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Responsibility to Protect by Alex J. Bellamy


Responsibility to Protect by Alex J. Bellamy

This book charts the emergence of the principle of Responsibility to Protect, from its origins in a doctrine of sovereignty as responsibility, through debates about the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention and the findings of a prominent international commission, and finally through the long negotiations that preceded the 2005 commitment.


A superb scholarly analysis of the concept. This is the resource for a detailed account of how R2P came to be, and an evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Bellamy begins by detailing the history of R2P, from its intellectual origins to its adoption by the UN in 2005. He does so in tremendous detail, drawing on a wealth of sources in providing the life-story of the concept likely to provide insight to even its keenest followers.

Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding Its clear and accessible style, as well as its meticulous discussion of the R2P's historical and political context, is well integrated into an analysis of the practical side of genocide prevention and peacekeeping.

Times Higher Education

A fast-paced and illuminating account of international policy formation. In the literature of humanitarian history, Bellamy's account of the development of R2P is thus a worthy stable mate to Geoffrey Best's classic account of the development of international humanitarian law after 1945.

International Affairs

Responsibility to Protect is an important and accessible treatment of one of the key recent political shifts in the contemporary internaional system, and as such should find a place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the manner in which international relations is prosecuted in the new millenium. Political Studies Review

A clear, in-depth and analytical overview of the theoretical and practical dimensions of the R2P concept and norm in international relations. This book comes highly recommended. Central European Journal of International and Security Studies

Lucid, thoughtful, and eminently sensible, Alex Bellamy's Responsibility to Protect: The Global Effort to End Mass Atrocities should be must reading for scholars, commentators, and practitioners alike. He chronicles both the evolution of the principle and the struggles to put it into practice with a rare combination of rigorous scholarship, sophisticated analysis, and engaging prose.

Edward Luck, Columbia University

Alex Bellamy's is a thoughtful and critical tale of efforts to remove the license to kill from the sovereign attributes of states. A Responsibility to Protect also explains brilliantly the politics of why necessary normative advances have, to date, not ended mass atrocity crimes.

Thomas G. Weiss, City University of New York

About the Author

Alexander Bellamy is Professor of International Security in the Griffith Asia Institute/Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th December 2008


Alex J. Bellamy

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Polity Press


264 pages


International humanitarian law
International relations



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