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Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Lessons and Challenges

Freilich Foundation 2011 Alice Tay Lecture on Law and Human Rights, by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AO QC, Chancellor of The Australian National University, Canberra, 5 May 2011

Professor Alice Tay, whose memory we honour in this annual lecture, was a hugely intelligent, engaging and above all feisty human rights protector and law reformer, who I had the pleasure of knowing a little both as a law academic, back in the ancient past when I pretended to be one myself, and in her capacity as president of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in the late 1970s. I am honoured to be invited to give this lecture on a subject on which I’m sure, had she lived to see it evolve, she would have been deeply and passionately engaged.

And I feel particularly privileged that this invitation should have come from the Freilich Foundation, which since its establishment in 1999 has played a hugely valuable role, here at the ANU and in the wider community, in encouraging and financially supporting the study of ethnic, cultural, religious and sexual bigotry, and how it can be combated by educational and social programs.


The dramatic military intervention in Libya, authorized last month by the UN Security Council, has again set alight international debate on the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate to states to take coercive, and in particular military, action against another state for the purpose of protecting civilians in that state at risk of mass atrocity crimes – genocide, ethnic cleansing, or other large scale crimes against humanity or war crimes.

From one perspective, the whole course of action taken by the Security Council in response to the events in Libya – and its parallel action in Cote d’Ivoire – has given extraordinary new momentum and authority to the new “responsibility to protect” norm, unanimously endorsed in principle by the whole global community at the UN World Summit in 2005 but whose effective implementation in practice has been far from assured. But from another perspective, given growing anxiety that the Security Council mandate may be being stretched to breaking point by the current NATO operation, there is a real concern that events in Libya, far from setting a new benchmark for future commitment, will prove to be the high water mark from which the tide will now recede.

It would be a profoundly unhappy development if there were to be a major retreat from what has been achieved so far. Acceptance by the global community of the new principle of the responsibility to protect – unanimously by heads of state and government in 2005, and overwhelmingly in hard-fought UN General Assembly debates since then – has involved a profound normative shift. For centuries, right up to the beginning of our own, mass atrocity crimes perpetrated behind state borders were seen essentially as nobody else’s business. Now, at least in principle, they are regarded as everyone’s business. And that acceptance in principle really does hold out the prospect that genocide, ethnic cleansing and other major crimes against humanity and war crimes can be stopped, once and for all, in our time. But even if there is no backsliding on the basic issue of principle, that’s only half the story. It is not just a matter of continuing to acknowledge the intellectual and moral force of the new norm, but implementing it in practice.

In this lecture I want to explore where we have come from, where we are now at, and where we might be now going in relation to that implementation. I should make clear from the outset that I do so not as a mere disinterested academic spectator, but as one of the original architects of the new concept, in my capacity as co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty which initiated it in 2001, and as a rather passionately committed advocate of it in many different contexts and forums around the world ever since. I hope that has not hindered my capacity to analyse objectively the lessons we have learned over the last decade, and the challenges we face in the years ahead, in ending mass atrocity crimes once and for all, but that will be for you to judge.


From the journey so far, I think the three biggest general lessons we have learned are about the power of ideas both for good and ill; the omnipresent reality of politics as both positive and negative force in international as in domestic affairs; and the necessity for more patience than most reformers possess if there is to be lasting change for good.

Ideas Matter. The problem, before RtoP was articulated, was that for all the force of the human rights, humanitarian and human security principles articulated in the Universal Declaration, Geneva Conventions, Genocide Convention and elsewhere, when it came to mass atrocity crimes committed behind the walls of a sovereign state, there was simply no idea in international political currency powerful enough to match the force of the very traditional concept of sovereignty thought to be embodied in Article 2(7) of the UN Charter: “nothing shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the jurisdiction of any State”. The only competing idea was Bernard Kouchner’s droit d’ingerence: “the right to intervene” or “the right to humanitarian intervention”. But that – while it had real resonance in the global North, particularly in the context of genocidal catastrophes in Rwanda and Bosnia – commanded only negative traction in the global South, and simply could not generate the necessary consensus for action.

The great achievement of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) was to identify a new idea that could compete, in a way that “humanitarian intervention” had proved unable to, with the old, narrow idea of sovereignty as immunity. “The responsibility to protect”, a phrase almost banal in its simplicity, captured two critical themes: in issue here was not anyone’s “right” to act, but everyone’s “responsibility”, and the action in question was framed not as “intervention” but “protection”. As fully spelt out, in the language of the 2005 UN World Summit Outcome Document, it was even clearer that RtoP was not an assault upon state sovereignty so much as an embrace and refinement of that sovereignty: the primary responsibility to protect against mass atrocity crimes remained with the state itself; others had a responsibility to assist it to do so; and it was only in the case of that state “manifestly failing” to exercise its own responsibility that any more general obligation to engage, including if necessary through more coercive measures, would cut in.

There is a lingering tendency in some quarters to argue that RtoP is not a new idea at all, just old doctrine – and in some respects even old practice – in a new bottle. Certainly the idea of “sovereignty as responsibility” had been articulated and actively promoted earlier by Francis Deng (and his Brookings Institution colleague Roberta Cohen) in the context of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). It is also manifest that the idea of limitations on absolute state sovereignty is inherent in the UN Charter and the major human rights instruments. And it is certainly arguable that RtoP involves a political call to for all states to abide by legal obligations already in treaty instruments and international humanitarian law.

All true, but perhaps missing the point. Substantive obligations were simply not being observed; Article 2(7) of the Charter was being given more weight than the rest of the corpus of treaty instruments put together; no-one was actually using “sovereignty as responsibility” or “responsibility to protect” language in any generally prescriptive way; the only conceptual framework for the intervention debate was “humanitarian intervention”, i.e. one-dimensional military coercion, about which there was not only zero consensus, but a bitter international contest. What was needed was a political game-changer. And what exercised the original ICISS Commission was the need to find a way – as simple as possible, and if it had some resonances in pre-existing literature and international law so much the better – to rearticulate the issues, which would build a bridge between the absolute-sovereignty and limited-sovereignty brigades, getting them to find some common ground which previously simply did not exist. The model that the Commission expressly had in mind was Gro Harlem Brundtland’s World Commission on Environment and Development, which a few years earlier had come up with the bridge-building leitmotif, in that context, of “sustainable development”.

A rather less subtle variation on the theme that RtoP is not really a new idea at all is the suggestion, in a good deal of post-colonial and self-consciously anti-imperialist writing (of which we are now hearing some echoes again in response to the events in Libya) that the concept is simply old militarism in a new bottle, a “facile rebranding of interventionist doctrine”. But when properly understood, RtoP and “humanitarian intervention” could hardly be more different. The very core of the traditional meaning of humanitarian intervention is coercive military intervention for humanitarian purposes – nothing more or less. But – although there is a risk of this being obscured again in the current debate about Libya, which is now wholly about the proper scope and limits of coercive military action – RtoP is about much more than that.

It is about taking effective preventive action, and at the earliest possible stage. It implies encouragement and support being given to those states struggling with situations that have not yet deteriorated to the point where genocide or other atrocity crimes are a reality, but where it is foreseeable that if effective preventive action is not taken, with or without outside support, they could so deteriorate. It recognizes the need to bring to bear every appropriate preventive response: be it political, diplomatic, legal, economic, or in the security sector while falling short of coercive action (e.g. a “preventive deployment” of troops, as in Macedonia in 1995).

Of course there will be situations when prevention fails, crises and conflicts do break out, and some interventionary reaction becomes necessary. But that does not have to mean military intervention: it can involve political, diplomatic, economic and legal pressure, measures which can themselves each cross the spectrum from persuasive to intrusive, and from less coercive (e.g. economic incentives, offers of political mediation or legal arbitration) to more coercive (e.g. economic sanctions, political and diplomatic isolation, threats or decisions to refer to the International Criminal Court). Coercive military action cannot be excluded when it is the only possible way to stop large scale killing and other atrocity crimes, as few doubt was the case, for example, in Rwanda or Srebrenica. But it is a travesty of the responsibility to protect principle to say that it is about military force and nothing else. That’s what “humanitarian intervention” was about, but it’s not RtoP.

