Humanitarian Intervention Introduction With the end of the Cold War there has been a profound increase in the interest taken by the international community in the area of Humanitarian intervention. Being in the military, and studying politics and history, it is safe to say that all of us here are familiar with Humanitarian Intervention in one form or another. Be it Northern Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, or Rwanda, it has been clear that human rights have become a priority. Tonight's presentation will discuss Humanitarian Intervention. Specifically, it will illustrate the following; -What is Humanitarian Intervention -The History of Humanitarian Intervention -Changes in doctrine -What brought about the changes -The recent trend, and unfolding precedents -Recent Examples -Iraq -Somalia -Haiti -Rwanda -Supporters of Humanitarian Intervention -Non-supporters -Problems with Humanitarian Intervention -The Future of Humanitarian Intervention What is Humanitarian Intervention Humanitarian Intervention can be defined as those instances in which a nation or group of nations use military force to intervene in the territory of another state for the purpose of protecting a sizable group of indigenous people from life-threatening or other infractions of their human rights. In political science terms, there are two forms of Humanitarian intervention.
-Politically Motivated Humanitarian Intervention This form of humanitarian intervention occurs when the political interests of the power or powers involved are the major reason for the intervention. This form of intervention can also be seen as an effort to bypass the sovereignty of a state, and impose the will and interests of the power or powers involved. A good example of this form of intervention was the US led intervention into the Kurdish areas of Iraq. This intervention, is seen to be politically motivated in that it resulted in the declaration of a substantial amount of Iraqi territory deemed to be out of bounds to Iraqi forces. The other form of Humanitarian Intervention is known as Politically Innocent Humanitarian Intervention. This form of humanitarian intervention does not take in account and address the political causes of the problem from the beginning.
In this form of intervention, focus is made directly on human rights issues; however, it must be noted that this form of intervention suffers the most, because it is generally undertaken without a realistic assessment of costs and benefits. History of Humanitarian Intervention Notwithstanding the differences between the two types of humanitarian intervention, humanitarian intervention has had an interesting history, and is rapidly developing. There was a time prior to WWII when unilateral military intervention for strictly humanitarian purposes was regarded as legitimate by a large community of international law scholars. There has been many significant developments in the areas of humanitarian intervention since the end of the Second World War. With the oncoming of the Cold War following WWII, the legitimacy of intervention in another state's affairs was drastically reduced. In fact, given the nature of the Cold War, most scholars believed that to invoke a principal of intervention would only create more complex problems and would only serve to disrupt the nation state system and would permit the forcible pursuit of political, economic, and security objectives that were far removed from alleged humanitarian concerns.
Thus, the vast majority of scholars and states themselves pursed a policy of non-intervention during the Cold War. Although sympathetic to humanitarian issues, the norms of sovereignty, and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states clearly characterized the Cold War period, and in fact, was actually articulated in the united Nation's charter. In the post-Cold War era however, there have been many significant changes to the theories of humanitarian intervention. Foremost, with the end of the Cold War, there has been a new standard of intolerance for human misery and human atrocities around the world. Human rights have become a priority in politics and international affairs. For example, even states applying to join NATO's partnership for peace exercises are required to commit to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Similarly, international financial institutions such as the World Bank have imposed various political conditionalities, including respect for human rights as a prerequisite for receiving financial loans and aid. More importantly, in the United Nations, there has been a fundamental link made between the need for human rights and international peace and security. Thus, it is easy to see that there has been a significant shift in the perception of humanitarian intervention. To better understand this shift, and where humanitarian intervention is headed, it is important to understand why the shift is taking place. -Sovereignty Sovereignty is the central pillar of international law. For centuries, sovereignty identified the nation-state as the legitimate international actor entitled to the protection of international law.
With the end of the Cold War, and developing theories on the nation-state, the national premise of sovereignty does not prevail as it has in the past. This change in the status of the nation state has been brought about due to the increase of actors in the international arena. There are many ethnic groups struggling for self-determination, millions of refugees and displaced people fleeing from war, oppression and other tragedies. Moreover, there are hundreds of international organizations exercising jurisdiction across national borders. Each one of these factors can or is, challenging the sovereign power of the nation state, and thus has recently limited its status in the international environment, more so, now than ever.
In addition, the proliferation of international treaties, many dealing with human rights, has also imposed limits on national sovereignty. In the words of Brian Mulroney, just as it is no longer acceptable for society, the police, or the courts to turn a blind eye to family violence, so it is equally unacceptable for the international community to ignore violence and repression within national borders. In sum, it is clear that the evolving character of sovereignty and the perceptions of the importance of human rights have fueled the shift in doctrine for humanitarian intervention that we see today. Another reason for the shift in doctrine for humanitarian intervention is the evolving theories of non-intervention. Non-intervention would appear to shield a nation state from international inquiry and action.
In fact, the UN articulates this norm in article 2 (7) of the charter which clearly identifies that no state shall intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any other state. This definition, however, has evolved since the writing of the charter, and combined with the evolution of the modern day nation-state, the terminology of non-intervention has been interpreted and qualified. Domestic jurisdiction no longer exempts everything within sovereign borders from the scrutiny of the international community. For example, in the past, the UN found that domestic jurisdiction was not a factor in anti-apartheid actions.
