Collective Security, the Common Interest, and the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine
W. Benedek, K. De Feyter, M.C. Kettemann, C. Voigt (eds.), The Common Interest in International Law, Intersentia, 2014
15 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2014
This article analyses the concept of the common interest within the collective security system, which is identified in the maintenance of international peace and security. It raises the issue that the discretion the Security Council enjoys often degenerates into selectivity. In this respect, the article attempts to understand whether the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) may provide useful in reducing such selectivity. RtoP was in fact designed to compel the international community to act whenever genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing are occuring or about to occur.
One of the article's arguments is that, even if it consolidated into a legal norm, RtoP would not be capable to impose on the Security Council a duty to act. However, a second argument is that the doctrine may have an indirect impact on the maintenance of international peace and security through its preventive dimension. RtoP may contribute to operationalise an effective early warning and assessment mechanism that could assist the Security Council in making determinations and adopting measures to address threats to international peace and security. The article contends that, while it does not overcome the core problems of the collective security system, RtoP may help correcting the practice of the Security Council in a manner more consistent with the pursuit of the common interest of maintaining international peace and security.
Keywords: common interest, international peace and security, armed force, responsibility to protect
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