“…the protection of human rights creates a pretext for intervention as given approval by the UN Security Council in the form of the R2P (responsibility to protect) norm, as used in the 2011 Libyan intervention. The same applies with international criminal accountability.”
–Richard A. Falk
The UN authorised NATO to protect civilians from Qaddafi, however, instead of protecting the civilians NATO violated the ideals of R2P by overthrowing the regime.
In 2005 the international community made a global political commitment of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at the 2005 World Summit. The four concerns of the R2P are the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanities. All the members of the United Nations made a commitment as R2P was adopted not to repeat what happened in Rwanda in 1994.
The first time when R2P was used as justification to intervene in a foreign country was in 2011 when NATO intervened in Libya. While the political commitment mentioned earlier strictly prohibits regime change, still NATO toppled the Libyan government of Moammar Qaddafi. Hence, the principle of protecting unarmed civilians was violated.
In case of Libya, R2P failed to achieve the desired purposes, later on, the conflicts that erupted in Syria and Yemen failed to bring a consensus among the global powers on the use of R2P in these countries. The global community is back to square one when in the face of immense human losses in these countries, the world is a mere spectator. And unfortunately, the R2P became another tool in the hands of the global hegemons to secure their interests abroad.