Responsibility to Protect

Ian Johnstone

in The Power of Deliberation

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195394931
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894543 | DOI:
Responsibility to Protect

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This chapter begins by describing the United Nations Security Council (SC) as a four-tier deliberative setting, where at least minimal preconditions for reasoned argumentation exist. It then examines the debates over the Kosovo intervention, arguing that the positions taken in those debates can only be explained by the notion of discourse within an interpretive community, and that ultimately the discourse affected how the Kosovo episode played out. The chapter considers the broader normative impact of that episode, focusing on the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). It gives special attention to the role of the UN Secretary-General as norm entrepreneur—an influential voice who not only participated in the debates over the legality of intervention but mobilized international support for the emerging norm. While that story is far from over, it illustrates how legal argumentation within an interpretive community can generate soft law that may someday crystallize as hard law.

Keywords: United Nations Security Council; legal argumentation; Kosovo intervention; debates; interpretive community; soft law

Chapter.  13098 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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