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The “Responsibility to Protect” as a Norm of International Law: On the Basis of the Origins of International Law

Published:2018-06-14 Published:2018-06-14   Author:Shi Xiaoxi   [Small] [Middle] [Big] [More]

Due to the vigorous push by the United Nations, the “Responsibility to Protect,” (R2P) as an important concept, has triggered a discussion about collective action by the international society. However, it is still controversial whether this idea has already become a norm of international law. According to the traditional theory of international law, R2P has its weaknesses in terms of its legal validity and normative acceptance. Nevertheless, according to the theory of the origins of international law, the principle of R2P can be traced to human rights covenants, in particular the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Furthermore, since R2P has passed the deliberation by the United Nations and has become an unavoidable issue for major policy-making internationally, it should be part of the still-evolving basic values of the international society. In short, R2P is a discourse tactic in international politics instead of an empty political rhetoric without legal validity.

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