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Limits to the Power of the Security Council - Essay Example

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1. Introduction A state has the right to self-determination, and its people are entitled, through the state, to their exercise their absolute sovereign right to determine how they should be governed. However, the state is also a member of the international community, and therefore must choose to relinquish a part of its sovereign right if it wishes to be an active member of this community…
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Limits to the Power of the Security Council
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Download file to see previous pages The UN’s principal goal is to build on the lessons of the past and create a peaceful and secure environment for the future. To better achieve this, the Security Council was established as one of the two principal political organs of the U.N. Controversies have arisen, described in the following section, on the use of the broad coercive powers of the Council. This paper examines whether limitations exist to the exercise of these powers, and if so, how they work to enable the Security Council to better achieve its objectives. 2. The Power of the Security Council The powers of the Security Council are far reaching, but they are generally confined to the maintenance of international peace and security.1 The powers of the Security Council are conferred upon it by the United Nations in Article 24 of the UN Charter, by virtue of which the Security Council acts on behalf of the Member States of the UN in the discharge of these duties. It is also in Article 24, in paragraph 2, where the first mention is made of the limits to the exercise of its duties. ...
“In any case, neither the text nor the spirit of the Charter conceives of the Security Council as legibus solutus (unbound by law).”2 This contains no assurances, however, that the Security Council’s actions at all times will be within the proper purview of the constitutional provisions; there may be times when questions arise as to whether certain actions exceed the limitations of these powers. The powers granted to the SC for the purpose of fulfilling its duties are explicitly stated in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.3 Chapter VII of the Charter empowers the Security Council to make decisions with far-reaching repercussions and which bind the Member States of the UN.4 And Member-States are bound to comply with its pronouncements: “Whether or not States have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, they are required to fulfill their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and other rules of international law…and they remain responsible for acts attributable to them which are contrary to international law.”5 This makes it all the more important for the Security Council to project itself through its actions as entirely credible and legitimate in its resolutions and decisions. 3. Definition and Composition of the Security Council The Security Council (SC) is a permanent council of the United Nations with the primary (but not exclusive) responsibility of ensuring that peace and security is maintained among the Member-Nations and, in effect, the nations of the world. Its principal task is to determine whether particular events or activities pose a threat to international peace and security. It has the power to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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