Al Akhawayn University School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Is Humanitarian Military Intervention Justifiable?

By

Ismail Khejjou Class: Advanced International Relations Instructor: Dr. Jack Kalpakian

Ifrane, Morocco December 3rd, 2010

1

.................................................. 13 Bibliography .... 14 2 ............. 4 Debate on the legality of Humanitarian Intervention ....................................................................................................... 3 What is Humanitarian Intervention? .................. 5 Conclusion .............................................................................................................................................................Table of Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................................

Such circumstances posed a serious challenge to the international community in terms of whether to intervene to prevent violence against civilians. which consequently led to a destabilizing civil society and the committing of human crimes against civilians. Hugo Grotious2. Even further.… if humanitarian intervention is.pdf 3 . such as massacre and ethnic cleansing. Scholars have dated the practice of intervention to the Dutch International Lawyer.K: Ashgate. Kabia.un. February 15-18 2009 accessed at http://zunia. New York. to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that offend every precept of our common humanity?1 Introduction The question of humanitarian military intervention has long been the subject of discussion among scholars of international relations. 13. 3 Tonny brems Knudsen.org/millennium/sg/report/ch3. Throughout history. We the people: “The Role of The United Nations on the 20st Century” (accessed 06 November 2010) available at http://www. 2009). “The History of Humanitarian Intervention” Paper for the 50th ISA Annual Convention. Tonny Brems Knudsen acknowledges that "Grotius himself traced [humanitarian intervention] back to ancient Greece and Rome with reference to Aristotle and Seneca as well as examples of Roman emperors using or threatening to use force against the Persians in order to compel them to stop their persecutions of Christians on account of religion"3.org/uploads/media/knowledge /isa09_ proceeding_3708011262835777. 1 Kofi Annan. the post Cold War era was a period that witnessed a disturbing rise of civil wars and intra-states conflict around the world.pdf 2 John M. how should we respond to a Rwanda. there have been several devastating humanitarian crises that required the action of the international community. These wars resulted in a state of chaos. indeed. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Humanitarian Intervention and Conflict in West Africa: From Ecomog to Eomil (U. For example. an unacceptable assault on sovereignty.

"represents a new phase in the progress of international legal arguments in favour of humanitarian intervention"4. What is Humanitarian Intervention? At the outset. Holzgrefe. East Timor. 4 . Interestingly. Kosovo. There are three important arguments that support my position regarding the legitimacy of intervention. these cases sparked a very critical debate among scholars and academics and largely forced the international community to rethink its approach to the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. The 1990s. therefore. The third argument will deal with the principle of awareness-raising.Among the most cited cases are Somalia.L. "humanitarian intervention is the threat or use of force across state borders by a state (or group of states) aimed at preventing or ending widespread and grave violations of the fundamental human rights of individuals other than its own citizens. a clear definition of humanitarian intervention is needed. Anne Orford states. It is. According to J. the purpose of this paper to argue that humanitarian intervention is justifiable. 4. without the permission of the state within whose 4 Anne Orford. Reading Humanitarian Intervention: Human rights and the Use of Force in International Law (USA: Cambridge University. and many others where thousands of people were killed. Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first argument focuses on human rights and the second one is related to authoritarian regimes under which citizens are tortured and killed. 2003).

Keohane eds. Humanitarian military intervention: the conditions for success and failure. Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical. this is a major point of disagreement between those who are in favor of humanitarian intervention and those who hold views against it. 6. 2007). L. (Oxfor University Press: USA.L. Although scholars define the concept of humanitarian intervention in different ways the most serious debate among them remains largely about the "legality and legitimacy of an intervention"7. Seybol. or renewed. although it can establish a basis for peace-building by creating an environment in which people can think about more than mere survival"6 It is important to note that the two definitions are slightly different in the sense that the former explicitly includes the use of force while the latter does not. In fact. Holzgrefe „The Humanitarian Intervention Debate. defines humanitarian intervention as "a short-term activity with limited political objectives. Legal.org/app/webroot /files/articlepdf/Is%20humanitarian %20military%20intervention %20ever%20justified.pdf 5 . on the other hand. It is intended only to stop the worst suffering. Debate on the legality of Humanitarian Intervention The literature on the practice of humanitarian intervention is vast. p.18 6 Taylor B. 2003). It is not intended to establish a lasting peace or to put a new. Seybol. Is Humanitarian military intervention in the affairs of another state ever justified? Accessed at http://www.territory force is applied"5 Taylor B. the restrictionist and the 5 J. political system in place. new York.‟ in J.atlantic-community.. and Political Dilemmas (Cambridge University Press. 7 Rudi Guraziu. For a clear understanding of the debate on humanitarian intervention this section will provide an insight into the two major schools of thoughts. Holzgrefe and Robert O.