Politics Matters. Ideas matter because they do have – or at least can have if they are taken up – real political force. They provide a frame of reference making it easier for policymakers to take one course rather than another – because they can articulate clear reasons to the various constituencies they have to satisfy. Getting a big, new idea more or less universally recognized as the appropriate frame within a particular problem should be addressed is getting at least half way toward ensuring that the outcome will be consistent with that idea. If one looks at a Rwanda situation through the lens of prima facie sovereign immunity from intervention on “internal matters”, excuses for non-intervention are easy to find; look at it through the lens of RtoP and this becomes very much harder.

In the minds of those who initiated it, RtoP was designed from the outset primarily to have political effect. The ICISS commissioners were concerned to build new doctrine on sound philosophical and legal foundations, but our overwhelming preoccupation was with stopping mass killing, raping, forced population shifts and property destruction. The whole point of trying to craft a new conceptual framework for addressing mass atrocity crimes was to generate among international policymakers and those who influenced them a reflex consensus reaction when any such new case came along – that such man-made catastrophes were everybody’s business, not nobody’s – and to energize effective collective action accordingly.

Given that action-oriented political focus, the Commission tried to design and express the RtoP concept in a way that would guarantee it the maximum possible take up and real-world impact. But we had something more to learn in this respect. There were some conceptual and presentational refinements that needed to be made if it was to have maximum possible political force and effect. That is exactly what took place between the release of the ICISS report in 2001 and the unanimous embrace of the responsibility to protect by the UN General Assembly sitting at head of state and government level in 2005, and the process has continued to some extent with the further articulation of the issues in the Secretary-General’s reports prepared by his Adviser Edward Luck and debated, with practically no dissent evident on the key issues, by the General Assembly in July 2009 and again in August 2010.

One important step was to define the threshold for the application of the doctrine more narrowly – in terms of the occurrence or anticipation of “four crimes” (“genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”); the ICISS report, while essentially focusing on that same group of mass atrocity crimes, had used a broader and more ambiguous formulation – “a population suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure” – which made some states nervous about potential overreach. A second change, more presentational than substantive, was to characterize the relevant responsibilities in terms of “three pillars” – with what was implicit in Paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 Outcome document in this respect being made explicit in the 2009 Secretary-General’s report. Pillar One is the responsibility of each state to protect its own population from the atrocity crimes in question; Pillar Two is the responsibility of others to assist it to do so; and Pillar Three is the responsibility of the wider international community to respond in a “timely and decisive” fashion and by all appropriate means (not excluding coercive military action, in accordance with the UN Charter) if this becomes necessary because the state in question is “manifestly failing” to protect its people.

Characterizing the different responsibilities in this way has proved extremely helpful in practice in getting the great majority of states to understand and accept what is involved. Certainly the ICISS commissioners have not been at all unhappy about the way in which the concept, as originally articulated, has evolved in response to the need to gain the widest political acceptance.

It would certainly be desirable if, over time, the various layers of responsibility built into RtoP were to evolve into rules of customary international law, as distinct from simply being, as they are now (for states other than those in which these crimes are occurring) normative principles of political and moral, but not legal, weight. But that will depend on just how comprehensively the new norm is implemented and applied in practice, as well as recognized in principle, in the years ahead.

Patience Matters. In this respect, as with more immediate issues about impact and practical effectiveness, it is important that RtoP advocates fully internalize and act in accordance with a lesson we should all by now have learned: that this is all going to be a long haul, with progress slow and often disappointing – and no doubt with some reverses occurring along the way.

Until the recent developments in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire breathed dramatic new life into the norm at the highest international level, patience was certainly being demanded. Obvious successes in its application were thin on the ground, with Kenya in early 2008 being the only really clear example of the responsibility to protect playing an important energizing role in stimulating an effective response to a rapidly emerging large-scale atrocity crime situation – with that response taking here, interestingly, a diplomatic rather than military solution, reinforcing the point I’ve been making that RtoP is not just about sending in the guns.

