skip to Main Content

Debating Deadlock: Reconsidering the Security Council Veto Power

Debating Deadlock: Reconsidering the Security Council Veto Power

By Daniel Brinkman, Graduate Editor, N.Y.U. Journal of International Law & Politics

Discussions around the use of the veto power by the permanent members of the Security Council—longstanding as they have been—are recrudescent following the invasion of Ukraine. In April 2022, the General Assembly passed a resolution which requires a formal meeting of the Assembly whenever the veto power is exercised. The resolution is a small but significant step among the attempts of U.N. members to increase the accountability and transparency of the Security Council. 

The resolution—which was captained by Liechtenstein—was under consideration for more than two years before it was adopted on April 26, 2022. Widespread discontent among members of the Assembly over the Security Council’s inaction in relation to the crisis in Ukraine provided the impetus for implementing the procedure. A couple months earlier, on February 25, 2022, Russia exercised its veto power on a draft Security Council resolution which, on its terms, would have required Russia to cease its use of force against Ukraine and withdraw its military forces. Given the exercise of the veto, the resolution was not passed. However, the matter was subsequently transferred to the General Assembly under the Uniting for Peace resolution, which provides that the Assembly can consider a matter and make recommendations in circumstances of lack of Security Council unanimity.

The resolution implementing the new veto scrutiny procedure is short, with only five operative paragraphs. Relevantly, it provides that the President of the General Assembly must convene a formal meeting of the Assembly within ten working days of a permanent Security Council member having exercised the veto. Meetings are held for the purpose of holding “a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast.” On an exceptional basis, precedence can be accorded in the list of speakers to permanent members of the Council who cast a veto. The resolution also invites the Security Council to submit a special report on the use of the veto to the Assembly at least seventy-two hours in advance of the meeting. 

When a draft of the resolution was first considered for adoption by the Assembly, Liechtenstein explained that a group of member States had been working on the initiative for some time “due to growing concern that the Security Council has found it increasingly difficult to carry out its work in accordance with its mandate under the Charter,” with the increase in veto use being “the most obvious expression of that difficulty.” Liechtenstein outlined that member States had conferred the primary responsibility on the Council for the maintenance of international peace and security, and that the membership as a whole “should be given a voice when the Security Council is unable to act in accordance with the Assembly’s functions and powers as reflected in the Charter.” In that regard, they stated that the veto power is linked with the responsibility to achieve the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter at all times. Other members also expressed concern over the use of the veto. Gabon, for example, commented that the veto power is “highly questionable in terms of its effectiveness and representativeness,” and noted that it had been used a total of 295 times since 1946. 

The resolution might seem modest—even mechanistic—in its ambitions. It only provides for the convening of meetings for debates over veto use. And the Security Council’s special reports submitted prior to the meetings are, frankly, unremarkable—limited to, in brief terms, a summary of the voting results on the particular draft resolution at issue. At the same time, however, it is an unprecedented resolution by the Assembly aimed at reigning in the exercise of the veto power. It places the exercise of that power in view of the wider U.N. membership, where the rationale for its use in particular circumstances is opened for debate. In that regard, it makes the exercise of veto power more public and may have the effect of exerting an informal presence over Security Council deliberations and decision-making. 

The new debating procedure may also form part of the context which ultimately catalyzes action in the Assembly. Since the resolution was adopted in April 2022, the Assembly has held three meetings over the course of that year in June, July, and October, corresponding respectively to uses of the veto in relation to North Korea’s ballistic missile use, the humanitarian situation in Syria, and referenda held in certain regions of Ukraine. During the Assembly’s October meeting regarding the situation in Ukraine, the Assembly “automatically took up” the failed Security Council resolution for debate, which ultimately led to the adoption of a resolution with similar operative paragraphs to the resolution which was vetoed in the Council, denouncing the annexation of the Ukrainian regions and demanding the withdrawal of Russia’s military forces. During the course of that meeting, several speakers were critical of Russia’s use of the veto in the circumstances and its hindering effect on the Council’s ability to maintain international peace and security. Overall, this way, the scrutiny procedure complements the Assembly’s powers under the Uniting for Peace resolution. 

While the new procedure may cast a shadow of accountability in relation to Security Council decision-making, its importance and effect should not be exaggerated. There are still no formal restrictions placed over the exercise of veto power, and there may well be merit in the fact that the procedure promotes more debate over veto use without any substantive outcomes. 

In this regard, the new procedure should be placed within the broader context of the continuing discussion taking place over Security Council reform, which has encompassed dialogue over reform of the veto. This is something the Assembly debated relatively recently in discussions last November. A number of proposals to reform the Security Council were discussed, including, for example, one which would expand its permanent and non-permanent membership. France, for example, indicated that it views Council reform as “essential to strengthen its authority and representativeness while preserving its executive and decision-making nature,” and that the Council should be enlarged to twenty-five members from its current fifteen and, within this, increase the number of permanent members to nine. France was also supportive of the proposal to suspend the use of the veto in “situations of mass atrocities.” Other U.N. members have indicated support for a complete removal of the veto, or to have its use constrained where it is unable to be exercised impartially, e.g., where a permanent member has a conflict of interest. As some commentators have noted, however, agreement for reform is “fraught with procedural and political challenges” given the difficulties of amending the U.N. Charter, which requires the approval by two-thirds of its general membership, including all five permanent members in the Security Council. Increasing the membership of the Security Council may be possible—as there is historical precedent in this regard—but many view substantive changes to the use of the veto as purely hypothetical and unrealistic, a point which was in fact made while discussing the adoption of the new scrutiny procedure. 

