The emerging discourse on human security is challenging the legal and political dichotomy between national and international security. While these concepts focus on States’ interests and needs, the contemporary policy debate on human security focuses on people’s interests and needs in the course of their daily lives. The international discourse on the human security framework started with the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty Report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) (ICISS, 2001) and several implementing reports of the UN Secretary-General, including the latest adopted on 11 July 2014 by the United Nations General Assembly, have eventually shaped the concept (UNGA, July 2014). The paper embraces the responsibility to react to situations of serious harm for a population (one of the three basic elements of the R2P concept) and, in particular, the right to adopt a military intervention for halting gross and systematic violations of human rights in the Libyan War of 2011. During the war, the European Union (EU), together with the Security Council and the NATO, made some elusive remarks to R2P and human security concepts, but as legal rationale for its Member States’ military participation to NATO operations the EU invoked the different «humanitarian intervention» theoretical framework. Yet, the reality on the ground belied the «humanitarian intervention» legal rationale because military operations blatantly disregarded limits, scope and purposes of this kind of intervention. Looking more carefully at EU’s substantial practice in the course of the Libyan crisis (i.e., EU Institutions’ statements and Member States’ military actions), a different kind of political discourse on intervention in domestic affairs was actually revealed, that is to say a «democratic», not simply «humanitarian», intervention whose political goal is to change authoritarian regimes and install new democracies by means of robust military operations to be conducted alongside the armed organized groups fighting against Governments of autocratic States. The paper will prove that in the Libyan case the EU did not invoke, implement, and pursue R2P and human security concepts and, therefore, the EU practice did not help in making legally binding at international level the political discourse on these two concepts. In fact: 1) the EU did not expressly and formally invoke the R2P/human security as legal rationale for EU Member States’ participation to NATO military operations; 2) even if the humanitarian intervention is part of the wider concept of R2P and notwithstanding it was formally invoked by the EU, the subsequent foreign military operations disregarded its limits, scope and purposes; 3) the EU actually pursued a different objective (regime change by supporting insurgents) that it is expressly prohibited by the political discourse on R2P and human security.
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