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HKMUN 2012-13

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs

Legal Framework for International Intervention

Jasper Lim 2012-13

Please note that this document serves as an introduction to the topic only. For any questions, email Jasper Lim via or leave a comment on the UNODA group on Facebook. A reply will be made within 24 hours. If you want Jasper Lim to give you a reply via phone, please leave your phone number via email or Facebook message and state the matter concerned within the email or message.

Introduction to the Topic and Committee:

It is to be clarified in the first place that the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs has no legal rights to impose any changes to the current legal framework adopted by the United Nations Security Council, of which the principal matter is to deal with issues concerning international security. The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, under the internal structure of the United Nations, is subordinate to the Security Council, because this committee is a subsidiary of the United Nations General Assembly. The details concerning the responsibilities of this committee will be further explained in the later sections. Legal framework for international intervention is specific yet broad topic, and a highly debatable one. One principle that the United Nations has long upheld is the principle of non-intervention. But one must be clear under what circumstances is this principle applied. To begin, one must be reminded that the boundaries within which this principle can be applied have long been evolving. And as mentioned, it is important to once again note that the enforcement of an international intervention is determined within the Security Council. The history of the Security Council and several cases of enforced international intervention shed light not only on the evolving relations between different state members within the Security Council be it deteriorating or normalizing, but more importantly on the evolving nature of international intervention as well. In recent decades, international intervention starts to be extended from matters concerning regional and international security to regional humanitarian situations. It is of high importance for delegates to include humanitarian intervention into the debate, rather than solely focusing on international security matter. One such principle that will shed light on this matter is the R2P principle, which implies the responsibility of other states to intervene providing a specific set ( though fluid ) of circumstances. The mission of this committee ( for details, read through Important Terms ) is to examine and evaluate current principles upheld by the United Nations Security Council, such as non-intervention, respect of state sovereignty and responsibility to protect even regardless of the sovereignty of a state. Unlike the historical committee, this committee is tackling with issues that are evolving. Thus, it is crucial for delegates to review up-to-date information on the issues prior to the debate. Ultimately, this committee seeks to re-affirm principles that are examined to be right to be upheld, propose recommendations that will help the United Nations Security Council deal with issues that may or may not require international intervention more effectively. However, delegates should keep in mind that they should not evade within debates the important principles, such as sovereignty. Rather, they should work closely, if possible, clearly defining the circumstances, under which certain principles can and should be upheld. Delegates, furthermore, are highly encouraged to bring recent materials, such as case study of Syria, into the debate.

Important Terms:

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs: In the previous section, there are significant pre-existing limitations to what changes this committee itself can enforce. Yet there is no denying of the importance of this committee. The primary mission of this committee is to persistently examine and re-examine issues concerning regional and international security, ranging from regulation of small arms sales, elimination of biological and chemical weapons, regulation and elimination of nuclear weaponry proliferation, to current legal frameworks ( the principles and procedures the United Nations currently uphold and utilize to deal with matters ). Ultimately this committee seeks to facilitate and conduction multilateral discussions on the issues and make corresponding recommendations. This committee also helps coordinate efforts in dealing with the above issues through multilateral discussions between experts, NGOs, diplomats and other international organizations, including INTERPOL, OCED, International Crisis Group, International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect etc. It is not necessarily true that UNODA always seeks to recommend new changes to the current principles and practical solutions utilized by the United Nations. It is a common-place for committee sessions within UNODA to reaffirm these principles and solutions, while recognizing the evolving needs for these principles and solutions to adapt to the evolving nature the development of different issues.

UN Security Council: The main peacekeeping organ of the United Nations. The Security Council has 15 members, including 5 permanent members.1. It must be noted that the 5 permanent members include the French Republic, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, The Peoples Republic of China and the Russian Federation. These 5 permanent members hold the voting power within the council, which is called veto power. As long as one of the five permanent members veto any resolution, the resolution is regarded unsuccessful. For a successful resolution, unanimous votes must be made within the 5 permanent members. Such voting procedure is criticized by some to be one of the major weaknesses of the UN Security Council. The principal mission of the Security Council is to establish peacekeeping operations and international sanctions, and authorise military actions. The current non-permanent members include Australia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Korea and Togo.

