ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY Part 25a
Posted on August 28th, 2021

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The United Nations delegated the subject of ‘war’ to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The UN Charter authorizes the Security Council to investigate any situation threatening international peace and take suitable action. UNSC is the only UN agency whose decisions Member states are obliged to follow.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. it is  charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly and approving any changes to the UN Charter. Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action.

The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states. Any discussion of the role of the United Nations in Sri Lanka‘s Eelam war must begin with the UN Security Council.

COMPOSITION  AND POWERS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Chapter V of the United Nations Charter  gives the   composition and powers of the Security  Council

Article 23

  1. The Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations. The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly shall elect ten other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council, due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution.
  2. The non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected for a term of two years. In the first election of the non-permanent members after the increase of the membership of the Security Council from eleven to fifteen, two of the four additional members shall be chosen for a term of one year. A retiring member shall not be eligible for immediate re-election.
  3. Each member of the Security Council shall have one representative.

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

Article 24

  1. In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
  2. In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
  3. The Security Council shall submit annual and, when necessary, special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.

Article 25

The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.

Article 26

In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.

VOTING

Article 27

  1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
  2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
  3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.

PROCEDURE

Article 28

  1. The Security Council shall be so organized as to be able to function continuously. Each member of the Security Council shall for this purpose be represented at all times at the seat of the Organization.
  2. The Security Council shall hold periodic meetings at which each of its members may, if it so desires, be represented by a member of the government or by some other specially designated representative.
  3. The Security Council may hold meetings at such places other than the seat of the Organization as in its judgment will best facilitate its work.

Article 29

The Security Council may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.

Article 30

The Security Council shall adopt its own rules of procedure, including the method of selecting its President.

Article 31

Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected.

Article 32

Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council or any state which is not a Member of the United Nations, if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute. The Security Council shall lay down such conditions as it deems just for the participation of a state which is not a Member of the United Nations.

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter  gives  the UNSC power to act when there are threats to worl peace.

CHAPTER VII: ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THREATS TO THE PEACE, BREACHES OF THE PEACE, AND ACTS OF AGGRESSION

Article 39

The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Article 40

In order to prevent an aggravation of the situation, the Security Council may, before making the recommendations or deciding upon the measures provided for in Article 39, call upon the parties concerned to comply with such provisional measures as it deems necessary or desirable. The Security Council shall duly take account of failure to comply with such provisional measures.

Article 41

The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

Article 42

Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

Article 48

  1. The action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security shall be taken by all the Members of the United Nations or by some of them, as the Security Council may determine.
  2. Such decisions shall be carried out by the Members of the United Nations directly and through their action in the appropriate international agencies of which they are members.

Article 49

The Members of the United Nations shall join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the measures decided upon by the Security Council.

Article 51

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS.

 In addition to the formal meetings of the UNSC,  there are  also informal meetings of the full Security Council, where the UNSC conducts off the record discussions with member states. This is intended to give all parties to the conflict  their say . .Only parties that have been  invited can attend but Non-Council members could request a meeting. These informal meetings are presided over by the  UNSC President but they do not take place in the Council Chamber or Consultations Room. There are no official records of informal dialogues.

ARRIA FORMULA MEEETINGS

Venezuelan Ambassador Diego Arria created the Arria formula meeting in 1992  when he was President of the Security Council. Arria meetings catered to the entities that could not appear before the UNSC. UNSC did not hear testimonies from non-members, individuals or non-governmental organizations.  Arria formula meetings   on the other hand were open to a wide range of stakeholders, persons, and institutions, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and delegations from member states of the UN who were not in  Security Council.

Arria meetings were informal consultations, convened by a member of the UNSC, who also  presided over the meeting as facilitator.. The meetings were in a private setting where speakers could speak frankly to UNSC members. Arria meetings did not need full attendance of the State Council, unlike Security Council meetings which must be attended by all 15 members of the Council.

Since 2012, Arria formula meetings have  been used to provide United Nations Security Council Members with interaction with  the Commissions of Inquiry of the  UN Human Rights Council. In 2012, there was an Arria formula meeting with the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria. In 2014,  there was an Arria formula meeting with the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea..

Arria formula meeting on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, Syria, was broadcast on the UN Web TV In2016.Since  then  other Arria formula meetings have  been broadcast and archived on the UN website.

Arria meetings have been effective. In 2018, the Security Council failed to hold a meeting on Syria, the idea was vetoed by four of its members. Immediately an Arria meeting was organized by France, USA, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, and Peru.  UN High Commissioner of Human Rights was invited to brief the meeting on the situation in Syria. The UNSC  took up the matter after that.

The UNSC has been active over the years. UNSC has met and debated many issues in many countries.  International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia  (1993) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,(1995)  were established by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

 Today, the UNSC is discussing what to do about Afghanistan, also Jammu and Kashmir. UNSC met to discuss Afghanistan on 17th August     2021. The   meeting was called by Norway and Estonia. Statements were made by UK, USA, Russia, China, France, India, Norway, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Vietnam.  They welcomed the President of Afghanistan and regretted that Pakistan had not been invited to speak. The member states spoke of HR, IHL and IHRL and the protection of civilians. War had been going on for 40 years, they said. Now must restore peace, stability and order.  A political solution was needed. The Afghan government has collapsed and Afghanistan is today   volatile and unpredictable. Taliban must reform. UNSC must act. https://youtu.be/aYprincRR5o     (continued)

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