International Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa: Responsibility to Protect, Prosecute and Palliate

This book examines how the international community responds to mass atrocities. It argues that states and other international actors have developed three sets of norms and practices to address such situations. The first is the responsibility to protect, an assertion that when states cannot or will not stop genocide, crimes against humanity, and widespread war crimes in their territory, or are responsible for their commission, the international community has a duty to transgress sovereignty, including through the use of force, to protect civilians and stop the atrocities. Second is the recognition of the responsibility to prosecute those who commit such atrocities, institutionalized in the International Criminal Court, as well as ad hoc tribunals and the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Third is the provision of humanitarian assistance to those affected by violent conflict, identified as the responsibility to palliate since humanitarian assistance can never do more than provide temporary relief for civilians caught in war.

The book analyses how these three responsibilities operate individually and together in four interrelated African case studies – Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Darfur. A core argument is that while these responsibilities have all arisen in the context of an ongoing global revolution in the protection of human rights, they do not always mutually support each other. Indeed, policymakers and practitioners face multiple conundrums when implementing one or more of these responses. Further, while norms have been accepted, there is frequently little will or capacity on the part of states and intergovernmental organizations to engage in appropriate action to protect civilians. The book uniquely examines atrocity response from multiple perspectives simultaneously, and will be of interest to international policymakers and those who are practically involved in stopping atrocities and protecting civilians in the midst of violent conflict, as well as all who are concerned about protecting people in conflict.

For an interesting podcast about the book by the author follow the link here.