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

2
The Delegation of Powers to the UN Secretary-General

The Security Council may possess the competence to delegate its Chapter VII powers to the other UN principal organs. However, in practice the Council has mostly delegated such powers to the UN SecretaryGeneral (hereafter in this Chapter, 'SG').1 It is, accordingly, the legal issues which arise from a delegation of Chapter VII powers by the Council to the SG which is the focus of this Chapter. As such, it is beyond the scope of our present enquiry to examine the full contribution of the SG to the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security.2

There are three main reasons why the Security Council may decide to delegate its Chapter Vll powers to the SG.3 First, where the members of the Security Council consider that a situation requiring the use of Chapter VII

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1
'This approach of the SG constituting, for operational purposes, the Secretariat has some support: see UNJYB ( 1982), p. 190; and Kelsen H., The Law of the United Nations ( 1951), p. 136.
2
It suffices to note, in this regard, that the SG may operate at the following three different levels when acting to maintain or restore international peace and security: as a UN principal organ who is available, for example, to be used for his good offices or exercizing his rights under Article 99 of the Charter; exercizing delegated functions; and exercizing delegated powers: see Repertory of Practice of UN Organs, Supplement No. 1 ( 1958), p. 379. See more generally on the SG: Schwebel S., The Secretary-General of the United Nations ( 1952); Meron T. , "Status and Independence of the International Civil Service", Hague Recueil des Cours, 167 ( 1980-II), p. 285; Franck T., "The Role and Future Prospects of the Secretary-General of the United Nations", in The Adaptation of Structures and Methods at the United Nations ( Bardonnet D., ed.) ( 1986), First Part Chapter 2; Szasz P., "The Role of the UN SecretaryGeneral: Some Legal Aspects", New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, 24 ( 1991-2), p. 161; Gordenker L., The United Nations Secretary-General and the Maintenance of International Peace ( 1967); Alexandrowicz C., "The Secretary-General of the United Nations", ICLQ, 11 ( 1962), p. 1109; and Elaraby N., "The Office of the Secretary-General and the Maintenance of International Peace and Security", Revue Egyptienne du Droit International, 42 ( 1986), p. 1.
3
Whether it is the SG who has procured a delegation of Chapter VII powers or whether the Council has at its own initiative decided to delegate such powers is not the subject of this Chapter. Suffice to note, however, that Franck considers that the SG may 'solicit broad delegations of authority from the political organs'. ( Franck T., "Finding a Voice: How the Secretary-General Makes Himself Heard in the Councils of the United Nations", in Essays in Honour of Judge Manfred Lachs ( Makarczyck J., ed.) ( 1984), p. 481. A reason for such a procurement of a delegation of powers may well be that the potentialities of the SG are limited when the Security Council is not ready to exercize its full constitutional authority: see Avakov V. , "The Secretary-General in the Afghanistan Conflict, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Gulf Crisis", in The Challenging Role of the UN Secretary-General ( Rivlin B., and Gordenker L., eds.) ( 1993), p. 152 at pp. 164-5.

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