Unilateral Action in the Un System

Posted: 12 Sep 2001

See all articles by Ruth Wedgwood

Ruth Wedgwood

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Yale University - Law School


Realization of UN Charter values has required adaptation of its procedures in the face of Cold War politics and conflicts of national self-interest. Security Council machinery has never worked quite as planned. 'Recommendations' for the use of force have substituted when Article 43 agreements were not forthcoming and direct enforcement action was unavailable. 'Abstentions' by permanent members of the Council have been counted as 'concurrences' to allow decisions to go forward. In an era with an expanded account of human rights and human security, it should not surprise us that there is an impetus to permit effective action: in humanitarian emergencies through an expanded reading of Chapter VIII, with new latitude for regional action, and in meeting the dangers of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism through a broader account of Article 51 self-defence and unilateral enforcement of standing Council resolutions.

Suggested Citation

Wedgwood, Ruth, Unilateral Action in the Un System. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=238256

Ruth Wedgwood (Contact Author)

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University ( email )

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Yale University - Law School ( email )

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