It remains to be seen whether the new procedure for scrutinizing veto decisions will create momentum for, or result in, meaningful reform in the Security Council. It does, however, create an opportunity for a more democratic discussion over its use. And for some member States, at least, that is a step in the right direction. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
38 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
حلول مواسير HDPE

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

مزود حلول أنابيب uPVC

I do believe all the ideas you’ve presented for your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for novices. May just you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

مصنع أنابيب HDPE

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site thus i came to ?eturn the favor텶’m attempting to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

HDPE pipe products
2 months ago

hello!,I really like your writing so a lot! share we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert in this house to unravel my problem. May be that is you! Taking a look ahead to see you.

تركيبات HDPE
2 months ago

I simply could not go away your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info a person supply on your guests? Is going to be back incessantly to investigate cross-check new posts.

uPVC fittings
2 months ago

Normally I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great post.

uPVC pipe supplier in Iraq

My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

Factory production
2 months ago

Somebody essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I might state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular put up amazing. Excellent job!

مصنع العراق
2 months ago

Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

uPVC pipe services in Iraq

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?

bwer Factory Iraq
2 months ago

I do believe all the ideas you’ve presented for your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for novices. May just you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

bwer hdpe agriculture iraq

Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

bwer Ductile Fittings Iraq

Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to peer more posts like this.

bwer agri pipe iraq
2 months ago

obviously like your web-site but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand I’ll certainly come back again.

bwer Ductile Hdpe Upvc Iraq

Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

bwer Ductile Hdpe Agri Iraq

Thank you, I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the best I have found out so far. However, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

bwer hdpe solution iraq

Thanks, I have recently been looking for info about this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. However, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain in regards to the supply?

bwer Factory Agri Weld Iraq

Somebody essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I might state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular put up amazing. Excellent job!

bwer Ductile Agri Iraq
2 months ago

Thanks, I have recently been looking for info about this subject for a while and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. However, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain in regards to the supply?

bwer agri innovation iraq

you are in reality a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic job in this topic!

bwer pipe system iraq
2 months ago

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

bwer agri innovation iraq

Usually I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice article.

bwer agri tech iraq
2 months ago

Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as well as the content!

bwer Irrigation Iraq
2 months ago

I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information a person supply to your visitors? Is gonna be again steadily in order to check up on new posts.

bwer hdpe innovation iraq

Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue together with your web site in internet explorer, may test this텶E still is the marketplace chief and a good component of people will pass over your fantastic writing due to this problem.

bwer Irrigation Pipe Iraq

Usually I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice article.

bwer upvc agri tech iraq

you are in reality a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic job in this topic!

bwer Irrigation Factory Iraq

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

bwer Fittings Weld Factory Iraq

Hey there, You have done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

سمعة مصنع العراق

What i do not realize is in fact how you are no longer actually much more well-favored than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent. You recognize thus considerably in relation to this topic, made me in my view believe it from numerous numerous angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated until it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. All the time handle it up!

bwer pipe iraq
2 months ago

Thank you, I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the best I have found out so far. However, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

Time Wires Celebs
1 month ago

Hello i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to Return the favore Im trying to find things to improve my web siteI suppose its ok to use some of your ideas

BusinesAfair
1 month ago

Just wish to say your article is as surprising The clearness in your post is just cool and i could assume youre an expert on this subject Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work

Scopians
1 month ago

Thank you for the auspicious writeup It in fact was a amusement account it Look advanced to more added agreeable from you By the way how could we communicate

BusinessDemm
1 month ago

I was recommended this website by my cousin I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty You are wonderful Thanks

aziz
1 month ago

PLEASE HELP ME

My name is Aziz Badawi, I’m 27 year old man from Palestine. Our town has recently evacuated due
to bombardments by Israel, now I am staying at a shelter with my 6 year old daughter Nadia. My wife is
dead and I’m the only one left to take care of my daughter as we are not allowed to depart to my parents house
in Nablus, she is sick with a congenital heart defect and I have no way to afford the medicine she needs anymore.
People here at the shelter are much in the same conditions as ourselves…

I’m looking for a kind soul who can help us with a donation, any amount will help even 1$ we will
save money to get her medicine, the doctor at the shelter said if I can’t find a way to get her the
medication she needs her little heart may give out during the coming weeks.

If you wish to help me and my daughter please make any amount donation in bitcoin cryptocurrency
to this bitcoin wallet: bc1qcfh092j2alhswg8jr7fr7ky2sd7qr465zdsrh8

If you cannot donate please forward this message to your friends, thank you to everyone who’s helping me and my daughter.

temp email
27 days ago

I appreciate your website, however I think you might check the spelling of a few of your postings. Even though I find it quite difficult to tell the truth because so many of them have spelling errors, I will most certainly return.

review on puravive
5 days ago

This website is unbelievable. The radiant material shows the creator’s enthusiasm. I’m dumbfounded and envision more such astonishing entries.

Back To Top
Search