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C. S. R. Murthy

C. S. R. Murthy is a professor of international organisation in the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has authored and/or edited four books, and has written nearly 50 book chapters and research papers on international conflicts; security, peacekeeping a...
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India’s approach to the protection of civilians in armed conflicts

C. S. R. Murthy, 15 November 2012

India’s approach to the issue of protecting civilians during armed conflicts is built on legal, ethical, political and policy considerations. India condemns the use of oppressive violence in armed conflicts, regardless of who commits it, and holds that the protection of civilians should be in conformity with international law and the principle of sovereign equality. Accordingly, it views demands for automatic access to civilians as a violation of both the Fourth Geneva Convention and the principle of the sovereignty of states.

India believes that the trigger for the invocation of R2P should be mass atrocities. However, there is no agreement on what constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a policy guideline, India suggests that any action by the international community and the UN Security Council must be pragmatic and proportional to the threat to civilians, and should be based on credible and verifiable information.

While critical of the NATO air strikes against Libya in 2011 that resulted in civilian casualties, India pleads for adequate procedures to ensure that those who act in the name of the Security Council should be accountable for their actions. It attributes UN peacekeepers’ failure to protect civilians to lack of resources and non-co-operation from the parties concerned.

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