Operationalizing the Responsibility to Protect: Civilian and Military Challenges of the “Third Pillar” Approach


As the principle of Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) moves further away from discussions on norms towards operationalisation, and following the concerns raised by intervention in Libya, and the recent United Nations report on “The Role of Regional and Sub-Regional Arrangements in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)” (27 June 2011), plus the upcoming 2012 UN interactive dialogue on the operationalisation of RtoP, further thinking and clarity needs to be developed on the civilian and military capacities needed for a timely and decisive response under “pillar three” of the RtoP principle. Pillar three of the principle focuses on the international community’s responsibility to take timely and decisive action to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in those instances where a State is unable or unwilling to protect its own populations.

Indeed, NATO’s activities over Libya in pursuit of UN Resolution 1973 have again raised questions over the timeliness, legitimacy, proportionality and effectiveness of military action. Such issues have now been made more acute given the emphasis on the operationalisation of the RtoP principle, which has strong support from regional actors such as the European Union (EU). There is a need to analyse the consistency, legitimacy and effectiveness of civilian and military tools under RtoP, especially in terms of how they impact on and complement preventive and re-building strategies.

To weigh in on such issues the Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation, Global Action to Prevent War, the Global Governance Institute, the Bonn International Centre for Conversion, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and the Center for the Study of Genocide at Rutgers University plan to organise a one-day workshop in Brussels. The workshop will bring together policy-makers from the EU, UN and regional organisations and scholars to debate the civilian and military challenges posed by “pillar three” of the RtoP principle. The workshop will be followed by a publication that will report on the proceedings, highlight recommendations for the GA debate and beyond, and catalogue the paper contributions. A policy brief will precede the workshop. The workshop will include two panels:

Panel I: Enhancing the Legitimacy and Consistency of the “Third Pillar” Approach

Papers presented in this workshop will focus on methods and policy options of improving the legitimacy and consistency of the “third pillar” approach. Papers will seek to answer what more can be done by regional players such as the EU, if required and sanctioned by the UN Security Council, to boost the legitimacy of last-resort intervention when used to uphold RtoP. Papers will also address what more can be done by the UN Security Council to ensure greater trust in the RtoP principle through the consistency of its approach. Analysis will also cover how the Security Council can ensure that it has in place the correct capacities to act when faced with crises or, better still, is seized of potential crises when prevention is still a viable option.

Panel II: Improving the Effectiveness of RtoP’s Civilian and Military Tools

Papers in this workshop sessions will analyse the political feasibility of conflict prevention and peacekeeping and peacemaking forces to stop mass atrocities at the earliest stages of violent conflict, and address methodologies and best practices to keep societies that have emerged from violence from falling back into cycles of violence. Papers may critically assess the relevance and effectiveness of current UN early warning and conflict prevention capacities for RtoP. Furthermore, papers may also critically appraise the military and civilian tools available for the UN and regional bodies such as the EU to react to atrocity crimes. For example, special focus can be given here to assessing existing tools from human security and gender equality perspectives.

Accordingly, the organisers invite scholars and policy-makers at all levels to submit abstracts for consideration. Abstracts should include a prospective title, author details and a 150-200 word abstract. Successfull papers will require that authors travel to Brussels to present their findings, ideas and arguments at the workshop in a 20-30 minute presentation. Final papers will be between 2,500 – 4,000 words long.

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 11 February 2012

For full details on the Call for Papers please click here.

Please submit abstracts and all queries to Daniel Fiott at dfiott@madariaga.org .

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Filed under Regional Orgs, RtoP

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