Legal implications of humanitarian intervention: a case study of Darfur (Sudan)
The Jssue of humanitarian intervention has generated one of the most heated debates in international relations. At its heart is the tension between the principles of state sovereignty and the evolving norms related to human rights. International principles gather momentum through widespread state recognition and practice to become international law. With formal recognition by the General Assembly and the Security Council, humanitarian intervention has developed into a nascent international norm. But the key test of any new international norm or law is recognition by states themselves that are bound to act in accordance with the obligations. This thesis examines the legal issues surrounding the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. It uses the Darfur crisis in Sudan to examine the tension, as it is in Darfur where the gap between formal recognition and implementation is at its widest. The violent conflict that has raged in Darfur, Western Sudan, since 2003 has led to grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law, particularly by militias backed by the government of Sudan. This study argues that such grave crimes justify humanitarian military intervention as diplomacy has failed. It discusses the apparent inability by the international community to curtail these atrocities, which inability it attributes to lack of criteria for intervention. It finally proffers suggestions towards further debate on the problem and development of international law.