The United Nations and the Development of Collective Security: The Delegation by the UN Security Council of Its Chapter VII Powers

By Danesh Sarooshi | Go to book overview

Introduction

Be united, O concourse of the sovereigns of the world, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you, and your peoples find rest. Should any one among you take up arms against another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught but manifest justice.

Bahá'u'lláh, in a Tablet to Queen Victoria, 1867

This book provides a legal analysis of the institutional mechanisms and processes which the United Nations employs to use force to maintain or restore international peace. In so doing it focuses both on the law pertaining to the use of force by the United Nations and on the development of the emerging institutional processes which the United Nations uses to maintain international peace.

The UN Charter constitutes a collective security system which gives the Security Council the primary role to maintain and restore peace and, under Chapter VII, broad powers to achieve these objectives. In the past the vetopower of the Permanent Members of the Council made the exercise of these powers difficult. Therefore there were occasional attempts made, during the Cold War, to achieve these objectives through various techniques such as assignment to another organ,1 delegation of Chapter VII powers to a single State,2 or a delegation of Chapter VII powers to Member States while attempting to retain a modicum of control.3 Since the end of the Cold War the problem presents itself differently. The demands are so great, and the availability of its own military and financial resources so limited, that once again the Security Council is looking for ways to address the problem. The Council has done this by delegating its Chapter VII powers to some States (for example the coalition against Iraq) and by invocation of the regional possibility (a delegation of power to regional arrangements). These delegations of power have been coupled in many cases with a delegation of a power of command and control over such forces to either the UN SecretaryGeneral or a UN subsidiary organ.

The delegation of powers by an organ of an international organization is not new; however, the delineation of the contours of a legal framework that governs such a process is. In the case of a delegation of Chapter VII powers, such a delineation raises a plethora of legal issues. The questions of whether

____________________
1
For example, the Uniting for Peace resolution (GA Res. 377 (V), 3 Nov. 1950) sought to confer on the General Assembly certain powers in the area of international peace and security.
2
See the case of Southern Rhodesia: infra Section II(1) in Chapter 5.
3
See, for example, the case of Korea: infra Section II(2)(b) in Chapter 3 and Section I(1) in Chapter 5.

-1-

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