Failures or weaknesses were easier to identify. Darfur is a case where the international community’s response has been from the outset, and remains, much less focused and effective than it could and should have been, although it was only in 2005 that RtoP emerged as an accepted international principle, whereas most of the damage in Darfur was done earlier, in 2003 and 2004. Sri Lanka in 2009 was another case where the international community largely dropped the ball – as has now been abundantly demonstrated with the just released Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, which is a devastating indictment of the Colombo government’s callous irresponsibility in the conduct of its final military operation against the LTTE, and by extension of the failure of the international community to respond effectively while there were still innocent lives to save. The Democratic Republic of Congo can perhaps be regarded as another, although the UN, EU and African Union have made large-scale efforts to halt the slide into further violent chaos, and the problems in that continent-sized country are nightmarishly intractable. The lesson I for one drew from these and other disappointments – though it has been a hard one to sell – was not that the RtoP norm was inherently ineffective, or irrelevant. Rather it was that we just had to do much better in applying it in the future.

The patience of RtoP advocates has now been rewarded in abundance – as I hope so too will be our confidence in the doctrine’s future – with the recent developments in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya, both of which involved Security Council resolutions approving military force (or in UN-speak, “all necessary measures”) to secure civilian protection objectives in the context of atrocity crimes being committed and feared.The Cote d’Ivoire intervention, which has come to a more or less successful conclusion with the defeat and apprehension of the resisting Gbagbo forces three weeks ago, was complicated by a number of legitimate agendas running simultaneously – regional organization action to enforce a democratic election outcome and a UN mandate extending to force protection rather than just civilian protection . But the Libyan case has been, at least until now, a textbook case of the RtoP norm working exactly as it was supposed to, with nothing else in issue but stopping continuing and imminent mass atrocity crimes.

Muammer Gaddafi’s forces responded to the initial peaceful protects against the excesses of his regime by massacring, on the ground and from the sky, perhaps more than a thousand of his own people. That led to the first UN Security Council Resolution 1970 of February 26, which specifically invoked ''the Libyan authorities' responsibility to protect its population'', condemned its violence against civilians, demanded that this stop and sought to concentrate Gaddafi's mind by applying targeted sanctions, an arms embargo and the threat of International Criminal Court prosecution for crimes against humanity.

Then, as it became apparent that Gaddafi was not only ignoring that resolution but planning a major assault on Benghazi in which no mercy whatever would be shown to perceived opponents, armed or otherwise – his earlier reference to “cockroaches” having a special resonance for those who remembered how Tutsis were being described before the 1994 genocide in Rwanda – the Security Council followed up with Resolution 1973 of 17 March. This also invoked the responsibility to protect principle, reasserted a determination to ensure the protection of civilians, deplored the failure to comply with the first resolution, called for an immediate ceasefire and a complete end to violent attacks against and abuses of civilians, and then, in a historic first, explicitly authorised military intervention by member states to achieve these objectives.

That coercive military action was allowed to take two forms: ''all necessary measures'' to enforce a no-fly zone, and ''all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack''. Only ''a foreign occupation force'' was expressly excluded. That was a bridge too far for the Arab League to contemplate, and its political support was absolutely crucial in ensuring that there was both a majority on the Council and no exercise of the veto by Russia or China. That regional support was also an absolute precondition for the U.S. to be able to act without laying itself open to the allegation throughout the Arab-Islamic world of being up to its old Iraq-invading regime change tricks. (Part of the problem for the U.S. in being as tough as it might like to be in the almost equally troubling civilian protection case of Syria right now is that there is no sign whatever for the moment of any regional consensus in favour of military action there.)

But just as the lesson that ‘politics matters’ takes here another form, so does the lesson that ‘patience matters’. Frustration is growing that Gaddafi is still holding on, and still menacing civilians in areas both within his own control and held by the rebels; the no-fly zone and other military measures employed from the air or at long range have not delivered a knock-out blow; the neutralization of heavy Gaddafi weaponry by airborne attack has not leveled the playing field sufficiently to give the poorly organized rebels any evident capacity to win on their own; the prospect of a stalemate looms large – and with all of this there are many strident forces saying the US and NATO should up the ante accordingly, and wage all-out war for all-out victory.

But as NATO responds to those pressures by stretching its UN mandate to the absolute limit – targeting Gaddafi’s palaces and command centres as well as his heavy weapons, being more willing to talk about regime change as, if not the primary objective, the indispensable means to achieving effective civilian protection; putting advisers on the ground; and almost certainly ensuring the rebels receive weapons supplies notwithstanding the arms embargo – then the risk accelerates of buyers’ remorse from those who did not oppose Resolution 1973, and of a backlash when the next extreme RtoP case comes before the Security Council.

