A Fatal Attraction? The UN Security Council and the Relationship between R2P and the International Criminal Court

(Image: The Economist)

(Image: Satoshi Kambayashi / The Economist)

Many readers will know that, over the last year or so, I have been thinking quite a bit about the relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). It started barely a month into this blog’s existence, when I wrote a piece called ‘The ICC and R2P – Bridging the Gap‘. Since then, I have had the opportunity write and present on the subject. The fruit of that labour has produced a draft article on the subject, entitled ‘A Fatal Attraction? The UN Security Council and the Relationship between R2P and the International Criminal Court’. The article remains a work in progress but I hope that some readers find the article to be of interest. Here’s the abstract:

Few subjects so clearly expose the tensions between global justice and politics as the relationship between the international community’s two favoured approaches to ending mass atrocities: international criminal justice and humanitarian intervention. The relationship between the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), however, has escaped significant academic scrutiny and analysis. When it has been considered, the Court and R2P are seen to fit unproblematically within a ‘protection continuum’. This paper seeks to go further by illustrating that R2P and the ICC share a liberal cosmopolitan political ethos. It is subsequently argued that while this liberal cosmopolitan political ethos rests at the core of R2P and the ICC, both have become increasingly tethered to the real-politik of the UN Security Council, a trend which may undermine the ability of both R2P or the ICC to achieve their liberal cosmopolitan ends. The paper demonstrates this through an exploration of the case of Libya, and UN Security Resolutions 1970 and 1973 in particular, where both the ICC and R2P were invoked. It is argued that the role of the Security Council as the ‘dispenser’ of R2P and the ICC in Libya coloured the invocation of both in ways that reflected the particular political interests and attitudes of the Security Council members – a distant cry from their liberal cosmopolitan intention and justification. The paper concludes with some reflections on the future of both R2P and the ICC, their relationships to the UN Security Council and what they mean for liberal cosmopolitan projects in international relations and international law.

You can download the paper here. As always, comments and feedback are welcome!


About Mark Kersten

Mark Kersten is the the Deputy Director of the Wayamo Foundation and a Fellow based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He is also author of the book, 'Justice in Conflict - The Effects of the International Criminal Court's Interventions on Ending Wars and Building Peace' (Oxford University Press, 2016). The views posted on this blog do not necessarily represent those of the Wayamo Foundation.
This entry was posted in Libya, Responsibiltiy to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Fatal Attraction? The UN Security Council and the Relationship between R2P and the International Criminal Court

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