Our reader Ego Igwe has produced a paper worthy to be read by the legal advisors of all politicians worth their salt, they should exist somewhere, shouldn't they?
The U.N and the Principle of Unanimity
I do not pretend to be unmindful of the fact that there are no laws to which the UN can be held accountable or bound. In reality, the UN is no different from the Arab League or the African Union in most aspects, or as some would argue, any other cult for that matter, except perhaps for its global outreach and universal immunity. Yet, it imposes reality on the entire peoples of the world by way of its enactments or resolutions without being accountable for them or subjected to any form of oversight. It also pursues these resolutions, remedially, by way of its International Court at The Hague. True, there is a reliance on member nations to help determine, propose, facilitate and enforce its resolutions but that notwithstanding, it becomes the judge, jury and executioner by virtue of its god-like impositions on our world. I argue that there has to be proper checks and oversight that negate the rights of select nations to veto decisions of majority of its members.
Let me make bold to say that there is nothing democratic about the self-granting rights of select nations to veto majority decisions of its Security Council and Assembly or that of the Security Council to impose its decisions on the majority of UN members and the world at large. For one nation, or in concert with a minority of nations, among several, considered equal in the eyes of that Assembly, to undo the decisions of its majority members cannot be anything but dictatorial. It grants to these select nations the right to virtually impose their will on the majority there assembled and by extension on our whole planet (the rule of great power unanimity).
The right to veto decisions for select nations therefore assures an outcome that is far from impartial and as agreed upon by majority of its members. Taking it a step backwards, it should also be true to say that the constituting of a Security Council, and by this, the imposition of that Council's decisions on the majority of its members does nothing but to deny the sovereign equality of all its members. Clearly, envisaging this is to understand that the right to veto decisions granted to a minority and the constituting of a Security Council (consisting of such a minority) deny respect for the principle of equal rights and the cultivation of friendly relations among nations. In a conference of peers and equals, a simple majority must carry the vote.
The purposes of the UN according to its Charter are:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.
To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.
To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
It further declares that in pursuit of these purposes, it shall act in accordance with the following principles amongst others:
The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.
Chapter IV Article 12, paragraph 1 of the UN Charter states:
"While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests."
In other words, once the Security Council sits in deliberation it asserts all the powers of a Monarchy and cannot be interrupted, questioned or confronted, be it in matters of procedure, observation or misrepresentation, by the General Assembly which consists of all members to the UN. Whether it has sat in error or is exercising in respect of a fundamentally flawed or fraudulent presentation the process cannot be stopped or interrupted. Put another way, the conduct of the Security Council in sitting overrules whatever objections the UN may have to the continuation of that exercise. Surely, this does not depict, by any coloration or consideration, "the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members."
The UN Charter decrees that "The Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations. The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly shall elect ten other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council." and further to this; "Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members" which can be overruled by one of any five permanent members. To be sure, the Security Council does not consist of fifteen members by these allocations. You do not become a resident of a house by virtue of your visiting it from time to time, which in effect is the position of the non-permanent members of that Council. It is the permanent members that constitute residents of the Security Council. This essence is further conveyed by the fact that the right to veto is invested in these permanent members and they are expected to be at the UN at all times.
These five nations plus any other four non-permanent members sit in judgment over our entire world through the UN and by virtue of their exclusivity in passing decisions or judgments. More importantly, one nation amongst fifteen can impose its refusal on all members of Council, the UN and our world. I say the entire world because curiously also, the UN maintains in Chapter 1 Article 2, paragraph 6 of its Charter, as noted above that:
"The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security."
It bears gratuitous arrogance for a club of nations to impose its "principles" on nations that do not wish or seek to be part of its membership or involve themselves with its rules and purposes. As we can see already, the Security Council consists at its helm of super-powers (read great powers) and what I term emergent super-powers. The intention is clear and it is one that deliberately seeks to intimidate or coerce non-members with their military, economic, diplomatic and political clout, likewise its membership.
You may want to know how the five permanent members attained their distinctive status at the UN. After World War II, nations that won the war convened with the aim of putting an end to that kind of war. The solution they arrived at was the UN and in setting it up they granted themselves permanent seats on its Security Council. It was not obtained by majority votes of its members or their consent but by sheer clout and the concept of "great power unanimity". The concept of "great powers" also birthed their rights to veto. This concept takes it for granted that "great powers" possess a different kind of influence and ability that set them apart from smaller nations which in turn subject smaller nations to their will and opinions. The first time this concept came into recognition was at the signing of the Treaty of Chaumont in 1814 and thereafter has been formally adopted by the UN.
Article 27 of the United Nations Charter states:
(1) Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
(2) Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
(3) Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting
This is to say, despite the fact that members of the Security Council shall have one vote each and a majority of nine to move on procedural matters, all other matters must include the "Yea" votes of the five permanent members to pass, except where a member is party to the dispute. Where one permanent member abstains or votes against, it is considered a veto and that motion fails for all matters not procedural. Consider also, that five out of nine votes maintains a constant majority in Council and the hue of a conspiring dictatorship becomes vivid. In effect, out of fifteen members therein and of the ten votes allotted to non-permanent members only five votes count for all matters that are not procedural. What this means is for all matters not procedural, the opinion of non-permanent members do not count since their votes are subject to the concurring votes of the five permanent members. The only time these votes are given effect is when permanent members want it to count.
Undoubtedly, there is a conspiracy and interest among permanent members to preserve the principle of unanimity and by it, force or persuade their collective or individual will on matters of particular or general interest to them. Assuredly, the intent and motive is to ensure control of the UN at all times while safeguarding their positions and national interests from within. The principle of unanimity also guarantees the inability of member nations to move against permanent members, even where their actions are found to constitute a danger to international peace and security or is said to breach the territorial integrity of another state.
The obvious conclusion here is there are no votes at the Security Council except those of its permanent members for all matters that are not procedural, everything else are straws cast to the wind. It is in this light that Resolution 1973 has to be understood. It is ambiguous and evasive for the UN to call for "all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."
Even while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form, it should be clear that the expression "all necessary measures" provides cover for interference in the internal affairs of another member state. It is an open-ended expression that provides no boundaries to contain proxy insertions into an independent state. We know for a fact that weapons and logistics are now flowing into Eastern Libya from Egypt and that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing financial aid to the rebels in Benghazi. These actions are nothing but the blatant and deliberate interference in the internal affairs of a member state to which the UN specifically forbids itself and members to pursue.
The ambiguous wordings and clandestine objectives of Resolution 1973 would not have been possible without the conniving input and votes of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. To the contrary, this cannot be said to "… bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace." nor does it "achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character…"and it certainly does not make for "… harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends."
There is not the whiff of a doubt in my mind that the UN pretends to that which it is not. Until such a time that mechanism is put in place to guarantee the votes and functionality of its member nations it will remain essentially another organ that pampers the great powers of the Western world.
by Ego Igwe on Sunday, March 27, 2011