UN Security Council Practice and Regional Arrangements: Procedure, Legitimacy and International Justice

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When the United Nations Security Council first met in January 1946, it was unable to reach agreement on rules of procedure to govern its operation. Instead, “provisional” rules were adopted in anticipation of further negotiation at a later date. The same provisional rules govern the Council’s work today, but provide only the skeletal framework of its contemporary practice. From the early 1990s, the Council increasingly implemented informal working methods to expedite its decision-making. This paper will critically examine the tension between the procedural practice of the Security Council and international justice, with particular focus on regional arrangements. Herein “international justice” is the concept of criminal culpability and liability for internationally wrongful acts which give rise to individual criminal responsibility.

The Council is unapologetically political but it is also obligated to act ‘in conformity with the principles of justice and international law’ as stipulated in the very first provision of the United Nations Charter. Scholarship to date has largely ignored the procedural context of Security Council decisions, notwithstanding it provides the very structure within which those decisions, and the politics that underpin them, take place. Moving beyond the peace versus justice debate, this work will examine the competing imperatives of international justice and the very modus operandi of the Security Council as it has evolved over time as a matter of custom and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateFeb 2015
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

ID: 169607126