Norm-setting: The influence of recommendations from UNODA and resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council can be said to exist in the form of norm-setting. UNODA provides substantive and organizational support for norm-setting in the area of disarmament through the work of the General Assembly and its
1 World Politics: International Politics on the World Stage Glossary


First Committee, the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament and other bodies. It fosters disarmament measures through dialogue, transparency and confidence-building on military matters, and encourages regional disarmament efforts; these include the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and regional forums. 2

Norm(s): A principle of right action that is binding on members of a group and that serves to regulate the behavior of the members of that group. The word is based on the Latin norma, which means a carpenter's square or an accurate measure. Norms are based on custom and usage and may also become part of formal law. Norms are recognized in international law under the principle of jus cogens (just thought), which states that a standard of behavior accepted by the world community should not be violated by the actions of a state or group of states. In domestic systems, "common law" is equivalent to norms in the international system.3

Veto: A negative vote cast in the UN Security Council by one of the five permanent members; has the effect of defeating the issue being voted on.4

Sovereignty: The most essential characteristic of an international state. The term strongly implies political independence from any higher authority and also suggests at least theoretical equality. 5 Yet in September 1999, Kofi Annan said that State Sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined not least by the forces of globalisation and international cooperation. States are now widely understood to be instruments at the service of their peoples, and not vice versa.

Collective Security: The original theory behind UN peacekeeping. It holds that aggression against one state is aggression against every member and should be defeated by the collective action of all. 6

Peacekeeping: The use of military means by an international organisation such as the United Nations to prevent fighting, usually by acting as a buffer between combatants. The international force is neutral between the combatants and must have been invited to be present by at least one of the combatants. 7
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UNODA (about us) : <>

World Politics, Glossary World Politics, Glossary World Politics, Glossary World Politics, Glossary

Peacemaking: The restoration of peace through, if necessary, the use of offensive military force to make one or all sides of a conflict cease their violent behaviour. 8 Non-intervention ( also known as non-interference ): ( this is one of the most important yet debatable concepts ) States should avoid all wars not related to themselves. This has long been a core principle to the United Nations. However, there has been an emergent doctrine known as humanitarian intervention over the past 2 decades. Notable cases of humanitarian interventions are the 1991 international intervention to protect the Kurds ( minority group ) in Iraqi and peace-keeping in Somali ( during the Somali Civil War ) in the same year. *Since 1999, there has been a paradigm shift in debates from the right of intervention to the responsibility to protect. Responsibility to Protect (abbreviation: R2P): (highly controversial issue worth to do some more in-depth reading see bibliography) This is a recent (new) yet important concept. This principle was only recently adopted by the United Nations in 2006. The adoption of it is a prime example of the evolving nature of the legal framework for international intervention as well as the nature of international intervention missions. The duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with the State, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty. Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where States are accountable for the welfare of their people. 9 This principle, though is supported by some major state actors, such as the United Kingdom in the crisis of Libya ( Arab Spring ), is at the same time regarded to be inapplicable in the same situation. Once again, delegates should be reminded that not only is military intervention to be included in the debate, humanitarian intervention is of equal importance as well.

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World Politics, Glossary World Politics, Glossary International Coalition for Responsibility to Protect, Office of Adviser on the

Prevention of Genocide <>, *The UN Security Council and the Responsibility to Protect ( detailed academic paper ) <>

Main Issues: R2P Responsibility to Protect, can be one of the central issues debated upon in the committee. R2P, as mentioned, is a relatively new and broad concept. Thus, there is still a lack of international consensus on the fact that under what circumstances should any international intervention supported by the R2P principles be justified? This has been, unfortunately, exemplified by the defeat of a resolution to enforce humanitarian intervention in Myanmar (Burma) after a catastrophic cyclone (natural disaster) in 2008. 10 It can be even said that the inconsistent and uncoordinated manner in which the UN and international community have exercised the contestable right of humanitarian intervention has led to failed, apathetic, or incompetent responses to humanitarian catastrophes in Somalia in 1993, Rwanda in 1994, and Srebrenica in 1995. The emergent concept of humanitarian intervention is evolving just as the principle of R2P. And, similar to R2P, humanitarian intervention consists of a broad series of topics, from what mechanisms can the international community use to deal with an emergency of regional humanitarian crisis such as a civil war, how should the international community strike a reconciliation between the two seemingly incompatible concepts non-intervention and responsibility to protect? Thus, the debate can be focused on R2P and non-intervention. So far, till this day, the language used to describe the R2P concepts is ambiguous.

Through thorough debate, this committee can certainly further the on-going clarification of the R2P concepts. In addition, this committee can also seek to further the international consensus on the R2P concepts, particularly on the issue concerning intervention into others domestic affairs involving the concept of sovereignty. Last but not least, delegates should be reminded that international intervention does not only concern security, peace and war, but also humanitarian crisis.

