ILP CW3 336083 The use of force has been a long-debated topic within the scope of collective security and can be said to be linked directly to the sovereignty of states. Along the passing of time, unauthorized use of force or threats has been abolished and now, it has become a rule of law making such acts to be war crimes. Generally impermissible, however there will be certain situations where use of force can be deemed lawful such as for the purposes of self-defence, humanitarian intervention and pre-emptive power inter alia. In the following part of this essay, the discussion will be based largely on UN and NATO’s previous humanitarian operations, assessing the details of intervention of the said organizations. The United Nations Charter in article 2(4) restricts the use of force by member of states to the UN. The charter explicitly prohibits members in their international relations to act against territorial or political independence of any state by threat of force or other acts inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. This has been made law upon the ratification of all member states and is protected by the United Nations Charter 1945.
Academics translated this provision to be prohibiting the use of force as in “territorial integrity or political independence of states”; and exception to this would be instances such as self-defence and those listed under Chapter VIII by the UN Security Council. The general principle is to restrict the use of armed forces except in cases such as; there is collective action-pursued to maintain or to restore peace; and Article 51 which provides that, “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a state.” Referring back to self-defence, On March 23rd, 1999, NATO began a three-month-long bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, allegedly to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians in the semi-autonomous region of Serbia by Slobodan MiloseviA„”¡’s authoritarian regime. Mr Robertson, Secretary of State for Defence at that time, expressed the Government’s stand regarding the multinational NATO intervention in Kosovo as: ‘We are in no doubt that NATO is acting within international law. Our legal justification rests upon the accepted principle that force may be used in extreme circumstances to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Those circumstances clearly exist in Kosovo’
The use of force in such circumstances can be justified as a peculiar measure parallel to the purposes laid down by the UN Security Council, but without the Council’s express authorisation, when that is the only means to avert an immediate and overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe. UN Security Council resolution 1199 clearly calls on the Yugoslav authorities to take immediate steps to cease their repression of the Kosovar Albanians and to seek solution to the issue. During the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, NATO’s decision to deploy armed forces did not acquire clear legal authorization as its governments might have desired. Despite these, a clear cut judgment could not be achieved as to its legality. The main legal arguments used to support the NATO action in Kosovo according to Adam Roberts (Roberts 1999) would concern the United Nations Resolutions. UN resolution 1199 of 23rd September 1998 demanded Yugoslavia to cease all action by the forces that are affecting the member of public. Upon this warning, it was explicitly stated that action would be taken should the demand not be followed. Resolution 1203 of 24th October 1998 required the Serbs to conform to a number of key provisions of the accords completed in Belgrade.
These resolutions also allowed the NATO Alliance to have a direct standing and interest in the affair of Kosovo. Having said these, if the UN Security Council couldn’t follow these resolutions into Kosovo with a specific authority to use force, the legal ground for NATO’s military action could be found in the resolution. On 26th March 1999, two days after the bombing started, Russia supported a draft UN resolution calling for an immediate termination of the use of force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Russia’s stand was supported by two non-member states, India and Belarus. Only three member states (Russia, China and Namibia) voted in favour and twelve against this draft resolution. Sovereignty of state could not be said to be an absolute good. According to John Simmons, a legal definition of a right that is dependent on the safeguard of citizens within such a state (Simmons 1999). If these citizens are treated with oppression, then there is a legal basis for external force or powers, under the authorization of the United Nations, to step in to intervene for humanitarian purposes.
Human interest should replace national interest as the driving force of human effort. State boundaries are merely social and political in nature that may vary according to beliefs, cultural or political agendas. Human interest is irreversible. Whatever moral good the entity of statehood is believed to have, it must prioritize the greater necessities of the rights of humanity. The United Nations Security-General (UNSG) introduced something they called ‘vision of collective security’ which appealed to UN member states. The vision outlines a holistic notion of human security, including a common peace-building mission, along with several new organizations that works towards the purpose of the UN. Along time as liberalization is expected to lead to democratization, humanitarian efforts are expected to lead to peacekeeping, and democratization to peacebuilding. In simple words, it is expected that peacekeeping will lead to self-sustainable peace between, within and across states. Joensson in his article states that unfortunately, in theory and practice, it is suggested that collective security discourse is overestimating the stabilizing effects of negotiated peace agreements and UN multidimensional peacekeeping under the current collective security arrangement.
Efforts to end and prevent conflict and implement processed of political and economic liberalization have called on forceful armed power intervention and intrusive protocols that are proven to be detrimental democratization and peace. Joensson further commented that the UN on several occasions have been ‘forced to compromise its objectives to match the little success that has actually been achieved in practice.’ This suggests that instead of strengthening the post-conflict states from within, the multidimensional operations are conveying an international culture of dependency in which the internal stability of weak states become increasingly dependent on external assistance. Having said this, there is a clash between short and long-term goals if multidimensional peacekeeping, and a gap between UN’s power to act, as well as between the collective security discourse and global world order. A generally accepted example of the success of collective security would be the Gulf War that taken place in 1990. The Security Council passed resolutions calling for unconditional withdrawal including Article 41 for economic sanctions and Chapter VII for a US-led alliance of armed forces. After 6 weeks, operation ‘Desert Storm’ had totally broken the resistance of Iraqi troops. The key point to note here is the legitimating function of collective security by the UN.
