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The Drama of Humanitarian Intervention

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Natalie Joy Marrer

4. The plot

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1The assignment of events to the plot structure of inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution is a personal choice for presentational purposes, and can thus be debated.

2In the dramatic plot structure, the ‘inciting incident’ describes the moment where the story is set in motion, the ‘call to adventure’ (for more information on the ‘inciting incident’ element of plot structure, see Campbell 2008, 41ff; Rush 2005, 4448). Even though precedents in the history of humanitarian intervention dating back to the 19th century prove that it is not merely a post-Cold War phenomenon (a detailed analysis of these 19th century precedents can be found in Heraclides and Dialla 2016), thus arguably constituting the inciting incident, military interventions with the goal of primarily saving the lives of innocents in other countries from massive human rights violations ‘entered public consciousness around 1990 as never before’ (Heraclides and Dialla 2016, 1).

  • 1 The climax has been defined in different ways, but this is the more cautious interpretation used in (...)

3Set in the middle of the play, the ‘rising action’ describes the struggle or crises of the main protagonists, where successes and failures build up to a moment of great interest (climax) (Rush 2005, 52ff). In this section, the 1991 action led in Northern Iraq, and some of the subsequent events will be briefly examined as the rising action, whereas more time will be devoted to the 1999 Kosovo intervention and its aftermath, which is often presented in scholarly accounts as the moment of highest tensions.1 Kosovo has been dubbed a ‘context-breaking’ action that triggered increased discussions about the use of military force to protect human rights abroad, and what role authorization by the UN Security Council was or should be in such cases (White 2000, 27). The action in this period is framed as interventions to advance the human rights-based interests of the international community, because ‘acting states in principle claimed a right to unilateral enforcement of that collective will’ (Krisch 1999, 60).

4In the last part, the ‘falling action’ following the climax, the story is moved towards apparent resolution. It is usually defined as a de-escalation in tensions, yet it might also introduce or lead to new conflicts (Bergman 2017). In this context, the rhetorical shift from humanitarian intervention to ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) will be traced. The case of the 2011 intervention in Libya as well as its consequences in relation to Syria will be touched upon.

5For stylistic reasons, even though it technically constitutes the final element in the dramatic plot structure, the resolution, or dénouement, will be dealt with in the next section, which discusses the unreliable narrator in a world of paradoxes.

4.1 Rising action

  • 2 Chapter 5 on a potential solidarist moment in international society. Concerning the case of Iraq, s (...)

6The 1991 intervention in Northern Iraq has been presented as a landmark case that introduced the humanitarian exception into the normative vocabulary of states.2 In the midst of this conflict, which due to space constraints which cannot be described in detail here, the deployment of American, French and British military forces to set up safe havens on Iraqi soil under ‘Operation Provide Comfort’ arguably followed an explicit humanitarian goal of protecting the repressed and fleeing Kurdish minority population from Saddam Hussein (for more details, see Adelman 1992). In line with the metaphor of the ‘rescue story’, the war was widely perceived as just, because it was framed as protecting civilians from the villain – in the sense of the State-As-Person metaphor – Saddam Hussein (Lakoff 1991). The mission was largely qualified as a success: even the UN High Commissioner for Refugees branded the safe havens a successful case of humanitarian intervention (on the overall success of the mission, see Wheeler 2010, 170).

7The literature on humanitarian intervention tends to argue that each crisis and the response to it is historically contingent and unique, therefore requiring a case-by-case assessment (Binder 2017). Still, this positive reaction facilitated the casting of the US and the UK in the role of the saviour, and lent them an initial credibility as narrators outside of the specific context. Certain authors even claim that it was the decisiveness of these saviour nations that allowed the UN to appear as a force in countering the aggression emanating from Iraq, thus making them central to the self-identification of the UN. One very vocal supporter of this stance asks: ‘Everyone likes to criticize US pretensions to being the constable of the world. But when people need the cops, who do they call?’ (Reisman 1991, 206).

8In the post-Soviet era, the UN and even NATO were portrayed as ‘essentially benevolent and able to bring not only peace and security, but also human rights and democracy, to the world’ (Orford 2003, 2021). In the early 1990s, the most obvious choice for the hero role seemed to be the UN, since the rather positive peacekeeping record of the 1970s and 1980s created hope that the scope of UN action might be expanded to encompass actual peace-enforcing and peace-creating (Kurth 2006, 91). Yet the upcoming humanitarian crises in different countries changed this perception, as mirrored in this dismal account of UN failures by one sceptical author:

As it turned out, each of these UN interventions in failed states became notorious failures themselves. In Somalia, the UN forces first had to be rescued by US forces, and then both withdrew and left the Somalis in chaos… In Bosnia, the UN forces did not stop the ethnic massacres, which culminated in the murder of 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. In Sierra Leone, the UN forces had to be rescued by British forces, who then carried out an effective intervention. And in Rwanda, the UN forces were prevented by the UN leadership in New York from stopping the genocide of 800,000 Tutsi. (Kurth 2006, 91)

  • 3 A detailed description of the developments in Rwanda and a more nuanced account of UN (in)action ca (...)

9The Rwandan genocide shocked the world. There, UN action did not simply fail, it never happened: the Security Council did not authorize military intervention.3 While hopeful voices had described an enhanced sensitivity and willingness to combat human rights abuses on the part of the Security Council in the early 1990s (Tesón 1995, 368; Murphy 1994, 230), these failures painted the picture of a defeated hero who was more of a passive observer to the conflicts than an active saviour. On the international stage, the audience asked why the UN and the international community neglected to ‘defend the defenceless’ (Clapham 2012, 460). Simultaneously, those parts of the audience charged with implementing the original humanitarian idea of restraint – denoting unarmed, impartial and neutral relief and protection of civilians in armed conflict – suffered from increasing ‘bystander anxiety’ and ‘humanitarian shame’ (Slim 2001, 328). In this climate, the discursive boundaries of humanitarianism became malleable due to practical and moral concerns, and although the initial reaction might be to deplore a resort to force by states without Security Council assent, the concept thus became capable of accommodating violent actions deemed inescapable for ensuring protection (Banta 2017, 42930). While the main responsibility to protect those in need of saving might still lie with the international community, the growing support for a ‘global humanitarian imperative’ entailing a duty to interfere was accompanied by the realization that the international community as a hero might not be reliable (Orford 2003, 169).

