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Realizing UtopiaThe Future of International Law$
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The Late Antonio Cassese

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.001.0001

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The Security Council: Progress is Possible but Unlikely

The Security Council: Progress is Possible but Unlikely

(p.52) 5 The Security Council: Progress is Possible but Unlikely
Realizing Utopia

Bardo Fassbender

Oxford University Press

There is broad agreement that it is better to have the Security Council with all its flaws than to have no such institution at all. It is difficult to envisage developments of the Security Council in the direction of an institution effectively promoting and sustaining a global community based on the values proclaimed by the UN Charter. Nevertheless, a set of fairly realistic measures can be suggested. Firstly, the Western members of the Council, especially the permanent members, should realize that their dominance is very fragile. Secondly, the Security Council should attach more importance to collective goods and interests of all peoples inhabiting the earth than to the individual goods and interests of the states represented on the Council. Thirdly, the Council should have at its disposal more information from independent sources, gathered and evaluated in the Secretariat, instead of being dependent on information provided by member states, especially the permanent members, on the basis of the work of their secret services. The role of the Office of Legal Affairs in advising the Security Council in matters of international law should also be strengthened. Fourthly, action taken by the Council (in particular in the form of economic and military sanctions) needs to be more reliable and consistent, and less arbitrary. The Security Council should try to build a precedential case law which makes it possible to predict in general terms its course of action. Finally, sanctions imposed on individuals not belonging to a small circle of members of a government, military command, or the leadership of a non-state party to a conflict should remain an exception.

Keywords:   UN Security Council, UN Charter, collective good, precedential case law, sanctions

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