Anne Orford in Berlin, rethinking R2P: Concluding the Reformation? On peace, protection and political theology

Australian international lawyer Anne Orford will deliver this semester’s Rechtskulturen Lecture on tuesday, 25 april, at Humboldt-University Law School, titled “Concluding the Reformation? On peace, protection and political theology“.

Anne Orford is the Michael D Kirby Professor of International Law at Melbourne Law School. In her recent work, including her much discussed book International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (Cambridge University Press, 2011), she situates the “responsibility to protect” concept in a broad historical and jurisprudential context, demonstrating that the appeal to preotection as the basis for de facto authority has emerged at times of civil war or revolution – the Protestant revolutions of early modern Europe, the bourgeois and communist revolutions of the following centuries, and the revolution that is decolonisation. From Hobbes to the UN, Orford offers a critical inquiry into the contemporary international order. While UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offered an agenda to convert R2P from promise to practise, Orford turns that understanding on its head, by arguing that R2P processed UN deeds from 1945 to 2005 into words.

In her Berlin Rechtskulturen Lecture, Anne Orford will further elaborate on her argument, and trace the origins of the idea that the authority of states and the international community is grounded on the capacity to provide protection back to the political and legal theorists Thomas Hobbes and Carl Schmitt:

In his classic treatise Leviathan, published in 1651, Thomas Hobbes sought to show that in a world fractured by religio...

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