4.2 Climax

Kosovo intervention (1999)

  • 4 For a useful overview of the events leading up to the airstrikes and the aftermath, see Krisch (199 (...)
  • 5 UNSC Res 1199 (23 September 1998) UN Doc S/Res/1199; UNSC Res 1203 (24 October 1998) UN Doc S/Res/1 (...)

10The plot arguably reaches its peak with the 1999 Kosovo intervention, as an emblematic case of the fusion of war logic with humanitarian ends. During the break-up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), the Kosovo conflict pitted the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against the FRY (for a very detailed and comprehensive source on the Kosovo conflict and its background: Krieger 2001). The armed conflict – characterized ‘both as an armed insurgency and counter-insurgency, and as a war (against civilians) of ethnic cleansing’ – lasted from February 1998 to June 1999, when Milosevic capitulated and the FRY withdrew from Kosovo (Qualified as such by the Independent International Commission on Kosovo 2000, 2). On the 24th of March 1999, NATO initiated military operations in the air against the FRY (for more on this campaign, see Arkin 2002). This led to an escalation of the non-international armed conflict already underway and also triggered an international armed conflict (Independent International Commission on Kosovo 2000, 30). Prior to the NATO bombing campaign,4 the Security Council had determined that the situation of violence in Kosovo constituted a threat to the peace and voiced concern due to the grave humanitarian situation.5 Although one position contends that the military force used was implicitly covered by a UN mandate, the NATO members clearly did not act upon explicit authorization from the Security Council, nor even seek it (Latawski and Smith 2018, 12). However, article 53 of the UN Charter unquestionably subordinates the use of force by regional organizations such as NATO to Security Council authorization. Kofi Annan framed the dilemma as follows: ‘On the one hand, is it legitimate for a regional organization to use force without a UN mandate? On the other, is it permissible to let gross and systematic violations of human rights, with grave humanitarian consequences, continue unchecked?’ (Annan 1999)

  • 6 An entire article dedicated to this concept of ‘ethical’ foreign policy is Chandler, 2003.
  • 7 For more on the ‘Clinton doctrine’ in the 1990s, see Charles Krauthammer CNN (29 March 1999) http: (...)
  • 8 Statement by Tony Blair from: HC Deb 23 March 1999, vol 328, col 161.

11In Iraq and Kosovo, the main justification advanced by the states involved pointed to the protection of the human rights of the innocent victims, chiefly the right to life (White 2000, 27). The military intervention on behalf of the Albanian population of Kosovo thus arguably ‘represents the final disappearance of the narrowing divide between humanitarianism and politics: a war initiated for humanitarian principles’ (Woodward 2001, 331). At the time, the mood on stage was that Western policy-makers had shifted the emphasis from national interests to an ‘ethical’ foreign policy in a selfless manner.6 Many in the interpretive community of international lawyers considered the intervention in Kosovo to be the first ethical humanitarian war, one fought out of concern for others with no apparent domestic or international self-interested reasons (for example Klug 2000; Falk 1999). As Orford reports, early media depictions of NATO were in line with the character of a benevolent guarantor of humanitarianism and human rights, outlined above (Orford 2003, 169). The theory of interpellation holds that the ability to appear as a symbolic defender of unifying values is crucial for a leader and the nation they personify. The president of the US at the time, Bill Clinton, aptly played the role of the rhetorical mouthpiece of the hero alliance, in the name of humanity, delivering speeches on human rights reminiscent of ‘sermons, very much in the saviour mode’ (Mutua 2001, 239). The ‘Clinton doctrine’,7 with its clear moralistic and universal ring, was used as a justification to use force in the name of humanity itself and intervene military in the internal affairs of other states, yet failed to establish any clear criteria for humanitarian intervention (Elshtain 2001, 19). The US government never offered a clear legal justification for the NATO campaign, instead leaning on ‘an amorphous listing of factors that together justified the intervention as a matter of policy’ (Koh 2015, 977). The prime minister of the UK, Tony Blair, justified the action in Kosovo in terms of reliability, as a saviour narrator who made a promise of protection directly to the Kosovar people: a failure to act would not only destroy NATO’s credibility, but also be a ‘breach of faith with thousands of innocent civilians whose only desire is to live in peace, and who took us at our word’.8 Tony Blair also elevated the Albanian refugees to symbols of humanity, framing the intervention on their behalf as a battle for humanity (Chandler 2003, 301).

  • 9 Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we cannot enter into the conundrum of using force in respo (...)

12The rhetoric by the allied forces is clearly haunted by the ghost of just war. The intervention appeared largely anticipatory, the just cause lies in the goal of preventing a humanitarian tragedy.9 Concerning legitimate authority, NATO claimed to act on behalf of the international community (White 2000, 34). Some commentators even considered that NATO had more legitimacy than the Security Council, because ‘it comes closest to representing the liberal alliance, the community of nations committed to the values of human rights and democracy’ (Tesón 2008, 45). The element of last resort was stressed by NATO forces when they underlined in statements that negotiations had failed, and that thus a military solution had substituted the failed political one (for some of the statements made by NATO forces, see Latawski and Smith 2018, 1415). Right intention, as primarily an altruistic motive to intervene, is epitomized in this quote by Fernando Tesón (2008, 42): ‘This is the correct way to understand humanitarian intervention: not as a unilateral decision unrelated to the wishes of the victimized population, but as assistance to revolutionaries seeking freedom from tyranny’. The allies considered that their intervention would successfully prevent the humanitarian situation deteriorating even further, in line with the element of the reasonable chance of success in just war theory (Wheeler 2001, 556). Concerning proportionality, the allies defended their targeting practices as legal (Wheeler 2001, 557).

  • 10 For more on the concept of ‘limited’ war and whether Kosovo qualifies as such, see Latawski and Smi (...)
  • 11 Among many, Roberts, 1999.

13Still, this ‘battle for humanity’ was not explicitly called a war. As General Wesley Clark, the commander of the Alliance’s military operations in Kosovo recalls in his memoirs, ‘we were never allowed to call this a war. But it was, of course’ (Clark 2001, xxiii). Even if asymmetrical or arguably a ‘limited war’10 or a ‘humanitarian war’,11 there was without a doubt a large-scale use of force directed against a foreign state and its armed forces. Yet, the word ‘war’ was replaced by the less conspicuous-sounding notion of ‘humanitarian intervention’ (Elshtain 2001, 5). So, why not call the ‘intervention’ by its actual name?

