27 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 371 (2020)
When the United Nations (UN) was formed, one of its most
important goals was to render war obsolete. The UN Charter states as a
goal the hope to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt first described his vision for a
post-World War II international organization, he envisioned an
organization that would promote and facilitate "international
cooperation . . . to consider and deal with the problem of world
relations." He also wanted a council that would "concern itself with
peaceful settlement of international disputes." The UN Charter itself
took the then-unprecedented step of outlawing war, stating that "all
Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means,"
and that "all Members shall refrain . . . from the threat or use of force
against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."
However, the UN Charter does not address the important potential
exception of humanitarian intervention. This lack of clarity has led to a
robust debate that continues to this day-can a state legitimately use
force for humanitarian purposes? Today, many countries have embraced
the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, which allows countries to
intervene in a humanitarian crisis if five criteria are met. One is that
of reasonable prospects which asks, is "there a reasonable chance of the
military action being successful in meeting the threat in question, and
are the consequences of action not likely to be worse than the
consequences of inaction?"* Unfortunately, this level of scrutiny needs
to be revised; instead, it should be more rigorous to account for world
leaders' consistent inability to estimate the effects of their intervention.
Additionally, cultural disruption should be considered as one of the
negative effects in this balancing test to address concerns about the use
of humanitarian intervention as a pretext for colonialism.
In this article, I intend to offer a potential solution to address these
concerns. In Part I, I will examine the development of the doctrine of
humanitarian intervention and its transformation into the
Responsibility to Protect. In Part II, I will discuss two of the potential
problems with the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. The first problem
is countries using humanitarian excuses as a pretext to advance
national aims. The second problem is countries not accurately assessing
the consequences of intervention. In Part III, I will discuss my potential
solution to address these problems - heightening the balance of
consequences test. This will be used to determine whether
humanitarian intervention should be attempted and requiring countries
to consider the desires and culture of the country that is the object of
the intervention before intervening.
"The Dangers of Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine, and a Partial Solution,"
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies: Vol. 27
, Article 8.
Available at: https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ijgls/vol27/iss2/8
Available for download on Sunday, August 01, 2021