By F. Mulbah Zig Forkpa, Jr. BA, LLB, LLM (Candidate)
As the global order developed over time, it became almost predictable that nations were putting in place a system that could ensure world peace. World leaders were aware that lasting peace was only possible if all humans enjoyed equal protection and rights from the domestic and international fronts. As humankind hopes for a global order that demands respect for human dignity, there is also a hope that international checks and balances will serve as a safeguard to balance smaller states’ rights against the ever-growing power of developed nations.
For such a reason, the United States President Harry Truman had, in 1945, referred to the United Nations (UN) as a solid structure with which the World could get better; he also cautioned his contemporaries against the selfish use of the structure to the advantage of one nation. Several years later, we all are testaments to the fact that the 1945 San Francisco Conference, which birthed the UN, planted a seed for the emergence of a global police force epitomized in the UN Security Council (UNSC). Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter mandates the UNSC to determine the existence of any threat to the peace and to take military and nonmilitary action to restore international peace and security. The broader discretion to identify threats to the peace and determine mitigative efforts is exercised by only five of the 193 UN member countries, including the United States of America, China, Russia, France, and Great Britain.
Each member’s unique power to veto a resolution and halt the World from proceeding in a direction identified by the other four needs a critical examination. As the five prominent members get embroiled in the global competition for political power and economic prowess, the World is gradually becoming a place with troubling signs for peace and human rights. It seems logical to argue that the UNSC member countries have on their foreheads the mark of immunity, contrary to initial expectations during the inception of the UN. The UNSC members first emerged to police the World against the reoccurrence of a global conflict experienced during World War I and II. Conversely, each of them has become unpoliceable.
In the next part/episode, I will give you instances of the UNSC’s paralysis. These instances will point to the fact that if no structural transformation is put into place, the UN and its Security Council will encounter a decay and become useless in the long run. Watch out for Part II.
F. Mulbah Zig Forkpa, Jr. is an LLM/Transnational Criminal Justice Candidate (with an emphasis in Transitional Justice and International Criminal Law) form the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.