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Evolution of the doctrine and practice of humanitarian intervention

by Abiew, Francis Kofi

Abstract (Summary)
The legitimacy of humanitarian intewention in international relations has long been a subject of controversy. in the wake of recent humanitarian crises and varying international responses to such situations, the debate surrounding humanitarian intervention has experienced a revival with important impiications for the principle and its practice. On one hand, thete is the Mewpoint that humanitarian intervention cannot be legal, justifiable, or permissible. On the other, there is a growing international concem for the protection of human nghtsand the right of intervention towards those ends, or for some, an obligation to intervene when violations reach a stage that incite the outrage of the international community . This dissertation attempts to demonstrate a legitimate bais for humanitarian intervention through an examination of the evolution of the principle and its practice. It argues that state sovereignty is not incompatible with humanitarian intervention. Sovereignty implies responsibility, and thus when egregious human rights violations ocw either arising fiom governrnental acts or in srniatonsof intemal confiid, intervention isjustified to protect those rights. This study outlines the historical deveiopment of humanitkan intervention before undertaking an investigation of the evolution and strength of the p~ciple and its practice under the UN Charter during the Cold War period. It then proceeds to an examination of the sape of collective humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era by focusing on the cases of Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia and Haiti, and concludes by assessing contemporary developments in terms of sources of support for humanitarian intervention. The study demonstrates growhg support for humanitarian intervention as a fundamental principle of international relations.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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