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The United Nations of the Future. What role for international law? Professor Nico Schrijver Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University.

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Presentation on theme: "The United Nations of the Future. What role for international law? Professor Nico Schrijver Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The United Nations of the Future. What role for international law? Professor Nico Schrijver Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures

2 The role of international law in UN reform Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures Lauterpacht Lecture II Wednesday 23 February 2011

3 International law Concept of reform Formal amendments (Art. 108) General Review Conference (Art. 109) Informal Reform

4 Formal reform - Art. 108 Has been put to use Two phased approach Role of permanent members Delicate balance of power Two thirds majority needed for both adoption and ratification Consent permanent powers only for ratification and entry into force

5 Formal Charter amendments Security Council –Amendment 1963, from 11 to 15 members ECOSOC –Amendment of 1963, from 18 to 27 members –Amendment of 1971, from 27 to 54 members

6 General Review Conference - Art 109 Upon decision by 2/3 majority UNGA and 9 out of 15 Security Council members Aim is comprehensive review and alteration of the Charter Never convened Art 109 (3) is dead wood

7 Advantages informal reform and factual modifications Pragmatic Flexible Accommodating reform But potentially somewhat controversial

8 Applying and interpreting the UN Charter (I) Voting procedure Security Council and position PRC and Russia Expansion powers General Assembly –Uniting for peace procedure: contra legem? Collective diplomacy and peacekeeping The concept of “threat to the peace”

9 Applying and interpreting the UN Charter (II) New objectives –Decolonization –Development cooperation –Environmental conservation –Post-conflict peace building

10 Applying and interpreting the UN Charter (III) Authorisation for the use of force (Art. 42) Re-interpreting the right to self-defence (Art. 51) Expansion of Security Council powers Emergence of “responsibility to protect”

11 Legal instruments for pursuing informal reform (I) New rules customary international law GA resolutions –Interpretative –Permissive –‘Programmatory’ SC resolutions

12 Legal instruments for pursuing informal reform (II) Interpretation and consolidation by the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinions Contentious cases

13 Landmark Advisory Opinions Reparation for Injuries (1949) Certain Expenses of the UN (1962) Namibia Case (1971) Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict (1996) –2 opinions, request WHO and GA Israeli Wall (2004)

14 Sample of leading ICJ cases for interpretation UN law Corfu Channel (1949) Tehran Hostages (1980) Nicaragua case (1986) Oil Platforms (2003) Armed Activities on Territory Congo (2005) Application of Genocide Convention (2007)

15 Legal instruments for pursuing informal reform (III) Establishment of new organs UNCTAD UNEP Peacebuilding Commission Human Rights Council Sanctions Committees Ad hoc international criminal tribunals

16 Legal instruments for pursuing informal reform (IV) Innovative compliance mechanisms Peace-keeping Post-conflict peacebuilding International technical assistance Special human rights procedures Quasi-legislative role Security Council in counter-terrorism International criminal jurisdiction


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