Moreover. One example brought up by noninterventionists is that of the United States intervening in Kosovo and not in Rwanda."8 Additionally. it becomes a pure instrument of manipulation rather than a mission carried out in the name of humanity. They argue that the abuse of state sovereignty goes against the principles and values that were formally recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. In such cases. UN Charter accessed from http://www. restrictionists defend their position by referring to the Article 2(4) of the U. Realists such as Thomas Frank and Nigel Rodely believe that when intervention is guided and motivated by concerns of selfinterests. or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. The charter clearly asserts that "all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.shtml 6 .org/en/documents/charter/chapter1. base their argument on the principle of sovereignty as an important source of peace and stability in the world. Restrictionists.N charter as a powerful legal document that prohibits violent actions against a state sovereignty. or non-interventiosnists.un.counter-restrictionist. non-interventionists view humanitarian interventions as mostly driven by national interests of the intervening states. Closely connected to this is the view that 8 Article 1(4) . Furthermore. they believe that the principle of human rights is only used to justify their intervention. the issue of selectivity contradicts the objective of humanitarian intervention. The underlying idea here is the United States selected Kosovo because its intervention was largely driven by interests that probably would not be served in Rwanda.

2000)."10 9 Nicholas Jeweler. Saving Strangers: Humanitarian in International Society. there is a moral obligation that justifies humanitarian intervention although it is seen by many as an illegal action. This statist position is famously advanced by Samuel P. 4) There must be a high probability that the use of force will achieve a positive humanitarian outcome. P 34 7 . ground their argument on the principle of morality. According to this line of thinking. there are four requirements for an intervention to be counted as or considered humanitarian: 1) "There should be a supreme humanitarian emergency.31. on the other hand. According to Nicholas J. 2) The use of force must be a last resort. (Oxford University Press: New York.states should be concerned only with what happens inside their territories. Huntington who "asserted in relation to US intervention in Somalia that it is morally unjustifiable and politically indefensible that members of [US] armed forces should be killed to prevent Somalis from killing each other"9 Counter-restrictionists. The case of Kosovo is an example where intervention was not only needed but morally supported by the international community to prevent massive human rights violations committed against civilians. 10 Nicholas Jeweler. 3) It must meet the requirement of proportionality. Wheeler. Saving Strangers: Humanitarian in International Society.

Blair said This war was not fought for Albanians against Serbs. religion or birth. Referring to war in Kosovo. 84. In this regard. 2009). It was not fought for territory. regardless of race. liberty and security of person. the legitimacy of intervention is based on the idea that people hold fundamental rights that should not be abused and violated such as the right to life. 12 Tony Blair. Having presented different views on the practice of humanitarian intervention this section will discuss arguments in favor of intervention. „Statement on the Suspension of NATO Air Strikes against Yugoslavia‟. among others.fco. played a critical role in convincing the international community. under the leadership of the United States and Europe. Still less for NATO aggrandisement. 10 June 1999. The speech by Tony Blair is significant in this context. Basically. London. the support of humanitarian military intervention to protect the right and freedom of the individual is taken from the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was written in 1948"11. It was fought for a fundamental principle necessary for humanity's progress: that every human being. Defenders of the practice of humanitarian military intervention take the principle of human rights to be one of their central arguments. The case of Kosovo and East Timor.gov. http://www.uk/news /newstext.asp?2536 (accessed 28 October 2010) 8 . to support the legality of the use of force. (Columbia University Press: New York. Humanitarian Intervention: Confronting the contradictions. has the inalienable right to live free from persecution.Examples of cases where intervention is morally justified are crimes against humanity and Genocide as it happened in Rwanda where a great number of people were tortured and killed.12 11 Michael Newman.

