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Part II Collective Security and the Non-Use of Force, Ch.10 When the Security Council is Divided: Imprecise Authorizations, Implied Mandates, and the ‘Unreasonable Veto’

Ian Johnstone

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law

Edited By: Marc Weller

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 October 2023

UN Charter — Collective security — Armed attack — Military assistance — Countermeasures — International peace and security

This chapter examines the scope and limits of the UN Security Council’s competence in dealing with situations requiring the use of force. It discusses the Charter provisions on the delegation of enforcement action to regional organizations or coalitions of the willing, and legal issues that have arisen in practice. It looks at the establishment or authorization of robust peacekeeping missions with some enforcement powers, with both regional organizations and coalitions either occasionally acting on the basis of implicit authorizations to use force or claiming retroactive approval. It analyses three types of case that tend to arise when the Security Council is divided: imprecise authorization, implied mandates, and failure to act due to ‘unreasonable’ exercise of the veto. Although wishing the Council to be clear and consistent, the contestation surrounding these cases is to be expected from a deeply political body and reinforces its value for managing international peace and security.

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