Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitarian Intervention

Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitarian Intervention

Joshua James Kassner
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 248
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt3fgr0j
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  • Book Info
    Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitarian Intervention
    Book Description:

    Why the international community should have intervened in RwandaKassner contends that the violation of the basic human rights of the Rwandan Tutsis morally obliged the international community to intervene militarily to stop the genocide. This compelling argument, grounded in basic rights, runs counter to the accepted view on the moral nature of humanitarian intervention. It has profound implications for our understanding of the moral nature of humanitarian military intervention, global justice and the role moral principles should play in the practical deliberations of states.>A new approach to the intersection of human and sovereign rights that is of tremendous moral, political and legal importance to theorists working in international relations todayChallenges the immutability of the right of non-intervention held by sovereign states, assessing when it becomes right for the international community to intervene militarily in order to avoid another Rwanda

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4459-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: BRIEF HISTORY AND OVERVIEW
    (pp. 1-10)

    In 1994, approximately 800,000 Rwandans were sought out and killed simply because they were Tutsis or Tutsi sympathizers. The tragedy of the Rwandan genocide has since caused many to question the international community’s choice not to intervene. Much of the discussion over the moral nature of humanitarian intervention has revolved around the moralpermissibilityof humanitarian intervention and the right of sovereign states to be free from outside interference in their internal affairs. In the discussion that follows, it is argued that not only are there circumstances under which humanitarian intervention is morally permissible, but that in Rwanda there was...

  5. Chapter 1 THE GROUNDWORK FOR A MORAL OBLIGATION OF HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION
    (pp. 11-40)

    Are there any circumstances under which the international community has an all-things-considered moral obligation of humanitarian intervention? This threshold question must be answered before turning to the critical evaluation, reconstruction, and reform of the normative framework of international relations that governs such decisions. Providing an answer to this question is the focus of Chapters 1 and 2.

    First, it must be determined whether such a principle is conceptually possible. The defense that follows proceeds in two steps. First, there are a number of oft-cited skeptical arguments from political realists, constructivists, and moral relativists that are intended to demonstrate that international...

  6. Chapter 2 DEFENDING A MORAL OBLIGATION OF HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION
    (pp. 41-88)

    Chapter 1 focused on accomplishing two tasks; first, demonstrating that a moral obligation of humanitarian intervention is possible, and second, identifying the existence conditions for such an obligation. Building upon the groundwork laid in Chapter 1, the discussion in Chapter 2 is directed at accomplishing three distinct, but related tasks. First, the fact that an obligation is conceptually possible and that we can understand the conditions that must be met for it to exist does not justify its existence. A successful defense of a moral obligation of humanitarian intervention requires a justification. As such, the central ethical question to be...

  7. Chapter 3 THE NORMATIVE FRAMEWORK OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
    (pp. 89-136)

    In Chapter 2 it was argued that the international community, as a collection of duty-bearing states, bore an all-things-considered moral obligation of humanitarian intervention to prevent or stop the genocide in Rwanda. However, as we are all now painfully aware, intervention did not occur. Assuming that there was a conclusive moral reason to intervene in Rwanda, what went wrong? One reason for the failure was not a matter of moralityper se; rather the prevailing view at the time was that the principles and institutions governing the practical deliberations of states precluded states from considering moral reasons for action that...

  8. Chapter 4 COMPLETING THE TRANSITION FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE
    (pp. 137-197)

    To this point, the discussion has focused on providing the conceptual and moral groundwork justifying the call for the reform of the institutions and principles governing the practical deliberations of states in the international arena. Without more, this project would remain woefully incomplete. To this end, Chapter 4 provides the bridge between the abstract discussion of the previous sections (Chapters 1–3) and the institutional reform that would be involved in the reconstruction of the normative framework of international relations. The approach here is a form of aspirational but practical political philosophy. One of the clearest examples of this philosophical...

  9. CONCLUSION: APPLICATION OF THE REFORMED NORMATIVE FRAMEWORK AND CONCLUDING REMARKS
    (pp. 198-209)

    Would the outcome have been different if the alternative institutional structure proposed here had been in effect in 1994? In response, the discussion that follows will focus on the decisional process; including the transitional phase between the decision of the regional/sub-regional body and action taken (or not) by the international community in furtherance of that decision. I will not speculate on the manner in which an intervention in Rwanda would have been carried out. There are a number of reasons for the choice to refrain from such speculation. First, there are two practical reasons. I do not have the necessary...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 210-225)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 226-234)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 235-240)