This paper critically examines attempts to conceptualise the use of military intervention on humanitarian grounds, with a focus on the ‘responsibility to protect’ framework, and offers discussion of the way forward in light of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the US-led ‘war on terror’. It traces the history of the concept from its post-Cold War origins through to the UN World Summit of September 2005. The paper concludes with a brief review of the challenges that face the international community in moving forward, and the specific contributions that might be made by the UK government.
Relationships between the humanitarian and military communities have tended to be difficult. Nevertheless, during the 1990s a fragile and rather patchy consensus emerged on the norms, expectations and institutional arrangements underpinning that relationship. This article examines the model that emerged through the 1990s and considers the impact of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in general and the invasion of Iraq in particular.
This paper argues that the armed conflict in Kosovo illustrates that forced displacement resulting in both internally displaced persons and refugees is an intentional, deliberate strategy of the parties to the internal conflict, and not just a consequence or unintended effect of the hostilities between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The escalation of hostilities was also framed by the international community’s lack of coherent conflict management strategy for Kosovo. The two principal assumptions guiding the international community’s policymaking – that separation and independence for Kosovo was not a legitimate objective and that Kosovar Albanian armed resistance was considered terrorism – generated incentives for both parties to use force to achieve contrary objectives. This created considerable difficulties for the international community to effectively protect non-combatant civilians and forcibly displaced persons.