The UN Security Council and the Rule of Law

United Nations General Assembly Security Council, Doc. A/63/69-S/2008/270, 2008

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-57

34 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2008 Last revised: 1 May 2014

Simon Chesterman

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 7, 2008

Abstract

The UN Security Council is the most powerful multilateral political institution. It has grown well beyond its initial function as a political forum and serves important legal functions. Traditionally, this included determining that a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression had occurred and prescribing specific, legally binding obligations on Member States under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Today it embraces establishing complex regimes to enforce its decisions and passing resolutions of general rather than specific application. These expanded powers can facilitate swift and decisive action, but have raised questions about the legal context within which the Council operates and the extent to which the Council itself adheres to the rule of law.

This report, circulated as a document of the United Nations in all UN languages, draws on a series of meetings convened by New York University School of Law and the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations and are intended to advance debate on the Council's role in strengthening a rules-based international system and maintaining international peace and security under the rule of law.

Keywords: United Nations, Security Council, rule of law, resolutions, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, WMD, counter-proliferation, accountability

Suggested Citation

Chesterman, Simon, The UN Security Council and the Rule of Law (May 7, 2008). United Nations General Assembly Security Council, Doc. A/63/69-S/2008/270, 2008; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-57. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1279849

Simon Chesterman (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

HOME PAGE: www.SimonChesterman.com

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