You are on page 1of 5




,,Humanitarian Intervention as a Peaceful Instrument

Scientific Conductor: MORARI Cristina,

Master of IR, university lecturer.

CHIINU, 2016

Humanitarian interference is the intervention in a sovereign State by one or more States or

international organizations, by armed force and without its consent, with the aim to protect civilian
population from the massive and systematic violation of their human rights or to help with
emergency situations where local authorities are unable or unwilling to act.
The conception behind such an intervention is that there are criteria of humanity that prevail
over the principle of sovereignty of States and the principle of nonintervention in the internal
affairs of States. Others sustain that international humanitarian law can not be invoked to justify
armed intervention. In fact Thomas M. Franck that was a lawyer and an expert on international
law, wrote that it is necessary to discriminate between genuine humanitarian interventions and
insincere and opportunistic humanitarian interventions. It may happen that the humanitarian
emergency is pure invention of a powerful State that seeks to interfere in the domestic jurisdiction
of another State for political or economic reasons.Considering this high level of uncertainty that
characterizes the normative framework related to the use of force and humanitarian intervention, it
would have been appropriate for the United Nations Reform documents to dig as much as possible
about the conditions, if any, that might legitimate the use of force for humanitarian purpose.
The first justification for the use of force with the first attempt to "punish the injury and protect
the innocent" is attributed to the dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), who started the debate on
the humanitarian interference that continued during the later centuries and among other writers
such as Vattel, Kant or Stuart Mill, who reflected on the use of force against those who "had
mistreated their subjects beyond what seems acceptable." After that, the concept of humanitarian
interference was stimulated by the creation in 1971 of the NGO Doctors Without Borders in France
and then, especially after the fall of the Soviet empire and the end of international disorder. Since
the sixties of the twentieth century, various international institutions had supported the principle of
'"humanitarian intervention" as a right of intervention, within the limits, in a state to investigate a
possible violation of human rights and to provide relief to the affected populations.
The United Nations, established in 1945, was born with the aim of building the normative and
institutional architecture of a new, comprehensive system of international relations encompassing
economy, politics, law aimed at ensuring that long-term balance of interests and forces that
would ultimately avoid a new planetary conflict. Keeping the peace is also one of the most
important aim of the Humanitarian Intervention. Humanitarian refers principally to the motives

for the intervention, namely, to save foreigners from the ills inflicted upon them by their rulers or
by powerful, protected groups in their own country. But since motives are always complex, this
motive need only be dominant, not exclusive. Intervention is then defined in terms that involve
the action being against the consent of the target state.
To be legal, forcible military intervention in a humanitarian crisis must be authorized by a
resolution of the Security Council. However, UNSC resolutions can be vetoed by any one of the
permanent five members (P5) which are USA, Russia, China, Britain and France. The last decade
of the twentieth century saw an unprecedented increase in the number and scale of military
interventions by United Nations forces: this has been called the new interventionism. Between
1998 and 1993 alone, 20 new peacekeeping missions were established. At the same time, the size
of the annual UN peacekeeping budget shot up from US$230 million in 1988, to between US$800
million and US$1.6 billion throughout the 1990s. Behind this increased activity was the end of the
cold war, which produced the demand, opportunities, and incentives for UN-sponsored
humanitarian intervention. A series of regional peace agreements in Afghanistan, Angola, Namibia,
Central America, and Cambodia accompanied the winding down of the cold war, and these
demanded peacekeeping forces to supervise ceasefires, military demobilization, and elections. The
opportunities to respond to this demand existed with increased great power cooperation in the
UNSC and with the freeing up of surplus cold war military capability for peacekeeping duties.
Incentives for humanitarian intervention have come from public pressure on governments to do
something about large-scale civilian suffering in failed and murderous states.
One of the most important intervention of the Humanitarian groups were in Somalia. Somalia
became one of the first states in which the Security Council got their hands dirty. In 1991, when
Somalias long-time dictator, Said Barre, was overthrown in a coup, there was a power struggle
among the various warlords fighting for control of the government. Moreover, a severe drought
threatened mass starvation. With fighting in the Mogadishu capital and extremely difficult
conditions for delivering food, the Security Council declared Somalias deteriorating humanitarian
situation a threat to international peace and security.
However, since the P5 nationsthe United States, France, Britain, China, and Russiawere
reluctant to authorize UN intervention, fearing they would violate the states sovereignty, the UN
slowly responded in helping agencies stop the crisis. After repeated requests from aid agencies, the

Security Council imposed an embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to
Somalia. But as the humanitarian situation worsened, the Security Council was forced to take
more drastic action. After that the UN launchedan operation in Somalia, called ONSOM I, in
which, with 500 peacekeepers, the Security Council the operation to monitor the ceasefire in the
capital, to provide security to aid convoys, and to guard the food depots.
Another important intervention was in Rwanda when after the death of the President the
political situation took a bad turn. Blaming the RPF (patriotic party) for the deaths of the two
presidents, the Hutu extremists initiated a search and kill mission for members of President
Habyarimans government and in one hundred days, Hutu extremists massacred over 800,000
people. The UN initiated another operation called UNAMIR and sent 5,000 lightly armed
peacekeepers, which were unprepared to confront the extremists wave of terror. Hutu extremists
kidnapped Belgian peacekeepers and executed them. With the gross and systematic killings, the
Hutu extremists quickly forced Belgium to withdraw its unprepared troops from UNAMIR. Since
no state wanted to send their troops to an increasing chaotic environment, the Security Council had
a hard time convincing member states to contribute their troops for an expanded operation. As a
result, when it called upon all concerned to end the violence and to respect fully international
humanitarian law, the Security Council decided to keep the situation in Rwanda under constant
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was the North Atlantic Treaty Organisations (NATO)
military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) during the Kosovo War. The
air strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999. The bombings continued until an
agreement was reached that led to the withdrawal of Yugoslav armed forces from Kosovo and the
establishment of United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo(UNMIK), a
UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.NATO claimed that the Albanian population in Kosovo were
being persecuted by FRY forces, Serbian police, and Serb paramilitary forces, and that military
action was needed to force the FRY to stop. NATO countries attempted to gain authorization from
the United



Council for






by China and Russia that indicated they would veto such a proposal. NATO launched a campaign
without UN authorization, which it described as a humanitarian intervention. The FRY described

the NATO campaign as an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign country that was in
violation of international law because it did not have UN Security Council support.
The bombing killed between 489 and 528 civilians, and destroyed bridges, industrial plants, public
buildings, private businesses, as well as barracks and military installations.

In conclusion, humanitarian interventions are designed to relieve suffering and prevent

imminent loss of life that results from natural or human-made disasters. In every case that we
analyzed, we can clearly see that these interventions made a difference. It is true that this kind of
interventions sometimes put the sovereignty in discussion, but it also true that the most import
thing are the human right, and this can prevail over the principle of sovereignty. They saved a lot
of people from starving, from being killed and helped them improve themselves. And even if they
might violate the State, they respect the environment, the people and the culture.