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Norms, Institutions and UN Reform: The Responsibility to Protect

Journal of International Law and International Relations, Vol. 2, pp. 121-137, 2006

17 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2008  

Jutta Brunnée

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

Stephen J. Toope

University of Toronto

Date Written: July, 28 2008

Abstract

The Outcome Document produced at the 2005 UN World Summit reveals both the promise and the potential incoherence of reform efforts in the UN. Although the member states were not able to agree on how to treat such fundamental questions as nuclear proliferation and representation on the Security Council, they did agree in principle on key structural changes to the UN system, such as the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission and the metamorphosis of the Human Rights Commission into a Human Rights Council. While the Peacebuilding Commission was established in December 2005 through parallel resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council, the design of the Human Rights Council was left for future negotiations which have already proven to be exceedingly difficult.

Although the member states could not agree on a definition of terrorism or on a set of criteria for the authorization of military force by the Security Council, they did agree on one normative innovation that has the potential for transformative impact in international law and politics: the responsibility to protect. In this essay, we assess the reform potential of the responsibility to protect. We place that assessment in a context of failure to agree on institutional reform initiatives. We ask why states were able to articulate the responsibility to protect, but we also ask whether or not that articulation is likely to have any meaning when institutional reforms seem stuck.

Suggested Citation

Brunnée, Jutta and Toope, Stephen J., Norms, Institutions and UN Reform: The Responsibility to Protect (July, 28 2008). Journal of International Law and International Relations, Vol. 2, pp. 121-137, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1182882

Jutta Brunnée (Contact Author)

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-946-7353 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Stephen J. Toope

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Statistical Sciences
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

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