Similarly, as a state commits to more and more international agreements and treaties, the concept of domestic jurisdiction shrinks. With the wave of organizations, treaties, and agreements seen since the end of the Cold War, it is clear that the theory of non-intervention no longer entirely means what it appears to suggest. Another reason for the shift in doctrine of t Humanitarian intervention is the changing governmental attitudes seen in the international community since the end of the Cold War. The demise of communism as the enemy of the free world as allowed Western nations to become more flexible in their views towards humanitarian intervention. No longer is a military response compelled just by the mere fact to counter Soviet influence or interference. With this end of the ideological contest, and the emergence of a more multi-polar society, nation-states have become fundamentally interested in human rights, and have proactively pursued interests in where human rights are respected.
Recent Interventions To illustrate some of the causes for this shift in doctrine for Humanitarian Intervention, it is useful to examine some of the recent interventions. IRAQ -The first, historic, instance of humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era, was the authorization given by the security council to create Safe havens for Kurds in Iraq following the defeat of the Iraqi Army in 1991. The security council, faced with the mounting atrocities and violations of human rights committed by the Iraqi government, adopted resolution 688, which condemned the repression of the Iraqi population by the government of Iraq. The Security Council further urged Iraq to allow immediate access by international humanitarian organizations and demanded that Iraq cooperate. What is important about this event is the fact that there was a serious human rights violations in Iraq, which was countered by UN directives. The humanitarian intervention to provide assistance to the Kurds was a landmark precedent for the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention.
SOMALIA Another familiar situation that required humanitarian intervention was the case of Somalia in 1992-93. When the longtime dictator fled the country, the opposition in the country split and caused opposing factions. In the summer of 1992, the warring factions of Somalia continually disrupted the needed relief supplies attempting to help alleviate a horrific situation. As the situation worsened, the Security Council assessed the situation there to be a threat to international peace and security and in Aug 92 passed resolution 775 approving humanitarian intervention. As the situation continued to deteriorate, and the humanitarian assistance was confiscated or stolen by warring factions, it was estimated that 1.5 million Somalis faced starvation. The Security Council took their measures one step further and passed resolution 794 which authorized a US led multinational force which would enforce and implement the UN's resolutions.
The uniqueness of this situation was the fact that the Security Council authorized member states to use all necessary means to establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations. Here, the power of the Security Council and the evolving perceptions in terms of humanitarian intervention doctrine are clearly illustrated. It is easy to see how only a few years after the end of the Cold War and there was already a substantial shift of perceptions. HAITI The most important case, however, that provides the most legitimacy for humanitarian intervention is the case of Haiti. When a military coup removed the legitimate president of Haiti in 1991, the UN General Assembly condemned the illegal replacement of the President and affirmed as unacceptable, any entity resulting from that illegal situation. Note that there was no reference made by the UN of Haiti's right to choose its political system, nor to Haiti's sovereignty or self-determination.
Refusal to re-instate the legitimate president, and continued persecution of the president's supporters resulted it the UN Security Council adopting measures against Haiti in Jun 1993. The Security Council imposed a mandatory economic embargo on Haiti and asserted that Haiti should restore democracy in the country. After a brief hope of resolution, Haiti's problem only got worse, and the persecution of the president's supporters increased. The Security Council again went another step further and authorized member states to use force to enforce the imposed sanctions, and formed a multinational force to use all necessary means to facilitate the departure of the military leadership from Haiti.
Acting on this mandate, the US and other members increased the pressure on the military leaders of Haiti and eventually gave Haiti an ultimatum to restore democracy. The US lead a multinational force into Haiti in 1994 which restored peace and democracy. The international reaction to the US occupation was universally positive, clearly illustrating the shift of doctrine that was ongoing for humanitarian intervention. Humanitarian Intervention Criticism It is apparent that these few examples of many illustrate the dramatic and rapid evolution of humanitarian intervention doctrine in the post-Cold War period. These examples, and humanitarian intervention itself, are not without criticism. Opponents of humanitarian intervention generally remain skeptical by insisting that sovereign states remain fundamental even when humanitarian situations arise.
They have expressed interest about the viability of humanitarian intervention as a mechanism for enforcement of the international community. Opposition has mainly come from the 3rd World arguing that it is not within the domain of the Security Council to handle human rights issues. With the growing powers of the Security Council, there has been an increased perception among the 3rd World States that they are subject to a hegemonic directorate. They suggest that all UN affairs within a nation state must have that state's consent. In addition, they argue that the General Assembly, not the Security Council, should have more influence over humanitarian issues due to the perceptions of the Powers using humanitarian intervention to impose their own will on other states. In reality, humanitarian intervention is viewed by many 3rd World States with fears and memories of colonialism, imperialism, racism, and humiliation.
Nevertheless, even within the 3rd World, although not as rapid, there is a shift of perceptions in terms of humanitarian intervention. The Future of Humanitarian Intervention Thus, as the year 2000 approaches it is clear that humanitarian intervention is still evolving. More importantly, it is also clear that there is a widespread consensus within the international community that humanitarian intervention is required and a positive measure. Even some NGO's have pronounced their support for intervention, and others are becoming more accepting. The question now remains, where is the doctrine of humanitarian intervention going As support for humanitarian intervention rises among scholars, states, and NGO's, it is apparent that there is a need by the UN to develop a more methodically approach to the cause. There is a need for a framework outlining some of the key principals or guidelines on when an internal situation warrants international action.
An articulation of principals will enhance the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention and provide an SOP for future efforts.