Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program

Political Studies

Project Advisor 1

Michelle Murray

Abstract/Artist's Statement

How did the contemporary idea of humanitarianism come about? Why has its application been so inconsistent in the post-Cold War era? In the international system one of the most basic and fundamental aspects of statehood is sovereignty. Recently, however, the aspect of sovereignty that centers around the exclusion of external authority structures has changed in a dramatic fashion. As society evolved, the introduction of a formal human rights regime became imbedded in the international system. This has created a compelling dilemma because it involves two competing notions of moral responsibility: the state sovereignty model and the human rights model. The Senior Project explores the historical, legal, and political evolution of both state sovereignty and human rights within the international system. Two case studies of post-Cold War intervention in Africa are then explored: the failure of the international community to intervene during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the successful intervention that brought an end to the second Liberian Civil War in 2003.

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