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NATO's intervention in Libya: the pathway towards a legitimate humanitarian intervention.

Although quite fashionable within the past few years, the notion of humanitarian intervention is still a highly disputed concept both in theory and in practice. As many scholars rightfully acknowledge (Baer, 2011; Chesterman, 2011; Faer, 2003), "humanitarian intervention is more talked about than done" (1). In general, most of these discussions focus on issues such as the legality, morality, practice and, of course, politics of humanitarian intervention, making it one of the hottest topics in Political Science today.

However, another very important aspect of humanitarian interventions, one that is often taken for granted and not given much thought (but the one aspect which makes it possible to have all the above mentioned discussions in the first place), is the military angle of the issue and its effective enactment; in other words, the capability of the international community (through various international actors) to intervene efficiently and coherently in crises situations (2). It is this coordinated action and the way in which it is performed that triggers the debates surrounding legality, morality and so on.

It is equally true that humanitarian interventions do not have to be military, but, "its accepted definitions certainly include military interventions, and, for most people, such interventions constitute the hard case, worthy of moral, legal and political justification" (3). In fact, as already outlined above, it is more or less commonsensical to assume that humanitarian interventions entail military action. This can be depicted even from the various standard definitions of the concept:

--"coercive action by one or more states involving the use of armed force in another state without the consent of its authorities and with the purpose of preventing widespread suffering or death among the inhabitants" (4)

--"military action of a state or group of states within the borders of another state without its permission and with the immediate aim of preventing or ending massive violations of human rights or widespread human suffering" (5)

As Weiss concludes, "humanitarian interventions and virtually all contemporary peace operations require the same approach as war. They certainly do not lend themselves to best-case planning" (6). This means that humanitarian interventions are serious business and require careful thought, adequate capabilities and coordinated action. As related literature has shown, they can be performed by states, regional organizations, international organizations, or any other entity capable of mounting a sustainable response to a humanitarian catastrophe. Yet, given the complexity of the task, there are not many bodies out there that really have what it takes in order to pull off such an endeavor. Thus, as it has been already argued, "amongst the vast range of regional arrangements potentially available for peace enforcement purposes" NATO is by far "the most operationally capable and potentially effective". Although the Alliance does not posses military assets of its own (it merely has access to the military resources of its member states) it most certainly masters an intricate "infrastructure through which such forces may be operationally deployed and directed" (7).

Therefore, it is no wonder that NATO was asked to intervene in several instances when grave abuses of human rights took place (Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya to name the most important). As the broad audience knows, some of these interventions were more successful than others, both with regard to the outcome and with regard to the legality and righteousness of the operation. Now, a logical question in this sense would be "Why"? Why were interventions such as the one in Kosovo perceived as illegal and morally questionable and interventions like the one in Libya regarded as legal, legitimate and morally acceptable? Was it NATO that behaved so differently as to produce two anthagonic outcomes just 12 years apart, or did the international view on humanitarian intervention (the conditions which made it legitimate) shift gears so abruptly?

These are the main questions which this paper plans to address, thus investigating and hopefully shading some light on how the performance and perception of humanitarian interventions has evolved based on the experience and practice of one of its most important proponents

As a result, in order to set the analysis into context, I begin by offering a short historical overview on the way in which humanitarian interventions have come to bear the status and significance they have today.

When it comes to the modern era, it was the First and Second World Wars which made people and governments aware that grave atrocities against humanity cannot be overlooked and that their impact and effects stress way beyond the borders of a single state. Consequently, starting with the War Tribunals of Nurnberg and Tokyo, individual human rights, or better yet, the human rights of individuals have begun to be acknowledged internationally (8). However, "the body of laws introduced since 1945 (which refers to humanitarian intervention), though comprehensive, primarily constituted the commitments states have given to uphold their own citizen's rights and do not refer to what states should do to uphold the rights of foreign citizens in other states" (9). Basically, the UN Charter (which began to be perceived as a sort of international constitution or at least a conduct book of international relations) clearly prohibited the threat or use of force against member states, pointing out just two exceptions: self-defence and action authorized by the Security Council (10). As we all know, the Cold War power politics did not make it very easy for the Security Council to issue such authorizations and thus, in spite of its founding role, that of an international security provider, the UN remained unable to exercise its collective security attribute through much of the bipolar era. As McCoubrey eloquently points out, in spite of the "dubious exception of the Korean War, in practice, the (mis)use of the veto power in the Security Council meant that the supposed collective security system became in fact a more or less classical balance of power system (focused on personal interest). Thus, the UN was effectively disempowered from intervention in several grave international crises like the Cuban Missiles crisis, the Hungarian and Czechoslovakian uprisings, the war in Vietnam or the one in Afghanistan" (11).

