Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty Term Paper

Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty
A discussion on the debate between international lawyers if it is correct to intervene in another state's jurisdiction when there is an infringement upon human rights.
# 147109 | 5,613 words | 11 sources | APA | 2011 | AL
Published on Feb 24, 2011 in Law (International) , International Relations (General)

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This paper focuses on one of the most controversial debates that the international community is facing: the contradictory nature of the principle of the state sovereignty with human rights protection. The paper examines how the existing gap within the legal framework between two apparently inconsistent international norms has contributed to the escalation of very violent internal wars, while the international community concerns itself with legal matters more than moral ones and consequently failed to intervene and stop many massacres. The paper attempts to direct the debate on a different level, trying to approach sovereignty conception within a constructivist theory. It argues that the principle of human rights protection and the principle of sovereignty should not be analyzed as if they were two separate and contradictory norms of international law and society, because sovereignty is a socially constructed norm and subject to contextual changes with the scope of protecting the fundamental rights of the people.

Literature Review
Thesis Statement
The Changing International Environment
A New Approach to Sovereignty
Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Intervention

From the Paper:

"The debate on whether the international community should intervene when the human rights are violated by a sovereign state has split the international lawyers, political scientists and scholars into two parts: the first one is pro humanitarian intervention and attributes higher authority to the human rights rather than sovereignty. The other part is emphasizing more on the importance of sovereignty and therefore being against any kind of intervention, including the humanitarian intervention. International lawyers are mostly divided between interventionist and statists (Fleiner-Gerster & Meyer, 1985, p.277). Interventionists maintain that the concept of sovereignty is unrealistic and does not any longer fit the necessities of modern international law. The Hobbes assumption that sovereignty can neither be limited nor divided is divergent to modern developments in international society. The justificatory argument resides in the theory that mankind faces a number of intractable issues, at least at domestic level."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Annan, K. (1999). Two concepts of sovereignty. The Economist, 49-50.
  • Caplan, L. (2003). State immunity, human rights, and jus cogens: a critique of the normative hierarchy theory. The American Journal of International Law, 97, 741-781.
  • Fleiner-Gerster, T, & Meyer, M. (1985). New developments in humanitarian law: a challenge to the concept of sovereignity. British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 34(2), 267- 283.
  • Giannini, R. (2010). The rule of law: state sovereignty vs. international obligations. Proceedings of the ODUMUNC, Issue brief for the GA sixth commitee, legal,
  • International Commission on intervention and state sovereignty, (2001). The responsibility to protect, Retrieved from en

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty (2011, February 24) Retrieved January 27, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty" 24 February 2011. Web. 27 January. 2022. <>