Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Dr Jide Martyns Okeke

The 'Responsibility to Protect' principle: a case study of the Darfur crisis since 2003

Photo of Dr Jide Martyns Okeke

My doctoral research seeks to provide a serious reflection on the concept and practice of the 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P) with special reference to the prevailing war in Darfur. It seeks to thoroughly investigate the extent to which the R2P reflects a shift away from the dominance of state sovereignty in the promotion of human security. In particular, it assesses how the political and economic specificities of Darfur and the Sudanese state in general challenge the application of the R2P in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

The R2P framework was borne out of the 2001 Report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) that sought to reconcile the traditional sovereignty-intervention debate associated with the thinking and practice of humanitarian intervention. It was subsequently adapted and endorsed by the United Nations (UN) member states during the 2005 Outcome Summit. The R2P represents a policy agenda on how states should prevent, and respond to the quadruple human rights violations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The 2003 outbreak of war in Darfur and its consequent humanitarian crisis has sustained policy and academic debates on the notion and practice of the R2P.

Through a thorough analysis of the underlying conception and operational development of the R2P, this research reveals that it continues to lack clarity in its conceptualisation; internally incoherent in its operationalisation and continues to be influenced by the traditional politics of states in practice. Hence, this thesis argues that the R2P as presently constituted and practiced has minimal impact to existing discourse and pragmatic formulation of the cause, content and consequences of international humanitarian intervention. Also, using the Darfur crisis as a case study, this research expand knowledge on the R2P by demonstrating how the political and economic configuration of Darfur and the character of the Sudanese state in general obfuscate the application of the R2P in that region. This research therefore generates a political economy perspective on how to rethink the conception and practice of the R2P. The R2P as presently constituted and practiced fails to fill this gap.

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