Points of Convergence and Divergence: Normative, Institutional and Operational Relationships between R2P and PoC
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As an international norm, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has gained substantial influence and institutional presence-and created no small controversy-in the ten years since its first conceptualisation. Conversely, the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (PoC) has a longer pedigree and enjoys a less contested reputation. Yet UN Security Council action in Libya in 2011 has thrown into sharp relief the relationship between the two. UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 follow exactly the process envisaged by R2P in response to imminent atrocity crimes, yet the operative paragraphs of the resolutions themselves invoke only PoC. This article argues that, while the agendas of PoC and R2P converge with respect to Security Council action in cases like Libya, outside this narrow context it is important to keep the two norms distinct. Peacekeepers, humanitarian actors, international lawyers, individual states and regional organisations are required to act differently with respect to the separate agendas and contexts covered by R2P and PoC. While overlap between the two does occur in highly visible cases like Libya, neither R2P nor PoC collapses normatively, institutionally or operationally into the other.
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