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Intervention in Libya: From Sovereign Consent to Regional Consent

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Abstract

The adoption of Resolution 1973 authorizing intervention in Libya represented the first time that the UN Security Council had authorized military intervention in a functioning and non-consenting sovereign state for the purpose of protecting civilians. A crucial factor prompting skeptical states to allow the passage of the resolution in the absence of sovereign consent was the fact that relevant regional organizations had consented to, indeed appealed for, such action. This article examines this possible shift away from reliance on sovereign consent and toward reliance on the consent of regional organizations in Security Council deliberations about the authorization of military intervention to protect civilians, and it considers what it might mean for the future of civilian protection.

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