3 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y J. 183 (1993-1995)
Humanitarian Intervention in Southeast Asia in the Post-Cold War World: Dilemmas in the Definition and Design of International Law

handle is hein.journals/pacrimlp3 and id is 375 raw text is: Copyright 0 1994 Pacific Rim Law & Policy Association

Bruce Pruitt-Hamm
Abstract: Human rights abuse is a significant problem in Southeast Asia. The end
of the Cold War has led to trends toward greater use of international interventionary
force for humanitarian objectives. This Comment proposes that rather than defining or
re-interpreting international law to allow military intervention for humanitarian purposes,
a Southeast Asian regional human rights regime should be formed, involving greater
development and acceptance of non-military forms of intervention.
The abuse of human rights is a serious international problem.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives or suffered inhuman
treatment in places like Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia and Cambodia.' The
prevalence of such abuse has led to the development of a concept of
humanitarian intervention, which, in the past, served as a moral and legal
justification for military intervention into one state by another state to pre-
vent human rights abuse perpetrated by the target state. Historically,
humanitarian intervention has been selectively used, often as pretext for
intervention into the affairs of smaller states by militarily stronger states.2
I Although recent events in Rwanda, Bosnia and Somalia have significiant implications for much of
the analysis in this Comment, the scope was necessarily limited to discussion of the controversial issues
surrounding humanitarian intervention as they apply to Southeast Asia.
2 Tom Farer, Humanitarian Intervention: The View from Charlottesville. in HUMANITARIAN
INTERVENTION AND THE UNITED NATIONS 150 (R. Lillich ed., 1973) (It was generally conceded that dur-
ing the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, the phrase 'humanitarian intervention' was used
frequently to describe and to justify armed intervention by Western States in the rest of the world. Indeed,
no one demurred to the proposition that, in this respect, humanitarian intervention may have enjoyed a
priority of usage.). See also HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION AND THE U.N. 10-I 1 (R. Lillich ed., 1973)
[hereinafter HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION AND THE U.N.] (quoting Professor William D. Rogers on
humanitarian intervention as historically the most often used pretext for strong nations to intervene in the
affairs of weaker nations, We are talking about a concept which was international legal rationalization for
the most important intrusions of great powers into the lives and social structures of small and weak powers
in recent history. Professor Richard A. Falk continues this point by noting that the issue of defining
humanitarian intervention so as to safeguard against its misuse is only relevant for those nations with the
military power to engage in the practice. Id Falk notes the importance of explicitly recognizing the
asymmetry between political inequality and the pretense ofjuristic equality.).

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