School of Law

Research Student: Heidarali Teimouri

The responsibility to protect and international intervention in Libya in 2011

Photo of Heidarali Teimouri

Responsibility to Protect as an international doctrine was born out of the Report of International Commission of Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2011 into international arena and soon after was endorsed in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. With regard to these documents, to authorise military intervention to stop perpetration of mass atrocity crimes: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, as the main promise of Responsibility to Protect, has become a matter for debate in recent decade, notably after military intervention in Libya in 2011. The military intervention in Libya and Responsibility to Protect ‘came of age’ euphoria generated a surge of optimism in respect of legal application and consolidation of this doctrine. But to be faced with the aftermath of this intervention augurs ill for the fate of this doctrine.

Initially, to shed light on the legality of Responsibility to Protect this thesis begins with an overarching legal analysis of this doctrine and its tension with other well-established principles of international law; note that against this backdrop the legality of military authorization/implementation will be assessed.

In this regard, to illuminate, the way military campaign was conducted, i.e. exclusive consent of Security Council and Libyan opposition to aerial operation and then following the regime change strategy, in reality left the country alone in the hands of tribal avengers, fundamentalists, military adventurers and secessionists with a weak central government. Consequentially, the conflict is still persisting with not having grounds to halt in the near future.  This situation must have been prevented with recourse to military intervention, supposedly.

To analyse, this matter brings to the fore the principal question of this thesis which is: is this protective to have recourse to military intervention when the interveners are not prepared or willing to cope with post-intervention situation? With regard to this question, the thesis investigates whether non-intervention is still best protective legal principle in international law. And finally, regarding the referral of case of Libya to the ICC, the thesis explores the existent clash between international criminal accountability/ending impunity and protection of people from mass atrocity crimes.


At the University of Shahid Beheshti in Iran I studied my BA in Political Science. This was followed by my LLM in Public Law in the same university. In 2010 I went to the Netherlands the University of Groningen and was graduated in International Law and Law of International Organizations. Finally I joined the University of Leeds School of Law in 2013 to do my PhD.


Teimouri H, Protecting while not being responsible: the case of Syria and responsibility to protect, (2015) 19(8) International Journal of Human Rights 1279-1289.    

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

My plan is to remain in academia and continue research in different domains of international law; namely philosophy of international law, international law of use of force, international law of human rights and international terrorism.

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