PO102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Humanitarian Intervention, Non-Interventionism, Noble Eightfold Path

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3 Jul 2017

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Humanitarian Intervention
- UN Charter outlaws aggression
- An act of aggression occurring to the UN
o Use of force (or imminent threat to use it) against territory or sovereignty
Ex. Tanks swarm across the border or about to cross, if having threatened
to do so (a clear threat)
- UN bans use of force: Article 2 Section 4
o All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of
force against the territorial integrity or political independence
- When is aggression allowed? (outlined in Section 51)
o When responding to an attack
Ex. Coalition of states that responded to invasion of Kuwait, using military
International System based on:
- Non-intervention
- Sovereignty
Competing Norms: Sovereignty vs. Human Rights
- Wanting to protect human rights without diluting sovereignty
The Counter-Restrictionists (people in support of Humanitarian intervention)
The Legal Case for Intervention (made by international lawyers)
- Rests on two claims:
o The UN Charter is committed to protecting human rights
Despite Article 2 section 4 (that protects territorial and political
o Right of humanitarian intervention is in customary law (states have to claim that
law in practice overtime)
Customary right actually preceded the UN charter
The Moral Case for Intervention
- Sovereignty can be forfeited if it does not protect its citizens
- The idea of a common humanity
o All people regardless of the state they live in are entitled to basic human rights
- Globalization has connected us
o Human rights violations that take place in one country can impact other states
- Religious and ethical systems=prevent mass killings and punish perpetrators
Classic interpretation of sovereignty
- A sovereign state is empowered by international law to exercise exclusive and total
jurisdiction within its territory, and other states have a duty not to intervene
ICISS: Sovereignty as a responsibility
- Dual responsibility
o External aspect: outsiders must respect borders and internal governance of
o Internal aspect: respect for dignity and rights of own citizens must be respected
o ICISS includes responsibility to prevent and rebuild
Sovereignty as Responsibility
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