Rebuilding the R2P with BRICS Countries: A Normative Perspective

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-4-5-15
A. Crowley-Vigneau,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, RG9 3AU, United Kingdom.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Wuhan University, 299, Bai Str., Wuhan, Hubei Province, 430072, People’s Republic of China.

Received 11.10.2023. Revised 03.11.2023. Accepted 24.01.2024.

Abstract. At a time when the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) concept continues to be an object of widespread controversy, particularly with BRICS countries openly condemning the way it has been implemented by Western states, the question of the future evolution of the norm remains uncertain. While the constructivist literature initially pointed to the consolidation of the norm which was widely accepted by heads of states during the 2005 World Summit, the application has been criticized by Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) for being Western-led and biased, oriented toward regime-change and reminding the world of a new type of colonial enterprise. BRICS members embraced this perspective, and condemned in unison the Libyan intervention for going beyond the scope of its mandate and occasioning greater harm than it prevented. The authors of this article analyse BRICS perspectives on the “Responsibility to Protect” and seek to understand whether the geopolitical formation could, by unifying and building up on contestation mechanisms, contribute to the renewal and rebuilding of this doctrine, thus ensuring its greater credibility. The qualitative investigation is based on the study of interviews conducted with experts from BRICS and some western countries. The findings indicate that if BRICS member states succeed in adopting a common conceptual perspective, the global acceptance of the “Responsibility to Protect” could increase but that all the new checks and balances advocated by them could lead to delays in interventions to prevent human rights abuses moving forward.

Keywords: Responsibility to Protect, BRICS, decolonization, Rwanda, international norms


1. Hobson C. The Moral Untouchability of the Responsibility to Protect. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 2022, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 368-385. Available at: 

2. Tiwari V.K. An Appraisal of Responsibility to Protect as an Evolving Norm in International Law: A TWAIL Critique. International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, 2022, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1587-1600. Available at: 

3. Hoffmann M.J. Norms and Social Constructivism in International Relations. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies, 2017. Available at: (accessed 29.09.2023).

4. Finnemore M., Sikkink K. International Norm Dynamics and Political Change. International Organization, 1998, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 887-918.

5. Nadelmann E. Global Prohibition Regimes: The Evolution of Norms in International Society. International Organization, 1990, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 479-526.

6. Crowley-Vigneau A., Baykov A., Kalyuzhnova Y. Russian Higher Education under Sanctions: a Constructivist Perspective. Polis. Political Studies, 2022, no. 4, pp. 47-62. (In Russ.) Available at: 

7. Crowley-Vigneau A., Kalyuzhnova Y., Baykov A. World-Class Universities in Russia: a Contested Norm and Its Implementation. Journal of Studies in International Education, 2022, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 539-556. Available at: 

8. McAdam D., McCarthy J.D., Zald M.N., eds. Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996. 426 p.

9. Katzenstein P.J., Keohane R.O., Krasner S.D., eds. Exploration and Contestation in the Study of World Politics. Cambridge, MIT press, 1999. 324 p.

10. Risse T., Ropp S.C., Sikkink K., eds. The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999. 338 p. Available at:

11. Panke D., Petersohn U. Norm Challenges and Norm Death: The Inexplicable? Cooperation and Conflict, 2016, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 3-19.

12. McKeown R. Norm Regress: US Revisionism and the Slow Death of the Torture Norm. International Relations, 2009, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 5-25.

13. Acharya A. How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? International Organization, 2004, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 239-275.

14. Deitelhoff N., Zimmermann L. Things We Lost in the Fire: How Different Types of Contestation Affect the Validity of International Norms. Frankfurt am Main, SSOAR, 2013. 13 p. Available at: (accessed 02.10.2023).

15. Keck M.E., Sikkink K. Activists Beyond Borders, Advocacy Networks in International Politics. New York, Cornel University Press, 1998. 242 p.

16. Powell C. The Role of Transnational Norm Entrepreneurs in the US “War on Terrorism”. Theoretical Inquiries in Law, 2004, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 47-80. Available at: 

17. Risse T., Ropp S.C., Sikkink K., eds. The Persistent Power of Human Rights. From Commitment to Compliance. Cambridge University Press, 2013. 374 p.

18. Scott S.V., Bloomfield A. Norm Entrepreneurs and Antipreneurs: Chalk and Cheese, or Two Faces of the Same Coin? Bloomfield A., Scott S.V., eds. Norm Antipreneurs and the Politics of Resistance to Global Normative Change. New York, Routledge, 2016, pp. 245-264.

19. Ralph J. What Should Be Done? Pragmatic Constructivist Ethics and the Responsibility to Protect. International Organization, 2018, vol. 72, no. 1, pp. 173-203.

20. Welsh J., Thielking C., MacFarlane S.N. The Responsibility to Protect: Assessing the Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. International Journal, 2002, vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 489-512.

21. Šimonovic I. The Responsibility to Protect. United Nations. UN Chronicle, 2016, vol. LIII, no. 4. Available at: (accessed 30.09.2023).

22. Gallagher A.M. A Clash of Responsibilities: Engaging with Realist Critiques of the R2P. Global Responsibility to Protect, 2012, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 334-357.

23. Staunton E., Glanville L. Selling the Responsibility to Protect: The False Novelty but Real Impact of a Norm. International Studies Review, 2022, vol. 24, no. 3, viac014. Available at: 

24. Kagan J.M. The Obligation to Use Force to Stop Acts of Genocide: An Overview of Legal Precedents, Customary Norms, and State Responsibility. San Diego International Law of Journal, 2006, vol. 7, no. 461, pp. 461-489.

25. Dunner T., Staunton E. The Genocide Convention and Cold War Humanitarian Intervention. Bellamy A.J., Dunner T., eds. The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 38-55.

26. Brauman R., Meyran R. Humanitarian Wars? Lies and Brainwashing. London, Hurst & Company, 2019. 120 p.

27. Orford A. International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011. 235 p. Available at: 

28. Goodman R. Humanitarian Intervention and Pretexts for War. American Journal of International Law, 2006, vol. 100, no. 1, pp. 107-141.

29. Finnemore M. Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention. Betts R. K., ed. Conflict after the Cold War. New York, Routledge, 2015, pp. 272-289.

30. Kolmasova S. Global Assemblage of the Responsibility to Protect. Globalizations, 2022, vol. 19, no. 8, pp. 1328-1345.

31. De Franco C., Meyer C.O., Smith K.E. “Living by Example?” The European Union and the Implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 2015, vol. 53, no. 5, pp. 994-1009.

32. Glanville L., Widmaier W. W. R2P and the Benefits of Norm Ambiguity. Hunt C. T., Orchard P., eds. Constructing the Responsibility to Protect. New York, Routledge, 2020, pp. 50-68.

33. Pison Hindawi C. Decolonizing the Responsibility to Protect: On Pervasive Eurocentrism, Southern Agency and Struggles over Universals. Security Dialogue, 2022, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 38-56. DOI: 10.1177/09670106211027801 

34. Clapp J., Swanston L. Doing Away with Plastic Shopping Bags: International Patterns of Norm Emergence and Policy Implementation. Environmental Politics, 2009, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 315-332.

35. Mabera F., Spies Y. How Well Does R2P Travel Beyond the West? Bellamy A. J., Dunne T., eds The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 208-226.

36. Mutua M. What is TWAIL? Lovall E., ed. Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting, 2000, vol. 94, pp. 31-38.

37. Abatan E., Spies Y. African Solutions to African Problems? The AU, R2P and Côte d’Ivoire. South African Journal of International Affairs, 2016, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 21-38.

38. Barnes B.R. Decolonising Research Methodologies: Opportunity and Caution. South African Journal of Psychology, 2018, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 379-387.

39. Bellamy A.J. R2P – Dead or Alive? Brosig M., ed. The Responsibility to Protect – From Evasive to Reluctant Action? The Role of Global Middle Powers. Johannesburg, HSF, ISS, KAS & SAIIA, 2012, pp. 11-28. Available at: (accessed 01.10.2023).

40. Bose S., Thakur R. The UN Secretary-General and the Forgotten Third R2P Responsibility. Global Responsibility to Protect, 2016, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 343-365.

41. Istomin I. How Not to Interfere in Another Country’s Domestic Politics. International Affairs, 2022, vol. 98, no. 5, pp. 1677-1694. Available at:

42. O’Neill J. Building Better Global Economic BRICs. Goldman Sachs Global Economics Paper, 2001, no. 66. Available at: (accessed 01.10.2023).

43. Laïdi Z. The BRICS Against the West? Centre d’études et de Recherches Internationales (CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS). CERI Strategy Paper, 2011, no. 11. Available at: (accessed 07.10.2023).

44. Kirton J., Larionova M. The First Fifteen Years of the BRICS. International Organisations Research Journal, 2022, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 7-30. DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2022-02-01

45. Beeson M., Zeng J. The BRICS and Global Governance: China’s Contradictory Role. Third World Quarterly, 2018, vol. 39, no. 10, pp. 1962-1978.

46. Wang A.. China’s Leadership in BRICS Governance. International Organisations Research Journal, 2022, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 50-85. DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2022-02-03 Available at: (accessed 07.10.2023).

47. Erthal Abdenur A., Folly M. The New Development Bank and the Institutionalization of the BRICS. BRICS – Studies and Documents. Brasília, Fundação Alexandre de Gusmão, 2015, pp. 77-111.

48. Kishor N., Singh R.P. Study of BRICS Stock Return Volatility During and After Subprime Crisis. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2017, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 233-250. Available at: 

49. Erthal Abdenur A. Can the BRICS Cooperate in International Security? International Organisations Research Journal, 2017, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 73-95. DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2017-03-73

50. Garwood-Gowers A. The BRICS and the “Responsibility to Protect”: Lessons from the Libyan and Syrian Crises. Sancin V., Dine M.K., eds. Responsibility to Protect in Theory and Practice: Papers Presented at the Responsibility to Protect in Theory and Practice Conference. Ljubljana, GV Zalozba, 2013, pp. 291-315.

51. Laskaris S., Kreutz J. Rising Powers and the Responsibility to Protect: Will the Norm Survive in the Age of BRICS? Global Affairs, 2015, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 149-158. Available at:

52. Klotz A., Prakash D. Qualitative Methods in International Relations. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. 260 p.

For citation:
A. Crowley-Vigneau, Baykov A., Bunik I., Gao A. Rebuilding the R2P with BRICS Countries: A Normative Perspective. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 4, pp. 5-15. EDN: WZVDPB

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 6
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The “Pivot to Asia”: AUKUS in the Perception of American Politicum
  • The Collapse of the European Collective Security System
  • Public Investment and Sustainability of World Economy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Trends, Proportions and Factors of Development
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.