The thesis discusses the controversy regarding how humanitarian intervention often impacts the sovereignty of a country. The dispute is that humanitarian intervention clearly threatens and challenges sovereignty, non intervention and non use of force principles. On the other hand, some politicians and analysts argue that sovereign states have a responsibility towards their population, thus the question which should be evoked here is whether governments should be allowed to carry out genocide and mass killings without external interference in order to maintain their sovereignty? In addition the thesis discusses the changes that the notion of sovereignty has gone through over the past years. International law and UN charter do not authorize humanitarian intervention unless there is a threat to international peace and security or in self defense against an invader. Even in these situations an authorization from the UN Security Council would be required. So how can we explain and justify "humanitarian intervention". Is Humanitarian intervention dominated by political concerns and strategic interests? In this regards are intervention fair and consistent? (Examples of the 1990's conflicts)

The case study used will be the case of Kosovo, where NATO intervened in the ethnic conflict that occurred in Kosovo between the Belgrade government and Kosovo Albanians. NATO's involvement has set a precedent in the use of force against a sovereign country. The background on the Kosovo's history focusing on the roots of conflict provides us with a better understanding of the reasons for the ethnic conflict. NATO has referred to the military intervention as having a humanitarian aspect in the context of saving the Kosovars from the brutality of the Belgrade forces and also their role in delivering humanitarian aid. Having said the above, the question remains whether NA TO' s intervention satisfies the principles of ''just war" tradition? Are human rights, self determination and democracy solid grounds for waging a war against a sovereign state? Should the NATO have been silent against the atrocities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in respect to the customary international law, and the Security Council? Does the Security Council has any responsibility in protecting the world populations and in ensuring international peace and security? Another important aspect to consider is the implications of the NATO's air strikes on the world order. Was NATO's intervention legal, and was it moral? Based on the above explanation a new framework of military intervention was introduced to the world which also encompasses humanitarian aspects. This leads to the necessity of examining the principles of Humanitarian aid, in order to determine whether the aid delivered in Kosovo was consistent with the principles of humanitarian aid considering that NATO was a warring party.

Therefore I will also discuss briefly the role of humanitarian aid agencies m providing aid and how it can be improved.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Pandeli Glavanis

Committee Member 1

Pandeli Glavanis

Committee Member 2

Ivan Ivekovic

Committee Member 3

Ibrahim El Nur

Document Type



131 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Humanitarian intervention

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



The American University in Cairo grants authors of theses and dissertations a maximum embargo period of two years from the date of submission, upon request. After the embargo elapses, these documents are made available publicly. If you are the author of this thesis or dissertation, and would like to request an exceptional extension of the embargo period, please write to thesisadmin@aucegypt.edu

Call Number

Thesis 2004/73