policy literature.
Semantics aside, truth in packaging requires an accurate short-hand description for military coercion to protect civilians. It made no sense to insert either "so-called" throughout the text or to use scare quotes around the term.
Human suffering and the need to provide humanitarian relief to affected populations are prominent in the support of publics and politicians who back the use of military force to support humanitarian objectives — and they almost always employ "humanitarian intervention" in their arguments.
For many audiences, "humanitarian" thus retains great resonance. It refers to the threat or actual occurrence of large scale loss of life including, of course, genocide , massive forced migrations, and widespread abuses of human rights. Acts that shock the conscience and elicit a basic humanitarian impulse remain politically powerful. The specific objectives are to explore the meaning and evolution of the concept, the implications of the United Nations UN Charter, and nonmilitary forms of intervention and to summarize the various dimensions of the contemporary intervention debate.
The actual meaning of the term "intervention" can be derived from the contexts in which it occurs, in addition to the purposes for which it is invoked. Actions do not amount to intervention if they are based on a genuine request from, or with the unqualified consent of, the target state.
Consent, if it is to be valid in law, should emanate from the legal government of a sovereign state and be freely given. Forms of interference that fall short of coercion in the internal affairs of a state also do not amount to intervention. In fact, a central purpose of foreign policy is to persuade other states, friend and foe alike, to enact changes in behaviour that are consistent with foreign policy objectives. Of course, wider definitions of intervention have always existed.
In a world of asymmetrical power, economic activities and foreign direct investment are considered by some observers as types of "intervention. Heightened state sensitivities to economic and cultural influences across borders have also meant even greater sensitivities to human rights pressures that occur without the assent of governments.
Moreover, there are gray areas regarding "consent" — for economic as well as military measures.
Some observers note, for instance, that a request for military intervention may involve so much arm-twisting, including economic pressure from Washington-based financial institutions, as to effectively constitute coercion. Various terms have been coined in thinking about the problem of what amounts to coerced consent, including "coercive inducement.
As for many definitions, it may be more useful to think of consent as a continuum, rather than as an absolute concept. Notwithstanding these realities, the actual expression of consent is a critical dividing line in this volume, both legally and conceptually. And given the legacy of colonialism, it is not surprising that it is the benchmark against which developing countries measure international action.
Obviously the use of armed force against another state without its consent constitutes intervention, but so too does the use of such nonmilitary measures as political and economic sanctions, arms embargoes, and international criminal prosecution.
Prosecutors Are Now Investigating. I think, to some extent, they underestimated John Hughes. Basic principles for prosecution under international criminal law were set out in the late s — that violations of the laws of war were subject to penal sanctions, that superiors' orders do not release an individual from responsibility, and that certain acts constitute crimes against humanity. Few subjects in international law and international relations are as sensitive as the notion of sovereignty. They won't burn. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
Intervention is a concept with a distinct character. Although intervention has most frequently been employed for the preservation of the vital interests — legitimately or illegitimately perceived — of intervening states, 3 there is also a long history of intervention justified on the grounds of grave human suffering.
References to humanitarian intervention first began to appear in the international legal literature after Intervention was invoked against a state's abuse of its sovereignty by brutal and cruel treatment of those within its power, both nationals and nonnationals. Such a state was regarded as having made itself liable to action by any state or states that were prepared to intervene.
One writer, in , depicted humanitarian intervention as "the reliance upon force for the justifiable purpose of protecting the inhabitants of another state from the treatment which is so arbitrary and persistently abusive as to exceed the limits of that authority within which the sovereign is presumed to act with reason and justice. Intervention was surrounded by controversy, however, and many looked, and continue to look, askance at the earliest cases of so-called humanitarian intervention.
Furthermore, there can be no doubt that even when objectives were less objectionable, the paternalism of intervening powers — which were self-appointed custodians of morality and human conscience, as well as the guarantors of international order and security — undermined the credibility of the enterprise. One noted legal authority concluded in that "no genuine case of humanitarian intervention has occurred with the possible exception of the occupation of Syria in and But by the time the 12, European troops had been deployed, the violence was largely over, and after undertaking some relief activities the troops withdrew.
