Analysing the significance of moral, political and legal narratives in the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201712185919
Title: Analysing the significance of moral, political and legal narratives in the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999
Author: Lestelin, Jasmin
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Oikeustieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Helsingfors universitet, Juridiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2017
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201712185919
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/229725
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Kansainvälinen oikeus
International law
Folkrätt
Abstract: Humanitarian Intervention is a widely-debated doctrine of international law that is seen to be between law and non-law. It also touches upon principles of international law such as human rights, sovereignty and justice. It has invoked moral and ethical debates. This grey area of law has arguably produced moral, political and legal narratives about humanitarian intervention. These narratives can be seen in the context of the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999. This was a significant case of humanitarian intervention in the 1990s as it involved the use of force by a group of states without the UNSC’s authorisation for the action. This thesis will set out the dominant moral, political and legal narratives produced in the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999. These different narratives are set out and analysed in chapters divided into moral, political and legal narratives on humanitarian intervention. These narratives will be identified from various discourse and texts of political actors, international lawyers, international institutions and scholars. The narratives will be analysed in terms of their effect and significance. Also, the issues and shortcomings of these storylines will be considered. It will be argued that these stories contributed to our constant fascination and resort to the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. Moral storylines were the most dominant in the Kosovo intervention. Moral and ethical reasoning was predominantly employed to support the intervention. Also, political narratives were important in justifying the humanitarian intervention in Kosovo. Therefore, legal arguments had less prominence in justifying the humanitarian intervention. As such, international lawyers and political actors turned to politics and morality instead of the law when justifying the humanitarian intervention in Kosovo. These moral, political and legal narratives produced by humanitarian intervention in Kosovo are complex and competing storylines. However, these stories are all linked and together produce an overarching storyline about humanitarian intervention. This overarching storyline is that humanitarian intervention is by an international community protecting the key values of human rights, morality, justice and peace. This action is vital and needed and the international community has a duty to intervene in these serious human rights violations that are the concern of all states. This overarching story can be seen to benefit the Western states who invoke this doctrine of humanitarian intervention. They are the states with the power and resources to undertake these humanitarian interventions in a humanitarian crisis in another state. Furthermore, the values that such storylines benefit are those of human rights, justice, peace and morality. These values are invoked throughout the different storylines. However, these values are defined by the Western international lawyers and political actors who adopt these narratives on intervention. Therefore, the stories arguably benefit Western values and ideals. As a result, the stories can be seen to elevate the West’s interests over other states. There is value in drawing this complex story about humanitarian intervention in Kosovo as it shows the significance of these narratives. These narratives are significant as they can be seen to present a desirable and favourable story about humanitarian intervention. So, one perspective on the significance of these narratives is that they make humanitarian intervention appear desirable. The narratives are also significant as they demonstrate how we think and speak about international law and how these stories contributed to the fascination and resort to the doctrine of humanitarian intervention by states. Furthermore, they show how we view international law and its limits. Also, they demonstrate how the actors who told such stories were relevant and created themselves a role to play in these humanitarian interventions. However, these narratives about humanitarian intervention only present a certain limited and favourable story about humanitarian intervention in Kosovo. These narratives have issues and shortcomings which are important to understand. Moral reasoning was dominant in the narratives on intervention, as such the narratives demonstrate the dangers of moral reasoning about the law. The stories are also employed by Western international lawyers and political actors and it is the powerful Western states who invoked this doctrine of humanitarian intervention. Therefore, the narratives highlight the issues of power politics and hegemonic politics involved in humanitarian intervention.


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