|Title / Titel||Sovereignty, Law and Moralism: A Theoretical Appraisal of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)|
|Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)|
|Summary / Zusammenfassung||In 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) introduced the notion of “responsibility to protect”, or R2P, as a pragmatic means of shifting the emphasis of the debate around so-called “humanitarian interventions” from a right of the international community to intervene in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, to a responsibility of each state to protect individuals on its territory against such threats. According to the report of the Commission, the move to the language of responsibility also entails a reconceptualisation of sovereignty. The modern notion of “sovereignty as control”, enshrined in Article 2 of the United Nations Charter and based on the principles of sovereign equality, the prohibition of the use of force, and the right to non-intervention, is to be replaced by the notion of “sovereignty as responsibility”, according to which a state’s claim to sovereign prerogatives is conditional on its adherence to a set of commonly accepted standards of good governance.
This project seeks to unpack the discursive shift just outlined. By tracing the philosophical and theological lineages of the concepts of responsibility and protection, it attempts to demonstrate that the corresponding recourse to conditional ity was present—both theoretically and practically—ever since the notion of sovereignty itself appeared on the scene in the Middle Ages. Theoretically, the scholarship of “pre-classical” writers such as Vitoria, Suarez, Gentilli and Grotius was based on the belief in a pre-existing normative order that could be revealed by both faith and reason, and embodied in principles of divine and natural law. This allowed values to be objectively knowable: moral and legal authority were identical, and the normative force of the legal order was derived from outside the will or authority of the Sovereign. Empirically, this meant that “public” and “just” were synonymous, as there was no need to balance, or reconcile, freedom (i.e. the Prince’s sovereignty) and (the normative) order—the Sovereign’s individual actions already manifested the content of the normative order in its authenticity.
Arguably, some of the core elements of the contemporary world order are very much akin to the order conceptualised by pre-classical scholarship. The discourse on good governance is one in which it is implicitly assumed that there are objectively knowable performance criteria that allow for a higher authority to decide whether the requirements of sovereign statehood are met, and that may justify a whole catalogue of punitive intervention mechanisms if the verdict is “poorly governed”, “weak”, “fragile”, or “failed”. By focusing both on the normative discourse of what and how the state ought to be, as well as on the empirical dimension of how sovereign prerogatives are granted, consolidated and rescinded, this project seeks to debunk the myth of sovereign equality that remains, teleologically, at the heart of much (international) legal and political thought and practice. The project also reflects on the possible theoretical and practical implications of this observed re-naturalisation for contemporary usage of the term sovereignty.
|Publications / Publikationen||(with Keith Krause), “Seeking out the State: Fragile States and International Governance”, Politorbis 42 (1/2007), 5-12.“From Rights to Responsibilities: Report of a PSIS Workshop on the Normative Core of Human Security”, in Oliver Jütersonke and Keith Krause (eds.), From Rights to Responsibilities: Rethinking Interventions for Humanitarian Purposes. PSIS Special Study 7 (2006), 7-16.(with Rolf Schwarz) “Divisible Sovereignty and State Reconstruction in Iraq”, Third World Quarterly, 26:4 (June 2005), 643-659.|
|Keywords / Suchbegriffe||Sovereignty, responsibility, protection, R2P, natural law, good governance, fragile states|
|Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
|Other links to external web pages||http://www.ethik.uzh.ch/ufsp/graduiertenprogramm/ma/oliverjuetersonke.html|
|Funding source(s) /
|Forschungskredit der Universität Zürich
Mercator Stiftung Schweiz, Forschungskredit UFSP
|Duration of Project / Projektdauer||Feb 2007 to Jun 2012|