Topic Submissions

Is the Responsibility to Protect an Accepted Norm of International Law in the post-Libya Era?


  • Jeremy Sarkin



This article explores the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) in the post-Libya era to determine
whether it is now an accepted norm of international law. It examines what RtoP means in
today`s world and whether the norm now means that steps will be taken against states that
are committing serious human rights violations. The building blocks of RtoP are examined to
see how to make the doctrine more relevant and more applicable. It is contended that the
responsibility to react should be viewed through a much wider lens and that it needs to be
more widely interpreted to allow it to gain greater support. It is argued that there is a need to
focus far more on the responsibility to rebuild and that it ought to focus on the transitional
legal architecture as well as transitional justice. It is contended that these processes ought not
to be one-dimensional, but ought to have a variety of constituent parts. It is further argued
that the international and donor community ought to be far more engaged and far more
directive in these projects.