Recommendation to the Council on the Responsibility to Protect

Today the European Parliament adopted a Recommendation to the Council on the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) under international law. For the Liberal group I have contributed to this important report which will contribute to the discussion and development of this doctrine in international relations. In our rapidly changing world, in which the traditional balance of power is shifting, it is essential that the EU will play a vocal and unified role in promoting international security, freedom and peace. It should be beyond any doubt that the EU will continue to play a leading role internationally in preventing and fighting war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. That is why we lead the efforts to strengthen the International Criminal Court, where individuals accused of crimes against humanity can face trial. But beyond holding perpetrators to account, prevention of violence used by governments against populations, or a reluctance to provide civilians the required protection should be addressed through international law.  After witnessing the first full and successful implementation of the R2P concept during the attacks by Colonel Gadhafi against the Libyan population, there was a fall out which has made R2P unpopular. Even as we are now faced with on-going violence against the Syrian civilian population, there is no support in the United Nations Security Council to grant a mandate to apply R2P in Syria. While the inability by the International Community to end the Syrian crisis is shameful and extremely regrettable we should not let the concept of R2P fail. It is therefore important to stress that the concept of R2P is more than only military intervention, rather the use of violence is only a last resort.  The Parliament hands these concrete recommendations to the Council and High Representative Catherine Ashton:
  1. To integrate the R2P principle  in the EU's development assistance, to strengthen the EU's preventive diplomacy, mediation, crisis prevention and response capacity;
  2. To include a systematic assessment of the risk factors of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in its regional and country strategy papers;
  3. To broaden the mandate of the EU's special representative for human rights to include R2P issues;
  4. To launch and promote an internal debate within the EU on the reform of the UN Security Council;
  5. To ensure speedy ratification by all EU Member States of the amendments to the ICC Statute defining the crime of aggression and to insist on respect for the ICC clause in agreements with third countries.
The report concludes by requesting a strategy by Catherine Ashton on how she will pursue consensus-building amongst EU member states on the implementation of R2P.