The Litmus Test of R2P: An Analysis of the Legality and Legitimacy of Military Intervention in Libya

Mohammad Ibrahim Bukar


The intervention in Libya in 2011 was the first litmus test the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. The doctrine is an extension of responsibility on states to ensure adequate protection of civilian population under threat of attack. Sovereignty under the new doctrine comes with the responsibility. The crux of the paper is the analysis of the legality and legitimacy of the military intervention in Libya. It is the contention of the author that the intervention does not conform with the stated objective spelled out in the United Nations Resolution 1973 which was basically to take measures that will protect the vulnerable population under threat of attack in Libya. Among other things, the author argues that the intervention was overstretched in order to fulfill the ulterior motive of regime change. The paper argues that the principle of the Responsibility to Protect was subordinated and the western powers could not exhaust all peaceful measures before opting for the use of force as provided in the Charter of the United Nations. It is the contention of the author that regime change was instead pursued to guarantee the interest of the western powers in the oil-rich state of Libya. Secondary sources such as books, peer review articles, newspapers and magazines were utilised.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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