  • 12 In other words, ‘such crises tend to lead to an even greater reliance on heuristics as a means of c (...)

14Generally, to use the terminology of war heeds direct legal and political ramifications beyond the application of international humanitarian law: avoiding this terminology can also be an attempt to de-escalate inter-state tensions and to avoid the domestic architecture of actors that need to be constitutionally involved in a declaration of war (Gross and Ní Aoláin 2014, 26364). The importance of the latter point in the US is illustrated by Harold Koh, who explains that according to the US Constitution, Congress has the exclusive competence to declare war, but a use of force below that threshold can be initiated by the president without congressional approval (the text contains a detailed analysis of US law, however a short introduction to the separation of powers in this context can be found elsewhere in the book: 2015, 97879). The rhetoric of war is thus addressed to domestic and international audiences simultaneously. Importantly, however, war is not just about these legal categories and the discourse does not focus solely on the law. Especially in the today’s multimodal world, the word ‘war’ evokes powerful mental images – precisely the mind cinema mentioned in the subchapter about frames (see Chapter 2, 2.3 Importance of frames). Andrea Bianchi (2011, 18) explains that armed conflict is not only about rules of international humanitarian law, but also about ‘death, wounds, blood, maiming, bereaved persons, hatred, madness, terror, fury, angst, vomit, urine, stench, disease, annihilation, death again’. Hence, governments choose their words carefully. Filters serve as mental short-cuts, and the imagery of violent crisis coloured by urgent events and reactions underline the problems associated with the mind’s ability to process and evaluate such information.12 Frames thus affect the legality and perceptions of governmental actions domestically, and of state decision-making from the point of view of outside observers (Gross and Ní Aoláin 2014, 24445).

Reactions reflecting dissonance

  • 13 For the positions adopted by these states during the debates in the Security Council: UNSC Verbatim (...)
  • 14 UNSG ‘Secretary-General presents his Annual Report to General Assembly’ (20 September 1999) Press R (...)

15As with the 1991 intervention in Northern Iraq, the issue is whether military action for humanitarian ends may be undertaken ‘in support’ of Security Council resolutions, which qualify a particular situation as a threat to, or breach of peace, yet do not contain an express authorization to do so (White 2000, 27). This question becomes especially compelling when the Security Council’s remit to give explicit authorization is incapacitated by a threatened or existent veto. In casu, NATO’s use of force against the FRY was considered a blatant breach of the core UN Charter principles of non-intervention, sovereignty and the non-use of force by the powerful characters of Russia, India and China.13 Yet in the wake of the intervention, Kofi Annan questioned the traditional vision of sovereignty, inviting those members of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) who considered the use of force without Security Council authorization to be the gravest threat to the international order, to self-reflect: ‘If in those dark days and hours leading to the genocide [in Rwanda] a coalition of States had been prepared to act in the defence of the Tutsi population, but did not receive prompt Council authorization, should such a coalition have stood aside and allowed the horror to unfold?’14The crux of the matter is thus that ‘humanitarian intervention exposes the conflict between order and justice’ (Wheeler 2010, 11). In other terms, there is the problematic question of illegality versus legitimacy (Burke 2008, 61).

  • 15 NATO, ‘Recasting Euro-Atlantic Security: Towards the Washington Summit’ (November 1998) North Atlan (...)
  • 16 UNSC Res 1244 (10 June 1999) UN Doc S/Res/1244, which authorized the international deployment of mi (...)
  • 17 Shaw, 2008, 74. For an in-depth analysis of custom, see p. 72-92 of this source.

16The order referenced in Annan’s statement clearly refers to the UN Charter. As mentioned above, article 2 (4) of the UN Charter has only two exceptions: the right of self-defence (UN Charter, art. 51) and enforcement action sanctioned by the Security Council under chapter VII. The UN Charter does not refer to an additional exception allowing states or regional organizations to use force as a remedial action in the case of gross human rights abuses (Burke 2008, 61). Clearly, the NATO states had not suffered an armed attack by the target state FRY. Despite attempts within the North Atlantic Assembly to extend the right of self-defence to include ‘defence of common interests and values, including when the latter are threatened by humanitarian catastrophes, crimes against humanity, and war crimes’,15 this interpretation is far from corresponding to actual international law (Lowe and Tzanakopoulos 2011, paragr. 24). The same can be said for the argument that article 51 UN Charter should not only cover attacks on states, but attacks on populations as well (Henkin 1999, 833). The preceding pages have also shown that it is unconvincing to state that the action was implicitly covered by previous Security Council resolutions (a recap of these attempts can be found in Lowe and Tzanakopoulos 2011, paragr. 19). The alternative assertion that the Security Council provided an ex post facto authorization through either an absence of condemnation or Security Council Resolution 1244,16 are equally problematic. Accordingly, it ‘is one thing to accept the status quo based on a pragmatic attitude towards the situation on the ground, which is what 1244 actually did, and another to endorse an action explicitly’ (Lowe and Tzanakopoulos 2011, paragr. 21). In any event, these justifications would ground NATO action in Chapter VII of the UN Charter and would then portray it as a legal, collective enforcement action – they thus cannot support a supposed existent or emerging rule of customary law introducing an additional exception to the UN Charter’s prohibition of the use of force. Custom is comprised of two basic elements: the material element (state practice) and the subjective element (opinio juris).17 This route considers that there either already exists such a customary right to unilateral or multilateral intervention when the Security Council fails to authorize the use of force in response to gross, systematic breaches of human rights, or that such a right is in the process of emerging (an overview of proposed instances of practice that supposedly support such a position are given here: Lowe and Tzanakopoulos 2011, paragr. 28).

  • 18 See oral pleadings of Belgium in Case concerning Legality of Use of Force (Yugoslavia v. Belgium) ( (...)
  • 19 See UK Ministry of Defence, 2004, 2.

