Abstract

This article explores the potential of the responsibility to protect, having gained the support of the member states of the United Nations (UN) at the 2005 World Summit, as a framework for the UN to address genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It is argued that in order for the UN to harness this potential of the responsibility to protect a number of obstacles and challenges – normative, institutional and operational – must be overcome and that international human rights law has a central, if not pivotal, role in this regard thereby strengthening the responsibility to protect as a framework for the UN to address genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

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