Policy proposals on strengthening the rule of law through the United Nations Security Council released as UN document

On April 27, the report Strengthening the rule of law through the United Nations Security Council, authored by Prof. Hilary Charlesworth and Dr. Jeremy Farrall, was released as a UN document under the symbol S/2016/397.

The report offers policy proposals aim to enhance the Security Council’s capacity to strengthen the rule of law, particularly when it deploys peace operations, applies sanctions and authorises the use of force.

You can access the report here.


Book release: Strengthening the rule of law through the UN Security Council

The book StrengtheROL_book_coverning the rule of law through the UN Security Council, edited by Hilary Charlesworth and Jeremy Farrall, was released this month. The collection of essays, three from members of the Security Council Analysis Network,  examine the extent to which the Council has honoured his commitment to the rule of law when exercising its powers under the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security.

The book discusses both how the concept of the rule of law regulates, or influences, Security Council activity and how the Council has in turn shaped the notion of the rule of law. It explores in particular how this relationship has affected the Security Council’s three most prominent tools for the maintenance of international peace and security: peacekeeping, sanctions and force. In doing so, this book identifies strategies for better promotion of the rule of law by the Security Council. Click on  the links below to read excerpts from the book.

Foreward by Alan Ryan and preface to the book

Introduction by Hilary Charlesworth and Jeremy Farrall

Strengthening the local accountability of UN peacekeeping by Jeni Whalan

The UN Security Council as regulator and subject of the rule of law: conflict or confluence of interest? by Jeremy Farrall and Marie-Eve Loiselle




New article by Christopher Michaelsen “Human Rights as Limits for the Security Council: A Matter of Substantive Law or Defining the Application of Proportionality?”

UN Photo/Loey Felipe, avi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, addresses the Security Council debate on conflict prevention.

A/Prof Christopher Michaelsen publishes an article in the Journal of Conflict & Security Law entitled “Human Rights as Limits for the Security Council: A Matter of Substantive Law or Defining the Application of Proportionality?”

Abstract: This article examines the extent to which human rights constrain the Security Council in the exercise of its functions under the United Nations Charter. It argues that there are good grounds for suggesting that human rights bind the Council as a matter of substantive law. However, such a general determination says little about how human rights bind the Council in practice. It is well recognized, for example, that many rights permit limitations or derogation in times of war and emergency. The article argues that the possibilities of human rights binding the Council on a practical level are limited. It argues further that an analogous application of the derogation clauses in international human rights treaties is problematic and unlikely to lead to increased accountability of the Council. The article then explores whether human rights can be employed to define the scope and content of alternative procedural constraints. It argues that the proportionality principle, in particular, constitutes a relevant procedural tool that can limit the powers of the Council, both as a principle of law and as a principle of good governance and regulatory policy. The article concludes that human rights law, including the jurisprudence on derogation, can play an important role in defining and informing the application of the proportionality principle in the context of Security Council decision-making.