Friday, August 21, 2009
Functions and Powers of Security Council
The Security Council is often described as the enforcement wing of the united Nations. It is primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. For this purpose, its services can be requisitioned any time. This naturally implies that the Security Council has to work continuously so that it can take quick action in the event of threat to international peace or Security.
Composition: The Security Council is a much smaller body than the General Assembly. Initially it comprised of eleven members. Five permanent members (United States, United Kingdom, U.S.S.R, France and Nationalist China) and six non permanent members elected by the General Assembly for a term of two years. The Strength of the non permanent members was raised to ten in 1965. Thus at present the Security Council comprises of 15 members five permanent and ten non permanent. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, USA and United Kingdom. The non permanent members of Security Council are not eligible for immediate re-election. While electing the non-permanent members of the Security Council, the General Assembly takes into account the contributions of the members towards the maintenance of international peace and security. It also ensures that different geographical regions get equitable representation in the Security Council.
Each member of the Security has one vote. Decisions on procedural matters are taken by affirmative vote of at least nine members, while decisions on substantive matters are taken by the votes of nine members, which must also contain the concurring votes of all the permanent members. The presidency of the Security Council is held by each members of the Security in alphabetical order for a period of one month.
Functions and Powers of Security Council:
The UN Charter has entrusted the responsibility of maintenance of international peace and Security to the Security Council. For this purpose all the members of the United Nations are committed to carry out the decisions of the Security Council. It is note worthy that while all other organs of the United Nations can merely make recommendations to the government, of the member states. The Security Council alone has been vested with the power to take decisions which the member states are obliged to carry out. The main functions of the Security Council can be conveniently studied under the following heads.
Deliberative Functions: In the first instance the Security Council has the power to discuss and investigate and dispute or situation and make recommendation to the member states to settle their disputes by peaceful means. Disputes or situations likely to endanger international peace and Security may be brought to the attention of the Security Council by any member of UN, by the General Assembly, or by the Secretary-General. Even non member states can bring the dispute before the Council. Provided they accept in advance the obligations of peaceful settlement contained in the UN Charter. It may be noted that a state which is a member of the United Nations, but not of the Security Council, can also take part in the proceedings of the Security Council when it is considering a matter which affects the interest of that country. Even a state which is not a member of the UN can be invited to take part in the discussions of the Council if it is a party to the dispute being considered by the Security Council. However such states can not take part in voting.
The Security Council can also take up general questions regarding maintenance of international peace and Security. It is responsible farming plans for the establishment of a system for the control of armaments. The United Nations Atomic Energy commission way set up by virtue of a resolution of the General Assembly, but it is responsible to and operates under the supervision of the Security Council.
Enforcement Functions: The Security Council has also been vested with important enforcement powers. When the Security Council finds that a peaceful settlement among he disputant countries is not possible, it can decide upon measures which it considers necessary for the maintenance of order and restoration of international peace and Security. On account of this power, the Security Council is often described as the enforcement arm’ of the United Nations. While taking up adequate measures, Security Council first tries to resolve the dispute without involving the used of armed forces. For this purpose it can adopt measures like complete or partial interruption of economic relations, severing of rail, sea, air, postal, radio and other communication links, and snapping of diplomatic relations. When these measures fail to produce the desired effect, the Security Council can taken such action by air, sea or land forces, as may be necessary for the maintenance or restoration of international peace and Security. Such actions may include the blockades, demonstrations and other operations by air, sea or Land forces of members of the United Nations.
It may be noted that though the Security Council can urge the member nations to apply sanctions against an aggressor, there is no guarantee that the state will answer the call. In this regard Article 43 of the UN Charter enjoins upon all members of the United Nations to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with the special agreement or agreements, armed forces, assistance and facilities, including rights of passage necessary for the purpose of maintaining peace and Security. How ever, such agreement could not be concluded due to differences among the super powers, and thus these provisions have remained inoperative.
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