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

Concluding Remarks

The aim of any collective security system is to preserve, and ensure the observance of, certain community defined values. The determination of what are these community values in the case of the United Nations-what constitutes a threat to, or breach of, international peace -- and what is the appropriate measure to maintain or restore peace has been left to the Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter. This situation is justifiable since it was envisaged that the Security Council, acting within its designated institutional competence, would be acting as the 'delegate' of the international community of States. It was envisaged that in determining and enforcing community values the designated institutional competence of the Council would be such that any action taken would, in general terms, be directed primarily at the attainment of the interests of the international community and not that of individual State actors. The danger with the delegation of Chapter VII powers by the Security Council is that the interests of States -- that take up a delegation of powers directly or which seek to influence a UN organ in the exercize of delegated power -- may not converge with the most effective way to achieve the community defined values at best and at worst may even conflict with the attainment of such an objective. This is where application of the legal framework governing the process of delegation of Chapter VII powers is of primary importance. The role of law here is to prescribe the limits which regulate the delegation and exercize of these powers to ensure that the community defined goal is achieved. In particular, we recall the limitations pertaining to the UN Secretary-General, UN subsidiary organs, UN Member States, and regional arrangements. However, this does not mean per se that the legal framework governing such delegations is antithetical to the attainment by States of their self-interest. Indeed, the normative effect of the operation of this process may lead to the development of States' perception as to what constitutes their self-interest: so that States conceive of their interest, in part, as being the attainment of the interests of the whole. It is this evolution in perception by States of what constitutes their self-interest that may well prove to be the most effective guarantor of international peace and security. The practice of the Council delegating Chapter VII powers has allowed expression to be given to this notion, and may well be the greatest contribution of this process to the future maintenance of international peace and security.

However, a word of caution is required. In developing the possibilities under the Charter to the very limit, care should be taken as one day the political consensus that currently exists with regard to the way in which

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