Abstract

Though increasingly legitimate, humanitarian intervention by the United Nations Security Council is selective and rare. This article illustrates how the increasing legitimacy of human rights norms is changing the meaning of state sovereignty and the purpose of military force at the United Nations. By examining Security Council discourse during debates about Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Darfur, and Libya, the article delineates the conditions under which discourse creates new opportunities for the Security Council to authorize, engage in, and support humanitarian intervention.

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