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AbstractDoes the international community accept that it has a right and a duty to use military force to end the most egregious violations of human rights, when no other means will work? This paper will seek to address the aforementioned question through a qualitative analysis of secondary sources such as journal articles and books, published by prominent authors in the field of International Relations. Specifically, it looks at authors conducting research on the fragmented post-Cold War world order, domestic sovereignty of States, humanitarian intervention, and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The historical context of this paper is based on the domestic conflicts that erupted around the world in the 1990s, characterized by the gross violation of human rights by the State itself. Prominent examples looked at include the conflicts in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo. This paper then examines the international community’s inability to respond to these conflicts due to being locked in a debate between the principle of domestic non-interference and military intervention on humanitarian grounds. The concept of R2P was put forth to bridge the gap between this debate, allowing for military intervention under certain criteria. R2P was consequently included within certain UN Resolutions and adopted unanimously by Member States. This paper argues that whilst States accepted their moral duties by adopting resolutions on R2P, there existed immense contestation when it came to exercising their right to use military force to protect human rights – as will be demonstrated in the case of intervention in Libya in 2011.
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