Between R2P and the ICC: ‘Robust Peacekeeping’ and the Quest for Civilian Protection

37 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2015

See all articles by Frederic Megret

Frederic Megret

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 26, 2015


This paper argues that the protection of civilians has slowly attained an increasingly central position in the design and implementation of peace operations. It contends that this change emerged from a series of both conceptual and operational evolutions that took a long time to take hold, and only did so as a result of repeated and persistent crises that put the entire concept of peace operations in crisis. The paper seeks to explore the specific course that peace operations have taken since the early 1990s in order to assess the degree to which the protection of civilians and, as a result, a greater willingness to use force, has become a dominant, even defining characteristic of peace operations. It begins by charting how peace operations have undergone a metamorphosis of sorts as a result of the rise of an increasingly strong anti-atrocity turn in international law and policy (section I). It then examines the relationship of peace operations to both the notion of R2P and the ICC, finding certain structural affinities between all three (section II). Finally, it seeks to interrogate the extent to which this evolution is determined by international norms and might prompt a process of legalization of a duty to protect civilians in peace operations (section III). The paper seeks to weave together strands of operational, political and legal thinking about peacekeeping that are often not dealt with together in a way that results in an impoverishment of our understanding of the issues at stake.

Suggested Citation

Mégret, Frédéric, Between R2P and the ICC: ‘Robust Peacekeeping’ and the Quest for Civilian Protection (February 26, 2015). Criminal Law Forum, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2015. Available at SSRN:

Frédéric Mégret (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec

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