In the 1990s however, states finally came to realize that when it comes to human suffering and the abuse of human rights it is not only a theoretical right, but also a practical duty that they posses and must enact in order to prevent situations as those mentioned above (12). Consequently, once the Cold War power politics disappeared, there was an increasing international pressure to "do something" in response to the numerous interstate humanitarian crises (13). Yet, the concept of humanitarian intervention and what exactly it entailed was still a novelty even in the 1990s and thus responses were often weak and not very prompt as can be seen in Bosnia and especially Rwanda, not to mention Somalia (14). Nevertheless, the great achievement of the 1990s in terms of preventing humanitarian catastrophes has been the increasing presence and acknowledgement of the idea that the nation state is no longer a sacred space where national governments can treat their people as they please. If gross violations of human rights take place, the international community should have the moral right to intervene, although the legality of the action was still questionable at the time.

Having mentioned Bosnia earlier, I feel I need to abide a bit from the issues discussed above and clarify why I did not choose to include it in the analysis as it is preferably known for its connection with NATO and the topic at hand. The reason is quite simple actually and it concerns itself with practical motives. When it comes to NATO, the operation in Bosnia was a mere peacekeeping operation and not a full blown humanitarian intervention (15) as those that the paper plans to investigate. As such, it is only natural that my focus concentrated on Kosovo rather than Bosnia more so as the intervention there proved to be one of the most controversial and publicly discussed humanitarian interventions to date.

In order to continue on the note outlined prior to my above divagation, it is important to underline here, before presenting the context of the Kosovo operation itself, the moral and legal conditions under which humanitarian interventions were considered legitimate and acceptable at that time. As already stated previously, in spite of growing concern with regard to the prevention and countering of human rights abuses, there were still no clear cut guidelines or preconditions which would allow or deem necessary a humanitarian intervention. Everything was still context related and did not entail a certain practice according to a particular code of conduct. Basically, everything revolved around the UN and Chapter VII of the UN Charter, namely articles 39 and 42 (also mentioned previously) which practically left it to the Security Council to determine and define the existence and the nature of the threat as well as the appropriate response to it. (16)

In spite of this apparent looseness in establishing the grounds for humanitarian interventions, the International Community managed to mount a few ground rules which would support such an action. First, there needs to be convincing evidence, generally accepted by the International Community ... of extreme humanitarian distress, on a large scale, and requiring immediate and urgent relief (17). Second, if it's objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force and if, through this use of force, lives are to be saved. Thirdly, the action should be limited in time and scope to this aim and not involve any other political or economical interests (18). Finally, it has become "unequivocally clear that the enforcement action" needs to bear the consent and authorization of the UN Security Council (19). Surprisingly as it may seem, this does not necessarily confer legality to the action since the dominant perspective on humanitarian intervention was and maybe still is that it is illegal (20). However, even from the time of the Cold War period, interventions authorized by the Security Council have been neither legally, nor morally contested (21).

In this respect, even without studying the facts about the Kosovo mission, we realize that we find ourselves on very shaky terrain, prone to subjectivity and interpretation. Yet, what we are investigating here is the general perception with regard to the legality and morality of humanitarian intervention and this general perception is based on the pillars presented above, which have a strong dose of objectivity in my view.

