Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and the Emerging Principle of Common Concern
NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 2012/29, co-authored by Thomas Cottier and Krista Nadakavukaren Shefer.
This paper conceptualises the emerging concepts of responsibility to protect (R2P) and common concern. Beyond exploring the foundations of these two concepts, it explains their current interaction and how they may be developed further in the future. The principle of common concern responds to obvious institutional deficiencies in producing global public goods. It obliges states to cooperate in the pursuit of such goods, such as climate change mitigation and adaption. Failing such cooperation, it empowers states to act accordingly. We argue that R2P may be understood as a particular category of common concern, encompassing not only the right, but more importantly, also the obligations to act in case of gross human rights violations. Linking R2P and common concern will allow their role in addressing the shortcomings of traditional precepts of international law to evolve without increasing the potential of misuse by placing limits on their invocation.