Outgrowing UN Security Council: Old rules don't apply anymore

Outgrowing UN Security Council: Old rules don't apply anymore

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

From 2016 up until March 2018, nine United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolutions have not been adopted, thanks to the negative vote of permanent members of the Council.

To be precise, eight of them were vetoed by Russia, one by the US. All the documents concern the situation in the Middle East.

From 2001 to 2006 the picture was completely the opposite – ten US vetoes against the one of Russia. Almost all of the issues concerned the Palestinian question.

Under the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has, among others, functions and powers to: maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations; determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken; to take military action against an aggressor.

Instead, some of the world's greatest powers have been using the UNSC for their own benefits. Considering this, these powers can no longer be trusted to arbitrate international issues.

Last week Russia vetoed a UK-drafted resolution based on UN Panel of Experts report, condemning Iran for violation of arms embargo by sending missiles and other armament to Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Some members of the Council made statements before the voting.

“The United Kingdom is deeply concerned about the fact that Iran failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of short-range ballistic missiles, missile propellant and unmanned aerial vehicles to what was then the Houthi-Saleh alliance, as reported by the Panel of Experts. We agree with the Panel’s assessment that in the light of that, Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015). Iran, and other States that violate Security Council resolutions, must be held accountable for it," UK representative Allen said.

“While we fully endorse the majority of the draft resolution’s provisions, we cannot concur with its unconfirmed conclusions and evidence, which will require verification and discussion by the Sanctions Committee," said Russia’s UN representative Nebenzia.

He also said: “We are generally in principle against a politicized approach to the technical rollover of the Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts, one whereby their assistance is used to decide neither technical nor expertise issues but geopolitical ones. During the expert consultations we … clearly explained our disagreement with a number of provisions in the draft resolution based on selective and contentious conclusions of the Panel of Experts.”

Nevertheless, both British and Russian speakers were very careful when speaking about their adherence to the SC unity.

Meanwhile, the US representative, Eckels-Currie, said: “The report of the Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Yemen (S/2018/68) has laid out in devastating detail the evidence of Iran’s ongoing destructive defiance of the Security Council’s resolutions. The Panel has found significant evidence that Iran has violated the Yemen arms embargo established by the Council in 2015 in resolution 2216. And how did the Panel know? It knew because the ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis, which struck near civilian areas in Saudi Arabia, were found to be of Iranian origin.”

Therefore, there are clearly contradictory opinions among SC members. Some say there is a clear evidence Iran violated international law. Some others, calling into question competence and independence of the UN Panel of Experts, say this is not enough proof of it.

There is one more point of view – that of the international community, which has the right to know the true situation.

If, after the first use of chemical weapons in Syria, UNSC members had used all their capabilities and technical means to find the perpetrator, whether the Assad’s regime or the opposition, and then took the toughest military action against him, there would have been no numerous subsequent relapses and many lives would have been saved.

Looks like a failure.

Some of the UNSC members are busy with protecting interests of their own, but not those of the international community. Their not inability, but deliberate renunciation to go all the way in finding unequivocal evidence of the commission of crime, leads to further violence as it can be seen with regards to Syria.

I have to cite Mr. Nebenzia again: “To be blunt, the wording of the draft resolution proposed by the United Kingdom could have seriously destabilizing consequences,…which would inevitably escalate regional tensions…. Rather than making relations in the Middle East more antagonistic, we should be taking steps aimed at reaching agreement through mutually respectful dialogue.”

Many people on Earth are not interested in “mutually respectful dialogue.”

They are interested in finding the truth and punishing those responsible. Only in that case the world can safeguard itself from violation of global order.

Now look what went on going after the draft Resolution had been vetoed.

"If Russia blocks the steps to prevent the dangerous and destabilizing actions of Iran, the United States and its partners are left with no choice but to take action against Iran, which Moscow will not be able to block," said the U.S. representative to the UN, Nikki Haley.

That is, any unity among UNSC members is completely out of the question and Washington is going to act beyond the UN frames. Is it an acceptable solution for “maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations”?

If the UNSC members, principally those who have the right of veto, don’t have a political will to accurately exercise their direct duties and to really find out who is right and who is wrong, then it means the international mechanism doesn’t work or at least has major malfunction.

If so, the time has come to urgently reform the international body. There is an option to leave UNSC and create political stalemate or, making use of the UN Charter, to recommend the admission of new members with changing the vote rules.

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