Legal Remedies and the United Nations’ À La Carte Problem
This chapter reexamines recent US withholdings of its assessed regular contributions to the UN, as well as the premises and assumptions underlying the theory that a UN member may legally and unilaterally withhold payments for ultra vires acts by the organization. Reexamination is timely since the lessening of ideological divisions at the UN may facilitate adoption of legal remedies to the a la carte payment problem. The chapter explores recent US withholdings in the context of US policy goals. It then proposes an alternative approach to the ultra vires problem less susceptible to self-serving unilateral financial withholdings by member States. The chapter briefly considers possible legal remedies, assuming assessed UN contributions are considered debts legally owing. Throughout its history, the UN has faced a collection of payments problem. Recent US withholdings do not satisfy the procedural precondtions which arise from the presumptions articulated in the Expenses Case.