Practice Debate Topic - Questioning the accountability, conduct, and discipline in peacekeeping operations.

Conference Topic – Combating Violent Sectarian Extremism in the Middle East.

Security Council

The United Nations Security Council consists of 15 members with 5 of them being permanent and the rest being non-permanent members elected by the UNGA for a 2-year term. Its primary responsibility is maintaining international peace and security. Other functions include amending the UN charter and granting membership to new members. The UN charter provides all 3 powers of the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches to the UNSC.

It also has the ability to implement international sanctions, authorize peacekeeping missions and other forms of military actions after determining the existence of a threat to international peace or any other form of unjustified aggression by a member state/states, by passing resolutions which immediately becomes binding on all member nations of the international community, but only after all forms of dispute settlement by diplomatic means have been explored. Any member state of the international community regardless of their membership status to the UN is allowed to bring a dispute to the attention of the council.

Discussions have been held in the recent past regarding the viability of reforms to the administrative structure of the UNSC in order to increase transparency and productivity in maintaining international peace and security perhaps by increasing membership within the council.

Article 29 of the UN charter also provides the UNSC with the power to establish subsidiary organs as it deems fit for the performance of its functions. Examples of the invocation of this article include the establishment of the sanctions committee, the creation of the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Peacekeeping Forces Committees to oversee peacekeeping missions etc.

Some of the most significant resolutions passed by the UNSC would be the UNSC resolutions 1674 and 1706 recognizing and advocating the provisions of the 2005 world summit outcome document regarding the responsibility to protect initiative to protect the civilian population against grave violations of international humanitarian law like genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

The most paramount UNGA resolution affecting the performance and functions of the UNSC would be UNGA resolution 377, the “Uniting for Peace” resolution. It gives the UNGA the power to consider matters and issue recommendations to counter a threat to international peace and security when the UNSC fails to act as required to maintain international peace and security due to a lack of unanimity amongst the UNSCÔÇÖs 5 permanent members.