Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof

Völkerrechtliche Schutzverantwortung bei elementaren Menschenrechtsverletzungen Die Responsibility to Protect als Verantwortungsstruktur

Rubrik: Beiträge und Berichte
Archiv des Völkerrechts (AVR)

Jahrgang 48 () / Heft 3, S. 338-382 (45)

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In reaction to the massacres in Ruanda in 1994 and Srebrenica in 1995, the international community developed the concept of the responsibility to protect in order to prevent such systematic violations of human rights in the future. The Heads of State accepted the basic principles of this concept in the World Summit Outcome Document in 2005. According to this, state sovereignty implies the primary responsibility of every state to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. If a state is unwilling or unable to fulfil this responsibility, the international community has the subsidiary responsibility to protect the population from these gross violations of human rights. In the aftermath, the Security Council referred repeatedly to the responsibility to protect; thus international practice recognized this concept. However, this did not lead to additional concrete measures to protect the population suffering from systematic violations of human rights. So far, the responsibility to protect has not been a part of customary international law. Rather, it has to be regarded as a developing legal concept. It opens a new perspective in understanding state sovereignty as responsibility. Sovereignty may no longer be allowed to be used as a shield for gross violations of human rights. Furthermore, it recognises the responsibility of the international community to protect the population from gross violations of human rights and describes the elements under which the international community bears this responsibility to protect. However, it does not define the concrete legal consequences of this international responsibility, nor does it answer how the international community can fulfil its responsibility if the Security Council remains inactive despite systematic violations of human rights. Thus, the responsibility to protect cannot yet be regarded as a legal norm, but rather as a structure establishing international responsibilities that needs to be developed further.

Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof Studium der Rechtswissenschaften an den Universitäten Heidelberg, Genf und Tübingen; Rechtsreferendarin am Landgericht Heidelberg; wissenschaftliche Assistentin am Institut für Völkerrecht der Universität Bonn; 2004 Promotion; Richterin am Sozialgericht Hildesheim; wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Institut für Völkerrecht der Universität Bonn; 2013 Habilitation; Lehrstuhlvertretungen in Köln, Düsseldorf und Bochum; seit 2015 Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Deutsches und Ausländisches Öffentliches Recht, Völkerrecht und Europarecht der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.