Free «Humanitarian Intervention» Essay Sample

Since 1980s, humanitarian interventions have become a very popular tool of control and peacekeeping activity. The growing importance of the concept of aggression led to a series of attempts to define it and these will now be chronicled. However, as a preliminary, it must be emphasized that the 'question of defining aggression' with which researchers deal, must be placed in correct perspective. In spite of positive outcomes acclaimed by the global society, the role and impact of humanitarian interventions on developing countries and their political situation are still under discussion. The bulk of the present work is concerned with the definition, in the wider sense of that word, of unlawful resort to force. The problem is to decide how far the validity of general and particular rules of the positive law depends on the success or otherwise of a quest for a definition of aggression.

The main problem of humanitarian intervention deals with the understanding of aggression and intervention itself. The work carried out on the 'definition of aggression' has been of great value and it is hardly surprising that such an extensive project should be the subject of prolonged discussion. However, it is unfortunate that discussion of all forms of state conflict should to some extent threaten the stability of those norms already existing in relation to the use of force. Even in the case of 'armed aggression' discussion of the types of action which are unlawful tends to obscure the fact that it is the justifications for resort to force which are exceptional and not the norm of illegality. Discussion of the 'definition of aggression' is a valuable aid to more effective regulation of conflict, both armed and in other forms, but agreement on what is really a vast field of problems and not merely a definition can hardly be a sine qua non for acceptance of legal norms on the use of force by states (Kuperman, 2001). A one definition of unlawful resort to force would be very general, containing terms which needed definition, and would beg some vital questions, since a definition may need variation for particular purposes. In the simple connation, it might be plausible to say that a definition (in this narrow sense) is 'not possible', in the sense that a brief definition is not technically satisfactory. If the narrow meaning of 'definition' may be applied, as the present writer believes, to a series of connected propositions, after the manner of a statute or the American. In its wide sense, definition may mean the scientific treatment and evaluation of a topic and in this sense a whole work may constitute a definition. Again this type of definition is possible but is not satisfactory in one important respect: it is not concise enough to provide a ready guide for state officials and advisers, or public opinion (Weiss, 2007).

The example of Rwanda and humanitarian interventions in this country proves that most of them are simple acts of aggression and intrusion in military activities of the nation-state. Thus, at first glance the reality of peacemaking efforts in Rwanda appears directly contrary to the conventional wisdom that has developed. International conflict management efforts to deal with the civil war were substantial, not less than wide-ranging, and innovative at least in parts. They were also, of course, an absolute failure. Conventional wisdom would have Rwanda be a story of the failure to take action; it is in fact a story about the failure of actions taken (Kuperman, 2001).

Still, it is doubtful if there is sufficient evidence of a customary right to enforce observance of peace treaties by military means. The general prohibition of forcible self-help no doubt extends to this particular instance. However, different considerations will arise if an aggressor state is defeated in the course of enforcement measures authorized by an international organ or if a peace treaty following a war of collective defense or sanction is concluded under the auspices of such organ and placed under its guarantee. Here any undertakings by the aggressor could be enforced by action authorized by the international organ. It must be admitted that humanitarian intervention has not been expressly condemned by either the League Covenant, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or the United Nations Charter. Indeed, such intervention would not constitute resort to force as an instrument of national policy. It is necessary nevertheless to have regard to the general effect and the underlying assumptions of the juridical developments Examination of state practice in relation to this form of intervention is rendered difficult as it is frequently a subsidiary justification for an intervention which is an expression of purely national policy (Kuperman, 2001). Moreover, the jurists have tended to classification of interventions which were justified without reference to any specific doctrine of humanitarian intervention. This was only one of several characterizations offered and circumstances frequently indicated the presence of selfish motives. Many politicians are extremely skeptical about ground of intervention; and dislike the fact of its application in case of tyranny but not to the excesses of revolution. On some occasions jurists have propounded a doctrine that wars of liberation are just wars. In so far as this involves an assumption that wars by peoples against foreign oppressors either in the form of internal struggle against colonial domination or of a war of self-defense against external attack are just, it is not in contradiction to the existing legal regime on the use of force. But in any case the doctrine is subordinate to the major legal and political principles of peaceful co-existence (Weiss, 2007).

The main concerning the value and role of humanitarian interventions is the degree of intrusion of a foreign state or international cognitions in national affairs of a country. How could multiple conflict resolution efforts by the international community fall so wide of the mark and produce so little? How, and why, did conflict management efforts in Rwanda fail? How could one of the century's most violent acts have escalated out of a low-intensity conflict that was the subject of preventive and peacemaking efforts? These questions explain this paradox, identify the dynamics of the failure of the international and regional conflict management efforts to prevent this massive escalation of violence. The second purpose is to extrapolate the implications—analytical, theoretical, and practical—of this failure, as well as draw lessons for future peacemaking endeavors. Pre-negotiation efforts successfully constructed a political mediation process, involving all key actors. But they also complicated those negotiations by bringing new actors into the process whose presence undercut the position of key moderates within the Rwandan regime. Likewise, the negotiation process itself succeeded in producing a comprehensive peace agreement that addressed all the major issues at stake in the war and charted a course for transition to democratic government and the rule of law (Holzgrefe and Keohane, 2003). But it isolated powerful figures within the government, actors who then saw common cause with extremist forces seeking to overturn the peace and launch their genocidal alternative. For instance, the UN humanitarian interventions effort that followed the signing of a peace accord was ill-coordinated with the mediation process and, therefore, based on false premises. For this reason, and because of the minimal strategic relevance of Rwanda to the major powers, the peacekeeping effort was wholly insufficient to implement the peace. Extremist forces were able to maneuver among different third parties and turn conflict resolution processes to their rhetorical and political advantage. The failure of the peace process in Rwanda has multiple dimensions, but it can be understood in part as a function of the inconsistency and overall incoherence of its component parts. A decade's experience of peacekeeping in internal wars shows that the challenge of keeping andsol;or enforcing a contested peace is daunting (Kuperman, 2001).

In sum, humanitarian interventions are considered as acts of illegal intrusion and invasion of international organizations into national affairs of other states. Ideally, humanitarian efforts must be grounded in both realistic analyses of conflict dynamics and realistic assessments of the capacities and capabilities of the diplomatic and international organizations involved in the response. It is far too easy to treat humanitarian operations as a form of control that can compensate for the failings of other forms of humanitarian interventions.


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