As such, coming back to the Kosovo intervention, one should begin by mentioning that the situation in the province was just a sort of resurrection of the problems from former Yugoslavia, in more of a vicious, media-covered form. Kosovo, an autonomous province of Serbia until 1989 when Milosevic abrogated that autonomy, has a large Albanian majority population. The supposed and eventually proven oppression and persecution of the Albanian population following Milosevic's actions in 1989 led to the emergence, within Kosovo, of a resistance force--the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)--campaigning for either total independence or, at a minimum, meaningful autonomy within the Federal Republic. The KLA, like most liberation armies, involves peaceful as well as more aggressive fringes, both trying to counter the oppressive polices of the Serbian government. Its existence and attempt to fight back spurred even more abusive policies of ethnic cleansing, going as far as driving the Kosovar Albanian population out of the province and in its course, increasing evidence of kidnap, forced labor and mass murder in a manner that reminds us of a bye gone era (22). Internationally sponsored negotiations between the KLA and the Milosevic regime at Rambouillet collapsed in early March 1999 when Serbia-Montenegro refused to accept the international supervision or monitoring of any agreement reached (as they knew from previous experience that such an agreement was a prerequisite for meaningful application). At this point, NATO, who was already playing a major peace support role in former Yugoslavia (in Bosnia through SFOR), undertook a campaign of air strikes against Serbia with the purpose of ending the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo (23). This operation however, took place without any prior UN authorization (in other words unilaterally) and, as a result, sparked an entire wave of contestation and ignited one of the most fierce debates with regard to the idea, the legality, the morality and the exercise of humanitarian intervention.

Right from the onset, if we are to refer to the unofficial criteria presented above (which should justify the subsequent humanitarian intervention) we realize that not all conditions were met. It is true that the international community recognized the existence of a humanitarian threat in the region (Hehir, 2009; Pavehouse/Goldstein, 2008) and the potential of further human suffering, as well as the fact that, upon the breakdown of the Rambouillet negotiations, a peaceful resolution to the situation was doubtful and thus the loss of further lives seemed inevitable (24). What's more, at a first glance, NATO, the intervening body, did not seem to have any direct interests in the region, apart from the fact that Serbia was situated at the borders of the Alliance, an Alliance which, after the Cold War, took on the role of a security guarantor in Europe (25). Consequently, the conflict in Kosovo was perceived as a potential threat to European security and thus determined NATO to intervene. In spite of this, the official NATO position was always that the intervention was done strictly to protect the Kosovar Albanians and to stop the actions of ethnic cleansing performed by the Milosevic regime (26). Proof of this lays in the fact that, as we all know, NATO limited itself to aerial strikes and did not consider sending in ground troops (on the other hand it can be argued that NATO did this to protect its own soldiers rather than the Kosovar Albanians). But even if we take for grated this motive, NATO's undeniable mistake was that it acted without the approval of the UN Security Council, thus giving up the only possibility of conferring some legality and justification for the intervention (as shown above).

In this regard, NATO officials and members tried to highlight the exceptional character of the situation underlining the moral imperative of aiding the Kosovar Albanians (whose lives were in danger) (27) and through it, the Alliance even went as far as advocating the legality of the action on grounds of "overwhelming humanitarian necessity" (28). In spite of this attempt, "in terms of objective assessment, the dominant, but by no means unanimous, legal view is that NATO acted unlawfully" (29). Moreover, further confusion is added by the Independent International Commission on Kosovo (IICK), put together to analyze the entire Kosovo intervention, which declared the operation "illegal but legitimate" (30), in other words, illegal from an international law perspective, but legitimate from a moral perspective (31).

This paradoxical conclusion left the issue suspended in "an international legal limbo" (32) and highlighted once more the uncertain character of humanitarian interventions and their suspended status, somewhere between contemporary legal doctrine and evolving conceptions of human rights and ethical state behavior (33).

Basically, what the Kosovo intervention left behind was an operation whose practical success was only partial (it determined Milosevic to accept a form of international supervision, but did not manage to guarantee a safer living space for the Kosovar Albanians) (34), whose legal justification was denied and whose moral imperatives were accepted but placed under scrutiny. The only upsides were the fact that humanitarian intervention was for the first time officially used as a reason for military action (35), thus bringing it to the forefront of international relations. Moreover, due to its controversy and the deficiencies exposed by NATO's intervention, the issue of humanitarian intervention was put under scrutiny by the UN in an attempt to bring about some coherence with regard to the nature and conditions of such an act (36).

