Contemporary Humanitarian Intervention: Beyond Rules-Based International Order

Lucas Knotter*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    9 Downloads (Pure)


    This chapter traces the international practice of humanitarian intervention from its conceptual and practical inceptions to its current form. After specifying what we mean when we talk about humanitarian intervention, it outlines how ideas around this practice transformed from the late sixteenth century until they supposedly celebrated their heyday after the Cold War in a so-called “rules-based international order.” This chapter proceeds to highlight certain critiques of humanitarian intervention based on notions of state sovereignty, the practical difficulties of “successfully” conducting and/or legitimizing intervention, the relationships between powerful and less powerful states, and the question of humanity. Subsequently, it places these critiques in the context of debates about the supposed “end of the rules-based international order.” While these debates signal a diminishing global enthusiasm for human rights protection through humanitarian intervention, this chapter argues that both this international order and the practice of humanitarian intervention are going through a transition rather than fully coming to an end. While this chapter therefore anticipates an enhanced global emphasis on domestic human rights protection and prudence about foreign intervention, it does not foresee a termination of humanitarian intervention per se.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHuman Rights in War
    EditorsDamien Rogers
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)978-981-16-2116-1
    ISBN (Print)978-981-16-2117-8, 978-981-16-2115-4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-2022

    Publication series

    NameInternational Human Rights
    ISSN (Print)2523-8841

    Cite this