Equally important. Enforcing International Law.org/stable/25658981?origin=JSTOR-pdf 14 Mark R. 89. legitimacy.jstor. 2005). Relatedly. Amstutz. The United States viewed that domestic unrest and the escalation of social instability in Haitian society would threaten international peace and security. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law). and morality of global society or a particular threat to its own economic prosperity. led to "the effort to place the law on the side of the people of Haiti for perhaps the first time in that nation's history"13 It is important to note that the need to protect individuals from violence forms the basis of the moral obligation that defines humanitarian intervention. 1995). According to Mark R. Haiti is one of those countries in which humanitarian intervention. theories. 144. Albright. “International ethics: concepts. Amstutz. "this condition is satisfied when the intervening state perceives human rights abuses in a foreign country as either a general threat to the order. (APRIL 5-8. 574-580 accessed at http://www. Vol. the use of force to prevent massive human rights abuses is sufficiently justified as long as the action is taken with humanitarian intentions. pp. the responsibility of the United States to react was not only driven by human rights 13 Madeleine K. 9 .Basically. and territorial integrity"14 This was the case of the United States intervention in Haiti. Madeleine Albright says. intervention is justified when it is perceived to be in the interest of the intervening state. political influences. and cases in global politics” (Rowman & Littlefield:USA. This shows that the humanitarian intervention is mainly driven by a moral objective and that is the responsibility to protect those who are victims of war and violence.

2008-209. 164 10 . noninterventionists contend that the use of force is illegal because no state has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of another state. There have been instances where ruthless dictators harshly repress their citizens and commit massive human rights atrocities against them. but also geographical considerations in the sense that the two countries are close to each other. 16 Ibid. Another legitimate reason that justifies humanitarian military intervention is overthrowing authoritarian governments. Under such situations Orford confidently argues that the use of force is "necessary to address the problems of racist and ruthless dictators. Against this claim Julius Stone says that "Article 2(4) does not forbid the threat or use of force simpliciter. Another critical example is that of Iraq`s repression of the Kurds which generated "a massive flow of refugees towards and across international frontiers and to cross-border incursions which threaten international peace and security in the region"15 This refugee issue galvanized states to intervene. civil war and religious fundamentalism"16 In this regard.concerns. it forbids it only when directed against the territorial integrity or 15 Anne Orford.. ethnic tension. They base their argument on the importance to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity. tribalism. It is important to say that humanitarian intervention is justified when it is carried out to reduce sufferings. Reading Humanitarian Intervention: Human rights and the Use of Force in International Law (USA: Cambridge University. 2003). end human rights atrocities and most importantly contribute to the international order of global society.

insurgency.(Accessed November 5th. and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it. (USA: University of Pennsylvania. December 2001. which lasted for eight. the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect. the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty released its report which reveals that " State sovereignty implies responsibility.iciss.19 Such massive violations of human rights reached a critical stage which. and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself'. Adi Amin`s dictatorial regime. years caused a total breakdown of the rule of law and the killing of 300. 105. as a result of internal war. In this respect. some scholars firmly believe that there are situations where the responsibility to protect civilians transcends the principle of state sovereignty and legitimizes coercive actions."18 One can look at the example of Uganda during the 1970s when massive killing and terrible abuse of human rights were committed against Ugandan people. ICISS. available at: http://www. repression or state failure. Murphy. The underlying idea here is that people are fundamentally entitled to universal rights that come before the sovereignty of the state and which are deemed to be respected.000 people. 18 “Responsibility to Protect” Report. Aggression and World Order: A Critique of United Nations‟ Theories of Aggression (Stevens. 11 . Humanitarian intervention: the United Nations in an evolving world order. but.ca/pdf/ CommissionReport. London. 13.political independence of any state."17 Although there is a strong debate over the issue of the use of force among humanitarian practitioners. 1996). 1958).pdf. 95. P. 2010) 19 Sean D. in Michael Walzer`s 17 Julius Stone. where a population is suffering serious harm. p.

terms. If this happens."20 The disturbing and threatening situation in Uganda was globally recognized as a serious humanitarian emergency. the prospect of peace and security becomes bleak. if the international community does not intervene when authoritarian governments murder their citizens. The fact that Amine was removed from power helped end atrocities and restored the role of law in the country. Building a peaceful and safe world entails an international community which is strictly responsive wherever oppressive governments commit crimes 20 Michael Walze. P. 162. It is important to note that Tanzania`s military intervention was justified because it was carried out on the grounds of selfdefense and the perceived threat to peace and security of the region that Uganda represented. The last reason why I believe humanitarian intervention should be justified is to raise awareness among nations of the world and the consequences of committing crimes against humanity. "shock the conscience of humanity. which compelled Tanzania to intervene. When intervention occurs it serves as an alert to other states which might want to violate or abuse the rights of their citizens. 12 . 1978). This concept refers to making the public aware that certain events are taking place and that they should be dealt with seriously. For example. other dictators might feel that they have freedom to do whatever they want. Just and unjust wars: a moral argument with historical illustrations. It has to be said that Tanzania's intervention in Uganda was seen by many as an effective humanitarian intervention.( London: Allen Lane.

