Ruben Reike contributed a chapter, titled “Conflict Prevention and R2P“, to the Oxford Handbook on the Responsibility to Protect, edited by Alex J. Bellamy and Tim Dunne.
The chapter examines how the agenda of prevention of armed conflict relates to the principle of the responsibility to protect (R2P). While R2P was originally assumed to be fully compatible with the goals and principles of traditional conflict prevention, subsequent research has disentangled the relationship between R2P and conflict prevention, arguing that conflict prevention is a necessary but not a sufficient component of atrocity prevention, and that atrocity prevention needs to include a strategy for deterring potential perpetrators. Recent scholarship has started to examine the implications of marrying R2P to international criminal law categories. What follows from R2P’s move to crimes is an individualization of the principle, as well as a shift towards partiality, intrusion, and coercion. This means that where a threat of atrocity crimes occurs in the context of armed conflict, it cannot simply be assumed that R2P and conflict prevention are pulling in the same direction.
Jennifer Welsh is also contributed to the same edited book. Her chapter, “R2P’s Next Ten Years: Deepening and Extending the Consensus“, argues that, although the principle of R2P was initially underpinned by strongly cosmopolitan roots, since 2009 it has been defined and implemented in ways that elevate the importance of state responsibility. This trend may have fostered political consensus and given R2P added normative grounding, but it has also obscured both the challenges posed by non-state actors and the opportunities for implementation that exist beyond and below the state. R2P implementation in the next decade will be advanced by micro-level efforts to embed atrocity crime prevention and response into the work of a variety of actors in international society. This agenda requires not only increased attention to those regional or local actors in a position to prevent or respond to atrocity crimes, but also deeper engagement with the specific elements of each of the four crimes and violations specified in the 2005 Summit Outcome Document.