Humanitarian Intervention Essay

1357 words - 6 pages

Humanitarian intervention is the act when states intervene in the affairs of another state because that state is violating the basic human rights of its civilians or because it is in the intervening state’s self interest to get involved. (Humanitarian, 2008) These interventions are not specifically aimed at violating the sovereignty of a state, but rather their purpose is to protect the basic human rights of civilians during civil wars and during crime against humanity. (Humanitarian, 2008) Realism explains that humanitarian intervention came about during the genocide in Bosnia but not in Rwanda because even though it might have been the correct moral action to take, intervention in Rwanda ...view middle of the document...

This could have been one of the reasons why there was a large amount of humanitarian intervention in Bosnia. (Snow, 2008) The United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the United States (US) all made multiple attempts at intervention in Bosnia. A large number of them were not completely successful. The war ended when with a peace agreement mediated by the US.
Beginning April of 2004, the Rwandan Hutu started mass murders of Tutsi. This genocide is believed to have spawned from the civil war that was taking place at that time. This civil war was based on issues over power and resentment between the Tutsi and the Hutu. (Rwanda, 2008) Eventually the war escalated to the point where the Hutu began genocide of the Tutsi and anybody who opposed the ideas of the Hutu. The killing of the Tutsis became so common—in a very short amount of time—that it was practically acceptable amongst the Rwandans. (Hintjens, 1999) This was a very brutal and gruesome genocide. In just five weeks, approximately half a million Tutsi and innocent civilians had been murdered. (Hintjens, 1999) This is an astounding number of people, especially because the Hutu murdered the Tutsi at knife point—usually with a machete. (Snow, 2008)
Seeing that there was a civil war occurring the time of the Tutsi genocide, the rest of the world was not aware of it. The state that was aware of the genocide—France—did not make it known because it had economic incentives to keep the genocide hidden. (Rwanda, 2008) France was the main provider of weapons to Rwanda and the French government also provided military power to the Rwandan armed forces. (Hintjens, 1999) Consequently, it was economically convenient for the French that other states did not find out about the genocide. What the French government did was that is portrayed the death of the Tutsi as a result of the civil war, even though actually they were caused by the genocide. The French government also argued that intervention was against the norms because it violated the national sovereignty of Rwanda. (Rwanda, 2008) The only manner in which there could be intervention would be if the Rwandan government asked for a peacemaking mission. This argument worked because other states were under the impression that the death toll was caused by the civil war. Also, the previous interventions in Somalia and Bosnia had not been as successful as was planned. Thus since none of the great powers’ national interests were at risk they settled on nonintervention. (Goldstein & Pevehouse, 2008) The rest of the world found eventually discovered, thanks to the media (Snow, 2008), that what the French called war casualties were actually deaths caused by the genocide.
The two cases of conflict were very similar. Both Bosnia and Rwanda were at war, which led to genocide. The difference is that for some set of reasons Bosnia received more global attention and humanitarian intervention took place. In...

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