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So, now that we
have precisely defined what can constitute as a humanitarian intervention, the
logical follow up would be to identify what organizations can be able to do the
act of intervention. The reasonable answer to this question is the United Nations,
the global organization created with the single responsibility of peace keeping.

However, contrary
to the more optimistic expectations of those who argued that the end of the
Cold War would lead the United Nations to the full implementation of the
provisions of Chapter VII of the Charter relating to the Collective Security
System, we have only witnessed the practice of authorization of the use of
force by national contingents by the United Nations’ Security Council. The way
the Security Council works, is as following. There are 15 members, each one has
a vote in the process of deciding, through a debate, if a situation pose a
threat to international peace keeping. The most likely solution to be found is
a peaceful agreement between the two parties, since the Security Council, will always
push for a more diplomatic resolution. However, if the situation may degenerate
and lead to hostilities, the Council’s primary concern is to bring them to an
end as soon as possible. In that case, the Council may dispatch military
observers or a peacekeeping force to help reduce tensions, separate opposing
forces and establish a calm environment in which peaceful settlements may be
sought. Beyond this, the Council has also the possibility to decide to use more
forceful measures as: economic sanctions, arms embargoes, financial penalties
and restrictions, and travel bans; severance of diplomatic relations; blockade;
or even collective military action.

However, even
this seemingly fail proof process has sometimes failed, the most glaring
examples are the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. Combined, the death toll of
these two events and the resulting humanitarian crises exceeds 1.5 million. The
main reason for this failure could lie in the fact that the UN is found to
operate in a world profoundly changed compared to 1945, with an instrument,
that is the United Nations Charter, whose rules, the result of a past
historical and political context, have proved unsuitable to solve especially
humanitarian crises. In addition, the countries represented in the Security
Council are as well a reflection of the powers that were considered principal
in the 90’s, but that does not reflect the reality anymore. The ideal solution
to solve the inefficiency of the international community, while at the same
time avoiding all the risks related to the formulation of the right of
humanitarian intervention, could be the one proposed by the Danish Institute of
International Affairs under the name of “Ad
Hoc Strategy”[1]. Is
it to say, to treat the cases of humanitarian intervention as separated from other
situations that may be require the use of force from external forces, with its
own set of, modernized, rules and regulations regarding authorizations and
legitimization. In addition, to solve the problem of representation in the
council, it would be a viable solution to finally hear the pledge of the various
countries such as Brazil, Germany, Japan, and India, as well as all the member
states of the African Union, that have called for an expansion of the Council
beyond its current permanent five and rotating 10 members. Disregarding how unlikely
it is that the States decide to follow this path, considering the great credit
that the Security Council still enjoys despite numerous past failures. In other
words, States seem to not be ready to renounce the presence of this body as a
guarantor of world order.

 

 

1.    
So, It Is Just?

In conclusion,
now that we have identified the what and the who. The only missing piece of the
puzzle is why. As in, why they should have the right to intervene to protect
human right in a State, in which they do not have sovereignty.

Some may argue
that it is applicable the same line of tough of the Drowning Child Case ideated
by philosopher Peter Singer. If while on a walk I see a child that is drowning,
even if I do not have any kind of relationship with them, there is still some
kind of moral obligation to do what is it in my power to save them. However,
Singer also said that this intervention must be carried out only if we can do
it with a very little cost to ourselves. So, is the cost of sending military
troops to fight another country’s war a price too high to pay? And not only in
terms of economics, like the cost of arms, and soldiers, etc., but the actual
cost of human lives.

And, what about
the State’s sovereignty? Is the Security Council doing more harm than good by playing
a major role into the resolutions of these conflicts, without then guiding the
State to a political and legal reform of its practices in order to avoid a repeat
of the original dispute? Those kinds of questions can be somewhat misleading. According
to a study by Harvard professor Steven Pinker, we are living in the most
peaceful time in human history. In this moment in history, an individual is
less likely to die during armed combat than in any other moment since the rise
of civilization. It is not a stretch to suggest that the Security Council, an
organization brought about to help create a more peaceful world, played a major
role in bringing about the relative peace the world enjoys today. However, as
mentioned in the chapter before, the Security Council is still lacking in some
departments. Global representation, ineffectiveness of intervention, and
others.

To summarize, it
is possible to say that yes, humanitarian intervention can be considered as
just in those cases in which large number of civilians are at risk, to end
human rights violations and other similar gross crimes, however the Security
Council should also recognize the vital role that they play in shaping those countries’
future policies and actions, and act in consequence.   

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