Risk Dossier

Armed Humanitarian Intervention: Lessons from Africa and Europe

David Hutchins | May 14, 2019

Executive Summary:

This Risk Dossier is an examination of military involvement within humanitarian intervention by the United Nations using the case studies of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia. All case studies were prominent instances of armed humanitarian intervention during the 1990s, which was a critical period for international intervention. A dialogue on the controversy over intervention will explore contrasting perspectives on military involvement and the use of force. This dossier attempts to better understand the practical and ethical considerations of military involvement through a breakdown of Just War Theory. An inquiry into Just War Theory and its elements of pre-war and mid-conflict guidance will provide a criteria for the legitimate use of military force throughout a situation of humanitarian intervention. Analyzing the case studies of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia exposes if and how military forces could be beneficial toward humanitarian interventions. A description of lessons learned from these case studies assists in formulating what can be done to alter future armed humanitarian intervention so that it is capable of producing positive outcomes. Based on the analysis of these case studies and the established criteria for military involvement, it is concluded that military involvement in humanitarian intervention scenarios can be beneficial on occasions when intervention meets the criteria established by Just War Theory and if respective military intervention is executed properly.

About the Author

David Hutchins

David Hutchins earned his MSc in Defence, Development, and Diplomacy from the Durham Global Security Institute at Durham University in the UK. He maintains 6 years of military experience having served in the United States Marine Corps Forces Reserve.

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