Foxes in the henhouse: Legal critique of the 'Jus Bellum Justum' doctrine for humanitarian intervention through the responsibility to protect

Henrique Jerônimo Bezerra Marcos, Gustavo Rabay Guerra

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Objectives: The paper aims to present a legal analysis of R2P in light of contemporary international law. It questions whether R2P is lawful as a just war (jus bellum justum) doctrine under international law, specifically, under the general prohibition for the use of force pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations. The paper first analyzes the just war doctrine in light of international law. Thereafter, it studies the legal framework for the use of force in the UN Charter. Thirdly, it studies R2P in legal light as a just war doctrine.
Methodology: The research is executed through a deductive approach, its scientific objective is exploratory, and its research technique is a bibliographical and documentary survey. It finds its methodological limits in a legal approach of the subject from a normative perspective focused on the legal validity of the institute under international law.
Results: The paper concludes that R2P has legal flaws and does not stand against UN Charter regulation on the usage of force, notably the norm that states that the use of force in international relations is an exclusive responsibility of the United Nations Security Council.
Contributions: The study shows its pertinence as an endeavor into a strictly legal analysis of a complex and highly political subject of humanitarian interventions. The matter becomes even more relevant when it is considered that, contemporaneously, the debate on a potential humanitarian intervention in Latin America (in Venezuela, specifically) resurfaces the risk of the continent being overtaken by an international armed conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-77
Number of pages30
JournalRevista Jurídica
Issue number59
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2020


  • Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
  • Humanitarian Intervention
  • Just War Doctrine
  • United Nations Security Council

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