My own view is that the constituency which gave us Resolution 1973 is under real stress, but not yet broken. If it is to remain that way it is crucial that NATO does not test the limits of the resolution any further than it has already. Unless and until another Security Council resolution can be negotiated putting the military intervention on a broader “international peace and security” rather than just RtoP footing, which is extremely unlikely, the only course to embrace is patience: waiting for the combination of military pressure, targeted sanctions, the threat of ICC prosecution, and the soft landing still potentially on offer from backroom political negotiations, to have the effect they very likely eventually will.


Moving from the lessons that we have learned in the past, and are still learning in Libya today, to the challenges still ahead for RtoP, there are three distinct kinds that must be met – conceptual, institutional and political – if RtoP is to be established not only as benchmark ideal but rock-solid reality.

Conceptual. The conceptual challenge is to secure close to unanimous understanding of just what kinds of real-world cases the norm is meant to embrace, and what kind of policy responses it actually requires case by case. This has not been easy to achieve, but as time goes on it is clear that as time goes on consensus is growing at least as to what are clear RtoP cases – if not always as to what to do about them – with Darfur, Eastern Congo, Kenya, Sri Lanka pre-eminent examples in recent years, and Libya and Cote d’ Ivoire now being very explicitly recognized as such by the Security Council.

Consensus is also growing on what are not such cases – in particular the coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Russia’s of Georgia in 2008. And there is an increasing willingness to recognize that there have been some more ambiguous cases, the preeminent example being Burma/Myanmar in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 cyclone, when it appeared for a time that the military government was being recklessly indifferent to large scale loss of life to the extent of committing a major crime against humanity.

The bigger need right now is to try to reach consensus on what to actually do about the clear-cut cases, case by case, and in particular about when it is right to use the most extreme form of policy response, coercive military force – the debate which has now been set alight again by the intervention in Libya.

On the question of legal criteria, there is in fact not much room for anyone to manoeuvre, and not much practical disposition now to do so. It is generally acknowledged that, self-defence apart (covered by Article 51 of the UN Charter), the threat or use of coercive military force against another state can only be legal under international law if it is expressly authorized by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter, although there is growing acceptance that Chapter VIII allows some additional room for such action when it is taken by a recognized regional or sub-regional organization acting within its own agreed rules, at least when that action is ultimately later endorsed by the Security Council. Though there are still some grumbles about this in the U.S., it is not seriously contested anywhere else that “coalition of the willing” action taken without any form of UN authorization must be seen as unlawful: the only qualification being that if that action is taken (according to overwhelming international sentiment) in a manifestly principled way, and in the face of a manifestly unreasonable veto in the Security Council, then the illegality will be regarded by the wider international community as somewhat mitigated by the circumstances.

The issue on which real progress is needed, and can I think be made in the period ahead, is the development of a set of criteria of legitimacy, as distinct from legality, for the coercive use of force. Such criteria were recommended by the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, and by Kofi Annan himself in his In Larger Freedom report, in the lead up to the 2005 World Summit. They have not yet been formally adopted by the General Assembly or Security Council, and are still only background noise in current international debates. But their practical utility, combined with long philosophical pedigree (most obviously in the Western Christian ‘just war’ tradition, but with plenty of echoes in other religious and cultural contexts), justifies them being much more visible.

And, when properly understood and applied, it becomes much easier to deal with the familiar arguments about hypocrisy and double-standards: Why strike in Libya but not in Darfur – or Yemen, or Bahrain or Syria? If Libya and Cote d’Ivoire were right calls, why wasn’t Iraq in 2003, given Saddam’s many crimes against his own people? What credence can the responsibility to protect have when we know that however bad things might get in Tibet or Xinjiang, or the Northern Caucasus, military action against China or Russia will always be off-limits?

The first test is seriousness of risk: is the threatened harm of such a kind and scale as to prima facie justify the use of force? The risk of an imminent civilian bloodbath was as real in Benghazi and Abidjan in recent weeks as it was in Rwanda in 1994. By contrast, there was no such imminent risk in Iraq in 2003, though there certainly had been a decade and more earlier for the Kurds and southern Shiites. The current situations in Bahrain, Yemen and above all Syria are on the cusp: ugly, but smaller scale and perhaps still retrievable by pressure short of military action (of which the US and its allies could usefully continue to apply much more).

