chapter  11
22 Pages

Protection of civilians and law making in the Security Council

WithHugh Breakey

This chapter explores the United Nations (UN) Security Council's lawmaking activities under the rubric of the protection of civilians (POC). It explores while the Security Council is not legislating to protect civilians, it is engaging with and contributing to the development of international law in a variety of ways. In the series of POC thematic resolutions the Security Council did not legislate: the obligations it invoked were not novel, and the language it used was rarely binding. The Security Council was at the vanguard of condemning ethnic cleansing, and played a role in the early development and consolidation of the practice as constituting an atrocity crime. The taxonomy illustrates there are a variety of legal claims at work here. Many of these provisions score at most a medium on determi-nacy, as 'ethnic cleansing' was not a crime previously described by a black letter legal instrument. The UN Charter gives the Security Council a wide and flexible toolkit of legal options.