Max W. Matthews

Document Type



Since 2005, both the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council have expressed for the first time a clear acceptance of the existence of a responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Though scholars have since debated the legal status of this responsibility, commonly referred to as R2P, it is most accurately described as a declaratory principle rather than a binding rule of international law. Still, recent resolutions by the Security Council, particularly those in reaction to the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, explicitly invoke R2P while calling for protective actions in accordance with the principle. If the Security Council continues to implement R2P, the principle may crystallize into a binding norm of international law in the foreseeable future.