17Concerning the exigencies for the formation of such a customary rule, Olivier Corten establishes a difference between the ‘restrictive approach’ and the ‘extensive approach’, which display diverging understandings of how law is formed, and what purpose it ought to serve (Corten 2010, 1039; Clapham 2012, 45660). Under the restrictive approach, a state must explicitly invoke a right to humanitarian intervention and claim that a modification of the applicable rule occurred, whereupon this contention must be accepted by the other states (Corten 2010, 29). With regard to the first element, the vast majority of states involved in the bombing campaign never argued that their actions were legal due to a new customary law exception allowing intervention on humanitarian grounds (Lowe and Tzanakopoulos 2011, paragr. 29; Cassese 1999, 792). Rather, they justified their action by pointing to the overwhelming need to put a stop to and avoid further atrocities, stressing that the decision was not taken unilaterally by one state but was instead supported by a group of democratic states within the intergovernmental organization of NATO, and underlined that the role of the Security Council continued to be central and that this exceptional measure was only taken due to stalemate (arguments summarized by Cassese 1999, 79195). The only countries that could be claimed to have taken a different standpoint are Belgium and the UK. During oral proceedings before the International Court of Justice, where FRY ultimately failed to obtain an end to the bombing operation through provisional measures, Belgium stated that the intervention could be based on the relevant Security Council Resolutions, but then continued by alleging that it had been under a legal obligation to intervene.18 The UK had already invoked the doctrine of humanitarian intervention during the Northern Iraq incident, yet arguably did not rely on it as sole justification in the Kosovo crisis (White 2000, 34). In a note by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office circulated to NATO allies in October 1998, the UK considered the use of force legally justified ‘on the grounds of overwhelming humanitarian necessity’, even without a Security Council go-ahead (this note is reproduced in full here: Roberts 1999, 106). However, this happened behind the scenes and was not a statement made publicly on the international stage to a wide audience. Only later on did the UK advance positions where it clearly stated that there was and continues to be a basis for unilateral or multilateral humanitarian intervention in international law in exceptional circumstances.19 Hence, some reviews of the play seem to contain an error of judgment: they attempt to deduce the emergence of a new customary law exception, allowing for a unilateral right to humanitarian intervention without Security Council authorization from this case (for example, Tesón 1995). This neglects the fact that:

Despite the odd (and inconsistent) statements by the US and the UK which seemed to favour unilateral humanitarian intervention, both those states and the remainder of NATO members tried to justify their action on the basis of the collective authority of the UN rather than on the right of humanitarian intervention. (White 2000, 33)

18Nico Krisch carefully examines the claims and reactions of the main characters in the context of the Kosovo campaign. He concludes that political argumentations tended to outweigh legal ones, and that those legal positions advanced generally focused on two aspects: the avoidance of a humanitarian catastrophe and the enforcement or support of Security Council Resolutions 1199 and 1203, dating back to 1998 (Krisch 1999, 81). Concerning this first aspect, just like Iraq, the Kosovo case demonstrates that the intervening states claimed to act on behalf of the international community and its values, encapsulated in the title of Krisch’s article, ‘Unilateral Enforcement of the Collective Will’: in a sense, they claimed a right to unilaterally enforce the (supposed) collective will of the international community.

  • 20 A draft resolution aiming to condemn the NATO intervention as illegal was even rejected by the majo (...)
  • 21 Group of 77 (G-77), ‘Declaration of the South Summit’ (Havana 14 April 2000) www.g77.org/summit/Dec (...)

19As for the second aspect, only a few states vocally condemned the NATO intervention as illegal, whereas the majority of the international community did not do so.20 Notwithstanding this silence, the existence and emergence of a customary law right to humanitarian intervention was severely impeded by the fact that one year after the end of hostilities in Kosovo, the foreign ministers of 132 countries passed a declaration within the Group of 77 (G77) firmly rejecting the ‘so-called “right” of humanitarian intervention, which has no basis in in the United Nations Charter or in the general principles of international law’.21 Even if one accepts these dubious precedents as sufficient state practice, the necessary opinio juris is still lacking (Massa 2008, 59). De lege lata, it seems that humanitarian intervention remains illegal.

  • 22 For example Chesterman, 2003, 218; Lowe, 2000, 934. For a more complete list of scholars defending (...)
  • 23 Independent International Commission on Kosovo,1999, 4; for more scholars who reason along similar (...)
  • 24 For example Wheeler, 2010, 281–299; Roberts (n 287) 106–109. For more scholars who reason along sim (...)
  • 25 More examples of scholarly opinion believing this assertion can be found in footnote 21 of Tesón (n (...)

20According to the extensive approach, the starting point is rather that positive law must correspond to objective law, the latter referring to rules which are considered necessary in a given social and historical context (Corten 2010, 10). Tesón (2008, 44) condemns the critics of the Kosovo intervention and ascribes to them ‘positivist stubbornness’, since this stance would imply that humanitarian intervention is legitimate and acceptable due to the advancement of humanistic values in the international community, which in turn demands that unilateral interventions replace authorized interventions when collective security mechanisms have failed (Corten 2010, 11). For the saviour-narrator, this stance seems the most fitting: the rhetoric seems to be more in line with arguments about legitimacy than with proposals of legality, painting the picture of a hero who is even willing to act against inflexible legal rules to protect humanity. And this grandiloquence did not fall on deaf ears. Many states considered the intervention in Kosovo justified, as described above (Heinze 2006, 29). The preceding sections show that in the interpretative community of international law, opinions were divided and continue to be so. Some scholars did consider the intervention illegal and also condemned it as politically and morally wrong.22 Others agreed on its unlawfulness, yet advocated for a reform of institutional structures to be able to face humanitarian crises more effectively (for example Valticos 2000; Henkin 1999; Buchanan 2018). More favourable positions deemed the intervention illegal, yet justified for moral reasons: as the Independent International Commission on Kosovo held, the acts were ‘illegal but legitimate’.23 According to a similar logic, one author suggests that the lack of a firm response by other states in the international community could potentially be interpreted as a ‘law of mitigation’: the action would remain unlawful and the UN Charter unchanged, yet the transgressor would have to face lesser consequences (Franck 2002, 139; Clapham 2012, 459). On the other hand, certain authors considered the Kosovo crisis a legitimate case of humanitarian intervention24 or that it ‘marked a move toward formation of a customary rule of law’.25

21These debates underline how the legality of the action alone is only one parameter by which the heroes of the play will be judged. The legality assessment as such already suffers from contradictions, since it unmasks the ‘frustrations of attempting to uphold some norms (human rights) while seemingly violating others’ (Latawski and Smith 2018, 32). However, perceptions of the reliability of the saviour-narrator rest upon a multitude of other factors as well: on images of suffering, on self-perceptions and outward perceptions of the characters’ actions, on previous actions and speeches on stage, on moral, ethical and political considerations, and so forth. The position defended here is thus that a narrator’s reliability will largely draw from legitimacy. As Pattison rightly states, legitimacy does not necessarily mean legality – legitimacy perceptions depend, inter alia, on the effectiveness of the actor, their internal and external support and fidelity to certain values and principles (Pattison 2008, 39899).

