• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept has emerged in recent years to take a central place in international deliberations about how to best ensure the protection of populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. While the concept was unanimously endorsed by states at the UN World Summit in 2005, it has not always been consistently implemented and populations continue to suffer from atrocity crimes in various parts of the world. This course seeks a deep understanding of the R2P concept, critically examining questions about the history, ethics, law, and politics of R2P and studying key cases of the threat or perpetration of mass atrocities from the last decade. It reaches beyond well-known debates about military intervention to grapple with the complexities of non-coercive as well as coercive means of protecting populations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. To develop a critical understanding of the historical antecedents of R2P and its rapid development in recent years.
  2. To critically evaluate the contemporary ethics, law, and politics of R2P.  
  3. To understand the future directions of R2P in a changing world.
  4. To develop skills in writing and speaking to different audiences on the politics, law, and ethics of efforts to prevent mass atrocities.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Case Study, 40%. 2000 words
  2. Policy Brief, 20%. 1000 words
  3. Research Essay, 40%. 2000 words

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There will be a 2 hour seminar and 6 hours of independent study each week for 12 weeks. 

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Alex J. Bellamy, The Responsibility to Protect: A Defense (Oxford 2014)
Luke Glanville, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect: A New History (Chicago 2014)

Assumed Knowledge

Understanding of basic concepts of International Relations.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

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Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

There are no current offerings for this course.

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