Based on the Security Council’s disparate responses to relatively similar acts of regime violence in Syria and Libya, it seems that the Responsibility to Protect doctrine is heavily influenced by factors other than the substantive act of violence. Accordingly, this paper discusses the legal, but also the strategic and pragmatic factors influencing the use, or abstention from the use, of armed humanitarian intervention. While some critics decry the influence of factors that are seemingly exogenous to Responsibility to Protect, this paper argues that the interplay of law and various matters of strategic concern such as politics, economics, and pragmatics is an unavoidable reality in a world where political actors (the states on the Security Council) decide the legitimacy of interventions. Therefore, this paper contends that the strategic and pragmatic concerns that prevent the use of force in Syria do not make the doctrine ipso facto illegitimate.
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Resolution 60supra note 3 (the resolution did not completely adopt the Responsibility to Protect’s language but was a strong acknowledgment of the Responsibility to Protect ‘score principles).
Resolution 1973supra note 6.
Judgment ICJ 19 December2005para 148.
See GA. Res.262524October 1970 (Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations).
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SC Res. 872 5 October1993. The Secretary-General recommended the creation of an organization that would “contribut[e] to the establishment and maintenance of a climate conducive to the secure installation and subsequent operation of the transitional Government.”
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‘Resolution 60’supra note 3.
Resolution 60supra at note 3.
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