As a result, immediately after the Kosovo tensions cooled off, "an International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty was convened in order to determine the legitimacy of acting across national borders to stop grave human-rights violations. In 2001, the Commission issued its report, The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)" (37). Within it, the ICISS noted "the issue of international intervention for human protection is a clear and compelling example of concerted action, urgently being needed to bring international norms and institutions in line with international needs and expectations" (38). A more radical and controversial recommendation was that, when states failed in their responsibility to protect their own citizens, the responsibility is transferred to the international community (39). As the report underlines, "states should only qualify as legitimate, if they meet certain basic standards of common humanity" (40) and further, "if the Security Council does not act when faced with a humanitarian crisis it is unreasonable to expect that concerned states will rule out other means and forms of action to meet the gravity and urgency of these situations" (41). Such assertive recommendations can be considered the first attempts of finally attributing a sort of legal standard to humanitarian interventions with or without Security Council authorization. However, in itself, the document had no legal value and thus did not do much to change the "standing prohibition on the use of force outside self-defence and Security Council authorized enforcement action" (42).

The opportunity came with the 2005 World Summit, held in New York. This event marked the 60th anniversary of UN and the subsequent Outcome document endorsed most of the R2P's core ideas underling that, "each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity," and that "should any state fail to meet this responsibility, the international community has the right and responsibility to act in its stead--by peaceful means if possible, and if necessary by armed force" (43).

However, it is important to outline the nuances of the document in the sense that it stipulates that the UN has a responsibility to act when faced with humanitarian crises, not an obligation (44). In other words, the Security Council is free to determine "what, if needed any, action to take in response to a humanitarian crisis thereby removing any obligation to act in all situations where the threshold was breached" (45). Therefore, what the outcome document certifies is basically what the Security Council has been doing anyway for the past few decades (46). The only novelty it brings is the fact that humanitarian intervention is now given an accepted, legally tolerated position within the political spectrum although it does not yet posses a clear legal status from an international law perspective.

As such, the dubious status of the concept was still quite high, reason for which interventions such as those in Sudan or East Timor reminded audiences of the problems and difficulties in avoiding humanitarian catastrophes, witnessed both during and immediately after the Cold War. It seems humanitarian interventions were more of a discourse or a pretext (as can be seen in the attempt to portray the war in Iraq as such) instead of a well established international practice.

It is under these conditions that the Libya crisis emerged as part of the revolutionary domino effect which swept North Africa and the Middle East at the beginning of 201147. Still, unlike the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, which were tense, but eventually brought to a peaceful end, the Libyan revolt took a violent turn when Colonel Gaddafi tried to brutally repress the protests (48). What followed will be detailed below, but before diving into the account, it would be ideal to check again, based on what was presented above, if the conditions or criteria for a "legal", moral and internationally accepted humanitarian intervention have changed much since the operation in Kosovo.

Indeed, we have seen how the events of 1999 have influenced the general perception on humanitarian interventions and how the Kosovo experience determined the international community to try and establish a more certain and coherent status for operations such as the one performed by NATO. However, as showed above, initiatives like the R2P and the 2005 Outcome Document failed to bring a substantial change with regard to a legitimate humanitarian intervention modus operandi. Consequently, the conditions for a righteous humanitarian intervention remained more or less the same: (1) the scope of the operation would be the protection of civilians against an unavoidable humanitarian catastrophe; (2) the military action would have to be the last resort and used only when other, more peaceful options, are no longer available; (3) the international community would have to recognize and acknowledge the gravity and urgency of the situation and finally, (4) the intervention would have be bear the authorization of the UN Security Council (49).

Taking a look at the unfolding of the Libya events, we realize that the crisis situation and the gravity of it were immediately recognized by the international community, which, through the UN, passed on two resolutions against Libyan leaders. The last of these resolutions, resolution 1973, underlined the "responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan population" (50) and invited "member states and regional organizations to take "all necessary measures", if the case, to protect civilians in Libya" (51) (conditions no. 3 and 4). Based on these suggestions, the operations against Libya began as an ad hoc coalition of the willing led by AFRICOM, which slowly passed on the lead to French and British units (52).