Although it happens that powerful state may override the protocol of bypassing the legitimization process, examples such the 2003 Iraq invasion subsequently led to serious unease. Claude also makes this point naming the UN as an ‘agency of collective legitimization’. It is suggested that with the approval of the Security Council, use of force could be conceived as acceptable because of such endorsement. Despite the UN playing such a significant role in international relations, there is still doubt as to whether the UN is successful in achieving its purpose in collective security. The Cold War is one of the failures of the UN in achieving the so-called collective security, reason being the veto given by Article 27 Chapter3. Consequently, the operation was paralyzed because any threat to the interests of the US or the Soviet Union resulted in a veto preventing the UN from taking action. Efforts of collective security by the UN are hampered when there is superpower present among the parties. Although collective security is said to be ‘superior’ in the sense that the preponderant physical power’s ability to defer or defect potential breaches of peace and security and because the overall diffusion power is more stabilizing than shifts in the distribution of power. This operates in contrary when there is a single superpower that is stronger than the collective powers.
An example of this case is when America took a unilateral use of force when armed forces were deployed in Iraq on 2003 without the approval of the Security Council. Claude emphasized the failing system of collective security and linking this to the Korean War. He stated ‘it is neither feasible to carry out nor prudent to undertake collective security operations direct or indirectly opposing a major power.’ Another case that was brought forward to the Security Council is the Vietnam War where Adam Roberts and Benedict Kingsbury mentioned the term ‘selective security’ in light of the flawed system of collective security. Acts of aggression were obvious here in this situation but when Laos went against Hanoi in 1959, and Cambodia against USA and Vietnam in 1964, no actions were taken to restore peace. Up till this point, can collective security be said to be an effective system to fulfil the humanitarian purpose of the UN? Critics highlighted NATO’s lack of action in defence of Kurdish or East Timorese human rights from abuse by the Turkish and Indonesian states simultaneous to Operation Allied Force, and reinforced this as the evidence of selective moral conscience of the West.
Questions were raised as to why NATO had acted only over Kosovo when there was no effort to restore peace and stop the Croatian government’s ethnic cleansing of Serbs from the Krajina in 1995 The success of collective security could be measure by the fact that a major conflict has not broken out since the previous second world war, despite the demoralizing acts of the Islamic State taking place currently. However, UN’s ‘multidimensional peacekeeping’ approach, whereby conflicts and humanitarian emergencies are regarded as threats to peace, arguably has represented a new dawn of interventionist collective security. Since the end of the Cold War, the UN has looked into very much humanitarian issues and intra-state conflict, where former Secretary General Kofi Annan argued that states have a duty to protect its own citizens, but in the event of a failure, that responsibility must be borne by the broader international community. Of course it can be argued that it would be possible to intervene in every case of human right abuses, Booth responds that this ‘merely says that on a particular occasion NATO acted in accordance with humanitarian objectives; not that as a matter of principle that NATO acts out of respect for them’ On the other hand, Coady argues that it is important to scrutinize responses to humanitarian crises, as from a classical utilitarianism perspective, total impartiality between targets of intervention is necessary to ensure the best is achieved.
Although the previously mentioned critics are in agreement that Kosovar Albanians suffered immensely under the Yugoslav regime, they bought up that the primary motive for an action will have influence on the methods used, and that for humanitarian interventions, the absence of humanitarianism at the core of the made decision could cause the lives of civilians. Adding on, the basis when NATO has made moral judgments to intervene or not adds to the suspicion that humanitarianism may not be the primary motive for deployment of force in Kosovo. In conclusion, collective security may have served as a very important solution to restoring and sustaining world peace but as to its effectiveness, some setbacks are evident through the examples elaborated above. From selective security to superpower states, collective security could not be said with confidence that it exist for the sole purpose of world peace. The intervention in Kosovo may have been necessary, but the motivation behind external armed force intervention is clouded and was not solely for humanitarian purpose. The system of collective security is inconsistent, hence having said all these, the question of effectiveness in practice could not be answered in the positive- The flawed part is not the system as a whole but rather the methods chosen by external forces were highly flawed since there was lack of priority for humanitarianism. Bibligraphy
United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945, 1 UNTS XVI, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3930.html [accessed 20 March 2015]
Adam Roberts and Benedict Kingsbury, (1993), The UN’s Roles in International Society, United Nations, Divided World: The UN’s Roles in International Relations, 2nd Edition, United States, Oxford University Press, New York Booth, K. ‘Ten Flaws of Just Wars’ in the Kosovo Tragedy: The Human Rights Dimensions edited by Ken Booth (London, FrankKass, 2001) Barrie Watts,’ The Role of the United Nations’, Black Rabbit Books, 2004, New York Charles A. Kupchan, Clifford A. Kupchan, ‘Concerts, “collective security”, and the Future of Europe, International Security’ , Vol. 16, No. 1 (2001) Charles A. Kupchan, Clifford A. Kupchan, ‘The promise of “collective security”, International Security, The MIT press (1995) Coady, C.A.J. ‘War for humanity: a critique’ in Ethics and Foreign Intervention (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003 Florian Beiber, ‘Constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: preparing for EU accession, Policy Brief, (European Policy Center Brussels, April 2010) Immanuel Kant, ‘Perpetual peace: a philosophical essay.’ (G. Allen & Unwin Ltd 1915)
London Inis L Claude Jr., ‘Swords into ploughshares the problems and progress of International Organization’, 4th Edition, Random House (New York 1964) Joensson, ‘Understanding Collective Security in the 21st century: A critical Study of UN Peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia’ (European University Institute, September 2010) Jackson and Sorensen, ‘Introduction to International Relations: Theories and approaches, (Oxford University Press, 2007) Natalia Ruiz, ‘Exploring the Limites of International Law relating to the Use of Force in Self-Defence’, EJIL 3 (2005) P. ThielbArger, “The Status and Future of International Law after the Libya Intervention”, 1 GJIL 4 (2012) UN, ‘In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 March 2005 (A/59/2005) pp. 74-86 Vaughan Lowe, ‘International Legal Issues Arising in the Kosovo crisis’, (Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence, 11 May 2000) <https://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmfaff/28/0020805.htm> accessed 20 March 2015> 336083
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