‘Contested legitimacy’ of the responsibility to protect in an era of humanitarian crises

Gözen Ercan M. P.

in: The Crises of Legitimacy in Global Governance, Gonca Oguz Gok,Hakan Mehmetcik, Editor, Routledge, London/New York , London, pp.192-208, 2021

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Publisher: Routledge, London/New York 
  • City: London
  • Page Numbers: pp.192-208
  • Editors: Gonca Oguz Gok,Hakan Mehmetcik, Editor
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


It has already been fifteen years since the member states of the UN unanimously adopted R2P under Paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document (WSOD), and eleven years since the UN General Assembly started discussing its implementation strategy. In an era of humanitarian of crises and new challenges R2P remains a relevant issue in global governance with regard to the international protection of human rights. This chapter conducts a constructivist analysis of the challenges to and sources of R2P’s legitimacy by focusing on two main venues. The first is the ICISS, which constructed the norm in search for a remedy to mass atrocities, whereas the second is the UN, which adopted the norm and enabled its institutionalization as well as implementation under a formal and widely recognized global venue. Taking legitimacy as a dynamic process, because of the ongoing normative evolution of R2P on the one hand, and its changing implementation behaviors on the other, this chapter first studies the aims and structure of R2P and the transformations it has gone through during its process of adoption. Secondly, focusing on its evolution within the framework of the UN from adoption to strategizing its implementation, it analyzes the processes and procedures of R2P. Thirdly, it focuses on the effectiveness of R2P vis-à-vis the performance of the UN Security Council in terms of the norm’s implementation. Following from this three-fold analysis, in the penultimate section, the chapter scrutinizes the common state-centric approaches to the norm, and concludes that R2P’s internalization cannot be achieved without focusing on a multiplicity of actors and without opening Pillar 3 up for a new contestation.