Expanding the R2P tool-kit : new political possibilities and attendant legal uncertainties
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ILSA journal of international and comparative law, Vol. 18, issue 1, 2011-2012, p. 531-563
In mid-February 2011, in the wake of popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, members of the Libyan public began protesting against the decades-old regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The situation rapidly escalated as the government sought to forcibly suppress the demonstrations. By early March the situation had deteriorated into an armed conflict. A number of international organizations responded to the crisis in Libya as it evolved. They utilized a variety of different tools, ranging from official statements and press communiques to the adoption of sanctions and other legal measures. On March 19, 2011, a coalition of states initiated a bombing campaign in Libya. The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council authorized this enforcement action in response to reports of serious violations of international human rights law and the international law of armed conflict committed in Libya by persons acting on behalf of the Gaddafi regime. This article provides an overview of applicable rules of international law through different phases of the situation in Libya and sketches out various modes of enforcement action employed by international organizations to respond to the crisis, analyzing several of the controversial legal issues that arise in that context. The article concludes with an analysis of the unresolved legal issues implicated by the evolving situation in Libya and by the international community's responses to it.
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