Ethics of Intervention/Protection Workshop

Ethics of Intervention/Protection: Contending Approaches Purpose and Issues

CIHR and the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, are organizing a workshop to discuss the ethical dimensions of humanitarian intervention and of its latest variation, the responsibility to protect (R2P). For that purpose the workshop will cover the following three topics: (1) Humanitarian Intervention (HI) and Responsibility to Protect (R2P), (2) The Interplay between the Global and the Local in Intervention/ Protection, and (3) Accountability for Intervention/Protection-Related Activities Original contributions will be published in Criminal Justice Ethics (CJE). CJE is a semi-annual journal designed to focus greater attention on ethical issues in criminal justice (broadly defined) by philosophers, criminal justice professionals, lawyers and judges, and the general public. The Journal is published by Routledge.

PURPOSE AND ISSUES

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the ethical dimensions of humanitarian intervention and of what is arguably the successor concept, namely the responsibility to protect (R2P).  The workshop will bring together a distinguished group of scholars, analysts and practitioners to address the following three topics:

 1) Humanitarian Intervention (HI) and Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

Since much of the discussion is now focusing on the responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine, it is important to address the nature and extent of the change from the 1990s in which the focus was on humanitarian intervention.  What has been maintained and what has been lost in the transition from HI to R2P? What is the ethical legitimacy of the proposed threshold and prudential criteria for action? What are the ethical implications of the expanded notion of security characteristic of R2P? How has the “war on terror” discourse affected the framing of humanitarian initiatives and the shift in emphasis from intervention to protection?

 2) The Interplay between the Global and the Local in Intervention/ Protection.

Many analyses have portrayed interventionary/protective initiatives as the result of a decision to act as opposed to a decision to abstain from involvement in a particular crisis. Such an interpretation is premised on the notion that crises are primarily local; yet, others would argue that there is a dynamic interplay between global and local processes and that the global is shaping local dynamics in a way that exacerbates intra-societal tensions, thus leading to the call for intervention/protection. What have the post-cold war humanitarian crises taught us about the interplay between global and local processes? Since intergovernmental organizations often make decisions with ethical implications, what set of values should guide international action in these situations?

 3) Accountability for Intervention/Protection-Related Activities

The use of force for human protection purposes is always seen as an option of last resort. However, recent crises have brought it to the forefront and, on several occasions the use of force has even been proposed by human rights and/or humanitarian advocates. Yet, there has been less discussion on the ethical responsibilities of interveners/protectors and on mechanisms, both ex ante and ex post to ensure accountable conduct.  Who are the relevant stakeholders in these situations? How can the interveners/protectors be held accountable and to whom? What are their ethical obligations during the conflict, as well as during the post-conflict phase? What are the moral responsibilities of human rights and humanitarian NGOs who call for the use of force in particular situations? 

Workshop Agenda

Presentations and Papers

Participants - full biographical information

  1. Francis Kofi Abiew
  2. Karen AbuZayd
  3. Mireille Affa’a Mindzie
  4. Kwame Akonor
  5. George Andreopoulos
  6. Martin L. Cook
  7. Juergen Dedring
  8. Dorota Gierycz
  9. John Kleinig
  10. Catherine Lu
  11. Kevin P.Q. Phelan.