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POL208Y1 Lecture Notes - Humanitarian Intervention, Foreign Policy Initiative, Prosecutor

Political Science
Course Code
Jean- Yves Haine

of 7
March 8th 2011
End of cold war opened up room for human rights intervention around world
Failure to stop genocide in Rwanda lead to new interest in inter. Legal framework etc--R2P
Duty for states is to protect human rights themselves
ICISS-initiative of Canada and other states-reports about r2p
Finished report day before 9/11 so agenda changed drastically
Said states have the primary responsibility to protect their citizens
When states are unable or unwilling to protect their citizens, leads to international R2p
Two failures were at the origin of the ICISS report:
1. Kosovo- Un security council at time couldn’t reach decision
2. Rwanda-not even a case of intervention b.c some UN troops were already there; not a
question of early warning or lack of info
The then boss of the peace keeping operation--Kofi Annam expressed the regret that the UN
was unable to shut down the radio in kigali that was calling for mass murder
Matter of reinforcing the troops that were already there and to change the mandate
Small contagion of belgian troops- 10 killed - Belgian foreign minister and Belgian leader at
time ordered military leader to leave even though 3 dozen rwandans will die
Left a huge mark on world
In US at time word genocide never used b/c carried with it obligation to do something
Rwanda was failure of inter. Community to intervene
800, 000 ppl. Killed in too months
At the end of the day its about decision makers making the right choice
Just on realism plus liberalism
Realists will doubt that there is something called universal right
Consider that these rights are the historic expression of one particular state or groups of states
No equivalent to an intern. Public prosecutor, claims about these rights are often distinguished
as other sets of intentions
Country claim it is acting in name of human rights when in fact its security etc acc. To realists
Realists-sovereignty is protection
More concerned about human rights
Any foreign policy which wants to improve question of human rights is one fraught with
difficulties and dilemma
Risks falling into meaningless and abstract generalities
One thing to claim morality in foreign policy, another to base a foreign policy initiative on
moral grounds
Without transla. Of agenda into pragmatic and effective policies, runs risk of being one of
empty declaration and good intention
2. Risk of hypocrisy, double standards and inconsistency--why intervene there and not there
The inconsistencies not only obvious in the cases you may chose, also evident in domestic
3rd difficulty-the absence of domestic base for action
Ex. Not many demonstrations in favour of an intervention in Darfur
Most of the time a case has to be built, public opinion has to be convinced
On the other hand a public outcry could lead to inappropriate action, ignore local realities etc
Leaders intervening need:
Sound principle and effectiveness
The art of the possible
Tension between what you want to do and what you have the means to do
Morality of the objective is always relative
There is no universally accepted standards
Decision maker might be incompatible with anthers claim
No single inter. Moral code
^ leads to principle of self restraint
Unintended consequences of that action
Ex. You might consider that child labour in bangladesh might be stopped. It is a moral
imperative. Yet, without a proper educational system, such a prohibition could lead to
disastrous consequences
For every moral position you take there are always moral consequences
The current case of Libya--moral point of view, it makes sense to help the opposition to take
power and to keep kedafi out of power. How do you do that?
A direct intervention may not be welcomed from the local pop.
Indeed message we have gotten from opposition- is you will do more harm than good
What can we do to limit the power of destruction kedafi can unleash?
Idea: no fly zone---kedafi can’t bomb civilians
Military points out that first you would have to bomb their air military force and you may in
doing so trigger collateral damages and strengthen position of kedafi inside Libya
You may turn some part of the pop. Against you
Yet at the end of the day the moral choice is about avoiding massacre in libya
Do you wait for actual massacre to do something?
Can you act preventatively
Can you do it without the help of other countries?
All these questions create dilemmas
Not surprising issues of human rights are so diff. To tackle
Moral choice MUST be a pragmatic one
And yet over the years in Bosnia, rwanda, Congo, there is a matter of regularity in human
rights violation that leads us to disappear
Short attn. Span of media is that respect is always incredible
Specific case of humanitarian intervention-always a tough call-some have been successful,
most have been unsuccessful
Inter. Community is basically learning by doing
UN has changed way it does peacekeeping and intervention business
Challenge How to reconcile various factors
Ie: moral duties vs. Liberal policy of restraint
Humanitarian tasks vs. Effective strategy
The case against human. Intervention
1. State sovereignty-bedrock of inter. Society
Time of conception of UN charter, idea of invention would seem unreal
Sovereignty-recognizing all states, not matter how small--no one could claim right to intervene
For realists, sovereignty seen as progress
The Westphalia system much more peaceful than the system before that treaty
Sovereignty offers protection against foreign intervention whatever their motive
From a liberal pers. Sovereignty is also the realization or the embodiment of the citizens
Rights of states derive from citizens
Rights of citizens to live in state of their choice
Other states disagree with policies of states etc
Classic liberal philosophers like stuart mill-argued against intervention except in 2 cases
He considered only 2 situations may justify the intervention into the affairs of another state
1. Situation where a country suffers already an intervention-then non-intervention doesn’t
apply--in fact we would be restoring sovereignty
2. When a country suffers from a never ending civil war--length and scale of suffering that
justified intervention
That kind of reasoning was somehow in place when in the inter. Community started to think
about and intervention in Congo
More than 1.5 mill. Casualties in Congo
Today blue helmet/peacekeepers in Congo one of biggest, most imp. Missions
Sovereignty remains a very important issue when we talk about inter
B/c of this r2p concept is in fact very restricted, it is an exceptional measure triggered by
exceptional circumstances
There are conditions for r2p to be implemented
As in a large scale loss of life occurring
Could be direct state action, inability to act, state neglect
Deliberate act of genocide vs. State neglect ie: famine in Ethiopia
Both instances we are talking about large scale loss of life
Can also be the case of ethnic cleansing
First, a just cause
Second, precautionary principle must be respected
Amounts to the RIGHT INTENTION
Must be about stopping human suffering
Most of the time in Africa when western states intervene it is to protect their own citizens,
avoid own domestic casualties
-don’t address human suffering in the country beyond their own citizenship ie: send aircraft to
save own citizens