Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

Security Council 2018

Photo/ICJ/Jeroen Bouman A view of the Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, 2005.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The Security Council should act on behalf of the entire United Nations membership rather than prioritizing their own national interests, or those of close allies, international court judges said on Thursday, as the 15-member body debated how to effectively counter numerous threats to world peace.

“Against a backdrop of grave threats and growing turmoil in many regions, the unity of this body and the serious commitment of the entire international community will be crucial in preventing human suffering and defending our common humanity,” declared Maria Luiza Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, delivering a statement on behalf of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres.

She noted that the UN Charter does not rule out using any specific means of settling international disputes, leaving Member States free to choose from a range of different tools; including negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, presides over a Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security as Maria Luiza Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, delivers a statement on behalf of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres on 17 May 2018.

Therefore, the Council could adopt a more open-minded approach, such as recommending that States settle disputes through special settlement mechanisms; a power it has rarely employed.

Where States agree to use the International Court of Justice, the Council should ensure that its judgment is properly observed, she said, calling on Member States to consider accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.

“International law is foundational to this Organization and the Security Council has a special role to play in ensuring that it is respected”, she said.

Also briefing the Council was Hisashi Owada, Senior Judge and President Emeritus of the International Court of Justice, who said that the crucial question is how the Council and the Court should work together to resolve disputes.

UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Hisashi Owada, Senior Judge and President Emeritus of the International Court of Justice, addresses the Security Council during a debate on the maintenance of international peace and security on 17 May 2018.

The Court’s legal opinion has helped to inform the Council on choosing a means of resolving disputes, as was the case in 1970, with legal resolution of South Africa’s continued presence in Namibia.

He said that the Council could seek the legal opinion of the Court on issues that often are at the root of the conflict; as it did following the Balkan wars of the 1990s, which led to the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

To strengthen cooperation between the two bodies, he said, the Council could use its discretionary power more often to refer legal disputes to the Court, and consider making more use of the Court’s legal advisory function.

He noted that 15 of the 26 requests for advisory opinions came from the General Assembly, and the Council has sought out the Court only on a limited number of cases, such as Israel’s construction of a border fence in 2000 and Kosovo’s declaration of independence, in 2008.

International courts were never designed to try any more than a small number of alleged perpetrators…officials in national jurisdictions must take on the lion’s share of this work – Judge Theodor Meron

Theodor Meron, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, said that international criminal justice “is still very much in its infancy, and it is in a highly vulnerable stage of development at present.”

“International courts were never designed to try any more than a small number of alleged perpetrators,” he said, and officials in national jurisdictions must take on “the lion’s share of this work.”

Mr. Meron suggested the Council develop and adopt objective criteria to assess all credible allegations of international crimes, and serve the interests of the UN membership as a whole, rather than prioritizing their own interests or those of their strategic allies.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Theodor Meron, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, addresses the Security Council during a debate on the maintenance of international peace and security on 17 May 2018.

He also encouraged the Council to simply refer possible violations of international law to appropriate judicial actors for further action, rather than being a gate-keeper and “risking becoming stymied in debates about whether or not egregious atrocities occurred in any particular situation or who might be responsible.”

Today’s debate was chaired by Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, who urged States and the international community to reject the temptation to place force above law, and fear above trust.

“If we call an act of aggression a ‘conflict’, without properly defining the victim and the aggressor; if we call a threat a ‘challenge’ without defining the source of that threat… then we are helpless in terms of selecting legal steps to react,” he said.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This is why AI has a gender problem

Mental health and suicide prevention-what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my region?

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

New rules make household appliances more sustainable

‘Disaster resilient’ farming reduces agriculture risks, yields economic gains, says new UN agriculture agency report

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

How digital is your country? Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance

Scientists can lead the fight against fake news

Syria: Urgent, concrete actions needed, to protect children too young to ‘make sense of this senseless war’

Guatemala Dos Erres massacre conviction welcomed by UN human rights office

New EU rules cut red tape for citizens living or working in another Member State as of tomorrow

The EU tells the bare truth to the UK that there is no such thing as easy divorces

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Mergers: Commission clears Telia’s acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting, subject to conditions

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

How UN cultural treasures helped set the stage for Game of Thrones

UN chief extends condolences to families of China landslide casualties

Ahead of street protests, UN rights chief urges Guatemalan Government to respect democratic freedoms

Monday’s Daily Brief: the future of food and digital tech, labour justice in focus, denuclearization, and Kosovo

Sacrifice of fallen ‘blue helmet’ to be honoured with UN’s highest peacekeeping award

Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders ready for talks with UN chief on improved relations

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

Climate change is a security threat. We must act now

These social entrepreneurs are lighting up Africa

Can the Notre-Dame fire freeze the ‘Yellow Vests’ uprising?

On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against ‘crime’ of anti-Semitism

The Mobile World Congress in Shanghai will take place on 27-29 June 2018

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Your next pair of sneakers could be made from coffee

6 things to know about press freedom around the world

How energy infrastructure is shaping geopolitics in East Asia

European Union supports survivors of sexual violence in conflict

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

On the first day of 2019, over 395,000 babies to be born worldwide: UNICEF

In polarized America, a new divide looms

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

Have central banks missed the exit train?

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Higher education becoming again a privilege of the wealthy?

Guterres says UN stands ready to support Brazil’s search and rescue effort in wake of tragic dam collapse

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

Bolivia crisis: UN chief sends envoy to support peace, amidst renewed clashes

These are the world’s best countries to retire in, as of 2019

Can the EU afford a trade war with China?

Long-term exposure to air pollution is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

UN chemical weapons watchdog adds new powers to assign blame, following attacks

What the Fifth Industrial Revolution is and why it matters

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

South Korea once recycled 2% of its food waste. Now it recycles 95%

G7: A serious setback hardly avoided in iconic Biarritz

“Cyber security is a shared responsibility: stop, think, connect”, a Sting Exclusive by EU Commissioner Gabriel

In 2020 Asia will have the world’s largest GDP. Here’s what that means

DiscoverEU: 15,000 travel passes up for grabs to explore the EU this summer

Does the West reserve the fate of Libya and Syria for others? How does this relate to the EU’s Neighborhood Policy?

The Sting’s Values

Companies ‘failing’ to address offline harm incited by online hate: UN expert

Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s