Security Council Treaty Action
Revue Hellénique de Droit International, Vol. 62, pp. 65-116, 2009
35 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 1, 2010
It is well established that the United Nations can conclude treaties and that the Security Council can instruct the Secretary-General to conclude treaties on the UN’s behalf with States and other international organizations. It is less clear whether and to what extent the Security Council has the power to take other treaty action, i.e. whether it may amend, alter, modify, rewrite or interpret existing treaties, or interfere in any other way in the ordinary treaty-making and treaty-reviewing processes. In recent years, several member States have expressed concern at the Council’s increasing tendency to take treaty action on behalf of the international community. This paper examines the way in which the Security Council has used its powers under the UN Charter to take certain treaty actions. In particular, it asks whether there are any legal limits to the Security Council adapting existing treaties to a particular situation, and whether it can prescribe pre-existing treaty provisions to non-State parties. It also examines the consequences if the Security Council formally endorses a certain treaty, and the role it plays in the enforcement and interpretation of treaties.
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