The International Committee for Humanitarian Intervention (ICHI) was founded in December 2004 to call for the protection of people who cannot defend themselves, in cases when military means are absolutely necessary to save and protect them. We find it unacceptable that defenceless people are massacred, tortured, repressed and treated inhumanely, like recently in places like Sudan (Darfur), Syria and Myanmar (Rohingya) – or wherever and whenever. We thus support military interventions to prevent, halt or at least curtail the gravest crimes that can occur both in war- and peacetime:
- mass murder, including genocide
- other war crimes
- aggression of states against other states (particularly when the attacked state needs help and the aggressor commits most or all atrocities).
- other kinds of extreme injustice like terrorism against civilians (also by states), slavery, ethnic cleansing, largescale mistreatment, torture and rape
- other crimes against humanity
We believe that for humanitarian intervention, the following actors can operate alone or in combination:
1: the United Nations and/or other international organisations that (may) represent a global consensus, like the European Union and the African Union;
2: NATO or other (regional) security organisations with military capacities;
3: one state or loose coalition of willing states; and
4: one or more non-state organisations consisting of volunteers, rebels and/or professional, accredited and accountable mercenaries.
We prefer intervention by or with approval from the UN, yet in principle we keep the option open to publicly support interventions by aforementioned actors 2 and/or 3 or even 4 if the UN and/or other international or regional organisations are not willing to intervene. We are thus of the opinion that humanitarian interventions without a mandate from the UN Security Council can be morally legitimate.
In each relevant case ICHI will assess whether, when and how intervention would be necessary according to us, and when it is:
- truly based on humanitarian purposes and is not misused for other ends;
- grounded on facts i.e. on correct and verifiable information – thus there must exist a genuinely threatening situation against defenceless people;
- decent and proportional in its use of violence and must be directed solely at combatants, all this according to the letter and spirit of international humanitarian law on warfare; and
- timely, forceful and focused, while being prepared and carried out wisely. The committee disapprove of symbolic interventions that are too little and too late, and save little if any lives.The committee seeks to realise its goals and principles through urgent letters, petitions, declarations, demonstrations, public forums and through other public activities and lobbying initiatives aimed at national governments, ministries and parliaments, and institutions like the European Parliament and the General Assembly of the United Nations.
1] See esp. International Criminal Court (ICC) Rome Statute, Artt.5-8.
The committee seeks to realize its goals and principles through urgent letters, petitions, declarations, demonstrations, public forums and through other public activities and lobbying initiatives at national governments, ministries and parliaments, and institutions like the European Parliament.
We also participate, out of solidarity or interest in the issues concerned, in other activities, like the yearly Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague, the Netherlands, on the 11th of July, organized amongst others by the Political Committee Stari Most (PCSM; see www.starimost.nl; www.srebrenica-herdenking.nl) until its disbandment in Summer 2017. Since then, ICHI has taken over some of PCSM’s tasks at the yearly Srebrenica commemoration.
Thus we also seek to foster an altruistic tradition within the societies and armed forces of especially democratic and free countries, so that humanitarian intervention becomes an integral part of their moral mindsets and foreign policies.