Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter


Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council's powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and to take military and nonmilitary action to "restore international peace and security".

Chapter VII also gives the Military Staff Committee responsibility for strategic coordination of forces placed at the disposal of the UN Security Council. It is made up of the chiefs of staff of the five permanent members of the Council.

The UN Charter's prohibition of member states of the UN attacking other UN member states is central to the purpose for which the UN was founded in the wake of the destruction of World War II: to prevent war. This overriding concern is also reflected in the Nuremberg Trials' concept of a crime against peace "starting or waging a war against the territorial integrity, political independence or sovereignty of a state, or in violation of international treaties or agreements..." (crime against peace), which was held to be the crime that makes all war crimes possible.

Contents

Historical background

The United Nations was established after World War II and the ultimate failure of diplomacy despite the existence of the League of Nations in the years between the First and Second World War. The Security Council was thus granted broad powers through Chapter VII as a reaction to the failure of the League.[1] These broad powers allow it to enjoy greater power than any other international organ in history. It can be argued that the strong executive powers granted to it give it the role of 'executive of the international community'[2] or even of an 'international government'.[1][3]

The covenant of the League of Nations provided, for the first time in history, enforcement of international responsibilities (i.e. adhering to the Covenant of the League of Nations) through economic and military sanctions. Member states were also obliged, even without prior decision by the council to take action against states that acted unlawfully in the eyes of the League's Covenant.[4] This meant that the peace process was largely dependent on the willingness of member states, because the Covenant of the League of Nations did not provide binding decisions; The Council of the League was only responsible for recommending military force. As well as this, Article 11 paragraph 1 of the Covenant states

(in the event of war or threat of war the League should) take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations.

This can be seen as an authorization of the use of force and other enforcement measures, however, states repeatedly insisted that this did not make decisions by the League binding.[1][5]

This resulted in an unprecedented will by both the powers at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and the states present at the San Francisco Conference to submit to a central organ like that of the Security Council. Despite long debate over whether the General Assembly should also have power over decisions made by the Security Council, it was eventually decided by a large majority vote[6] that the Security Council should maintain its executive power because, as the major powers emphasized, a strong executive organ would be needed for the maintenance of world peace. This emphasis was advocated in particular by the Chinese representative, recalling the powerlessness of the League during the Manchuria Crisis.[1][7]

Article 42

Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

This article cemented the legality of the Korean War, which was approved by the UN Security Council.

Article 51

Article 51 provides for the right of countries to engage in self-defence, including collective self-defence, against an armed attack.

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

This article has been cited by the United States as support for the legality of the Vietnam War. According to that argument, "although South Vietnam is not an independent sovereign State or a member of the United Nations, it nevertheless enjoys the right of self-defense, and the United States is entitled to participate in its collective defense".[8] Article 51 has been described as difficult to adjudicate with any certainty in real-life situations.[9]

Chapter VII Resolutions

Most Chapter VII resolutions (1) determine the existence of a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression in accordance with Article 39, and (2) make a decision explicitly under Chapter VII. However, not all resolutions are that explicit, there is disagreement about the Chapter VII status of a small number of resolutions. As a reaction to this ambiguity, a formal definition of Chapter VII resolutions has recently been proposed:


"A Security Council Resolution is considered to be 'a Chapter VII resolution' if it makes an explicit determination that the situation under consideration constitutes a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression, and/or explicitly or implicitly states that the Council is acting under Chapter VII in the adoption of some or all operative paragraphs."[10]


Chapter VII resolutions are very rarely isolated measures. Often the first response to a crisis is a resolution demanding the crisis be ended. This is only later followed by an actual Chapter VII resolution detailing the measures required to secure compliance with the first resolution. Sometimes dozens of resolutions are passed in subsequent years to modify and extend the mandate of the first Chapter VII resolution as the situation evolves.[11]

The list of Chapter VII interventions includes:[1]


See also Timeline of United Nations peacekeeping missions, some of which were created under the authority of Chapter VI rather than VII

