Security Council Resolution 687, the Gulf War “cease-fire resolution” is in many respects a milestone with regard to the UN’s evolving role in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Unprecedented in terms of the extensive obligations it imposes on Iraq, as well as the institutions established to face it, it raises issues the UN is likely to face again in the years to come. Johnstone draws on both his extensive interviews with the main actors in the UN community and a careful review of UN documents to provide a reliable record of the drafting and implementation of Resolution 687. He also evaluates that record, addressing a number of key questions: what was the legal authority for the measures adopted in Resolution 687 and the actions taken to compel compliance? What can be learned from the experience of the commission established to demarcate the Iraq-Kuwait border? What problems have been encountered in paying compensation claims, and why? Has the relationship between the Security Council and the agencies charged with carrying out the resolution obligations been constructive?
Emphasised in Johnstone’s conclusions is the delicate balance between the need for a true consensus to ensure the legitimacy of Security Council decisions, and the credibility of the commitment to carry through on those decisions. Questioning whether the appropriate balance was in fact struck with the adoption and implementation of 687, he offers recommendations for future cases.
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