The current discussion on R2P at the UN is largely ahistorical or at most informed by selective historical references, which exclude earlier forms of intervention aimed at atrocity prevention, particularly by states in the global South. This contribution argues that the result is a skewed understanding of the practice of intervention that serves to deny agency to actors outside of the West and undermines the framing of atrocity prevention and R2P as an issue of global concern.
The protection of civilians in the context of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is often understood as a practice of ‘saving strangers’. In this article, I argue that such an understanding overlooks the ways that close relational webs can be used as a form of prevention of, and protection from, atrocity crimes. Through an examination of unarmed protection practices in the context of the civil war in South Sudan, I highlight how practices of unarmed, civilian-led protection – performed both by non-governmental organisations (ngo s), and by communities themselves – hinge on the creation and sustaining of close relational webs. Rather than ‘saving strangers’, this ‘relational R2P’ hinges on familiarity as a means of protecting one’s friends, families, and neighbours. Through a lens of relational connectivity, fresh perspectives and opportunities for re-imagining ‘intervention’ in the face of atrocity crimes arise. The article explores potential opportunities, challenges, and limitations for the implementation of unarmed, civilian-based approaches in the context of atrocity crimes.
The idea of international protection of vulnerable populations has imperial roots. Scholars of international history teach us that the idea of protection was routinely invoked to justify European colonial rule and some of its brutal violence. Their scholarship makes for sobering reading for anyone advocating international efforts to protect vulnerable people today. In this roundtable contribution, I describe how I have wrestled with R2P’s colonial parallels in my recent book, Sharing Responsibility: The History and Future of Protection from Atrocities.
Network disruption has become commonplace in Ethiopia in the past few years. Be it for preventing exam leaks, the spread of disinformation, or to fight off cyber-attacks, the government has repeatedly disrupted communication networks. However, the legal basis with which the government often shuts down the Internet or disrupts other means of digital communications remains unclear. Despite a recent attempt by the Federal Attorney General to offer some legal justification, the legality of network disruptions under Ethiopia law is questionable. This short article considers the legality of network disruptions under Ethiopian law. Having rejected the legal justifications of the Attorney General, this article argues that the current cybercrime legislation offers a rather sound legal basis for certain forms of network disruption in Ethiopia. It further considers the pertinence of rules dealing with network disruption introduced in the cybercrime Bill (2020). The article suggests that the Bill’s network disruption rules are mostly progressive, but there remains the need for a freestanding legal framework equipped with appropriate safeguards against arbitrary practices.
There have been many proposals on the table encouraging Permanent Members of the Security Council (P5) to refrain voluntarily from exercising the veto in certain cases involving themselves or their clients, particularly when Chapter vii decisions are being contemplated. Consider, for example, the French/Mexican initiative supported by 105 states, the act Code of Conduct, with 122 adherents, and the early efforts in relation to R2P, ultimately withdrawn. The premise for such proposals is that the P5 are possessed of unbridled power under the UN Charter to veto proposed resolutions at will, with no recourse to principle
When populations become targets of war and mass human rights abuses are perpetrated, health consequences arise not only from injury, but also from many other societal traumas1 resulting from constant ‘discrimination, disempowerment, and social exclusion’.2 Public health and mental health responses play a significant role in relieving and aiding affected communities to recover from injuries and traumas. However, there is little discussion about how such responses can widely engage the social, economic, and cultural realms of society to assist in preventing atrocity crimes. In their book, Getgen Kestenbaum, Mahoney, Meade, and Fuller offer a fresh perspective
The quest for the restitution of cultural property has not been an easy endeavour. Despite the availability of multiple legal regimes securing various channels for the restitution of cultural property, improvement has been quite sluggish. This article argues that the debacle to the restitution process lies in the simultaneous operation of two diametrically opposed conceptions of cultural property- the nationalist and internationalist schools of thought. The 1954 Hague Convention sees cultural property as the cultural heritage of all mankind whilst the 1970 Convention takes the view that it is the cultural heritage designated by each country. These two approaches have been used to characterise nations theoretically in the international arena into source nations with nationalistic interests and market nations with international concerns.
The conflict between both conceptions of cultural property becomes evident where the nationalists seek to employ legal and extra-legal means to protect their cultural heritage and facilitate their return and restitution; whereas, internationalists sabotage these efforts on the ground that cultural heritage is the common heritage of mankind thereby contradicting the notion of return.
This article finds that although both schools of thought have divergent propositions, they nonetheless share a common theoretical underpinning- utilitarianism, which validates their respective ideologies. Since utilitarianism supports the maximisation of the overall happiness of a collective group, nationalists can predicate the protection of their cultural heritage on the need to secure this happiness just like the internationalists.
This article, therefore, seeks to examine if the common theoretical foundation which both schools of thought share can serve as a reconciliatory tool that bridges the gap between them towards the promotion of the interest of the international community in protecting cultural heritage.