IPI HomePublicationsPolicy PapersTaking the International Rule of Law Seriously

 

print print  |  share share back back

Policy Papers - October 13, 2005

Taking the International Rule of Law Seriously

Laurence Boisson de Chazournes

 

 

In recent years, the Security Council has adopted an increasing number of economic reconstruction measures aimed at contributing to the restoration of peace in war-torn territories. These measures have brought to light the limitations of the existing United Nations collective security system to deal with economic issues that concern international peace and security. As it stands, Security Council actions are mainly reviewed in accordance with the UN Charter, and with human rights and humanitarian law principles.

The growing convergence between collective security and economic issues suggests that a broader set of principles and rules of international law are applicable to collective security decisions. The interdependence of security and economic concerns was most recently acknowledged by the UN Member States at the 2005 World Summit of September 14-16, at which they endorsed the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission. Yet, much uncertainty remains as to the international legal principles applicable to economic measures adopted within the collective security framework. The question posed is whether and how principles and rules of international economic law, including international trade law, find material application in this context.

This paper argues that respect for the international rule of law should not be based solely on adherence to the UN Charter when reviewing collective security measures of an economic nature. The promotion and integration of principles such as fair competition, non-discrimination and transparency, would help enhance the legitimacy of the UN Security Council. While upholding the rule of law at national and international levels has been hailed as a key UN objective, such rhetoric is undermined by the reluctance of the Security Council to adopt regulatory mechanisms.

The Global Observatory

Can UN-led Talks Bring Together a Fractured Libya?
The success of the negotiations hinges on the UN's ability to bring all parties to the table.

Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.

January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”

December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.

View More