An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect


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It was more intense in the latter as opposed to the former. Therefore, the episode also testifies to why and how India shrunk domestic sovereignty, which in this case was Pakistani sovereignty, when it needed to. As Malone put it accurately:.

An institutional approach to the responsibility to protect / edited by Gentian Zyberi ... [et al.]

India just about avoided censure by the UN Malone , India had no formal institutional legitimacy or collective legitimation to undergird its eventual intervention in East Pakistan Pai , p. Domestic normative legitimacy furnished a pivotal motive for the intervention. Even in the case of Subrahmanyam, his case for intervention was not merely driven by opportunism to dismember Pakistan it was justified as much on normative and moral grounds.

In sum, Pakistan was an apartheid state. The crucial difference between Subrahmanyam and other members of the Indian establishment was that he was more emphatic in making the case for decisive and early intervention, because many lives could be saved. The Pakistanis for their part believed that they were preserving their sovereignty. Where multilateralism failed unilateralism worked.

A Brief History of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

This is somewhat quixotic; Mehta has been an opponent or at least a sceptic of R2P Mehta , p. India, he argued, could not support the R2P doctrine, because it had more pressing challenges at home, and the fractious and contentious nature of its domestic politics makes it improbable for New Delhi to embrace the doctrine Mehta p.

Therefore, New Delhi rather not be distracted by the interventionist demands of the doctrine and therefore needs to privilege sovereignty over intervention Mehta , If Mehta can rationalise the intervention as the foundation for R2P, why is he so resistant to endorsing the doctrine? It also goes against the grain of the evolutionary, complex and gradual approach taken by the Indian state in mounting the intervention.

Indeed, the intervention was the outgrowth of deliberation and not alacrity and swiftness as the Third Pillar of R2P mandates. As of now, the selective interventions pursued by the West and some non-Western countries have not converged with the selective interventionist preferences of India. Let us take one prominent Western HI partly involving ulterior motives — Bosnia. The Bosnian war started with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in This precipitated Western intervention by the mids.

It is important to determine whether it was undertaken for exclusively humane and altruistic reasons.

An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect | ASIL

The HI in the erstwhile Yugoslavia in the mids was ostensibly, undertaken for humanitarian reasons on behalf of hapless and helpless Bosnian Muslims who were the victims of Serb atrocities, particularly in the early stages of the war. This created the impression within the Western press, political establishments, and intelligentsia that the Serbs were the villains and never the victims of Muslim and Croat Catholic atrocities.

Indeed, the scholar Samuel P. India, like many Western powers has been no exception in this regard. Motives are necessary, but insufficient, outcomes matter. The legitimacy of an HI by way of R2P or otherwise can be ascertained only by the humanitarian results it produces for the target population. Indian intervention in secured Bengali dignity and dismemberment was the only means to achieving it, which Hall refuses to recognise. After all, did the West not dismember Serbia, when it vivisected Kosovo from the latter?

On the other hand, most Indian debates on R2P tend to mirror the same about Western motives. Briefly, the R2P has three pillars.


  • Cogan Links?
  • Daily Noon Briefing.
  • International Law Reporter: Zyberi: An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect.

Officially, India supports the first two pillars and not the third. The latter point highlighted the importance of the deep misgivings India had over the haste with which R2P was invoked against Libya in and UNSCR resolution passed without the consequences that followed. However, we must maintain the differences between these schools is not distinct, but largely used as a heuristic device to delineate differences within the Indian polity.


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To be sure, there is an overlap in the views between these schools, as the succeeding analysis will show. Let us begin with the anti-colonial school, which occupies the Left of the political spectrum.

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This school is not out rightly or reflexively opposed to any form of intervention, as long it has been strongly endorsed by the UNSC, enjoys deep and wide multilateral support among member states of the UN and follows considerable deliberation. Therefore, the Left in India places a higher premium on institutional legitimacy, but not one that is dominated and determined by the West. In this regard, R2P specifically came under sharp attack in the wake of the Libyan crisis in from the Indian left-leaning media. The other veto-wielding members being Russia and China. R2P legitimised regime change in Libya rather than the protection of Libyan civilians against mass atrocities.

Means can never be separated from their ends Clausewitz , p. The Indian Left overlooks that arbitrariness is very subjective and common to a cross-section of states, when it comes to HIs in international politics. Motivations tend to be variable or mixed. Selectivity, as we have seen earlier is something even India has practiced at least regionally.

Further, extra-regionally, India at an official level has supported Soviet interventions at a minimum tacitly, if not explicitly.

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The facts were anything, but unclear. Therefore, this group has not been consistently committed to legitimacy of the R2P and HIs even when it enjoys institutional support. Members of this school are realists who are ready to support the West and maintain that India strike balance between its interests and its values. This school does not fixate as much on Western motives for HIs, as it does Indian motives for opposing or remaining neutral in an intervention. On the other hand, Mohan concluded that India abstention rested on cold calculation and the Indian national interest shorn of any ideological biases Mohan a p.

Joshi went on to lament given the atrocities being committed by the Libyan regime, there was a moral imperative for New Delhi to take a clear position and endorse the intervention. In doing so New Delhi did not consider the gap between its aspirations to play a larger role in global affairs that contributes to peace and stability, and its national interests. For Pant, India came out the worst, because much like Joshi, he concludes that since New Delhi was a non-veto wielding member of UNSC at the time, its abstention amounted to an actual disapproval of the Libyan intervention.

Which he contrasted unfavourably with the two veto-wielding members, namely Russia and China who abstained. Their non-use of their veto actually amounted to approval Pant Elaborating further, Mohan contended that there were demand and supply side issues in regards to intervention in the subcontinent.

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The pragmatic school has its merits and strives for some middle ground between intervention and state sovereignty and between values and interests. You have suggestions, comments or ideas? Feel free to contact us! All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than with the express permission from the respective author s.

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An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect
An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect An Institutional Approach to the Responsibility to Protect

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