The responsibility to prevent : assessing the gap between rhetoric and reality
Title: The responsibility to prevent : assessing the gap between rhetoric and reality
Author: WELSH, Jennifer M.
Citation: Cooperation and conflict, 2016, Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 216–232
ISSN: 0010-8367; 1460-3691
This article engages with the debate on the efficacy of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the wake of the Arab Spring by articulating a defence of its role in preventing the commission, escalation, or recurrence of atrocity crimes. Taking as its starting point the claim by UN SecretaryGeneral (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon that prevention remains the most important aspect of the principle of R2P, the article illustrates the extent to which prevention is embedded in R2P, the means by which it can be leveraged, and the obstacles to its operationalisation. The first section outlines why and how the prevention of the four crimes identified in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document became so important to UN member states. The second section analyses efforts to implement the commitment to prevention within the UN, regional organisations, and individual states. The final section offers an explanation for why prevention is in fact a controversial practice – despite the universal rhetorical commitment to its prioritisation – and advances a series of steps which might be undertaken to advance it.
First Published November 18, 2015
Grant number: FP7/340956/EU
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