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Encouraging state irresponsibility : resolution without punishment? International responses to the conflict in Darfur, Sudan and unintended consequences Zellman, Ariel David


This paper analyzes the impact of the international community’s failure to punish Sudan as a means to bring an end to ongoing conflict in its western region of Darfur. Focusing on the actions and rhetoric of the United Nations Security Council with respect to its recent adoption of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, it is claimed that the Council has emphasized the importance of its collective responsibility to protect innocents to the detriment of holding failed states accountable for their role in fermenting and/or exacerbating intrastate violence. While recognizing as legitimate the multiple factors responsible for the shift in international practice from imposing punitive measures against norm violating states to international and individual accountability, it is argued that all have resulted in the unintended consequence of vastly expanding an environment of impunity in which individual conflicts may eventually be arrested but the conditions allowing the outbreak of such violence remain unaffected. Moreover, this deferral of state-targeted punishment by the Security Council has ramifications beyond the individual case’s borders such that failed states may no longer be held to account for their actions. This has resulted in the reinforcement of orthodox normative understandings and practical respect of sovereignty inappropriate to post-Cold War security realities further impairing the ability of the Council to ensure the preservation of international peace and security. As such, it is critical that the international community re-recognize the importance of state-targeted coercion as an instrument of multilateral diplomacy and as a legitimate means to maintain international order.

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