The second test is whether the primary purpose of the proposed military action is to halt or avert the threat in question. Libya passes, as would most of other recent cases: had oil – or regime change – been the primary motivator there would never have been Arab League or wider Security Council acceptance of military intervention. Russia, by contrast, found it hard to find any takers for its assertion that civilian protection was the primary rationale for its South Ossetian adventure in 2008.

The third is last resort: has every non-military option been explored and found likely not to succeed? I’ve already suggested that Libya again followed the textbook: Resolution 1970 applied coercive but non-military measures; only when they failed to concentrate his mind did Resolution 1973, three weeks later, pick up the military option. In Iraq 2003 lesser options had far from run their course, and the same is arguably true now for Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.

The fourth test is proportional means: are the scale, duration and intensity of the proposed military action the minimum necessary to meet the threat in question. That’s a live issue in Libya at the moment, and it’s important – as I have already intimated – not to give any currency to the notion that modulated, proportionate force is something that NATO is incapable of applying.

The final, and usually toughest, test for legitimate military intervention is balance of consequences: will those at risk be overall better or worse off? This was always the showstopper in Darfur: any attempted invasion of Sudan would have been disastrous for the 2 million displaced, and re-ignited the even deadlier north-south conflict. And it will always be a defensible explanation for the effective immunity of China, Russia or any other major power, however badly it behaves internally: it’s not a matter of shameless double standards so much as acknowledging that in these sorts of cases any military action would trigger a much greater conflagration, with terrible consequences for many more people than those originally at risk. Resolving Libya’s agony will take more than military action. But – as in Cote d’Ivoire – it is hard to even begin to argue that the use of force will cost more lives than it will save.

Institutional. Time is flying, and I will be very much briefer about the remaining two big challenges that RtoP faces in the future, although there is plenty to say about each of them. The institutional challenges here are essentially threefold: to ensure that there are early warning and response focal points established within all the key governments and intergovernmental organizations; to have in place civilian capability able to be utilized, as occasion arises, for diplomatic mediation, civilian policing and other critical administrative support; and to have in place capable military resources, available both for rapid “fire-brigade” deployment in the most extreme cases which cannot be otherwise addressed (like Rwanda in 1994), and for longer-haul stabilization operations (like those in Sudan and the Congo).

Political. Overwhelmingly the biggest challenge in the years ahead will be political. We can envisage readily enough a future – hopefully not too far away – in which almost complete conceptual consensus being achieved on what are RtoP cases and what are the most appropriate measures to deal with them, by way of prevention or reaction; and we can envisage a future – perhaps a little further away – in which all the necessary institutional preparedness has been done, with the necessary early warning and response, civilian, and as necessary military, resources all being ready and in place. But we can certainly envisage in such a future, governments, and the international organizations they control, still being reluctant to take the necessary decisions to act, particularly when the expenditure of national treasure, or even worse blood, is potentially involved. In any difficult situation inertia will always be the default option. There will always be excuses – and that’s one of the reasons it is so important in Libya right now for NATO not to give excuses, by overreaching its mandate, to those states who will always be looking for them.

Generating the necessary political will to do anything hard, or expensive, or politically sensitive, or seen as not directly relevant to national interests, is just a given in public affairs, both domestically and internationally. The point is that its absence should not be a matter for lamentation, but mobilization. Political will is not hiding in a cupboard or under a stone somewhere waiting to be discovered: it has to be painstakingly built, and the only way to do that is through the time-honoured trio of good information, good arguments and good organization. About all of which there is again much more to say, but I won’t say it now, except to offer just these few last words.

To some extent those of us passionate about making the responsibility to protect a reality will always be pushing at a partly open door. There is goodwill out there, in the wider community, and among government policymakers and decision-makers around the world. There is a basic willingness to accept and embrace the RtoP norm, and to ensure that we don’t ever again have to confront failures of will and action on the scale of Rwanda or Srebrenica – not just as a matter of national self-interest but as a function of our common humanity. But we know from long, hard, depressing experience that mobilizing that goodwill, and actually producing the necessary action, are not things that just happen. They have to be made to happen. And that is the responsibility of us all.