Propaganda in Favour of Humanitarian Interventions as War Propaganda

The case of the Yugoslav wars

  • Beatrice Cretu Faculty of History, University of Bucharest
Keywords: propaganda, humanitarian intervention, NATO, Yugoslavia, Kosovo


Although the UN Charter (mostly) prohibits the use of force or the threat of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of a state, recent theoretical developments in the field of international relations, such as the emergence of the concept of responsibility to protect (R2P), draw attention to the atrocities committed against populations by their own states and represent a gateway to the justification of international interventions on humanitarian grounds. The legitimacy of such cases is hotly disputed, these operations oftentimes being compared to wars of aggression. This article aims to highlight how the propaganda in favour of the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia exhibits certain features similar to those of war propaganda and whether sharing the same toolkit constitutes sufficient grounds for qualifying as war propaganda.