4.3 Falling action

The rhetorical shift to ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P)

22Since the falling action technically begins with the climax (Bergman 2017), it makes sense to consider the aftermath of the Kosovo intervention in this section, which was coloured by uncertainty and division. The Commission on Kosovo had already identified a need to close the gap between legality and legitimacy and to establish a framework for humanitarian intervention (Independent International Commission on Kosovo 2000, 10). This challenge was taken up by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) sponsored by the Canadian government, which introduced a new approach to humanitarian action in a report entitled ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ to the Secretary-General in late 2001 (International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001). This report introduced an important normative shift. As one of the chairs of the international commission of experts, Gareth Evans, wrote:

We sought to turn the whole weary debate about the right to intervene on its head and to re-characterize it not as an argument about any right at all but rather about a responsibility – one to protect people at grave risk – with the relevant perspective being not that of the prospective interveners but, more appropriately, of those needing support. (Evans 2006, 708)

  • 26 Welsh, 2002, 511. For an earlier articulation conceiving of sovereignty as responsibility, see Deng (...)

23In this sense, the report held the promise of reconfiguring humanitarian intervention with a focus of humanity’s law, namely the individual in need of protection, which may clash with the traditional sovereignty rights of states (Teitel 2011, 62). The fundamental change in the conception of sovereignty lies in the move from sovereignty as authority or control over a delimited territory and people, to ‘sovereignty as responsibility’.26 Sovereignty is considered to contain two dimensions: the first is a responsibility toward the welfare of the citizens within a state’s own territory and the respect of their rights and dignity (internal legitimacy), whereas the second is a responsibility vis-à-vis the international community (external responsibility) (Gozzi 2017, 195). While the starting point remains that any state has a primary responsibility to protect the people within it, a failure to carry out this duty due to ill will or incapacity will trigger the secondary, residual responsibility to protect the international community, which acts in the first place through the UN (Evans 2006, 709). Crucially, the principle of non-intervention yields to R2P where the population is suffering serious harm and the state in question has done nothing to remedy this (Clapham 2012, 462).

  • 27 Evans 2006, 709–710. The report foresees three types of responsibility: The responsibility to preve (...)
  • 28 Chapter 6 on right authority, see International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 20 (...)
  • 29 A brief overview of this GA potentiality can be found in White 2000, 38–41.
  • 30 See litera E of the initial summary of the report in International Commission on Intervention and S (...)
  • 31 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001, para 6.39.

24Although the report stressed that the responsibility to protect ‘was about much more than intervention and, in particular, military intervention’ as the most extreme reaction within the responsibility to react, it still identified criteria to judge the validity of such a decision to use force.27 The international commission explicitly acknowledges that the six elements in the following list have a pedigree in just war theory: (1) right authority,28 (2) just cause of a large-scale loss of life or ethnic cleansing, (3) right intention, (4) last resort, (5) proportional means and (6) reasonable prospects (for the remaining elements, see International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001, 3237). Whereas the first element of right authority refers to legality, the other five pertain to the question of legitimacy. Even though the report continues to view the Security Council as the prime candidate for the saviour character, a failure to take on this role opens up space for alternative actors: the UN General Assembly29 and regional organizations, or a coalition of states within an area of jurisdiction, subject to subsequent – not prior – Security Council authorization.30 Hence, a clear message conveyed to the Security Council through this report is that if it fails to discharge its responsibility to react to ‘conscience-shocking situations crying out for action, then it is unrealistic to expect that concerned states will rule out other means and forms of action’, and that such action lacking the necessary constraints of UN authorization might not be carried out for the right reasons.31 Secondly, if an individual state or ad hoc coalition steps in when the Security Council fails to act and these actors fulfil the criteria of legitimacy in the eyes of world public opinion, this has an impact on the credibility of the UN itself (Evans 2006, 712). Still, one critical author notes that the formulation chosen by the ICISS de facto narrows the candidates down to the most powerful organizations, notably NATO, thus turning the responsibility to protect into a ‘weapon of imperial intervention at will’ (Chomsky 2011; Gozzi 2017, 196).

25In terms of rhetoric within the play of humanitarian intervention, R2P thus changed the contours of the debate. The significance of this newly conceptualized framework lies less in a development of the law concerning the use of force and more in the heightened expectations that the international community needs to act to protect innocents from extreme human rights violations (Clapham 2012, 463). It demands that the international community turn into a reliable saviour character and may even imply a reversed presumption – instead of demanding a justification for a humanitarian intervention undertaken, a failure to do just that was what now needed to be justified (Rudolf 2013, 5).

26Although space constraints do not allow for an in-depth analysis of events, 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror raised concerns that the use of force justified on humanitarian grounds could serve as a Trojan horse for non-humanitarian military campaigns (Heinze 2006, 22). In the prevailing climate, a large number of states questioned the wisdom of allowing the establishment of an additional exception to the use of force (Clapham 2012, 463). With the dedication of more political and military resources to fighting the evil of terrorism, the inclination of some of the major powers to spend these on the protection of innocents who faced the repression of a villain within their own borders seemingly dwindled. In this sense, ‘when the dust from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon settled, humanitarian intervention became a tertiary issue’ (Weiss 2004, 136).

  • 32 A detailed description of the Iraq war (2003-2011) can be found here: ‘Iraq War’, Encyclopedia Brit (...)
  • 33 Lakoff, 2019. For a very critical account of this rhetoric by the US government, see Mandel 2004.

27What is left out in most scholarly accounts is that, if the attention of the audience might have been primarily drawn to the play of counter-terrorism and the issue of pre-emptive war (Weiss 2004, 136), the drama of humanitarian intervention has continued. The main actors are continuously engaged in various political and legal dramas, and the rhetoric of protecting others is not confined to the play of humanitarian intervention. The case of Iraq has been considered by some authors to constitute a prime example in which the ethical vocabulary of caring for others was instrumentalized, since US and UK governments have used it since the intervention in 1991 to emphasize their moral commitment to saving innocents abroad (Chandler 2003, 300). The 2003 Iraq war was dubbed ‘Operation Iraqi freedom’,32 clearly casting the prime actors within the coalition of the willing – the US and the UK – in the saviour role. Using the familiar rescue scenario in just war terms, Bush repeatedly listed the crimes Saddam Hussein had committed against the victimized Iraqi people and the weapons that could threaten their neighbours, thus framing the operation as one intended to protect suffering innocents from a raging tyrant.33 When the principal justifications of the Bush administration lost much of their force – because no weapons of mass destruction were found, and the allegedly strong link to terrorism prior to the war could not be proven – the only viable argument left was the one of humanitarian intervention (for a strong voice contending that the 2003 Iraq war was clearly not a case of humanitarian intervention, see Roth 2006). According to this logic, the Bush administration used this argument as a ‘back-up’ rationale for the war in Iraq when other explanations failed (Heinze 2006, 31), thus demonstrating how the justificatory basis for humanitarian intervention can be resuscitated when deemed useful by the saviour-narrator.

  • 34 High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility: (...)
  • 35 Kofi Annan, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All: Report of th (...)
  • 36 UNGA Res 60/1 (242 October 2005) UN Doc A/Res/60/1.

28Despite this hesitancy on stage to embrace the new guise of humanitarian intervention in the form of R2P, the concept was endorsed and deemed ‘an emerging norm’ by the High-Level of on Threats, Challenges and Change, which submitted its report to the UN Secretary General in December 2004.34 The recommendations of the ICISS were embraced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005 in a report entitled ‘In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All’.35 The concept was then debated in the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly (2005 World Summit), culminating in paragraphs 138 to 140 of the World Summit Outcome Resolution.36

  • 37 UNSC Res 1674 (28 April 2006) UN Doc S/Res/1674; UNGA Res 63/308 (7 October 2009) UN Doc A/Res/63/3 (...)
  • 38 UNSG ‘Secretary-General defends, clarifies ‘responsibility to protect’ at Berlin event on ‘responsi (...)

29Even if Evans (2006, 714) triumphantly called this the biggest milestone passed, and appraised the outcome as a ‘unanimous embrace of the responsibility to protect principle by the General Assembly’, this recognition should not be overstated. There was still an unmistakable aura of suspicion on the international stage. A careful reading reveals that no unilateral right to intervene was authorized, the key word being the one italicized hereafter: ‘each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity’ (par. 138). These more restrictive paragraphs were subsequently endorsed again by the General Assembly and the Security Council in respective Resolutions.37 R2P has been referred to in numerous instances since 2005, for example in Darfur (for more examples, see Berman and Michaelsen 2012, 34647). Teitel (2011, 116) acknowledges that ‘the acceptance of RtoP expresses some degree of international consensus on a duty to protect civilians’, yet adds a cautious note that the full implications of this concept remain uncertain. This uncertainty was acknowledged by the next UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, yet he stressed that R2P is not a new code for humanitarian intervention.38 Even if one admits that this is true, whether one wants to acknowledge it or not, this so-called ‘positive and affirmative concept of sovereignty’ punches holes into the traditional walls of those norms protecting state sovereignty against the saviour-narrator claiming to act in the name of humanity. It acknowledges that the Security Council is not the only one who might be cast in the hero role, and it shows that the ghost of just war is very much alive and well when it comes to legitimacy considerations, in the drama of protecting innocents.

Libya (2011) and its repercussions – what about Syria?

  • 39 More details on the Libya revolt and crisis of 2011 can be found in ‘Libya Revolt of 2011’, Encyclo (...)
  • 40 Heraclides and Dialla, 2016, 3. This depends on the definition of humanitarian intervention one ado (...)
  • 41 This formula used authorizes the use of military force to reach the stated goals, see UNSC Res 1973 (...)
  • 42 UNSC Res 1970 (26 February 2011) UN Doc S/Res/1970.

30The next clear case of humanitarian intervention, albeit in its collective form, took place more than a decade after the Kosovo bombing campaign: the Libya intervention by NATO from February to October 2011,39 this time acting with Security Council authorization.40 The measures short of authorizing the use of force adopted by the UN proved to be insufficient to stop the Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi from waging a brutal civil war on the population in revolt, which led the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to authorize member states to ‘take all necessary measures to protect civilians’,41 thus invoking the ‘aims and methods of humanity law’ (Teitel 2011, 62). The pursuant military operation led by the US, France and the UK was later passed on to NATO and tellingly named ‘Operation Unified Protector’ (for a legal analysis of Operation Unified Protector, see Yüksel 2012), clearly allowing these states to take on the saviour role (for a comprehensive account of the US position in Libya, see Koh 2015, 98098). Some commentators heralded this authorization as a milestone in the effective implementation of the R2P doctrine (among many others, Powell 2012, 298). However, the preamble of Resolution 1973 only explicitly referenced the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the population, not the responsibility of the international community (Chesterman 2011, 28081). The mandate allowed member states to forcefully implement the no-fly zone and arms embargo, as well as the other measures authorized in the earlier Resolution 1970.42 However, the Resolution excluded foreign occupation and at no point endorsed a regime change, but the unfolding military operation made it clear that this was the political goal of the coalition (Pommier 2011, 106667; Rudolf 2013, 8). In a wide reading of the mandate, toppling the regime in power was seen by the coalition as a necessary measure to protect civilians (Akbarzadeh and Saba 2018, 5). However, it was estimated that the intervention prolonged the duration of the war and augmented the death toll, since the allies failed to implement peace after removing the villain Gaddafi (an assessment of the outcome can be found in Kuperman 2013, 12123).

