Appraisal Of The Security Council As Machinery For The Maintenance Of International Peace And Security Under The Un




    1.1       Background of the Study

During the twentieth century, the human race experienced two world wars. These wars left humanity with some horrifying experiences. Thus, before the expiration of the Second World War, Winston Churchill the former Prime Minister of Britain and Franklin Delano Roosevelt,   the former President of the United States of America, were already in agreement with regard to the formation of an international organization which should be responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Sequel to this, leaders of the United States of America, United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and Nationalist China met in Moscow and Teheran with the intention of the formation of the United Nations. However the United Nations was formed after its Charter was drafted at the San Francisco conference which was held in April – June 1944. This Charter took effect on 24th of October 1945 when the United Nations began its operation. The United Nations was therefore formed to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind”.

In this vein, the Charter of the United Nations (UN) states that one of its purposes is the maintenance of international peace and security. In order to achieve this, the organization was structured to take collective measures so as to prevent and remove threats to the peace and to suppress acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace and to bring about by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes which might lead to a breach of the peace. From the foregoing, there is no doubt that the founding fathers of the organization designed the world body to be a sort of security system.

However, disagreement among the Security Council (hereinafter, the SC) especially the five permanent members vitiated the UN collective security system which has given way to UN peacekeeping missions. Moreover, there are new threats to international peace and security which were not contemplated by the founding fathers of the UN. Thus, extreme violence within a state resulting to some trans-border effects, gross violation of human rights, international terrorism and nuclear proliferation have been considered by the UN as threats to international peace and security.

    1.2       Statement of the Problem

Under the Charter, the SC has the primary responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security. The SC consists of fifteen members. Out of these fifteen members, five are permanent members who enjoy the veto right. The reason for according them such exclusive right is that, since the weight of maintaining international peace and security rests on their shoulders, they must have the final say on how to carry-out this responsibility. Again, by virtue of the veto right, no member will be forced to pursue a course of action which the five permanent members are not in agreement with. Thus, at the formation of the UN, the possibility of a division among the permanent five in the SC was foreseen.7 It is this division that has contributed to the malfunction of the collective security system as designed under the Charter.

Apart from the disagreement among the five permanent members of the Security Council, there are other challenges being faced by the UN in the maintenance of the peace and security. Thus, it is necessary to observe that the range of threats to international peace and security being addressed by the UN are wider than those contemplated by the founders of the organization at Dumbarton Oaks, Yalta and San Francisco in 1945.

    1.3       Objectives of the Research

The objectives of this study are;

  • To determine how far has the UN succeeded in maintaining international peace and security.
  • To ascertain whether the primary responsibility of the SC in the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter implies exclusivity.
  • To analyze what role, if any is given to the other organs of the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • To determine what options are available to the SC upon a determination that there is a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or an act of aggression.
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