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The responsibility to protect: notes on Libya, sovereignty, and the UN security council

Çubukçu, Ayça (2011) The responsibility to protect: notes on Libya, sovereignty, and the UN security council. Jadaliyya (28 Feb 2011). Website.

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I am writing on 27 February 2011, when there are calls for the international community to intervene, if necessary with violence, into Libyan affairs. Most recently, and “in a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.” Falling short of some expectations, and exceeding others, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution last night, on 26 February, imposing sanctions on Libya. “Considering that the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,” the Security Council also decided to refer “the situation” to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Meanwhile, Libya, as an actor in global politics, is said to be a sovereign state. The Security Council resolution thus “reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity” of Libya. Under “normal” conditions, that is, within limits, Libya is recognized as an autonomous actor, capable of self-determining its “internal” and “external” affairs without international interference. On the other hand, the very framing of the state violence unleashed against the uprising citizens of Libya as a potential “crime against humanity” suggests that the limits of state-sovereignty may have been reached. What are these limits, who draws them, and how?

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Arab Studies Institute
Divisions: Sociology
LSE Human Rights
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2012 12:01
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2021 23:17

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