Civil War between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front: A Challenge to Implement the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine


  • Israel Nyaburi Nyadera Egerton University; Riara University; National Defense University
  • Census O. Osedo Tom Mboya University of Kenya; Mount Kenya University



R2P, Ethiopia, Conflict, Liberalism, Return of war


How does the 2020-2022 civil war in Ethiopia contribute to our understanding of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine? This study seeks to revisit the debate over the effectiveness of the R2P doctrine in the wake of increased intrastate conflicts. The objective is to assess the dilemma that arises with the implementation of R2P when governments are involved in the conflict and the international community is reluctant or unable to intervene. The study adopts the systematic review approach (PRISMA) to identify the shortcomings, trends, and debates around R2P. It uses the Ethiopian civil war to contribute further to the existing body of literature. The paper finds that, indeed, the R2P doctrine is facing serious challenges with its implementation. It shows that when governments fail to acknowledge the other actors as legitimate combatants and instead describe them as terrorist groups, it becomes difficult to uphold the R2P doctrine. The paper also identifies a lack of leadership and coordinated efforts at regional and international levels as contributing factors, which further undermine the effectiveness of R2P. The paper concludes that the Ethiopian civil war exposes serious shortcomings in the R2P doctrine that need to be reviewed and reformed urgently. It proposes the adoption of a systems-thinking approach that can streamline the actors and processes of response during civil wars.

Author Biographies

Israel Nyaburi Nyadera, Egerton University; Riara University; National Defense University

Dr Israel Nyaburi Nyadera teaches International Relations at Egerton University, Riara University and the Joint Command and Staff College, National Defense University-Kenya.

Census O. Osedo, Tom Mboya University of Kenya; Mount Kenya University

Census O. Osedo is a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations at Tom Mboya University of Kenya, where he teaches a variety of educational foundation courses to teacher trainees. He also teaches the same at Mount Kenya University, Kenya.


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How to Cite

Nyadera, I. N. and Osedo, C. O. (2023) “Civil War between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front: A Challenge to Implement the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine”, African Journal on Conflict Resolution, 23(1). doi: 10.17159/ajcr.v23i1.16771.