However, as the situation escalated for the worse, with Qaddafi threatening to kill rebels like rats (53) and cleanse the city of Benghazi (54), NATO was invited to take command of the operations and avoid a potential humanitarian catastrophe (and thus the first requirement is met). With regard to the possibility of a peaceful settlement of the situation, Qaddafi made it perfectly clear that he is not open for discussion, having already "demonstrated his willingness to use force against his own people, given that an estimate 1,000 to 10,000 had already been killed. The subsequent indiscriminate shelling of Misrata, provides further evidence of the regime's willingness to use force against its people" (55) (condition no. 2). Consequently, NATO entered the conflict in order to protect rebel held areas (targeted by Qaddafi) and assure the safety of civilians all throughout the country (56) (condition no. 1). Proof of this stems from NATO's overall conduct in the sense that the Alliance tried as much as possible to do everything by the book: "the military targets selected were those threatening civilians; allies did not bomb Qaddafi's troops wherever they found them with disregard to civilian impact; the allies did not arm the rebels and did not go in on the ground targeting Qaddafi" (57). Indeed, in the end, not everything went on smoothly (NATO had its share of collateral civilian casualties) but nevertheless the entire operation was not only accepted as legitimate, moral and even "legal" (in a strange humanitarian intervention sort of way), but NATO was also praised for its actions and gained worldwide recognition for the handling of the crises. As Brzezinski notes "operation Unified Protector prevented a brutal massacre in Benghazi, helped the Libyan opposition to route Qaddafi and his regime from Tripoli and thereby enhanced the prospects that Libya's future will be decided by its citizens" (58).


The purpose of this article has been to try and determine whether or not a certain pathway towards legitimacy (understood both from a legal and moral perspective) exists when it comes to humanitarian interventions based on the events and experiences of the last decade or so. The subject of the study was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (due to its adequacy and probability of carrying out such operations) and its anthagonic experiences so far, namely the Kosovo intervention (which was generally perceived as morally and legally questionable) and the Libya intervention (which was commonly perceived as down right legitimate). The idea was to investigate what were the reasons behind this antithetical perception and if it was determined by either a change in the "laws and moral standard" of how humanitarian interventions should be carried out or simply by a behavioral shift in NATO's conduct.

Looking back at our investigation, it seems that both at the time of the Kosovo intervention and in the wake of the Libya crisis, the legal status of humanitarian interventions was equally uncertain and shady. The only significant difference is that in 1999 humanitarian intervention was a theoretical possibility, while in 2011 it became a practical responsibility (due to the Responsibility to Protect report). Indeed, when placed on paper and in these terms the shift may seem huge, but we must not forget that responsibility does not mean obligation as there is no official act ratifying this. As a result, humanitarian intervention remains arbitrary and selective (in 1999, the international community chose to intervene in Kosovo and not East Timor; in 2011, it chose to enter Libya, not Bahrain or Syria).

However, as mentioned above, we cannot understate the positives or the changes for the better. As many scholars have already acknowledged a selective and arbitrary humanitarian intervention is better than no humanitarian intervention at all (Pattison, 2011; Chesterman, 2011; Baer, 2011; etc). Based on the experiences presented here we realize that the Kosovo operation, in spite of its problems and criticisms, was actually the event which placed humanitarian interventions on the map of international relations, so much so that upon it, almost all interventions were presented as being to some extent humanitarian (59). This sudden awareness of crises which could be alleviated did not only ignite political pretexts to wage war but also political will to try and establish legal grounds for intervention. The R2P and Outcome Document presented here, although somewhat failed attempts, did actually manage to emphasize the demise of the "sacredness" and untouchable character of national sovereignty, by acknowledging the possibility of disregarding state borders if gross cases of human rights violations are reported.

Finally, the intervention in Libya and the way in which NATO performed it comes to certify that the idea of humanitarian interventions has been internalized by international actors along with a certain type of conduct when it comes to conducting them.

