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

Foreword

The collective use of force as a military sanction does not operate in the way originally intended by the United Nations Charter. Article 43 of the Charter contains provisions for all members to undertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement or agreements, forces and facilities necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security. This has not been done. The Cold War made the conclusion of such agreements impossible. And since the end of the Cold War there has not been the political will to return to the original intentions of the Charter.

In the absence of the intended agreements the United Nations has built up instead a peacekeeping capacity, where UN forces enter a territory with the permission of the State concerned and where UN nations volunteer to participate. But sometimes the use of military sanctions has been unavoidable. In 1950 the United Nations authorized action in collective self-defence, under unified command, against North Korea. In resolution 678 ( 1991) the Security Council authorized 'all necessary measures' against Iraq if it did not withdraw from Kuwait by the date specified. This was understood by all concerned to be an authorization of military sanctions to be carried out on the UN's behalf by a coalition of volunteering States.

Before long, under new policies enunciated by Secretary-General Boutros Ghali in Agenda for Peace, NATO was given military tasks in relation to the support of UNPROFOR in Bosnia and then in support of UNCRO in Croatia. It was active in support of the designated safe areas.

At the time of writing, further action has been taken by NATO relating to possible military action in Kosovo, on the basis of a Security Council resolution even less precise in its terms than that authorizing military action by the coalition forces in Iraq.

The constant development of United Nations practice in response to the changing demands of the international situation leads necessarily to the question: what are the limits to institutional creativity? What deviations from what was intended in the Charter are to be regarded as lawful, imaginative adaptations to contemporary needs? And what are to be regarded as going that step too far to be consistent with legality, and as ultra vires?

One cannot begin to answer these important questions without an intellectual framework for ascertaining the permitted parameters of delegation of powers by the Security Council. It is this framework that Dr Sarooshi offers.

The work is not only important but it is pioneering. Never before has the entire corpus of delegated powers within the United Nations been

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