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Humanitarian intervention is military intervention in the name of a humanitarian cause.  The first example of humanitarian military intervention was in 1999 when NATO bombed Yugoslavia for 74 days ostensibly to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Kosovo.  In fact, the hundreds of thousands of Albanians who fled into neighbouring Macedonia and Albania did so only after the NATO bombs had started to fall.  

The second major example of so-called humanitarian intervention was the Libyan campaign in 2011.  The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 gave states the right to use "all necessary measures" to prevent civilians from being attacked by the Libyan government.  This was the political - and, more importantly, legal - pretext for the NATO bombing campaign against that country.  But when the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi was murdered, the French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppé, appeared to undermine the legal case for war when he declared the following morning:  "The military operation has ended.  The whole of the territory of Libya is now under the control of the National Transitional Council.  Apart from a few transitional measures, NATO's operation has come to its conclusion.  Our objective, which was to accompany the forces of the Transitional National Council in the liberation of their territory, has been achieved. Our goal was to force Gaddafi to abandon power."  

On this part of the site you will find both articles about humanitarian intervention and also a library of legal documents (especially UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions) which provide the allegedly legal basis for humanitarian military operations.  Click on the menu bars on the left to view these.






Centre for the Study of Interventionism