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Alex J. Bellamy and Stephen McLoughlin

Miliary intervention remains a controversial part of human protection. Indispensable in some circumstances, military intervention confronts significant structural challenges which means that it is used only rarely and has the propensity for causing unintended negative consequences. In this essay, we examine the place of humanitarian intervention within the human protection regime. Focusing on the case of Libya, we argue that the UN Security Council has now accepted that the use force, even against a sovereign state, is a sometimes legitimate response to mass atrocities. But the Libya experience also raised three major challenges – challenges of regime change, accountability, and selectivity – that will have be addressed if military intervention is ever to become a legitimate part of international society’s anti-atrocities arsenal. First, we show how increased international activism after the Cold War helped put downwards pressure on the incidence of mass atrocities worldwide. Second, we explain why armed intervention remained a controversial and rarely employed instrument of human protection. Third, we argue that the UN Security Council’s decision to authorise armed intervention in Libya represented a significant development in the place of armed intervention as a tool of human protection. Finally, we examine the political consequences of the intervention and argue that these will need to be addressed in order to rebuild sufficient trust to allow future considerations of the use of force for humanitarian purposes.

Andrea L. Everett

The practice of humanitarian military action has changed markedly in the 21st century when compared with the 1990s. This essay explores three broad trends that have shaped this evolution. First, the UN has adopted the protection of civilians as a central element of its agenda and as a guiding principle for reforming its peace operations and its responses to atrocities such as genocide and ethnic cleansing. Second, major powers have played a central role as belligerents or patrons of belligerents in many of the worst conflicts of the last two decades. And third, the wealthy Western states with the greatest resources and military capabilities for ambitious humanitarian operations have substantially reduced their direct contributions to these missions. Together, these developments have shifted the balance of responsibility and effort for humanitarian military operations toward the UN and developing countries; constrained the ambitions of these missions; limited what they can accomplish and contributed to gaps between the expectations they create and the protection they are able to deliver; and discouraged meaningful action in response to many of the century’s most devastating conflicts.

Eglantine Staunton

Since the end of the Cold War, Iraq has faced three international interventions. While their humanitarian component was a secondary – and at times, arguable – factor, they all played a central role in normative debates on the extent to which states should protect populations from mass atrocities beyond their borders (and what that actually entails), making Iraq a central piece of the human protection puzzle. In addition to analysing how Iraq’s fate has played a key part in the development of human protection over the years, the article argues that France had a central role in both the interventions and the normative debates they generated, and investigates its role in depth. By doing so, it deepens our understanding of human protection, France’s foreign policy and Iraq’s development.

Pınar Gözen Ercan

Bringing into focus the two formal debates on the Responsibility to Protect that took place in 2009 and 2018, this article identifies the approaches of member states towards the humanitarian use of force by locating it in the UN’s deliberations on R2P. To this end, the article compares and contrasts country statements in order to trace states’ general approach towards humanitarian intervention on the basis of their reflections on R2P. Following from this, the article examines whether or not states’ approaches to humanitarian intervention have been transforming in the twenty-first century, and evaluates how the humanitarian use of force is perceived in relation to the R2P framework that was embraced by the member states of the UN General Assembly in 2005, and how this affects the future of R2P.


Georg Nolte


The United Nations International Law Commission occasionally deals with the law relating to international organizations. A well-known example is its work in preparation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations of 1986. It is less well-known, but perhaps more important for the practice of international organizations, that the Commission has in recent years also addressed other relevant issues in this field. Those include the responsibility of international organizations (2011), the role which the practice of international organizations may play in the interpretation of their constituent instruments (2018) and in the formation of customary international law (2018), as well as considerations on whether the topic ‘Settlement of disputes to which international organizations are parties’ (2016) should be put on its agenda. This chapter reflects the 2018 aiib Law Lecture, summarizing the work of the Commission on these aspects of the law of international organizations and engages in some general reflections.


Andreas Baumgartner


This chapter positions commercial dispute resolution as a major enabler of economic development. Going one step further, it argues that commercial dispute resolution also makes for good ‘lighthouse’ judicial reform projects, due to its focused scope and the quick impact potential in an area where competition between countries requires urgent action. Success requires a comprehensive approach around five building blocks: the legal basis; organisational and physical setup; people excellence; communications; and overall strategy and change management. In its second half, the chapter moves from today to setting out four hypotheses for the future: Firstly, courts of the future will be a service rather than a location, with courtrooms of the future being virtual and customer centric providers capturing the market. Second, commercial dispute resolution will become far more differentiated, as well as competitive on the international stage. Third, private sector solutions will complement and compete with state-offered or endorsed solutions. Fourth, artificial intelligence is about to change the face and nature of dispute resolution fundamentally. Each of those trends offers ample opportunities to unlock economic potential. The chapter concludes by pointing out how international organizations can contribute.


Matthew Gearing and Joe Liu


This chapter traces the evolution of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (hkiac)from 1985 when it was established as a regional arbitration center to its present status as one of the world’s major international dispute resolution organizations. The chapter focuses on hkiac’s contributions to effective international dispute resolution over that time, including its participation in legislative reforms in and outside of Hong Kong, its global outreach efforts and its promulgation of arbitration rules with trend-setting provisions for increasingly complex disputes. hkiac’s case statistics will be used to identify trends in international dispute resolution and to present hkiac’s experience in international commercial and investment treaty cases involving governments entities or international organizations.

The chapter will then discuss the use of hkiac for dispute resolution by international organizations. In that respect, real-life examples will be used to examine a number of disputes that were submitted by an international organization to hkiac for arbitration under a loan agreement or a shareholders agreement. The chapter will also discuss a recent project in which an international organization decided to include an hkiac dispute resolution clause in its employment agreements after considering other alternatives.

The chapter will conclude by addressing hkiac’s unique position to resolve disputes between Chinese and non-Chinese parties with a particular focus on disputes arising from China’s Belt and Road Initiative.