31The launching of the operation hence corresponded to a textbook case of R2P, while subsequent actions deviated from this principle (Pommier 2011, 1079). The former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, Marcel Boisard, thus lamented in a October 2011 press that the protection of civilians was used as a pretext to justify an operation ultimately aimed at toppling Gaddafi, which prompted him to write that ‘the principle of “responsibility to protect” died in Libya’. The international community was worried that statements claiming that NATO action complied with the Security Council resolutions could set a precedent of expansive interpretations for future NATO interventions, supposedly implementing the responsibility to protect (Berman and Michaelsen 2012, 356). Although it is probably too early to ring the death knell of the R2P principle, this example shows how the particular interpretative lens this principle entails can provide a means for the saviour-narrator to construe a mandate given by the Security Council in an overly broad way. It remains debatable whether NATO exceeded the Security Council mandate legally, but the political price for Libya is that Russia made it clear that it would veto similar Security Council resolutions in the future – a threat it delivered on most notably in the Syrian crisis (Koh 2015, 998). This stresses how the past actions of the hero character impact perceptions of reliability in the present and future, potentially leading to a chilling effect (Berman and Michaelsen 2012, 357). If a powerful character on the international stage such as Russia holds the belief that Libya unmasked certain saviour-narrators as unreliable, this can have very real consequences for the continuation of the drama of humanitarian intervention.

  • 43 A useful overview of the conflict (including a legal assessment of its evolving nature) and the pla (...)

32Due to space constraints, the history and context of the Syrian conflict and humanitarian crisis, which began as a civil war in 2011 and is still ongoing at the time of writing, cannot be developed here.43 The parties involved in the parallel international armed conflicts include many of the powerful characters we have encountered throughout this paper, such as the US, the UK, France and Russia (for a complete list of the countries involved and for/against whom they are fighting, see Sulce 2019, 25). Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser to the US Department of State between 2009 and 2013, details how Russia refused to vote for ‘essentially the same UN Security Council language it had supported in Libya’, since it believed that force had been overused to bring about the abovementioned regime change (Koh 2015, 998ff). In August 2012, president Obama voiced his first direct threat of force against Syria in case the ‘red line’ of preparing to use or actual use of chemical weapons was crossed (Landler 2012). Notwithstanding the goal behind this, of protecting innocent civilians, the Obama administration did not offer a legal explanation as to why the use of force in Syria would have been consistent with international law, just as it never did for Kosovo (Koh 2015, 1003). The only public legal position advanced to the audience on the international stage was that given by the White House Counsel to a newspaper, who admitted that the Syrian attack might not fit a ‘traditionally recognized legal basis under international law’, but that it would nonetheless be ‘justified and legitimate’ and thus not prohibited (Savage 2013; Koh 2015, 9991000). Hence, humanitarian intervention was not mentioned by the US administration, whereas the British government advanced a legal justification that explicitly rested upon this doctrine and R2P (however, in 2013 the British government failed to convince Parliament and garner its support for an intervention, see Carpenter 2013).

33Faced with weak support abroad and at home, however, Obama did not act on this threat, despite statements where he invoked his belief that the use of military force could be justified on humanitarian grounds (Koh 2015, 9981004). Obama had also stated that he would take military action in Syria without Security Council approval, given that the attacks were an assault on human dignity and the Security Council remained paralyzed (Tzeng 2017, 449). The reactions to this failure were prompt, castigating the US president as an unreliable narrator who called on a new era of engagement, yet ended up as a spectator of this humanitarian catastrophe (Plett 2017). Coming to the defence of the president, Koh painted a picture of a ‘reluctant warrior’ who tried his best to fight against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who ‘is a war criminal who has slaughtered his own people for months and lied about it – with and without chemical weapons – while Putin gave him shameless cover with… vetoes, lies, and sickening rhetoric’ (Koh 2013a). Notwithstanding the fact that the primary justification for a potential intervention was the enforcement of the ban on chemical weapons, the rhetoric at the time was clearly infused with humanitarian reasoning. These contrasting depictions underline how the reliability of hero characters such as Obama (following the Nation-as-Person metaphor of Lakoff) depend on the (mis)match between rhetoric and action, yet also on the behaviour of other powerful characters the saviour faces in the play. Koh deflects blame and criticizes the position that deems any humanitarian intervention illegal (one he calls the ‘per se illegal rule’) as overbroad. According to him, ‘the per se position denies any nation, no matter how well-meaning, any lawful way to use even limited and multilateral force to prevent Assad from gassing a million Syrian children tomorrow’ and ‘leaders would either have to accept civilian slaughter or break the law, because international law offers no alternative’ (Koh 2013b). The wording of this condemnation is revealing, since it evokes powerful images and narrates a story of a hero who wants to save, but is prevented from doing so by states subscribing to an edifice of law without a conscience.

34The current president of the US, Donald Trump, has authorized air strikes carried out by the US alone and then the coalition on Syrian targets supporting Assad’s chemical weapons facilities (Sulce 2019, 5). While many deplore the air strikes in Syria as illegal, Trump never claimed to be undertaking an intervention to protect humanity and thus did not even try to assume the saviour role (on the illegality of the air strikes broadly, see Milanovic 2018). He has made it clear that his primary goal is to protect the American people, by eliminating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria (Koh 2018). This reflects how a change in leadership will inevitably affect the actions of the hero in the drama of humanitarian intervention, whose character is moulded not only by the image of the state built on past actions, but also by its leader. As a consequence, some spectators asked what had happened to the international community’s responsibility to protect (Esslemont 2016). The echo was that ‘R2P has diminished from a high hope into an interesting collection of words lying on a table’, and that Syria was an obvious case begging for an effective implementation of this doctrine: ‘it’s as relevant as ever, normatively, morally, in terms of our conscience, but it is a dead letter internationally’ (statements by two scholars interviewed here: Esslemont 2016). Despite voices to the contrary claiming that other factors such as Russia’s economic and strategic interests in Syria explain the veto, the past record of actors – notably the US, who had deposed leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – has an impact on the viability of a regime premised on R2P (for an example of an author who denies the direct connection between the Libya precedent and the Syrian Security Council paralysis, see Bellamy 2014, 37; for a contrasting account, see Akbarzadeh and Saba 2018, 6).

Notes

1 The climax has been defined in different ways, but this is the more cautious interpretation used in this paper. Other descriptors – ‘the moment where the outcome is settled once and for all’; the ‘moment when events turn for the last time’; the ‘moment where we know it’s all over’ – are unfitting for the present purposes, since they point to a clear ending (Rush, 2005, 58ff).

