Title: The Duty to Protect: How Tort Law Can Inform International Intervention
Speaker: Stephanie Collins (ANU)
Date, Time: 14/09/10, 6.15pm
Location: Old Quad common room
Abstract: When, if ever, do agents have a duty to protect others from harm by third parties? In this paper, I aim to give an account of how tort law protection duties can provide a basis for international intervention duties. I make the following claim: If you agree with protection-duty-conferring judgments of tort law, then you should think that there are duties to protect distant people from genocide and mass killing. The antecedent is supported by tort law’s supposed reflection of the commonsense moral intuitions of the reasonable person on the street. I move from antecedent to consequent by suggesting a normative foundation for tort law’s duties to protect. I find that this foundation can be articulated in a capability-dependency principle, the conditions of which hold between affluent citizenries and sufferers of mass humanitarian crimes.