If during the Kosovo operation NATO acted more or less on its own, while the international community did not have a clear sense of direction as well (failed to authorize the intervention, then declared it illegal, but legitimate, etc), in Libya we find an almost flawless international cooperation, involving AFRICOR, the UN, NATO and even the Libyan rebels. What's more, the leading actor in the operation, NATO, proved to be extremely careful, taking every possible step to ensure that all of its actions are to the benefit and protection of civilians.

As such, it would be safe to conclude that in the period between Kosovo and Libya the perception around humanitarian intervention has indeed changed, making the concept a constant and accepted presence in the international political arena. Not only that, but from what I have managed to show here, it seems that the phenomenon has been internalized and even unofficially institutionalized by international actors alike. The only step now would be an official, legal acknowledgement and acceptance, since from a moral perspective humanitarian interventions seem to have already passed the popularity test.


1. Baer, Daniel (2011), "The Ultimate Sacrifice and the Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention, Review of International Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1, January, pp. 301-326;

2. Brzezinski, Ian (2009), "Lessons from Libya: NATO Alliance Remains Relevant", National Defense, November;

3. Butler, Karina, Z. (2011), A Critical Humanitarian Approach, Palgrave MacMillan, United Kingdom

4. Chesterman, Simon (2011), "'Leading from Behind': The Responsibility to Protect, the Obama Doctrine and Humanitarian Intervention after Libya", Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 279-285;

5. Farer, Tom, J. (2003), "Humanitarian Intervention before and after 9/11: Legality and Legitimacy", in Holzgrefe, J. L., Keohane, O. Robert (eds.) Humanitarian Intervention:, Ethical, Legal and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, New York;

6. Finnemore, Martha, (2003), The Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs about the Use of Force. Ithaca: Cornell University Press;

7. Hehir, Aidan (2009), "NATO's 'Humanitarian Intervention' in Kosovo: Legal Precedent or Aberration?", Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 3, No.2, pp. 245-264;

8. Held, David; McGrew, Anthobz; Goldblatt, David; Perraton, Jonathan (2004): Transforman globale. Politico., economie si cultura (Global Transformations. Politics, Economy and Culture), Polirom, Iasi;

9. Hollenbach, David, (2010), "Humanitarian Intervention: Why, When and Now", Commonweal, Novermber 5th;

10. International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), (2001), The Responsibility to Protect, Ottawa: International Development Research Centre;

11. McCourbey, Hilaire (1999) "Kosovo, NATO and Humanitarian Law", International Relation, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp.29-46;

12. Michaels, Jeffrey, H. (2011), "NATO after Libya", The RUSI Journal, Vol. 156, No.6, December;

13. NATO (2011)--NATO and Libya--'Operation Unified Protector', available at [ 71652.htm], accessed, 16th of May 2011];

14. Pattison, James (2011), "The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention in Libya", Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 25, No.3, pp.271-277;

15. Pevehouse, Jon, C., Goldstein, Joshua S. (2008), Relatii Internationale (International Relations), Polirom, Iasi;

16. Roberts, Adam (2002), "The so Called 'Right' of Humanitarian Intervention", in Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, T.M.C Acer, The Hague;

17. Schimmelfennig, Frank (1998) "NATO enlargement: A constructivist explanation", Security Studies, 8: 2, pp. 198-234;

18. Steinfels, O'Brian Margaret (2011), "Hazardous Means: Libya and the Ambiguity of Humanitarian Intervention", Commonweal, June, 17th;

19. United Nations Security Council (2011) Security Council resolution 1973 [on the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya], 17th of March, S/RES/1973(2011), available at: [], accessed 13 October 2012;

20. Weiss, Thomas, G. (2001), "Researching Humanitarian Intervention: Some Lessons", Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 419-428;

(1) Tom J. Farer, "Humanitarian Intervention before and after 9/11: Legality and Legitimacy", in J.L. Holzgrefe; Robert O. Keohane (eds.) Humanitarian Intervention:, Ethical, Legal and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, New York, 2003, p. 55.

(2) Simon Chesterman, "'Leading from Behind': The Responsibility to Protect, the Obama Doctrine and Humanitarian Intervention after Libya", Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2011, p. 279.

(3) Daniel Baer, "The Ultimate Sacrifice and the Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention", Review of International Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1, January, 2011, p. 306.

