Three main themes emerge from this edited collection. First, there has been an increased incidence of intervention for humanitarian purposes since the end of the Cold War. In these cases, the alleged conflict between sovereignty and human rights has been addressed in one of two ways: through an evolution in the notion of sovereignty, from ‘sovereignty as authority’ to ‘sovereignty as responsibility’; and through an expanded definition of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Second, despite this new climate of permissiveness, humanitarian intervention remains a controversial norm in international relations – largely because of continued opposition from certain members of international society, and concerns about its potentially negative consequences. Third, while the post Cold War period has seen some successful cases of intervention to address humanitarian catastrophes, the current capability of international organizations to undertake humanitarian interventions remains limited. Indeed, as the book demonstrates, the issue of humanitarian intervention has the potential to divide international institutions such as the UN and damage their credibility.
Keywords: authorization, Chapter VII (United Nations Charter), CNN effect, consent, human rights violations, humanitarian intervention, sovereignty, sovereignty as responsibility, unilateral intervention, United Nations Security Council
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