References

  1. ^ a b c d Krisch, Nico, and Frowein. The Charter Of The United Nations - A Commentary. New York, NY: C.H. Beck Verlag, 2002.
  2. ^ Dupuy,P.-M.,'the Constitutional Dimension of the Charter of the United Nations Revisited',Max Planck UNYB 1 (1997), pp.21-4.
  3. ^ Morgenthau, H., Politics among nations (1948), p.380.
  4. ^ Schükling, W./Wehberg, H., Die Satzung des Völkerbundes (2nd edn., 1924), Art. 16, pp. 623-7; Ruzié, pp. 63-5; Cavaré RGDIP, p. 650.
  5. ^ Schückling/Wehberg, supra, fn. 3, p. 469; Yepes, J.M./da Silva, P. Commentaire théorique et pratique du Pacte de la Société des Nations et des statuts de l'Union Panaméricaine, ii (1935), Art. XI, pp. 9, 41-5.
  6. ^ Commn. III, Cttee. C, Session of May 15, 1945, UNCIO XII, pp. 325-7, Doc. 355 III/3/17: the proposal of New Zealand with 22:4 votes, of Mexico with 23:7, and of Egypt with 18:12
  7. ^ cf. Commn. III, Cttee. 3, Session of May 14 1945, UNCIO XII, pp.316-17, Doc. 320 III/3/15.
  8. ^ War Crimes Law And The Vietnam War, Benjamin B. Ferencz, The American University Law Review, Volume 17, Number 3, June 1968.
  9. ^ Glennon, Michael J. (2001-2002), Fog of Law: Self-Defense, Inherence, and Incoherence in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, The, 25, Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y, pp. 539, http://heinonlinebackup.com/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/hjlpp25&section=32 
  10. ^ Johansson, Patrik. The Humdrum Use of Ultimate Authority: Defining and Analysing Chapter VII Resolutions, Nordic Journal of International Law 78:3 (2009), pp. 309-342. An appendix lists all Chapter VII resolutions 1946-2008.
  11. ^ Johansson, Patrik (21 September 2005). "UN Security Council Chapter VII resolutions, 1946-2002 - An Inventory" (PDF). Uppsala: Department of Peace and Conflict Research. http://www.pcr.uu.se/publications/UCDP_pub/Chapter%20VII%20Resolutions_050921.pdf. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chapter I of the United Nations Charter — lays out the purposes and principles of the United Nations organization. These principles include the equality and self determination of nations and the obligation of member countries to obey the Charter, to cooperate with the UN Security Council …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter — deals with peaceful settlement of disputes. It requires countries with disputes that could lead to war to first of all try to seek solutions through peaceful methods such as negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial… …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter — contains the Charter s provisions dealing with the UN General Assembly, specifically its composition, functions, powers, voting, and procedures. Contents 1 Primacy of the General Assembly 2 Articles 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 3 Article 17 …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter II of the United Nations Charter — deals with membership of the United Nations organization. Membership is open to the original signatories and all other peace loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter III of the United Nations Charter — summarizes the principal organs of the United Nations. They are listed in the same order as the chapters detailing their composition, functions, and powers appear in the Charter. The placement of the General Assembly first in the list probably is …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter IX of the United Nations Charter — deals with international economic and social cooperation. Article 55 reflects the philosophy of the UN that efforts should be made to impact the root causes of war: With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well being which are… …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter XVI of the United Nations Charter — contains miscellaneous provisions prohibiting secret treaties, establishing the UN Charter as supreme over any other treaties, and providing for privileges and immunities of UN officials and representatives. Contents 1 Article 102 2 Article 103 3 …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter V of the United Nations Charter — contains provisions establishing the United Nations Security Council. Article 23 establishes the composition of the Security Council, with five permanent members (the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter — deals with regional arrangements. It authorizes regional organizations (such as NATO) and even requires attempts to resolve disputes through such agencies (if available) prior to intervention by the UN Security Council. However, Article 53… …   Wikipedia

  • Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter — deals with the UN Secretariat. It designates the UN Secretary General as the chief administrative officer of the organization, which includes the staff of ECOSOC, the Trusteeship Council, and other organs. Similarly to how the US Constitution… …   Wikipedia