At the end of the 19th century, many legal commentators held that a doctrine of humanitarian intervention existed in customary international law, though a considerable number of scholars disagreed. Contemporary legal scholars disagree on the significance of these conclusions. Some argue that the doctrine was clearly established in state practice prior to and that it is the parameters, not the existence, of the doctrine that are open to debate. Others reject this claim, noting the inconsistency of state practice, particularly in the 20th century, and the substantial number of scholars who had earlier rejected the proposition.
What is clear is that this notion of intervention evolved substantially before the appearance of an international system with institutions responsible for maintaining international order and protecting human rights. The first restrictions on recourse to war were developed in the Kellogg-Briand Pact in Later, the system crystallized into its current form, under the UN Charter. Since , the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of states is prohibited by Article 2 4 , with exceptions granted for the collective use of force under Chapter VII and for individual or collective self-defence in the event of an armed attack in Article Although the prohibition seems clear, questions about the legality of humanitarian intervention remained.
In , for example, an eminent legal scholar continued to argue that intervention is legally permissible when a state is guilty of cruelties against its nationals in a way that denied their fundamental human rights and shocked the conscience of humankind.
The advent of the UN Charter fundamentally affected earlier interpretations of the legality of intervention.
Not only did the Charter set out the circumstances under which intervention was permissible, it also changed the terms of debate by employing the term "the threat or use of force" instead of "intervention. As "intervention" had been used, historically, as a synonym for the threat or use of force, the question was and remains: Did the Charter's prohibition on the unilateral threat or use of force prohibit intervention altogether, or was intervention subsumed by the system of the collective use of force?
Even more controversial: Was there an interpretation of the term "intervention" that would place this concept outside the frame of the Charter's prohibition on the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of a state? Does the Charter prohibit the use of force without the authorization of the Security Council, even when exceptional circumstances arise? As the Charter explicitly permits the use of force in self-defence and enables the Security Council to authorize force to confront threats to international peace and security, a recurring aspect of debate has been the use of force to protect human rights.
The s were not the beginnings of the dispute. Various interpretations of the legality of humanitarian intervention were fiercely debated, particularly beginning in the late s. The ideological competition of the Cold War lent a particular character to interventions during that period. With much of the world aligned with one of the two superpowers, there was considerable pressure from both sides to intervene in both internal and international armed conflicts. The deadlock in the Security Council and the existence of the veto also increased the likelihood that interventions would either not occur at all or be undertaken in the absence of a Council mandate.
In fact, interventions during the Cold War were far more likely to be undertaken by a single state for example, the United States [US] in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and South Africa and Cuba in Angola , whether directly or by proxy, than they were to be multilateral.
On two occasions during this period, the International Court of Justice ICJ ruled on cases that involved assessing the legality of interventions for which humanitarian purposes had been declared: the United Kingdom in the Corfu Channel and the US in Nicaragua. In both cases, the ICJ adhered to the position that the principle of nonintervention involves the right of every sovereign state to conduct its affairs without outside interference and that international law requires territorial integrity to be respected.
The ICJ rejected intervention that impedes a state from conducting those matters that each state is permitted, by the principle of sovereignty, to decide freely — namely, its political, economic, social, and cultural system and the formulation of its foreign policy. More specifically, in the case of Nicaragua vs. United States , the ICJ reiterated the attributes of humanitarian aid or assistance, that might also be applicable to military intervention for humanitarian purposes.
If the provision of humanitarian assistance is to escape condemnation as an intervention in the internal affairs of a state, the ICJ took the view that it must be "limited to the purposes hallowed in practice, namely to prevent and alleviate human suffering, and to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being without discrimination to all in need" and that it be "linked as closely as possible under the circumstances to the UN Charter in order to further gain legitimacy.
The ICJ rejected the notion of the use of force to ensure the protection of human rights: "[W]here human rights are protected by international conventions, that protection takes the form of such arrangements for monitoring or ensuring the respect for human rights as are provided for in the conventions themselves In any event Such a conclusion, however, does not appear to be definitive. The protection of human rights by international conventions presupposes a stable and orderly system of monitoring and ensuring respect for human rights based on those conventions.
Cases may arise where the existing arrangements are inappropriate for protecting human rights, owing to the nature and scale of the violations. Furthermore, in extreme situations, where the Security Council is unable to act, political and moral imperatives may leave no choice but "to act outside the law. Further clarification of the meaning of intervention in the context of the Charter can be drawn from UN negotiations over the past decade.