the UN
March 14, 2003 7:01 AM   Subscribe

UN resolution 377, This makes for fascinating reading as this arcane resolution provides for collective action by the general assembly 'if the security council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security'. Hardly applicable.
posted by johnnyboy (13 comments total)

 
Sorry 'bout the PDF.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:04 AM on March 14, 2003


I don't get it. If it's "hardly applicable" (presumably to the current situation WRT Iraq), why bring it up? Is there some missing context here?

I'd like to know why mentioning this resolution occurred to you, given that you've stated a lack of relevance to... well, anything.
posted by atbash at 8:15 AM on March 14, 2003


Does this help?

[sarcasm]
Hardly applicable.
[/sarcasm]
posted by rough ashlar at 8:20 AM on March 14, 2003


So, rough ashlar and johnnyboy, how do y'all see this being applicable?
posted by silusGROK at 9:25 AM on March 14, 2003


Maybe this is how it's applicable:

http://www.co-intelligence.org/CIPol_UNRes377-CCR.html
posted by lathrop at 9:37 AM on March 14, 2003


There has to be a second prong:

Article. VI.
Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made,


The UN is a "treaty" that has been "made". The US could pull out of the UN and therefore avoid a violation of Article 6

The UN would have to invoke 377, and then some americans would have to call for the impeachement of #43.

If the US Constitution is ignored, what good is it?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:08 AM on March 14, 2003


But if the U.S. pulled out of the U.N. in order to attack Iraq it would still be violating this, no?:

"(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing"

(Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg)
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/imtconst.htm

Oh, yeah. The 'winners' determine the rules.
posted by lathrop at 10:44 AM on March 14, 2003


To Lathrop - Ouch. Yea, hard to beat that one unless the US wants to throw the 'rules of war' out the window also.

What a well-greased slope this is turing out to be, eh?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:51 AM on March 14, 2003


guys, the "rules of war" have been out the window for a long time.

in the entire history of the UN, it's voted to authorize military force twice. once was the korean war (which only happened because the soviets had walked out to protest something else) and the other was the first gulf war.

International "rules" concerning use of force are no longer regarded as obligatory by states. Between 1945 and 1999, two-thirds of the members of the United Nations--126 states out of 189--fought 291 interstate conflicts in which over 22 million people were killed. This series of conflicts was capped by the Kosovo campaign in which nineteen NATO democracies representing 780 million people flagrantly violated the Charter. The international system has come to subsist in a parallel universe of two systems, one de jure, the other de facto. The de jure system consists of illusory rules that would govern the use of force among states in a platonic world of forms, a world that does not exist. The de facto system consists of actual state practice in the real world, a world in which states weigh costs against benefits in regular disregard of the rules solemnly proclaimed in the all-but- ignored de jure system. The decaying de jure catechism is overly schematized and scholastic, disconnected from state behavior, and unrealistic in its aspirations for state conduct.

The upshot is that the Charter's use-of-force regime has all but collapsed. This includes, most prominently, the restraints of the general rule banning use of force among states, set out in Article 2(4). The same must be said, I argue here, with respect to the supposed restraints of Article 51 limiting the use of force in self-defense. Therefore, I suggest that Article 51, as authoritatively interpreted by the International Court of Justice, cannot guide responsible U.S. policy-makers in the U.S. war against terrorism in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
-- Prof. Michael Glennon, The Fog of Law: Self-Defense, Inherence, and Incoherence in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, 25 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 539 (2002)
posted by wrffr at 2:40 PM on March 14, 2003


De jure this, muthaf*cka!

Damn. Too late.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:18 PM on March 14, 2003


"Therefore, I suggest that Article 51, as authoritatively interpreted by the International Court of Justice, cannot guide responsible U.S. policy-makers in the U.S. war against terrorism in Afghanistan or elsewhere."

--"responsible U.S. policy-makers".... oxymoron!
posted by lathrop at 6:20 PM on March 14, 2003


Somebody's getting desperate here. There are key differences between the Security Council and the General Assembly. General Assembly resolutions are recommendations to the Members ... or the Security Council (Articles 10 and 11 of the UN charter). Security Council resolutions are theoretically binding (Article 25: Members agree to accept and carry out decisions of the Security Council). All that Res. 377 does is add a fallback period of jawboning in a larger, more fractious forum; there's no provision in the charter for the GA to overrule the SC, or assume its authority, by any means. Those who are hoping for 377 as some sort of magic short-circuit that will prevent US/coalition military action -- or at least brand it illegal -- are deluding themselves, and certainly don't understand the structure or reality of the UN.

The reality is that France and Russia may not vote for military enforcement of SC Res. 1441, but they'll never vote for a ruling that the US is in violation of the charter (even though Annan has recently raised the implication). Such a vote -- non-binding, as noted -- would even be tricky in the General Assembly.
posted by dhartung at 7:30 PM on March 14, 2003


Those who are hoping for 377 as some sort of magic short-circuit that will prevent US/coalition military action -- or at least brand it illegal -- are deluding themselves, and certainly don't understand the structure or reality of the UN.

Well, that's not necessary, since action without UNSC authorisation will be illegal without any 'branding'. Funny how Res. 377's most famous use, though, was during the Suez Crisis, when the US was on the side of those wanting to block UK-French pre-emptive action.

I can't wait to see Tony Blair sent to the ICC.
posted by riviera at 5:05 AM on March 15, 2003


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