Just War and the Responsibility to Protect

A Critique

Robin Dunford and Michael Neu


A comprehensive and compelling critique of Just War Theory and Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Despite the disasters of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and ever more visible evidence of the horrors of war, the concepts of ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ and ‘Just War’ enjoy widespread legitimacy and continue to exercise an unshakeable grip on our imaginations.

Robin Dunford and Michael Neu provide a clear and comprehensive critique of both Just War Theory and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, deconstructing the philosophical, moral and political arguments that underpin them. In doing so, they show how proponents of Just War and R2P have tended to treat killing in a way which obscures the complex and often messy reality of war, and pays little heed to the human impact of such conflicts. Going further, they provide answers to such difficult questions as ‘Surely it would have been just for us to intervene in the Rwandan genocide?’

An essential guide to one of the most difficult moral and political issues of our age.

Author Bio

Robin Dunford is a Senior Lecturer in Globalisation and War at the University of Brighton.

Michael Neu is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Politics and Ethics at the University of Brighton.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Catastrophic Failure of Intervention in Libya
  • 2. As the World Burns, We Bathe in the Glory of a New Norm of Protection
  • 3. Zones of Civility and Zones of Barbarism: the Internalist Diagnosis of Mass Atrocity Crimes
  • 4. Everyday Atrocity and Already Existing Intervention
  • 5. Just War and the Responsibility to Protect in a World of Already Existing Intervention
  • Concluding Remarks: Genocide in Rwanda and Civil War in Syria


'Original, timely and well-written. A great addition to the literature and current debates.'
Richard Jackson, University of Otago


Publication Date: 15 August 2019
192 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786991508
Hardback: 9781786991515
eBook ePub: 9781786991539
eBook PDF: 9781786991522
eBook Kindle: 9781786991546

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