Weekly Round-Up: November 14 – 20

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RtoP Round-Up

Gareth Evans, the former ICISS co-Chair, delivered a speech to the University of Paris Ouest, Centre de Droit International (CEDIN) and Academie Diplomatique Internationale on 14 November, entitled, “The Raison d’Etre, Scope and Limits of the Responsibility to Protect”.

Evans also responded to David Rieff’s critical piece in the New York Times (published November 7), in which he argued that the key lesson of Libya will be, “to define more precisely the stringent prudential criteria that must be satisfied before the Security Council authorizes coercive military force and those that should govern the application of force”.

In a paper for the Canadian International Council (CIC) and the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute, former Canadian Member of Parliament Martha Hall Findlay questions whether RtoP can survive after the situations in Libya and Syria.

The European Union’s Institute for Security Studies published analysis on RtoP in the context of the crisis in Syria, focusing on how to surmount UN Security Council inaction.

The World Federalist Movement-Canada, an ICRtoP member, published a “lessons learned” discussion paper, entitled “Think About Libya, the Responsibility to Protect, and Regime Change”.

Syria

Foreign Policy Magazine featured an in-depth report on the death toll in Syria since April 2011, which it reports at 4,341.

Despite the vote by the Arab League to suspend Syria from the regional organization, 14 November was one of the bloodiest days in the country as the Assad regime continued its crackdown against civilian protesters and clashes erupted between security forces and army defectors who side with the opposition.

In response to this, regional pressure ratcheted up on Syria. King Abdullah of Jordan publicly called on Bashar al-Assad to step down from power on 14 November, and the Arab League met with members of the Syrian opposition to discuss a transfer of power in the country on 15 November. The League also stepped up pressure on the regime, moving closer to imposing economic sanctions of the regime if it did not relent.

Turkish Primise Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged for the world to “hear the screams” of the Syrian people and take action to prevent further bloodshed in the country. It was reported that Turkey and Jordan were in the process of preparing for a contingency plan if the Assad regime did not relent in its crackdown, which included the establishment of civilian “safe zones” in Northern and Southern Syria. The Economist published an article on 19 November that focused on the turning regional tide against the Assad regime.

The Arab League extended the deadline for Syria to stop its crackdown to the evening of 19 November, but the weekend was marked by civilian deaths and continued clashes between army defectors and Syrian security forces.

The Syrian government proposed amending the Arab League’s peace plan over the weekend to prevent 500 military observers form being deployed in the country, but the League rejected the proposal. With the 19 November deadline passed, it seemed that the Arab League process was at an impasse, with Arab foreign ministers unable to agree on the deployment of monitors into the country.

Libya

Rival militias clashed in and around Tripoli on 14 November, leading to the longest sustained fighting in the country after Gaddafi’s fall.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the now-deceased Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was captured by forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya on 19 November.

In response to Saif al-Islam’s capture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged the National Transitional Council to surrender him to the International Criminal Court.

Abdullah al-Senussi, the former Libyan intelligence chief who is also wanted by the ICC, was also captured in the same area as Saif Gaddafi on 20 November. The report of Senussi’s captured spurred HRW to press the NTC to surrender him to the ICC for prosecution.

Sudan and South Sudan

Increased troop build up in the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan, and a war of words between Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, and Silva Kiir, the President of South Sudan, have threatened to pull the two countries into conflict.

Growing border violence between Sudan and South Sudan forced Oxfam International, a group which assists over 100,000 in the region and an ICRtoP member organization, to withdraw from South Sudan.

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