2 Chapter 5 on a potential solidarist moment in international society. Concerning the case of Iraq, see Wheeler, (2010, 139–171).

3 A detailed description of the developments in Rwanda and a more nuanced account of UN (in)action can be found for example in Orford (2003, 96–110).

4 For a useful overview of the events leading up to the airstrikes and the aftermath, see Krisch (1999) 79ff.

5 UNSC Res 1199 (23 September 1998) UN Doc S/Res/1199; UNSC Res 1203 (24 October 1998) UN Doc S/Res/1203.

6 An entire article dedicated to this concept of ‘ethical’ foreign policy is Chandler, 2003.

7 For more on the ‘Clinton doctrine’ in the 1990s, see Charles Krauthammer CNN (29 March 1999) < http://edition.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/time/1999/03/29/doctrine.html > accessed 19 June 2019.

8 Statement by Tony Blair from: HC Deb 23 March 1999, vol 328, col 161.

9 Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we cannot enter into the conundrum of using force in response to warning signs, to prevent an impending disaster. In this sense, we ‘can never know what would have happened had the intervention not taken place’, see Wheeler (2001, 556).

10 For more on the concept of ‘limited’ war and whether Kosovo qualifies as such, see Latawski and Smith,

2018, 17–19.

11 Among many, Roberts, 1999.

12 In other words, ‘such crises tend to lead to an even greater reliance on heuristics as a means of countering the lack of sufficient time to properly evaluate the situation’, see Gross and Ní Aoláin, 2014, 243.

13 For the positions adopted by these states during the debates in the Security Council: UNSC Verbatim Record (23 March 1999) UN Doc S/PV/3988; UNSC Verbatim Record (26 March 1999) UN Doc S/PV/3989.

14 UNSG ‘Secretary-General presents his Annual Report to General Assembly’ (20 September 1999) Press Release SG/SM/7136.

15 NATO, ‘Recasting Euro-Atlantic Security: Towards the Washington Summit’ (November 1998) North Atlantic Assembly Res 283 para. 15 (e).

16 UNSC Res 1244 (10 June 1999) UN Doc S/Res/1244, which authorized the international deployment of military forces and instituted a civilian administration regime in Kosovo.

17 Shaw, 2008, 74. For an in-depth analysis of custom, see p. 72-92 of this source.

18 See oral pleadings of Belgium in Case concerning Legality of Use of Force (Yugoslavia v. Belgium) (Verbatim Record) 1999 CR/99/14.

19 See UK Ministry of Defence, 2004, 2.

20 A draft resolution aiming to condemn the NATO intervention as illegal was even rejected by the majority of states in the Security Council at the time, see Cassese, 1999, 792. For a list of those states which did explicitly condemn NATO action, see Corten, [2000], 698–699.

21 Group of 77 (G-77), ‘Declaration of the South Summit’ (Havana 14 April 2000) www.g77.org/summit/Declaration_G77Summit.htm (accessed 19 June 2019).

22 For example Chesterman, 2003, 218; Lowe, 2000, 934. For a more complete list of scholars defending this position, see footnote 17 of Tesón, 2008, 43.

23 Independent International Commission on Kosovo,1999, 4; for more scholars who reason along similar lines, see footnote 19 reference in Tesón, 2008, 43.

24 For example Wheeler, 2010, 281–299; Roberts (n 287) 106–109. For more scholars who reason along similar lines, see footnote 20 reference in Tesón, 2008, 43.

25 More examples of scholarly opinion believing this assertion can be found in footnote 21 of Tesón (n 280) 43, who considers the Kosovo intervention a clear precedent in customary law terms as well.

26 Welsh, 2002, 511. For an earlier articulation conceiving of sovereignty as responsibility, see Deng, 1996.

27 Evans 2006, 709–710. The report foresees three types of responsibility: The responsibility to prevent, the responsibility to react (including humanitarian intervention) and the responsibility to rebuild, see International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001, 19–44.

28 Chapter 6 on right authority, see International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001, 47–57.

29 A brief overview of this GA potentiality can be found in White 2000, 38–41.

30 See litera E of the initial summary of the report in International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001, XIII.

31 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty 2001, para 6.39.

32 A detailed description of the Iraq war (2003-2011) can be found here: ‘Iraq War’, Encyclopedia Britannica < https://www.britannica.com/event/Iraq-War > accessed 30 June 2019.

33 Lakoff, 2019. For a very critical account of this rhetoric by the US government, see Mandel 2004.

34 High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility: Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change (United Nations ed, United Nations Department of Public Information 2004); UNGA ‘Note transmitting report of High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change’ (December 2004) UN Doc A/59/565.

35 Kofi Annan, In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All: Report of the Secretary-General (United Nations Department of Public Information 2005); UNGA ‘Report of the Secretary-General: In Larger Freedom’ (2005) UN Doc A/59/2005.

36 UNGA Res 60/1 (242 October 2005) UN Doc A/Res/60/1.

37 UNSC Res 1674 (28 April 2006) UN Doc S/Res/1674; UNGA Res 63/308 (7 October 2009) UN Doc A/Res/63/308.

38 UNSG ‘Secretary-General defends, clarifies ‘responsibility to protect’ at Berlin event on ‘responsible sovereignty: international cooperation for a changed world’’ (15 July 2008) Press Release SG/SM/11701.

39 More details on the Libya revolt and crisis of 2011 can be found in ‘Libya Revolt of 2011’, Encyclopedia Britannica < https://www.britannica.com/event/Libya-Revolt-of-2011 > accessed 22 June 2019.

40 Heraclides and Dialla, 2016, 3. This depends on the definition of humanitarian intervention one adopts, however. If the notion of collective humanitarian intervention with Security Council authorization is not considered a case of humanitarian intervention, then Libya would clearly not be a case in point. This stance is taken for example by Peter Tzeng 2017, 432.

41 This formula used authorizes the use of military force to reach the stated goals, see UNSC Res 1973 (17 March 2011) UN Doc S/Res/1973 para 4.

42 UNSC Res 1970 (26 February 2011) UN Doc S/Res/1970.

43 A useful overview of the conflict (including a legal assessment of its evolving nature) and the players involved can be found in Sulce, 2019.

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