Mainstreaming the Responsibility to Protect in Peace Operations
The 'Responsibility to Protect' (RtoP) principle represents a commitment to prevent and halt mass atrocity crimes. However, in his 2009 report on implementing the RtoP, the UN Secretary-General noted that more work was needed to understand the measures that states might take to exercise their RtoP. Given that UN peace operations are now customarily mandated to 'protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence', it would seem prudent to ask how peace operations can contribute to operationalising the RtoP and how the RtoP might support peacekeeping. This article explores the potential for implementing the RtoP through peace operations. It argues that the RtoP and peace operations are mutually reinforcing. Notwithstanding systemic challenges, peace operations offer a legitimate vehicle for implementing RtoP, whereas RtoP provides a facilitating norm for harnessing political will and buttressing the legitimacy and credibility of contemporary peace operations.