Humanitarian Intervention and the Use of Force

Prompt # 1: Humanitarian Intervention and the Use of Force
The Charter of the United Nations represents a watershed moment in the development of the international rules governing the use of force. In outlawing aggressive war as an instrument of state policy and limiting the use of force to self-defense, the UN Charter dramatically narrowed the circumstances under which war was legally permitted. Recent developments in the international security environment, some driven by technology and others by political dynamics, have placed increasing strain on the legal framework of the UN Charter and the customary international rules governing jus ad bellum, raising questions about how we should understand the lawful use of force in the 21st century.
Discuss how the practice of humanitarian intervention challenges the existing rules governing the use of force.
First, discuss what the rules governing the use of force currently are as laid out in the UN Charter and customary international law, noting the principles upon which these rules rest, and how they apply to humanitarian interventions. When, if ever, are humanitarian interventions legal under existing jus ad bellum rules? (2 pages)
Second, discuss how mass atrocities like genocide and ethnic cleansing and the question of humanitarian interventions challenge and complicate these rules in different ways. What are some of the main challenges that humanitarian interventions pose to existing rules on the use of force? What problems emerge when considering the legality of humanitarian interventions either through or outside of the UN Security Council? (2 pages)
Third and finally, discuss whether you think the existing rules related to humanitarian intervention are adequate. If so, justify this position without neglecting the real humanitarian consequences that would follow from it. If not, discuss how we should balance the responsibility to prevent atrocities with the dangers of imperialism and possible great power conflict. Be sure your argument focuses on the legal principles of the laws of war, and try to link your suggested changes (if any) in the laws governing humanitarian intervention to the existing principles that underlie jus ad bellum rules. (3 pages)
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