The Resolutions on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict and the Accountability of the Security Council
21 Pages Posted: 12 May 2017
Date Written: May 12, 2017
This article analyses the thematic resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (the ‘humanitarian resolutions’) with a view to assessing how their adoption has altered the concept of humanitarian intervention. The article provides an overview of the content of the humanitarian resolutions, it examines possible circumstances in which they may activate the system of collective security and act as a constraint to Security Council (SC) action. By using the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh as a case study, the article evaluates how states can activate the General Assembly in its role of collective security actor to overcome an unjustifiable SC inaction when there is a genuine threat to the peace stemming from humanitarian concerns. The argument put forward is that although the humanitarian resolutions do not limit the discretionary powers of the SC, they are able to generate an indirect form of political accountability of the SC for failure to make an Article 39 determination.
Keywords: protection of civilians, armed conflicts, humanitarian resolutions, humanitarian intervention, UN, Security Council, Nagorno-Karabah, General Assembly
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