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2 Global Resp. Protect 232 (2010)
Feminist Reflections on the Responsibility to Protect

handle is hein.journals/gloresp2 and id is 248 raw text is: MARTINUS                                                                 D
NIJHOFF                                                                J)
P U B L I S H E R S  Global Responsibility to Protect 2 (2010) 232-249  brill.il/gr2p
Feminist Reflections on the Responsibility to Protect
Hilary Charlesworth*
Australian National University
CharlesworthH@law.anu.edu.au
Abstract
This paper offers a feminist analysis of the responsibility to protect principle. It outlines some
themes in feminist scholarship in international law and then uses these to explore the idea of a
responsibility to protect. The paper argues that, despite some resonance with feminist concerns,
the doctrine has been developed in a limited context, effectively privileging male elites and mas-
culine modes of reasoning.
Keywords
Responsibility to protect, International law, Feminist theory, Intervention, Discrimination,
Violence against women
Introduction
The identification and promotion of the 'responsibility to protect' principle
over the last decade provides a case study of the techniques of modern inter-
national law-making. International law is a complex mix of normative and
justificatory principles, a brew aptly captured by Martti Koskenniemi in his
description of international legal argument as an oscillation between utopian
and apologetic positions.' Unlike most national legal systems, the political
roots of international law are constantly on display and it is difficult to avoid
moral and philosophical debate in discussing its scope. The development of
the responsibility to protect doctrine illustrates the power of a strong normative
concept in responding to massive atrocities, accompanied by an apparently
* Thanks to Susan Harris Rimmer for her comments on this paper.
Martti Koskenniemi, From Apology to Utopia: The Structure ofInternational LegalArgument
(Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

@ Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010

DO] 10.1163/187598410X500372

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