4 is suspended. „Forcible Self-Help by States to Protect Human Rights‟. 53(1967). I believe that humanitarian intervention is justified when massive violations of human rights take place. Furthermore. UN member states have the responsibility to maintain international peace and security and when the Security Council is unable to carry out its duties in this respect. 21 Richard Lillich. it is important to say that humanitarian military intervention is and will continue to be one of the most debated issues among scholars of international relations. therefore. States failing to fulfill this obligation yields power to the international community to take action. the prohibition of force as outlined in Article 2. Embedded in this principle is the idea that humanitarian intervention will help build a world that is less anarchic but oriented towards democracy and respect for human life. 325-51. Iowa Law Review. Conclusion Based on what has been said. This line of thinking is defended by Richard Lillich when he says "Under Article 1.1 of the Charter. the onus is on member states to act and. pp. human rights are universal and they are bound to be respected."21 What one should understand is that inaction can be costly in cases of abuse and massacre and the cases of Rwanda and Srebrenica remain two important places where the international community had to act with enough assertiveness. The cases discussed throughout this paper illustrate this position. 13 .against their citizens.

J. 204-231. M. pp. 2009... 1978. 'Interpretation and Change in the Law of Humanitarian Intervention. London: Allen Lane. Kofi Annan. Vol..' in J.pdf Holzgrefe. University of Pennsylvania: USA. Is Humanitarian military intervention in the affairs of another state ever justified? Accessed at http://www.Bibliography Article 1(4).org /stable/ 25658981? origin=JSTOR-pdf Amstutz. Holzgrefe and Robert O. Thomas. Keohane ed. UN Charter accessed from http://www. 2003). 'Forcible Self-Help by States to Protect Human Rights'.jstor. Legal. Mark R. 2005.atlantic-community. Guraziu. Kabia. Rudi. 2003). 15-52. (APRIL 5-8.pdf Lillich.un. Iowa Law Review. Humanitarian intervention: the United Nations in an evolving world order.shtml Albright. Enforcing International Law. pp. Just and unjust wars: a moral argument with historical illustrations. K. Madeleine. Richard. 574-580 accessed at http://www. L. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations. and Political Dilemmas (Cambridge University Press. L. L.International ethics: concepts.K: Ashgate. pp. 89. and Political Dilemmas (Cambridge University Press. Sean D. New York.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1. John M. 290-314 Murphy. 'The Humanitarian Intervention Debate. Legal. Michael Walze. Frane. Rowman & Littlefield:USA. 1995). Humanitarian Intervention and Conflict in West Africa: From Ecomog to Eomil .org/millennium/sg/report/ch3.un.. 1996. We the people: "The Role of The United Nations on the 20st Century" (accessed 06 November 2010) available at http://www. 14 .U. and cases in global politics. Keohane ed. Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical.' in J. 53(1967). pp.org/app/webroot /files/articlepdf/Is%20humanitarian %20military%20intervention %20ever%20justified. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law). Holzgrefe and RobertO. New York. Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical. theories.

Blair.uk/news /newstext. Humanitarian Intervention: Confronting the contradictions. London. Anne. 10 June 1999.ca/pdf/ Commission-Report. Aggression and World Order: A Critique of United Nations' Theories of Aggression. B. 'Statement on the Suspension of NATO Air Strikes against Yugoslavia'.gov. Stevens.Newman. December 2001. 13. ICISS. Orford. Nicholas J. Julius. 2009. Seybol. Tony.iciss. Oxford University Press: USA. Columbia University Press: New York. Oxford University Press: New York. http://www. Saving Strangers: Humanitarian in International Society. 15 .USA: Cambridge University. 2003.pdf. Humanitarian military intervention: the conditions for success and failure. available at: http://www. 2010) Stone. London. Michael.asp?2536 (accessed 28 October 2010) Wheeler. Talor. Reading Humanitarian Intervention: Human rights and the Use of Force in International Law.(Accessed November 5th. Responsibility to Protect" Report. 2000. 2007.fco. 1958.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful