Theorisation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) has been substantially developed in the academic literature and the principle has been employed with increasing frequency by the international community to promote more effective responses to mass atrocity crimes. First articulated in the 2001 report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and endorsed by over 170 heads of state at the 2005 World Summit, R2P has evolved from concept to consolidated international norm, and is a guiding doctrine in international relations that articulates the ethical, legal, and political basis for mobilising international responses to potential or unfolding mass atrocities. However, currently there is a disjunction between academic and policy understandings of R2P that impedes the transfer of research-based knowledge to support state implementation of R2P principles.
The purpose of this project is to cut across academic and policy divides to develop a coherent framework and agenda to promote the effective implementation of R2P. We seek to clarify what the implementation of R2P entails for the policy and practitioner community, and to push forward new lines of academic inquiry and research that could support the implementation agenda. This can be achieved by providing both theoretical and empirical foundations for building specific policy frameworks and institutional capacity through which the key objectives of R2P prevention of atrocity crimes and protection of civilian populations are to be consolidated. The approach is multidisciplinary, drawing on cutting-edge research in the fields of atrocity prevention, international law, foreign policy, development studies, governance and regulatory studies, and international security studies.
A two-day conference held 27‒28 October 2016 at The Australian National University.
Academics, and members and representatives of a wide range of government agencies, the diplomatic community, international organisations, and civil society organisations.
Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Domestic Processes and Foreign Assistance, Conference Report, July 2017.
An edited volume, Implementing R2P: First Experiences and a Future Agenda, to be published in 2018.
Severine Autesserre is Professor of Political Science, specialising in international relations and African studies, at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York. She works on civil wars, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and humanitarian aid.
Alex Bellamy is Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, and non-resident Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute, New York.
Leonard Blazeby is Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) Mission in Australia. He works with government, the Australian Defence Force, think tanks, academics and the media to foster a greater understanding of ICRC and its global operations, and to promote international humanitarian law.
John Braithwaite is Distinguished Professor and Founder of the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), The Australian National University. He is best known for his work on restorative justice and response regulation, and responsive peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
Imelda Deinla is Fellow and Project Director of the Philippines Project, a policy engaged research project on Philippine economy and politics between The Australian National University and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her main research focus is the relationship between politics and law.
Gareth Evans AC QC is Chancellor and an Honorary Professorial Fellow of The Australian National University. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments in Australia from 1983 to 1996, including as Foreign Minister (1988-96), and from 2000 to 2009 was President and CEO of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. He co-chaired the Canada-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2000-01), which initiated the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ concept, and the Australia-Japan sponsored International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (2008-10), and currently co-chairs the International Advisory Board of the New York-based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. He has written or edited 12 books, including The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All (2009).
Charles Hunt is Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Research at RMIT University, Melbourne, and honorary Research Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the University of Queensland. His research focuses on the relationship between R2P and peace operations, including specifically the protection of civilians and peacebuilding programs including security and the justice sector reform.
Patrick Lawless is head of the International Organisations Branch in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he has responsibility for a broad range of UN and Commonwealth issues.
Stephen McLoughlin is Lecturer in International Relations at Liverpool Hope University. His research interests include mass atrocity prevention, the role of the UN in conceptualising and carrying out prevention, the causes of genocide and mass atrocities, and R2P.
Martin Mennecke is Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Southern Denmark, and academic advisor to the Danish Focal Point for R2P at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His research focuses on the Arctic, transnational justice, R2P and the use of force under international law.
Noel Morada is Director, Regional Diplomacy and Capacity Building, at the University of Queensland. Apart from his research and advocacy on R2P, he is also involved in regional security research and dialogue specifically dealing with terrorism, maritime security, and non-traditional security issues in Southeast Asia.
Brad Orchard is Colonel in the Australian Army, Director of the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security, and is responsible, on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Force, for overseeing all aspects of Defence’s implementation of the National Action Plan.
Lisa Sharland is Senior Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and non-resident Fellow at the Stimson Center, Washington, DC. Her research focuses on Australia’s engagement in UN peacekeeping operations, UN peace operations reform, women in defence and security, and Australia‒Africa engagement.
Ivan Šimonović is Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect to the UN Secretary-General. Prior to his appointment in October 2016, Mr. Šimonović was Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. Before joining the United Nations in 2010, Mr. Šimonović held the position of Minister for Justice of Croatia. He was previously Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he served as President of the Economic and Social Council. Mr. Šimonović was a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb, where he was Head of the Legal Theory Department, Vice-Dean and Vice-Rector for international cooperation. Serving in an expert capacity, he has been a member of the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, as well as Agent of the Republic of Croatia before the United Nations International Court of Justice. He also served as the President of the United Nations Association (Croatia).
Christoph Sperfeldt is a doctoral candidate in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), The Australian National University. He has also been Deputy Director at the Asian International Justice Initiative, a joint program of the East-West Center and the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University, where he has supported human rights and rule of law capacity-building efforts in Southeast Asia.
Scott Straus is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Scott specialises in the study of genocide, political violence, human rights, and African politics.
Ekkehard Strauss is Adjunct Professor at Griffith University. From 2004 to 2007 he supported the establishment of the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. He has published widely on the United Nations, the prevention of mass atrocities, the protection of minorities, and human rights.
Jeremy Farrall is Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the ANU and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania Faculty...
Cecilia is a Fellow in the Department of International Relations at the Coral Bell School. Her work focuses on civilian protection, mass atrocity prevention, and international human protection...
Professor William Maley is Professor in the Department of International Relations. Previously he was the Foundation Director (2003-2014) of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy.
As the international community grapples with extensive humanitarian crises across the globe, the need for stronger domestic and regional capacity to prevent atrocities and protect populations is of...
Cecilia Jacob, ed., Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Domestic Processes and Foreign Assistance, Conference Report, Canberra: Department of International Relations, ANU, July 2017.
Civilian Protection in the Twenty-First Century: Governance and Responsibility in a Fragmented World
Cecilia Jacob and Alistair D.B. Cook, eds, Civilian Protection in the Twenty-First Century: Governance and Responsibility in a Fragmented World, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Evaluating the United Nation's Agenda for Atrocity Prevention: Prospects for the International Regulation of Internal Security
Cecilia Jacob, ‘Evaluating the United Nation’s Agenda for Atrocity Prevention: Prospects for the International Regulation of Internal Security’, Politics and Governance, 3(3) 2015: 16-26.
Cecilia Jacob, ‘State Responsibility and Prevention in the Responsibility to Protect: Communal Violence in India’, Global Responsibility to Protect, 7(1) 2015: 56-80.
Cecilia Jacob and Stephen McLoughlin, ‘Strengthening State Resilience for the Prevention of Mass Atrocity Crimes’, APCR2P Policy Brief, 5(5), Brisbane: Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect,...
United Nations Secretary-General reports
In larger freedom: Towards development, security and human rights for all, Report of the Secretary-General, A/59/2005, 21 March 2005.
Implementing the responsibility to protect, Report of the Secretary-General, A/63/677, 12 January 2009.
Early warning, assessment and the responsibility to protect, Report of the Secretary-General, A/64/864, 14 July 2010.
The role of regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing the responsibility to protect, Report of the Secretary-General, A/65/ 877‒S/2011/ 393, 12 July 2011.
Responsibility to protect: Timely and decisive response, Report of the Secretary-General, A/66/ 874‒S/2012/ 578, 25 July 2012.
Responsibility to protect: State responsibility and prevention, Report of the Secretary-General, A/67/929‒S/2013/399, 9 July 2013.
Fulfilling our collective responsibility: International assistance and the responsibility to protect, Report of the Secretary-General, A/68/947‒S/2014/449, 11 July 2014.
A vital and enduring commitment: Implementing the responsibility to protect, Report of the Secretary-General, A/69/981‒S/2015/500, 13 July 2015.
Mobilizing collective action: The next decade of the responsibility to protect, Report of the Secretary-General, A/70/999‒S/2016/620, 22 July 2016.
Implementing the responsibility to protect: Accountability for protection, Report of the Secretary-General, A/71/1016-S/2017/556, August 2017.
Other key documents
International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, Ottawa: International Development Resource Centre, December 2001.
A more secure world: Our shared responsibility, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, New York: United Nations, 2004.
2005 World Summit Outcome, A/60/L.1, 15 September 2005.
Framework of analysis for atrocity crimes: A tool for prevention, New York: United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, 2014.
Field guide: Helping prevent mass atrocities, Washington, DC: USAID, April 2015.
Institutional capacities for the implementation of R2P in West Africa: A case study of Ghana, Accra: West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, February 2016.
Implementing the Responsibility to Protect Project is located in the Hedley Bull Building situated on the corner of Liversidge St and Garran Road on the ANU campus.
Department of International Relations
Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
Hedley Bull Building
130 Garran Road
The Australian National University Acton ACT 2601 Australia
Telephone and fax
T +61 (0)2 6125 4451
F +61 (0)2 6125 8010