It brings back to the UN General Assembly and Security Council all fundamental elements contained in the 2001 Report, that had gone almost forgotten, also at the moment of the incorporation of the concept of the Responsibility to Protect in the 2005 World Summit conclusions. Also the three pillars approach of the Secretary General is not giving the needed guidance to the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect.
Resolution 1973 (on Libya) is a good example of the lack of consistence of the Security Council and even more in the implementation by the coalition of the willing, that was then substituted by NATO.
As in the Annex of the Brazilian letter addressed to the Secretary General on November 9th 2011, clearly stated, PREVENTION is an essential tool of the Responsibility to Protect, exactly as the ICISS said in its Report. Diplomatic, humanitarian efforts and other possible means should be used, and more financial means should be invested in that.
Further when discussing the Responsibility to React, the ICISS recognizes that if peaceful means are not adequate, coercive measures should be considered including different forms of sanctions.
The military intervention for human protection purposes, is an exceptional and extraordinary measure and it will always have to be preceded by a serious examination of Precautionary Principles (the ICISS Report mentions 4, including right intention, proportional means and reasonable prospects) as well as Operational Principles (including the acceptance of limitations, incrementalism and gradualism in the application of force, the objective being protection of a population, not defeat of a state). All this shows how much the ICISS Report did take care of the responsibility while protecting also because in its Operational Principles it insists on Rules of engagement which fit in the operational concept and that should be precise, reflect the principle of proportionality and involve total adherence to international humanitarian law. It is important that the principles enunciated by the Responsibility while Protecting – which largely correspond to the Responsibility to Protect 2001 Report – would be transformed in procedures to be applied by the Security Council in each case where the Responsibility to Protect is invoked. As said at the beginning of this Note, the Brazilian concept of Responsibility while Protecting has the great merit to bring back the United Nations to a sound and clear way of implementing the 2005 Summit Declaration!
Dr. Cornelio Sommaruga, Former member of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS)