The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All

Overview

"Never again!" the world has vowed time and again since the Holocaust. Yet genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other mass atrocity crimes continue to shock our consciences —from the killing fields of Cambodia to the machetes of Rwanda to the agony of Darfur.

Gareth Evans has grappled with these issues firsthand. As Australian foreign minister, he was a key broker of the United Nations peace plan for Cambodia. As president of the International Crisis Group, he now works on the prevention and resolution of scores of ...

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The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All

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Overview

"Never again!" the world has vowed time and again since the Holocaust. Yet genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other mass atrocity crimes continue to shock our consciences —from the killing fields of Cambodia to the machetes of Rwanda to the agony of Darfur.

Gareth Evans has grappled with these issues firsthand. As Australian foreign minister, he was a key broker of the United Nations peace plan for Cambodia. As president of the International Crisis Group, he now works on the prevention and resolution of scores of conflicts and crises worldwide. The primary architect of and leading authority on the Responsibility to Protect ("R2P"), he shows here how this new international norm can once and for all prevent a return to the killing fields.

The Responsibility to Protect captures a simple and powerful idea. The primary responsibility for protecting its own people from mass atrocity crimes lies with the state itself. State sovereignty implies responsibility, not a license to kill. But when a state is unwilling or unable to halt or avert such crimes, the wider international community then has a collective responsibility to take whatever action is necessary. R2P emphasizes preventive action above all. That includes assistance for states struggling to contain potential crises and for effective rebuilding after a crisis or conflict to tackle its underlying causes. R2P's primary tools are persuasion and support, not military or other coercion. But sometimes it is right to fight: faced with another Rwanda, the world cannot just stand by.

R2P was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly at the 2005 World Summit. But many misunderstandings persist about its scope and limits. And much remains to be done to solidify political support and to build institutional capacity. Evans shows, compellingly, how big a break R2P represents from the past, and how, with its acceptance in principle and effective application in practice, the promise of "Never again!" can at last become a reality.

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Editorial Reviews

Scott Malcomson
Evans cuts a fascinating figure on the world stage. Always informed, sometimes alarming, never dull, he has a diplomat's ability to listen and reflect, and a politician's will to dominate a room. He is also an able and prolific writer.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815725046
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gareth Evans has been president and CEO of the International Crisis Group since 2000 and was foreign minister of Australia from 1988 to1996. Co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000—01), which initiated the Responsibility to Protect concept, he has since led the movement for its worldwide adoption and application. Evans has served on many other global bodies including the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change (2003—04) and the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Committee on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (2006—present), and was named in 2008 to co-chair the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. His numerous publications include eight other books and a prizewinning Foreign Policy article on cooperative security. Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

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Table of Contents

Introduction A personal journey 1

1 The problem : the recurring nightmare of mass atrocities 11

2 The solution : from "the right to intervene" to "the responsibility to protect" 31

3 The scope and limits of the responsibility to protect 55

4 Before the crisis : the responsibility to prevent 79

5 During the crisis : the responsibility to react 105

6 Reacting to crises : when is it right to fight? 128

7 After the crisis : the responsibility to rebuild 148

8 Institutional preparedness : the actors 175

9 Building diplomatic, civilian, and military capability 200

10 Mobilizing political will 223

App. A Definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes 243

App. B The mass atrocity toolboxes : prevention, reaction, and rebuilding 252

App. C Further reading 254

App. D Further action 259

Notes 267

Index 329

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Auschwitz, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo...Darfur, the Congo...

    - The words haunt, or should haunt, the engaged reader. Since the Cold War, intra-state conflict (insurrection and civil war) has become the norm for armed conflict, as state fragmentation and re-alignment continues throughtout the world. At the opening of the 20th century, one casualty in ten was a civilian victim of this kind of violence. By the end of the century that ratio had reversed: nine victims of intra-state violence in ten are civilians.<BR/><BR/>This document represents state-of-the-art thinking as the international community struggles to come to grips with genocide, ethnic cleansing, the weaponization of rape, starvation, and other massive human rights catastrophes which take place daily even as I write.<BR/><BR/>Perhaps the best contribution to the debate on whether the international community must react or must not react to the internal affairs of sovereign states lies in the concept expressed in this report's title. If nothing else, the topic deserves wider consideration and discussion. The need couldn't be larger or more immediate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2011

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