In a post-Modern society, has the notion of sovereignty helped or hindered the development of international laws' protection against acts of genocide?

Essay by kirstin89High School, 12th gradeA, August 2007

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International laws are ideals associated with the balance of power between nations and ethnicities, thus ensuring world cooperation by implementing treaties and protocols to ensure the administration of human rights. However, the transnational divide between religious and cultural values which cause international and domestic conflicts, has, in recent years focused on the failure of sovereignty and its response to acts of genocide.

The notion of sovereignty operates as a global institution with the purpose of facilitating international laws and agreements. Internally, sovereignty conceptualizes a state's ability to act in a manner to achieve the results it desires within the context of its borders by acting without external influence. Hence, sovereignty is a social construct which is subject to manipulation by those in power. Stephen Kraser outlines two main problems with sovereignty, those being: foreign intervention to protect religious, ethnic, and national minorities and international agreements that promote human rights. These issues arise as political tyrants are able to abuse the power of sovereignty, and in the case of acts against humanity such as genocide, the extent to which peace enforcement is distributed by the international community becomes a contested issue.

This act is demonstrated in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 which involved the death of over one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus at the hands of extremist Hutus, who perused violent massacres. This horrific event continued through July, until the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) finally claimed victory over the Hutu extremists. Jay Klinghoffer blames sovereignty on the international community's distance and inaction in Rwanda. The minimal involvement of peace keeping and peace enforcement, as a series of half measures to deter violence in Rwanda was unsubstantial in its nature. Though much to blame for this inaction was the law of sovereignty, claiming the importance of state sovereignty justifies external nation's...