«Neither humanitarian intervention nor R2P are fully developed norms of international law»

14.03.15

«Neither humanitarian intervention nor R2P are fully developed norms of international law»

Эксперты МГИМО: Харкевич Максим Владимирович, к.полит.н.

JTW Interview with Asst. Prof. Dr. Maxim Kharkevic.

— What are current assessments of humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect (R2P) in international law? Are there common approaches and applications for R2P in international relations?

— I think that the «Right to Protect» (R2P) and «Humanitarian Intervention» should be regarded as two separate norms. They are not the same. Humanitarian Intervention preceded R2P and is associated with a very negative history, or at least it did not receive unilateral global support. R2P can be considered as a follow up to humanitarian intervention, or as an attempt to alleviate the grievances associated with humanitarian intervention.

My assessment is that neither humanitarian intervention nor R2P are fully developed norms of international law. They are emerging norms. There are still many interpretations as to what they should be. Additionally, no personal or institutional entity has the legitimate right to act upon R2P or humanitarian intervention as fully developed norms under international law. In this way they are still debatable and the debates are ongoing, as seen in the fact that Brazil has its own approach, China has its own approach, Russia has its own approach, and so on.

— Are the UN and other international organizations effective enough to prevent humanitarian crises and mass atrocities around the world? If not, what can be done to make them more effective?

— I think that the UN, as with any other international institution, falls under the shadow of hierarchy. If there is a consensus and willingness among the great powers to solve an issue, then international institutions, including the UN, become very effective. The great powers add legitimacy to action taken by international institutions. Yet, if one or more of the great powers abstains from making a decision on an issue or refuses to get involved, then there are many mechanisms which they can use to make international institutions, including the UN, very ineffective. This is the main problem here, there needs to be consensus among the great powers for the UN to be effective, but if there is no consensus, then the UN is ineffective.

— What is Russia’s position on R2P?

— Russia’s position vis-à-vis R2P is quite cautious. Russia was very opposed to humanitarian intervention and now sees R2P as a probable reincarnation thereof, simply under another name. In other words, Russia believes that the meaning and the mechanisms of R2P are the same as those of humanitarian intervention in all but name. Considering this, if R2P is to be recognized as a political norm of international law, Russia contends that operations conducted within this framework must be sanctioned by the UN Security Council. The country believes that this is the only way to prevent R2P from becoming a neo-imperial tool imposed by the global North on the global South. Russia advocates the strengthening the position of the Security Council, as this is the only body which can sanction the implementation of the third (response) pillar of R2P.

— What is Russia’s response to new global challenges such as international terrorism, regional crises, mass migration, environmental issues, Ebola, etc.?

— All the challenges that you have mentioned belong to the so-called «new challenges», not «classical challenges», and they are priority in Russian foreign policy. In short, Russia strives to find solutions to these challenges by actively engaging with the international community, either by way of bilateral or multilateral efforts (such as with the help of international institutions). Russia believes that all existing structures and institutions should be used to their full potential to meet these new challenges emerging across the globe.

Mehmet ONUR ÇEVIK

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Источник: Journal of Turkish Weekly
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