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

1
The General Legal Framework Governing the Process of a Delegation by the UN Security Council of its Chapter VII Powers

With the creation of the UN in 1945 it was envisaged that the UN Security Council would play a central role in the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security. To this end, UN Member States agreed in Article 24 of the Charter to confer on the Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.1 The specific powers which the Charter gives the Council to achieve this objective are contained in Chapter VII.2Chapter VII gives the Council certain prerogatives:3 the sole authority to determine when a threat to, or breach of, the peace has occurred;4 the authority to order provisional measures;5 and the authority to order enforcement measures to be taken against a State,6 that is to impose economic and military sanctions against a State or entities within a State.7 It

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1
See further on Article 24 the following commentaries on the Charter: La Charte des Nations Unies, ( Cot J-P., and Pellet A., eds.) ( 1991), p. 447; and The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary ( Simma B., ed.) ( 1994), p. 397.
2
Article 24(2) of the UN Charter.
3
The enforcement powers of the Council are based on broad discretionary findings. In fact at the San Francisco Conference it was deliberately left to the Security Council to decide on a case-by-case basis when to use its enforcement powers: see Doc. 881, 111/3/46, 12 UNCIO Docs. 502, 505 ( 1945).
4
This exclusive authority is contained in Article 39 of the Charter. The travaux preparatoires of Article 39 validates this interpretation: see the statement by the rapporteur of Committee 111/3 that dealt with Article 39, United Nations Conference on International Organization, 12 ( 1945), p. 505. See also Judge Weeramantry in his opinion (dissenting on other points) in the Lockerbie case, Provisional Measures Phase, ICJ Reports ( 1992), p. 66 at p. 176; Cot and Pellet, supra note 1, p. 645; and Simma, supra note 1, p. 608.
5
This authority is contained in Article 40 of the Charter. With respect to Article 40 see the following: Cot and Pellet, supra note 1, p. 667; and Simma, supra note 1, p. 617.
6
The word enforcement as used here has a meaning different from the way in which it is often used in domestic legal systems: it does not necessarily mean action designed to ensure compliance with law. See also Cassesse A., International Law in a Divided World ( 1994), p. 215.
7
The authority to impose economic sanctions is contained in Article 41, and for military sanctions is contained in Article 42. See further on Article 41 the following: Cot and Pellet, supra note 1, P. 691; Simma, supra note 1, p. 621; and Reisman M., and Stevick D., "The Applicability of International Law Standards to United Nations Economic Sanctions Programmes", European Journal of International Law, 9 ( 1998), p. 86. See further on Article 42 the following: Cot and Pellet, supra note 1, p. 705; and Simma, supra note 1, p. 628. On the taking of enforcement action against entities within a State, see infra notes 3-5 and corresponding text in Chapter 5.

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