Position of State Powers:

Among China, Russia, Venezuela and Sudan ( four nations which often voice against any international intervention particularly military intervention ), China and Russia are the most powerful advocates of non-intervention, as they regard international intervention often as violation of sovereignty. One notable and recent example is the Chinese and Russian opposition to international military intervention into Syria.

The United States, the United Kingdom and France, however, have advocated on numerous occasions in favor of international intervention. They have sought support for intervention into Syria

Burma and the Responsibility to Protect: Do More Good than Harm

and Libya recently. The United States, particularly, have been an active player in international intervention. On several occasions, such as during the Somali Civil War (*including the Black Hawk Down Incident) and Iraqi (post-911), the United States even enforced unilateral military intervention into other sovereign states.

Questions: Broad Questions: (a) How should the international community strike a reconciliation between the two seemingly totally incompatible concepts, non-intervention and responsibility to protect? (b) Under what circumstances should military intervention be utilized to deal with a humanitarian crisis? (c) What are the existing weaknesses of the mechanism in dealing with a humanitarian crisis, be it civil war (like the Somali Civil War, war in Kosovo), genocide (like Rwanda massacre) or humanitarian crisis (like post-2008-cyclone Myanmar)? What improvements can be made to the existing mechanism? (Do assess the feasibility of the improvements that you intend to propose) (d) Since R2P is an emergent doctrine, how should the United Nations continue to deal with the clarifying and developing this set of principles? Should the United Nations expand any resources on dealing with this issue? If yes, how can it achieves successfully so? ( this is a question that concerns more with pragmatic issue than principle issue ) (e) The ideas of concept of responsibility to protect must be explored further and given a legal framework. The transnational actors such as specialized agencies of UN can have a more formal role in the policy framework related to humanitarian intervention. The expertise and knowledge of these agencies are undervalued and underused. How can this problem be resolved? (research on a few international organisations that have the expertise in helping resolve the problems that you have in mind such as INTERPOL in tackling terrorism) Reminder: this is perhaps the most complicated and broadest topic for this committee and we have a limited amount of time for the debate. As chair, I hereby highly encourage all delegates to collaborate on investigations into the subject matter. I would suggest you that you may fully utilize the existing UNODA Facebook Page for this purpose share a link or two.

Bibliography (Works Cited): (* recommended books/websites for further investigation)

*United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs: < > *World Politics: International Politics on the World Stage Glossary <>

International Coalition for Responsibility to Protect <>

Office of Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide <>

World Federation of United Nations Associations: The UN & R2P <>

*The UN Security Council and the Responsibility to Protect ( detailed academic paper ) <>

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty <> *eInternational Relations - Rwanda Genocide: Failure of the International Community <> *eInternational Relations A Critique of the Theory and Practice of R2P ( Responsibility to Protect ) *see 2.1 Sovereignty as Responsibility

(IMPORTANT)*eInternational Relations - Responsibility to Protect: A New Response to Humanitarian Suffering fering/ *eInternational Relations Intervention in the Internal Affairs of States

*eInternational Relations - Burma and the Responsibility to Protect: Do More Good than Harm / *eInternational Relations Is Humanitarian Intervention Ever Morally Justified? *eInternational Relations Humanitarian Intervention: An Exploration of Its Justification and Best Practices -best-practices/

The Burma Cyclone and the Responsibility to Protect

International Community Has A Responsibility to Protect Myanmar 750e3214&p=1 Further Readings: (* recommended books/websites for further investigation)

*IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS Concerning NON-INTERVENTION Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council:

*UN Charter

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

*Council for Foreign Relations: ( ranging from essential documents, in-depth analysis to statistics ) <>

*Essential Documents: Title of the Document: Intervention and State Sovereignty: Responsibility to Protect Summary of this Document: < reignty-responsibility-protect-report/p24228>

The Document:< > Case-Study: Libya: <> Better for Libya to Liberate Itself: Military Intervention Could Damage Lasting Peace in the Region by Gideon Rachmann (Feb, 2011, Financial Times)

*The Diplomat (News website)

How Humanitarian Intervention Failed the World

United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda eInternational Relations Can Armed Intervention to Save Strangers Be Morally Justified Introduction to International Relations by Joshua S. Goldstein and Jon C. Pevehouse


HKMUN 2012-13