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Security Council ( Organ of Union Nations) – International Law

Security Council ( Organ of Union Nations)

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 Security Council ( Organ of Union Nations) – The Dumbarton resolutions emphasized the need for an executive organ whose membership was limited and entrusted with the ‘primary responsibility’ of international peace and security. Thereafter, at the San Francisco Conference, it was finally decided to establish the Security Council as a major organ.

The provisions relating to the Security Council are described in Articles 23-32 of the Charter of the United Nations. Which is covered in Chapter-5.

The Security Council is the main organ of the United Nations. Originally it was constituted by (11) members, but in 1965, by amending the charter, its number of members has been increased to (15).

 There are two types of members of the Security Council-

(1) Permanent members and

(2) Temporary members.

 Out of the 15 members, five are permanent members – whose names are mentioned in paragraph 1 of Article 23 of the Charter. These names are – China, France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States of America.

The other 10 members of the Security Council are called non-permanent members. These members are elected by the ‘General Assembly’ for a term of 2 years. Then five members become free after completing the term of 2 years. This method was adopted so that all the non-permanent members are not new.

At the time of the formation of the Security Council, the number of non-permanent members was 6, which was increased to 10 in 1965, the important effect of having 10 members was that before this, the permanent members, exercising the Veto power, prevented the Security Council from taking decisions on any matter. Because earlier 7 votes were required on simple matters. If the five permanent members used to vote in opposition, the Security Council would have been unable to take a decision, but now this is not possible. Because now 9 votes are needed for the decision.A temporary member once relieved of office is not immediately eligible for re-election, it has been said in Article 23(2).

The considerations taken in the election of non-permanent members are the contribution of the members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the fulfillment of the organization’s other objectives, and equitable geographical distribution.

Equitable geographical distribution consists of 5 members from Africa and Asia, 2 members from Latin America and the Caribbean region, 2 members from Western Europe and other states (Canada, Australia, New Zealand) and (1) from Eastern Europe. Each member is a representative at all meetings of the Security Council.

Article 31 of The Charter also provides for ad-hoc membership of the Security Council. This article makes provisions regarding the possibility of a member of a United Nations state who is not a member of the Security Council to take part in the discussions of the Security Council.

Ad-hoc members may take part in the discussions without voting rights on any question brought before the Security Council, if the Security Council believes that the interest of that member is particularly affected.

Requests by members to participate in the deliberations of the Security Council are generally not refused. Perhaps, the only case of disapproval was the Philippines, which wanted to participate in the deliberations of the second round of the Indonesia dispute.

Article 32 provides that a State which is not a member of the United Nations shall be invited to take part in the deliberations of the Security Council, if the State is concerned with that dispute.

 The Security Council elects a President to preside over its meetings.

The President of the Security Council is elected on a monthly basis by a circular method in the English alphabetical order of the names of the members of the Council. Only a member state can be the chairman of the Security Council.

Voting method

The matters decided by the Security Council are divided into two categories – procedural matters and all other matters also known as non-procedural matters for convenience.

 Security Council decisions on procedural matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members.

 Decisions on non-procedural matters are made by the affirmative vote of 9 members, which must include the unanimous vote of the permanent members.

 The United Nations Charter does not make any provision as to which subjects shall be procedural and which shall be non-procedural.

The determination of whether a matter is procedural or non-procedural is made by an affirmative vote of nine members of the Security Council, including a vote of consent of the permanent members.

Absence of a member of the Security Council

According to Article 28(1) of the Charter, a representative of each member of the Security Council is required at all times to be at the principal place of the organization, if a member is absent, his absence shall be deemed to be the primary function of the maintenance of international peace and security. The member’s obligation to perform the responsibility shall be deemed to be breached. But, even if a member is absent from the meeting, the Security Council shall be competent to decide on any matter (procedural and non-procedural).

 In the Namibia case, Justice Nervo held that it is generally held that the absence of a permanent member at a meeting of the Security Council does not preclude him from taking decisions that are valid, if they relate to fundamental questions.

 In the case of ‘abstain from voting’ in the Security Council, the member is present at the meeting of the Security Council, but at the time of voting, he neither votes in favor of, nor against, the decision.

 At present, it has become an established practice that the abstinence of a permanent member from voting does not affect the validity of the resolution. The practice was upheld by the International Court of Justice in the Namibia case even though it was inconsistent.

Veto Power

 Article 27 provides that decisions on non-procedural matters shall be made by the affirmative vote of nine members, in which the permanent members must have concurrency votes. This means that no decision can be taken on such matters if a negative vote is cast by a permanent member. This power of the permanent members is called the power of Veto. The word veto is not used in the United Nations Charter.

On May 11, 1993, Russia used the power of veto for the first time after the end of the Cold War in a matter relating to economic aid to the United Nations Peace keeping Force in Cyprus.

 “Double veto”- The right of injunction can be exercised by the permanent members of the Security Council on two different occasions. First, when the Security Council decides whether a matter is procedural or non-procedural, and second, when the Security Council decides on a non-procedural matter.

 The combined effect of these two is that the Security Council cannot take any decision on procedural matters if it is made a non-procedural subject by exercising the right of prohibition by a permanent member. The exercise of the power of veto on two different occasions is called double veto.

Reconstitution of the security council

 A draft reform plan with two different options for reforming the United Nations was presented by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the General Assembly on March 21, 2005.

 The reform proposal is based on a study of alternatives suggested by the 16-member Blue Ribbon International Committee.

 The reform proposes a choice of two formats for the expansion of the Security Council. Under both the formats, the total number of members of the Security Council will be 24, but no new member will have the right of veto.

 Under the first draft, 6 new permanent members (without veto power) and 3 non-permanent members will be included in the Security Council.

 Under the second draft, it is proposed to provide temporary membership to eight members for four years each and it is proposed to increase the number of permanent members by one.

A 16-member ‘Blue Ribbon International Committee’, headed by former Thailand Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, was set up in September 2003 by Secretary-General Kofi Annan for United Nations Reform, which also included retired Indian General Satish Nambiar.

Security Council ( Organ of Union Nations)

(G-4) Resolution to reform the United Nations

 The G-4 countries (India, Brazil, Germany, Japan) presented a draft resolution for expansion to the United Nations Security Council for discussion in the United Nations General Assembly on 11 July 2005.

 In this resolution, there has been a demand for the inclusion of 10 new members while demanding to increase the number of members of the Security Council from 15 to 25. In which it has been said to give permanent membership to 6, who will not have the right of veto for the next 15 years. India, Brazil, Germany and Japan have formed the Group (G-4) to collectively claim permanent membership in the Security Council with African support.

Security Council ( Organ of Union Nations)

International Law

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