The Role of Non-State Actors in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect
in Cedric Ryngaert and Math Noortmann (eds.) Human Security and International Law: The Challenge of Non-State Actors (Intersentia, 2014), pp. 53-74
26 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2017
Date Written: 2014
This chapter analyses the role of non-State actors in carrying out responsibility to protect (RtoP) obligations while trying to categorize them on the basis of the three pillar framework laid down by the Secretary-General in his 2009 RtoP report. The discussion focuses mainly on activities of non-State actors in a number of areas which are closely linked with protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against the humanity and ethnic cleansing. First, the chapter provides a short introduction to the development of the RtoP doctrine over the last ten years. In turn, attention shifts to the increasing importance of non-State actors and their contribution to that part of international law and international relations concerned with protecting populations from mass atrocities. There are so many non-State actors involved in one way or another in the efforts aimed at protecting populations threatened by violent conflicts and in influencing State behaviour in this respect that one could eventually even speak of an emerging industry of its own kind whose contribution and influence cannot be neglected. A selected number of key international organizations in their respective fields of activity are used to illustrate the increasingly important role played by non-State actors.
The discussion of the role of non-State actors in implementing RtoP is separated into three main sections, reflecting the three pillar framework laid down by the Secretary-General in his 2009 Report. The first section deals with armed opposition groups as an important category of non-State actors that carry important rights and duties under contemporary international law and arguably under Pillar one of RtoP, namely the protection responsibilities of the State. Oftentimes these armed groups control significant parts of the territory where they exercise State-like functions and sometimes may even succeed in becoming the new government, like in Libya.
Armed groups enjoy a number of rights and duties, especially under international humanitarian law. The second section focuses on activities of non-State actors falling under Pillar two of RtoP, namely international assistance and capacity-building. This part is divided into three subsections which deal respectively with conflict-monitoring and early warning; advocacy, awareness and human rights protection; and, humanitarian assistance for affected populations. The third section of this chapter deals with the investigation and punishment of crimes falling under RtoP by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which arguably fall under Pillar three, timely and decisive response.
Keywords: Responsibility to protect, non-State actors, international law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation