Operationalising the Preventive Aspects of the Responsibility to Protect
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- NUPI Report 
The report is underpinned by two working hypotheses. The first is that prevention is better than cure. Prevention is cheaper in all respects, almost always easier, and morally more defensible. This argument is particularly strong when it comes to the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, which is the scope of the responsibility to protect (R2P). The second hypothesis is that in order for R2P to maintain its political clout, it is crucial that it is not invoked inappropriately. There is a tension between these two hypotheses, which is linked to the multifaceted character and time perspective of preventive action. The report suggests a solution that seeks to maintain the primacy of prevention while at the same time safeguarding the integrity and political utility ofR2P. There is a strong case for prioritising prevention in the context ofR2P. The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) defined the responsibility to prevent as one of R2P’s three constitutive elements, arguing that it was ‘the single most important dimension’. In this way it sought to alleviate fears that humanitarian action may be used with neo-imperialist or neo- colonialist motives. In today’s international political climate, with the renewed support for absolute state sovereignty in the wake of the Afghanistan and Iraq in vasions, the preventive component of R2P is even more important. It may also constitute a practical necessity due to the current overstretch of troops and resources and the assumed difficulty of achieving a Se curity Council mandate for more coercive action.