Responsibilities and Obligations: Understanding the Legal Consequences of the UN Security Council's failure to uphold its Responsibility to Protect

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Abstract

The legal nature of the Security Council’s responsibility to maintain international peace and security and, by extension, its responsibility to protect, has been left relatively unexplored in academic literature. This paper seeks to re-examine the legal nature of the Security Council’s primary responsibility, in order to determine whether the Council itself is under an obligation to act in response to threats to the peace and atrocities that fall within the scope of the responsibility to protect. By doing so, the paper sheds light on what a ‘failure’ of the Security Council‘s responsibilities might look like, and therefore whether there are any legal consequences to inaction. With reference to the construction and drafting of Article 39 of the UN Charter, this paper argues that the responsibility of the Security Council includes a legal obligation on the Council, at the very least, not to ignore situations that fall within the maintenance of peace and security.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResponsibility to Protect: Lessons Learned and The Way Forward
EditorsVasilka Sancin
Place of PublicationLjubljana
PublisherUniverza v Ljubljani
Chapter4
Pages65-87
ISBN (Print)978-961-6447-84-3
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2019

Keywords

  • Responsibility to Protect
  • UN Secuirty Council
  • UN Charter
  • Responsibility to Maintain International Peace and Security
  • Threat to Peace
  • Breach of the Peace
  • Act of Aggression

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    PATRICK BUTCHARD, PhD

    Person: Academic

    Cite this

    BUTCHARD, PATRICK. (2019). Responsibilities and Obligations: Understanding the Legal Consequences of the UN Security Council's failure to uphold its Responsibility to Protect. In V. Sancin (Ed.), Responsibility to Protect: Lessons Learned and The Way Forward (pp. 65-87). Univerza v Ljubljani.