The Human Rights in Africa Series: Humanitarian Intervention

April 30, 2010

On April 28, 2010, the Legal Studies Department hosted Professor Kithure Kindiki from the University of Nairobi, for a public lecture: “Humanitarian Intervention: African Perspectives”. The lecture, which inaugurated the Human Rights in Africa lecture series, was introduced by Professor Karoly Bard, Pro-Rector, Hungarian and European Union Affairs, CEU/Chair, Human Rights Program, CEU.

Kindiki’s lecture highlighted the importance of incorporating African perspectives and experiences in the global discourse on humanitarian intervention. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and other numerous instances of large scale human rights atrocities that have been committed in Africa at different points in history, make African perspectives particularly attuned to the reality underpinning the legal and policy debates on humanitarian intervention.

The lecture highlighted the nature of humanitarian intervention as an essentially contested legal and political concept, with competing (and often conflicting) understandings clustering around broad/narrow, liberal/classical debates. Kindiki proceeded to explore the controversies surrounding the legality and policy status of humanitarian intervention, the serious legal and political implications of endorsing the doctrine, and the importance of this doctrine in saving populations from internal inability or unwillingness to deal with gross human rights violations and atrocities, in the context of the "Responsibility to Protect Doctrine" and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.


Kithure Kindiki is Associate Dean of the School of Law and Professor of International Law at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, where he has taught for twelve years. He holds a PhD and Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law from the University of Pretoria, and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Moi University in Kenya. He teaches public international law, international criminal law and international economic law. He has over twenty publications on various areas of international law and has been a consultant for United Nations agencies, various intergovernmental organizations, governments and non government and civil society organizations at national and international levels.