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Is There a Duty to Intervene? Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect


  • I would like to thank Kok-Chor Tan and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on an earlier version of the article.
  • Corrections added on 19 May 2014 after initial online publication on 06 June 2013. Text amendments have been incorporated into this version of the article that were missed during the production of the article.


This article considers the duty to undertake humanitarian intervention. It first examines the arguments for the duty to intervene and questions the possibility of supererogatory humanitarian intervention. It then considers the leading objections to this duty which, it is argued, are largely unpersuasive. In the final section, the article considers the duty to intervene in the context of the responsibility to protect doctrine, which provides the framework within which debates about humanitarian intervention now in large part occur.