Armed Intervention in States' Sovereignty

by Artur Victoria - Date: 2010-01-26 - Word Count: 540 Share This!

The UN Charter seeks to establish the The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as the supreme body for the regulation of international peace and security with what seems to appear as the sole right to authorize armed intervention.

There are limitations on the right to sanction intervention. 'Domestic' matters are not subject to its jurisdiction. It only has power if there exists a 'threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression'. However, the ambiguities in the meaning of these terms have meant that, in practice, the Security Council has determined the extent of its power. Each time intervention was mandated, the UNSC resolution has recited an alleged threat to international peace -thereby asserting the existence of a fact which gives rise to its jurisdiction. This capacity to extend the right to use a highly coercive power without external review would normally be highly dangerous. However, the existence of five permanent members who generally have different perspectives means that the Council is more likely to be accused of failing to use its power when it should rather than abusing it.

When NATO commenced bombing, there were many assertions that the war was legal. The actual arguments did not feature in the publicity for the war and no senior legal figures with a responsibility for giving independent advice were brought forward.

One of the justifications for intervention without The United Nations Security Council authority was 'veto nullification' -an argument as offensive as it is dangerous. The argument seeks to draw an analogy to 'jury nullification', where a jury refuses to convict because they do not like the law. There is no difficulty with the idea that this is a safeguard against iniquitous laws and that there have been a small number of benign examples of its exercise.

When members of the Security Council decide to go to war, they are not acting like a jury standing up against an unpopular law and protecting the accused from its operation. It is a government refusing to accept the decision of the 'jury' set up to decide. As it is the job of the UNSC to decide and there are rules about what counts as a decision (which are more generous than the unanimous or 10/12 rules), the NATO decision could be likened to half the jury deciding to go out and lynch the accused before the trial because they are sure that they will not get the requisite majority in the jury.

Of course, the instant case does not involve the deliberate killing of just one accused. It extends to the deliberate killing of large numbers of 'enemy' (they are not enemy until the war starts) and large numbers of innocent persons whose deaths are not intended but whose deaths will inevitably result from the action taken.

The essence behind veto nullification and most of the other arguments for not seeking Security Council authorization for the Kosovo action was the claim that the Russian and Chinese would unreasonably veto the humanitarian action proposed by NATO. This is essentially a counter factual argument, as the NATO states have never put a proposal to the UNSC in this regard. NATO might claim that they had private discussions that revealed that Russia and China would veto a reasonable resolution.

Visit the Artur Victoria sites
n Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: