Core Documents: Understanding RtoP
On 15 September 2005, UN General Assembly Member States embraced the Responsibility to Protect in paragraph 138-139 of the Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit. In the historic gathering of world leaders in New York for the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly (World Summit), heads of state and government reached consensus on the Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
5. Secretary General Ban ki-moon's Berlin Speech
On 15 July, 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a speech in
6. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Reports on RtoP
a) 2009 Report: Implementing the Responsibility to Protect
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released on 12 January 2009 the first comprehensive document from the UN Secretariat on the RtoP entitled implementing the Responsibility to Protect. The report clarifies how to understand RtoP and outlines measures and actors involved in rendering the norm operational. Based on paragraph 138-139 of the World Summit, the Secretary-General suggested a three-pillar approach, namely 1) the protection responsibilities of the state, 2) international assistance and capacity building, and 3) timely and decisive response to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Secretary-General recommended that the General Assembly meet to consider, based on this report, how Member States will take the 2005 World Summit commitment forward. See our summary of the report.
b) 2010 Report: Early Warning, Assessment, and the Responsibility to Protect
c) 2011 Report: The Role of Regional and Sub-regional arrangements in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect
On 27 June, 2011, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released his report, The role of regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing the responsibility to protect. Taking special note of recent political events, the Secretary-General sees a natural role for regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing RtoP as well as a strong relationship between the UN and these bodies, emphasizing that the UN Security Council and regional and sub-regional organization lend legitimacy to each other. The Secretary-General uses the three pillar approach to frame the role of regional and sub-regional organizations, and offers conclusions focusing on areas for collaboration. See our summary of the report.
20 August 2012 saw the release of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s fourth report on the Responsibility to Protect, entitled, ‘Responsibility to Protect – Timely and Decisive Response’. The Report focused on the “third pillar” of RtoP, timely and decisive response, and discussed how actors at the international, regional, national and local levels can respond to threats or occurrences of RtoP crimes and violations in a timely and decisive manner. The Report described the broad range of non-coercive and coercive tools available, and though it highlighted the significance of preventing RtoP crimes, it also clarified that where preventive measures proved insufficient and the threat to populations remained imminent, the international community has a responsibility to take collective action to protect civilians. He also discussed the interactive relationship between the three pillars of the responsibility to protect, and noted that whether or not RtoP applies to a situation is not the issue; rather how best to implement the norm should be the paramount discussion. See our summary of the report here
e) 2013 Report: State Responsibility and PreventionBibliography and selected articles concerning the responsibility to protect: click here
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon published his fifth report since 2009 on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) on 5 August 2013. The report delved into issues of State Responsibility and Prevention, focusing on the responsibility of States to protect their populations by developing the necessary national capacity to build societies resilient to atrocity crimes. The report identifies six risk factors that have been evident to varying degrees in situations where atrocities were committed, as well as reflects on the range of preventive measures available to governments, featuring over 40 examples as implemented by Member States. Additionally, the Report outlines targeted measures, such as establishing early warning mechanisms or designating an atrocities prevention or RtoP focal point, to prevent atrocities. See our overview of the report here.
f) 2014 Report: Responsibility to Protect: International Assistance
On August 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released his sixth Report entitled “Fulfilling our collective responsibility: international assistance and the Responsibility to Protect” (A/68/947). The Report focuses on Pillar II: the collective responsibility of the international community to assist states in upholding their RtoP. The Report identifies different forms of assistance including encouragement, capacity building, and assisting states to protect their populations. The Report further highlights various partnerships that could enhance the implementation of RtoP. See our overview of the report here.
In late October 2014, the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect released their new Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes (which, according to the UN World Summit Outcome Document, should be considered to encompass genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.)To read the full Framework of Analysis, click here.
In addition to defining atrocity crimes and stressing the importance of prevention, the Framework describes eight common risk factors and six specific risk factors that increase the risk or susceptibility of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.