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From ISIS to ICISS: A Critical Return to the Responsibility to Protect Report

Cunliffe, Philip (2016) From ISIS to ICISS: A Critical Return to the Responsibility to Protect Report. Cooperation and Conflict, 51 (2). pp. 233-247. ISSN 0010-8367. E-ISSN 1460-3691. (doi:10.1177/0010836715612854) (KAR id:51412)

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In light of the post-intervention crisis in Libya, this article revisits critically the vision of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) offered in the 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) – frequently taken as the conceptual bedrock for R2P doctrine. It is argued that the perverse effect of ICISS doctrine is to replace political responsibility with paternalism. The demand that states be made accountable to the international community ends by making states accountable for their people rather than to their people. The argument is developed across five critical theses. These include claims that R2P changes the burden of justification for intervention; that it usurps popular sovereignty in favour of state power; and that it diffuses post-conflict responsibilities. The article concludes that pre-emptive ‘human protection’ efforts risk crowding out questions of systemic transformation, i.e., what kind of an international order we want to live in.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0010836715612854
Additional information: Full text upload compliant with Journal regulations
Uncontrolled keywords: R2P, sovereignty, self-determination, IR, power
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JX International law
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Philip Cunliffe
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 14:47 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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