Monday, March 4, 2013

Humanitarian Intervention in the Twenty First Century

Would the Security Council Intervene to Stop the Genocide in Rwanda if it Happened Today?
By Anna Ovcharenko
Anna Ovcharenko is a third-year student at Hofstra Law School and President of the Hofstra International Law Society. She is a magna cum laude graduate from Tomsk State University, Russia, where she majored in International Relations. Before law school, Anna served as a diplomat at the Russian Mission to the United Nations where she specialized in international development, children’s rights and environmental issues. In March 2010, she visited Rwanda as part of the UN official delegation. Past summer, Anna worked at the Global Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. In Spring 2013, she will start her legal internship at the Immigration Clinical Practicum.
This paper was prepared for Professor James Hickey’s International Human Rights Seminar at Hofstra Law School.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda claimed the lives of at least 800,000 people while the United Nations withdrew its peacekeepers and the rest of the world stood aside. Had the UN Security Council mandated humanitarian intervention, it would have saved the lives of many innocent people.

This paper examines the development of the humanitarian intervention doctrine and analyzes whether it could have been used by the U.N. Security Council in the case of Rwanda. Specifically, it provides the factual context for the genocide in Rwanda and summarizes the lack of effective action by the Security Council to prevent it. It analyzes the international law of humanitarian intervention as it stands today and examines several instances of the use of force by the Security Council in situations amounting to genocide.

The paper concludes with a recommendation that the international community needs to develop a clearer framework for the use of force by the Security Council in the future.
To read the paper, open HERE.