A Universal System of Collective Security Based on the Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary on Article 2(6) UN Charter
Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No. 1/2011
39 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 20, 2011
It is not only the acts of States, whether members of the UN or not, which may give rise to threats to international peace and security. The actions of non-State actors such as regional governmental organizations, national liberation movements, rebel groups and terrorist organizations may equally affect or endanger international peace and security. A system of collective security, as envisaged by the UN Charter, thus cannot operate successfully without embracing all sources of threats to the peace, irrespective of whether they originate from within the UN membership or from outside. The paper demonstrates that Art 2(6) of the UN Charter with its limited scope of application does not allow the UN to adequately address threats to international peace and security from outside the Organization. It has therefore been superseded by a customary international law based universal system of collective security which is based upon the relevant Charter provisions but does not derive its legal force from the Charter as a treaty. This universal, that is, generally applicable system of collective security goes beyond a general obligation incumbent upon all international actors not to conduct themselves in a way that constitutes a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. It rather subjects all relevant international actors to the authority of the UN, and in particular the SC, with regard to measures necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Keywords: public international law, United Nations, Security Council, collective security, Article 2(6) UN Charter
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