Case Study: MILITARY INTERVENTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
- In the emerging international order humanitarian issues are
gaining greater prominence.
- New mechanisms are being discussed which could help world leaders
judge when military intervention is justified.
There are increasing calls on the international community in general
and United Nations in particular to resolve conflicts and prevent
humanitarian disasters around the world.
NATO's action against Serbia in 1999 was not sanctioned
by the UN but was designed to prevent humanitarian disaster: the
forcible expulsion of Kosovo's majority Albanian community by Serb
World leaders talked then of a new world order
where foreign policy decisions are motivated by a belief in fundamental
But by taking military action to protect one community,
the rights of another suffered. The 23,000 bombs NATO dropped on
Serbia and Kosovo during the eleven week war killed an estimated
Within months Russia mounted its own military campaign
against its rebel province Chechnya. Many argue Russia's bombardment
of cities in Chechnya brought about a forcible expulsion to match
anything which occurred in Kosovo. One third of the population were
forced to flee but NATO took no action against Russia, a nuclear
Now attention has turned back to the United Nations.
The treaties under which it operates already provide for armed action
if the Security Council approves - and there are now proposals for
some kind of stand-by army.
Few doubt that a reformed UN is the one (and possibly
only) body in the world with the moral authority to fight wars on
behalf of humanity and thus create the conditions envisaged in Article
But, with what could be almost limitless calls
on its time, the question remains whether the world's strongest
powers will be willing to provide the money and the troops to fund
future UN missions wherever they are needed.