Date with history: Nato launches attacks on Libya

March 17, 2011: Action broke consensus on need to protect civilians, says Dogachan Dagi

The World Today Updated 4 February 2021 Published 5 February 2021 2 minute READ

Dogachan Dagi

PhD candidate, University of Warwick

In 2005, world leaders committed to a new doctrine, the responsibility to protect, known as R2P. Its aim was to prevent war crimes such as genocide and ethnic cleansing and other mass atrocities. The doctrine provided a path for the use of force based on international consensus and was designed to end the impotence of a United Nations system that had failed to prevent massacres in Rwanda in 1994 and Srebrenica in 1995.  

Six years after its adoption, on March 17, 2011, the mechanism was first put to use after Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, threatened to massacre the people of Benghazi.  

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