By Val Reynoso
The formation of the “Responsibility to Protect” concept is rooted in anti-imperialist implications, particularly in the crisis in Kosovo at the beginning of the 21st Century.
The NATO military intervention in Kosovo, which was accused by many of being a violation of the prohibition of the use of force, and the heinous acts committed in the Balkans and Rwanda in the 1990s, resulted in the international community carefully discussing means to implement protections against human rights violations.
Despite NATO being an international organization, its actions in Kosovo were still perceived as violating Kosovar sovereignty and well being of Kosovar people. The NATO military initiated an intervention in Yugoslavia on March 24th, 1999 which lasted 78 days. This was the first occasion in which NATO decided to attack a country without prior approval from the UN Security Council.
The involvement of 19 countries led by the US in Yugoslavia was spearheaded by the Clinton administration with the intention of preventing a humanitarian disaster in Kosovo and establish a framework for Kosovo, which was the southern department of Yugoslavia under the Milosevic government from 1997 to 2000. NATO’s bombings of the Balkans caused more harm than good, these illegal actions violated international law and resulted in the destruction of 25,000 homes, 300 miles of roads and an estimate of 400 railways, etc.
At least 5,000 people were killed in the bombings with 12,500 more having been injured. The area was contaminated with depleted uranium, which is an internationally outlawed chemical that is still producing high rates of childhood cancer defects throughout the Balkans The assumption that NATO and its allies committed human rights violations is correct, given the statistics above of the aftermath of their involvement in Kosovo, hence this would also be a violation of the “Responsibility to Protect” regulation.
Val Reynoso is a Politics and Human Rights undergrad, journalist and Marxist-Leninist activist.