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The People vs. The State

Reflections on UN Authority, US Power and the Responsibility to Protect

image of The People vs. The State
Responsibility to Protect (R2P) aims to convert international conscience into timely and decisive collective action to rescue vulnerable communities. The choice is not whether international interventions will take place but where, when, how and under whose authority. Given the nature and victims of modern armed conflict, protection of civilians and populations at risk of mass atrocities is a core United Nations imperative. But while the UN has international authority, it lacks military power. Although its military might well have unmatched global reach, the United States acting unilaterally lacks international authority. This publication argues that progress towards good international society requires that force be harnessed to authority as the R2P moves from a universally validated principle to a routinely actionable norm.

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Bringing justice to torture enablers

When, after his 16-month arrest, General Augusto Pinochet was sent back from London to his native Chile, Geoffrey Robertson, a constitutional lawyer, was asked whether it was likely that the general would spend any time behind bars. “No … but a fate worse than prison awaits him. He will spend the rest of his days surrounded by lawyers” – which is exactly what happened.

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