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PacNet #56A – Responsibility to Protect: Tensions between Sovereignty and Security

THE multinational intervention in Libya has been justified on the grounds that the international community needed to respond to attacks on civilians by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces. The justification invoked the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) established in 2006. UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizes countries “to take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack … while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”. Inherent in this resolution, however, is the international dilemma between sovereignty and human security, while it also fails to outline an operational plan for intervention.