(4) Adam Roberts, "The so Called 'Right' of Humanitarian Intervention", in Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law,, T.M.C Acer, The Hague, 2002, p. 5.

(5) Baer, op. cit., p. 302.

(6) Thomas G. Weiss, "Researching Humanitarian Intervention: Some Lessons", Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2001, p. 425.

(7) Hilaire McCourbey, "Kosovo, NATO and Humanitarian Law", International Relation, Vol. 14, No. 5, 1999, p. 37.

(8) David Held; Anthony McGrew; David Goldblatt; Jonathan Perraton, Transformari globale. Politica, economie si cultura (Global Transformations. Politics, Economy and Culture), Polirom, Iasi, 2004, p. 86.

(9) Aidan Hehir, "NATO's 'Humanitarian Intervention' in Kosovo: Legal Precedent or Aberration?", Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 3, No.2, 2009, p. 248.

(10) Chesterman, op. cit., p. 281.

(11) McCoubrey, op. cit., p. 31.

(12) Martha Finnemore, The Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs about the Use of Force, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003 p. 80.

(13) Hehir, op. cit., p. 246.

(14) McCoubrey, op. cit., p. 31.

(15) Ibidem, p. 30.

(16) United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945, Chapter VII, articles 39-42, available at [], accessed 10th of October 2012.

(17) James Pattison, "The Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention in Libya", Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 25, No.3, 2011, p. 273.

(18) Ibidem; see also, Hehir, op. cit., pp. 247-248.

(19) McCoubrey, op. cit., p. 33.

(20) Hehir, op. cit., p. 246.

(21) Ibidem, p. 247.

(22) McCoubrey, op. cit., p. 30.

(23) Ibidem, p. 31.

(24) Baer, op. cit., p. 323.

(25) Frank Schimmelfennig, "NATO enlargement: A constructivist explanation", Security Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, 1998, pp. 198-234.

(26) Karina Z. Butler, A Critical Humanitarian Approach, United Kingdom: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011, p. 5.

(27) Ibidem.

(28) Hehir, op. cit., p. 248.

(29) Ibidem, p.249.

(30) Chesterman op. cit., p. 281.

(31) Baer, op. cit., p. 313.

(32) McCoubrey, op. cit., p. 34

(33) International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, 2001, in Hehir, op. cit. p. 246.

(34) McCoubrey, op. cit., p. 38

(35) Ibidem, p. 30.

(36) Hehir, op. cit., p. 250.

(37) David Hollenbach, "Humanitarian Intervention: Why, When and Now", Commonweal, Novermber 5th, 2010, p. 1.

(38) International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), The Responsibility to Protect, Ottawa: International Development Research Centre, 2001, p. 3.

(39) Ibidem.

(40) ICISS, op. cit., p. 136.

(41) ICISS, op. cit., p. 5.

(42) Chesterman, op. cit., p. 282.

(43) Hollenbach, op. cit., p.1.

(44) Hehir, op. cit., p. 251.

(45) Ibidem, p. 252.

(46) Chesterman, op. cit., p. 280.

(47) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, "NATO and Libya--'Operation Unified Protector'", available [], 2011, [accessed 16th of May 2011].

(48) Ibidem.

(49) Pattison, op. cit., p. 272.

(50) Chesterman, op. cit., p. 280.

(51) United Nations Security Council, Security Council resolution 1973 [on the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya], 17 March 2011, S/RES/1973(2011), available at: [], accessed 13 October 2012.

(52) Michaels, op. cit. p. 56.

(53) Margaret O'Brian Steinfels, "Hazardous Means: Libya and the Ambiguity of Humanitarian Intervention", Commonweal, 17th of June, 2011, p. 6.

(54) Pattison, op. cit, p. 273.

(55) Ibidem.

(56) Michaels, op. cit. p. 56.

(57) Pattison, op. cit, p. 273.

(58) Ian Brzezinski, "Lessons from Libya: NATO Alliance Remains Relevant", National Defense, November 2009, p. 18.

(59) Hehir, op. cit. p. 256.

* Claudiu Bolcu is PhD student at the Faculty of European Studies, Babef-Bolyai University.

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Date:Mar 1, 2013
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