The legitimacy of Security Council’s Decisions between Theory and Practice

Dr. Deymah Nasser Alweqyan
Faculty member – Department of Public International Law College of Law – University of Kuwait


This study aims to analyze a number of decisions issued by the Security Council which may be questioned in regards to the extent of its legitimacy. The analysis will be conducted through adopting a descriptive analytical approach to try establishing the authority of the Security Council in issuing its decisions and the compatibility of these decisions with the provisions of the Charter and the rules of international law, through analyzing the opinions of different jurists regarding determining the meaning of legitimacy, an analysis of the states’ understanding of legitimate decisions and the impact of this on their implementation of these decisions.
The Security Council is one of the main organs of the United Nations, and it performs its duties under the provisions of the Charter and adheres to the rules of international law. For the Council to exercises its powers as stipulated in the Charter, its actions and decisions are required to be legitimate. In case this is violated, the Council shall deem its decisions unlawful, and hence, fails to ensure the commitment of Member States to their implementation.
Due to the importance of the Security Council’s status in international relations, and the tasks entrusted to it in the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council is obligated, when issuing international decisions, to be in compliance with all the necessary conditions, and to be consistent with the provisions of the Charter, which is subject to difference interpretations due to difference is points of view.
Each member state interprets legitimacy according to its own interests, which gives it a broad meaning. This may lead to widespread violations by the Council of its powers and actions. The legitimacy of a decision leads to its application by states, but what happens is that states view many of the council’s decisions as illegitimate, either because they violate the rules of international law, or because they are inefficient and ineffective, or because some countries dominate the decision-making process.
Therefore, states are seeking to amend the structure of the Council in a manner that achieves justice and equality between them. Many countries sought to submit various proposals in order to introduce fundamental amendments to the Council, especially regarding the voting process, and even the power of the five permanent members to (veto) any decisions.

Keywords: charter, veto, legitimacy, international law, united nations.

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