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Can a veto undermine international peace and security? - A discussion on the legitimacy of veto decisions concerning the question on Syria

Edstrand, Jenny LU (2017) JURM02 20171
Department of Law
Abstract
Since the start of the conflict in Syria, the determination of the conflict has changed and engaged the global community. There have been, and still are, several opinions from both organisations and the media, on the conflict in Syria as well on the United Nations Security Council. The primarily responsibility for the Council is the maintenance of international peace and security. In the process, the permanent members of the Council have the right to veto resolutions. The fundamental purpose of the veto system is to prevent Security Council decisions to be taken against the will of one or more of the permanent members, as it might eventually lead to a confrontation between the permanent members or between the permanent member and the UN.... (More)
Since the start of the conflict in Syria, the determination of the conflict has changed and engaged the global community. There have been, and still are, several opinions from both organisations and the media, on the conflict in Syria as well on the United Nations Security Council. The primarily responsibility for the Council is the maintenance of international peace and security. In the process, the permanent members of the Council have the right to veto resolutions. The fundamental purpose of the veto system is to prevent Security Council decisions to be taken against the will of one or more of the permanent members, as it might eventually lead to a confrontation between the permanent members or between the permanent member and the UN. In perspective to the situation in Syria, the Council have been criticised for several vetoed draft resolutions and therefore the question arises whether the veto system is still in the interest for international peace and security. The selected resolutions, draft and adopted, to be discussed in this thesis are concerning the conflict in Syria; thus, it is a contemporary example of a conflict where resolutions and vetoes from the Security Council have been debated.

This thesis proposes a legitimacy assessment of veto decisions from the Security Council. Previous research has discussed a legitimacy assessment of Security Council interventions and adopted resolution. Therefore, the aim of the discussion of legitimacy in this thesis is to assess whether veto decisions are taken in the interest of international peace and security. International relations and international law have become intertwined research fields, thus, when discussing the Security Council, the political intentions and arguments overshadows the legal arguments. Hence, the relationship between law and politics have been explored and during the legitimacy assessment the political factor becomes a part of the discussion. For the assessment, I suggest two indicators of legitimacy to be consulted and thus, establish if a veto decision is to be considered legitimate and if the decision undermines the purpose of international peace and security. The support and purpose for the suggested indicators are discussed together with the assessment. Arguments against the legitimacy assessment are brought forward and discussed, with focus on the possible risk of abuse, the possibility of sanctions and international principles which must be respected.

The conclusions from the legitimacy assessment indicates that some veto decisions are legitimate since the presented arguments are supported with international principles, one veto decision does not have legitimacy due the arguments presented by the permanent members are not sufficient compared to international peace and security and finally, one veto decision is in the grey zone due to the permanent member´s coalition with Syria. The outcome of the assessment shows that the veto right is a topic which needs further research; however, it is my conclusion that the present veto right increase the political discussion and overshadows the legal arguments. Therefor there is an increasing risk for veto decisions to undermine international peace and security. (Less)
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author
Edstrand, Jenny LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20171
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Public International Law, Folkrätt, UN, FN, Security Council, Säkerhetsrådet, Legitimacy, veto decisions, Syria, amendments
language
English
id
8908753
date added to LUP
2017-06-21 21:52:08
date last changed
2017-06-21 21:52:08
@misc{8908753,
  abstract     = {Since the start of the conflict in Syria, the determination of the conflict has changed and engaged the global community. There have been, and still are, several opinions from both organisations and the media, on the conflict in Syria as well on the United Nations Security Council. The primarily responsibility for the Council is the maintenance of international peace and security. In the process, the permanent members of the Council have the right to veto resolutions. The fundamental purpose of the veto system is to prevent Security Council decisions to be taken against the will of one or more of the permanent members, as it might eventually lead to a confrontation between the permanent members or between the permanent member and the UN. In perspective to the situation in Syria, the Council have been criticised for several vetoed draft resolutions and therefore the question arises whether the veto system is still in the interest for international peace and security. The selected resolutions, draft and adopted, to be discussed in this thesis are concerning the conflict in Syria; thus, it is a contemporary example of a conflict where resolutions and vetoes from the Security Council have been debated.

This thesis proposes a legitimacy assessment of veto decisions from the Security Council. Previous research has discussed a legitimacy assessment of Security Council interventions and adopted resolution. Therefore, the aim of the discussion of legitimacy in this thesis is to assess whether veto decisions are taken in the interest of international peace and security. International relations and international law have become intertwined research fields, thus, when discussing the Security Council, the political intentions and arguments overshadows the legal arguments. Hence, the relationship between law and politics have been explored and during the legitimacy assessment the political factor becomes a part of the discussion. For the assessment, I suggest two indicators of legitimacy to be consulted and thus, establish if a veto decision is to be considered legitimate and if the decision undermines the purpose of international peace and security. The support and purpose for the suggested indicators are discussed together with the assessment. Arguments against the legitimacy assessment are brought forward and discussed, with focus on the possible risk of abuse, the possibility of sanctions and international principles which must be respected.

The conclusions from the legitimacy assessment indicates that some veto decisions are legitimate since the presented arguments are supported with international principles, one veto decision does not have legitimacy due the arguments presented by the permanent members are not sufficient compared to international peace and security and finally, one veto decision is in the grey zone due to the permanent member´s coalition with Syria. The outcome of the assessment shows that the veto right is a topic which needs further research; however, it is my conclusion that the present veto right increase the political discussion and overshadows the legal arguments. Therefor there is an increasing risk for veto decisions to undermine international peace and security.},
  author       = {Edstrand, Jenny},
  keyword      = {Public International Law,Folkrätt,UN,FN,Security Council,Säkerhetsrådet,Legitimacy,veto decisions,Syria,amendments},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Can a veto undermine international peace and security? - A discussion on the legitimacy of veto decisions concerning the question on Syria},
  year         = {2017},
}