One of the most landmark agreements by b39eXK


									               DAV Model United
               Nations Conference 2012
               Committee: United Nations
               Security Council

DAV Model United Nations 2012 Conference

Study Guide

Executive Board

RamitMalhotra | SiddharthSoni

“Arms Trade Treaty”

   Security Council Session

       DAVMUN 2012

It was in December 2006 that the United Nations took up the matter of Arms Trade
Treaty, a comprehensive effort in the direction of International arms regulation. The
fundamental roots of the Arms Trade regulations are in Nobel Peace Laureates’
initiative in late 1990s to identify and regulate veiled proliferation of small, medium and
heavy arms and weapons in the world.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/89 was first when United Nations
looked into the feasibility and scope of a codified Arms Trade Treaty, and the United
Nations Secretary General’s 2007 report1 on the same issue elaborated on the situation
of proliferation of arms under the disguise of sport and exhibit. The report also contains
the views of 94 member states at the footing of the treaty at that time.2 The United
Nations Office for Disarmament had also listed down a list of conventional arms that are
too similar in appearance and operation, circulation of which might be controlled and
regulated by this visionary convention and it was registered in the United Nations
Register of Conventional Weapons.3

Mr. Kari Kahiluoto, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Finland to the
Conference on Disarmament, on behalf of the European Union, made a statement in the
UN General Assembly in the 61st Session itself in regards to the vote of all of the
European Nations in favour of the proposed idea of the Arms Trade Treaty, but not all
members of the United Nations took the Arms Trade Treaty in a respectable agreement.
A lot of nations, including India, Bolivia and Iraq abstained from the resolution in
proposition, and the government of the United States of America stating ‘obvious
fundamental errors’ in the idea voted against the proposal of an Arms Trade Treaty in
resolution 61/89.4

Possible principles, goals and objectives of the treaty as well as specific elements that a
treaty would need to include – for example, the range of equipment and types of
transactions it should cover; the rules states should apply when deciding whether to
authorise arms transfer and the means by which it should be implemented have already
been discussed in the United Nations in response to the report. There are still plenty of
details to be worked out on all key issues, and an agreement for a sufficiently robust
treaty is far from guaranteed. Even the negotiating rules could work against a powerful

  United Nations Secretary General’s Report, Towards an Arms Trade Treaty; Establishing common Arms
Trade Standards for Import, Export and Transfer of Conventional
Arms; (Accessed 1 August
  United Nations Secretary General’s Report, Towards an Arms Trade Treaty; Establishing common Arms
Trade Standards for Import, Export and Transfer of Conventional Arms; (Accessed 1 August 2012)
  Conventional Weapons include both small and heavy weapons, United Nations; http://www.un- (Accessed 1 August 2012)
 ODS Team, http://daccess-dds-
(Accessed 1 August 2012)

treaty. The final treaty must be decided by ‘consensus’, which raises the unwelcome
possibility that some states will try to block it by raising formal objections in the final
stages of the negotiations. It will be essential that all those who support a strong treaty
redouble their efforts to fight for an Arms Trade Treaty that will make a concrete
difference to those suffering at the sharp end of the poorly regulated trade in
conventional arms.5

        Preparatory Committee

        An Open-ended Working Group was established in 2009, and it held two
        meetings on a prospective arms trade treaty. A total of six sessions of this Group
        were planned. However, at the end of 2009 the General Assembly decided by
        resolution A/RES/64/68 to convene a Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in
        2012 "to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common
        international standards for the transfer of conventional arms".67

Current Situation: International Arms Trade in Conventional Weapons

Small arms are contributing to the protracting of civil wars, increase in the amount of
civilian conflicts and disrupt the development of states after a conflict has finished.
These arms are exploited especially in places where there are terrorists, organised
crimes and other criminal acts. These armed aggressions are endangering human
society as human rights are being breached as well. It is becoming increasingly difficult
for governments to control the small arms trade due to the rising number of these
illegal weapons being available, especially where the economies and governments of the
country are unstable and weak because of armed conflict.

  Citation: Saferworld’s Control Arms Campaign was a humanitarian and non-governmental approach to
Arms Control in an effective manner. Read here: (Accessed 5 August 2012)
  Timeline for Precomm,
7; Full Text of Arms Trade Treaty

                  Children are often used to proliferate conventional small arms

Moreover, economies of the big powers like the USA and the Russian Federation depend
on the arms trade as a significant of their GDP comes from and it so are reluctant to
drastically reduce their arms businesses especially since the world economy is going
through a turbulent phase.8 There is a wide gap between the MEDCs and the LEDCs
further causing dilemmas for the production of an Arms Trade Treaty that would
include all areas from both MEDCs and LEDCs which would be beneficial for both as the
real problem actually lies in countries like Somalia and Mexico. Another major issue is
to control the transfer of illegal arms so that these arms do not reach the hands of
human rights violators whose misuse would not affect society as a whole negatively.

Arms Control Association has been making constant efforts in documenting the illicit
trade of Conventional Weapons, which include from the trade of small arms and light
weapons in the horn of Africa and Latin America to the International Ballistic Missile
Inventory9 which includes substantive information on the trade and transfer of
instruments of warfare between nations of the world. Arms Control Association has also
enlisted various treaties signed between nations to regulate trade of arms of any type,
which include treaties to regulate everything from Missile Testing, Missile proliferation
to manufacture of bullets and regulation of fissile material.

More arms also mean a higher risk of misuse and diversion. Due to these high risks to
internal / international security, all nations are expected to co-operate and act
responsibly in terms of such trade of armament. In all parts of the world, the availability
of conventional weapons and ammunition has led to human suffering, repression, crime
and terror among innocent civilians. The irresponsible transfer of conventional
weapons can destabilize security in a region, enable the violation of Security Council
arms embargoes and contribute to violations of the human right laws. These factors
have contributed to the recent drive calling for the global regulation of the conventional
arms trade, which has garnered support from politicians and the civil society.

 Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), 1995."Handbook of Defense Economics," Handbook of Defense
Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 00.
 Worldwide Ballistic Missile Inventories; (Accessed 1
August 2012)

                    A picture courtesy Arms Division, Human Rights Watch,
                    documenting the trade of Somali weapons in Somalia.10

Events in the Middle East and North Africa have reminded governments that they
cannot continue to operate like they used to previously without any change. Each
government has a responsibility to ensure that any weapon or any type of ammunition
should not fall in the wrong hands. The Arms Trade Treaty that is currently under
negotiations will ensure this by requiring governments to refuse transfers of
conventional arms if there is a substantial risk of serious human rights violations, war
crimes or terrorist acts.

Dual Use Goods and Technologies

One of the primary issues arising in the trade of Conventional weapons, and a major
obstacle in regulating its trade and tracing its proliferation is the dual use of weapons.
International Committee on Red Cross had prepared a compelling report on the
identical facets of weapons that could be used for sport and exhibit, and at the same
time are the same weapons that upon little or no modification could be used in military
capacity. The report also highlights the indirect effect of unregulated arms trade and
proliferation on civilians and does a threat assessment brief on the same matter.11

In 2010, UNSC Resolution 1929 registered measures in attempt of counter-proliferation
of weapons that have a dual-use wield. Regulation 489 of the European Union also
addresses the same issue, but major theorists have found substantive loopholes in the
regulation by these current regulations. One of the most landmark agreements,
alongside the proposition of comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty in United Nations was
the Wassenaar Agreement.

   Such unrecognized trade of small arms is widely prevalent in African states and ‘Illicit Use and trade of
Small Arms and Light Weapons in Africa’ is a biannual debate in the United Nations.
   Protection of Civilians and Proliferation of Arms, International Committee of the Red Cross, (Accessed 5 August 2012)

        Wassenaar Agreement’s Directives for the Use of Dual-Use Weapons12

        Tier 1: Basic Items

                Twice per year, members exchange information on all export licenses
                 denied on proposed transfers to non-Wassenaar members.

        Tier 2: Sensitive Items and its subset of Very Sensitive Items

                Within 60 days, members are requested to notify the Wassenaar
                 Secretariat of any export licenses denied on proposed transfers to non-
                 Wassenaar members.
                Twice per year, members exchange information on all export licenses
                 issued or transfers made to non-Wassenaar members.
                For the subset of Very Sensitive items, such as stealth technology
                 materials and advanced radar, members are called on to "exert extreme
                 vigilance" in exports.
                Within 60 days, members are requested to notify the Wassenaar
                 Secretariat of any export license approvals of transactions that are
                 "essentially identical" to transactions that another Wassenaar member
                 denied within the past three years. Wassenaar members are not obligated
                 to deny transfers previously denied by others.

                Guns used for peaceful purposes like shooting (sports) and hunting
                are identical to guns that are used to accomplish military objectives.
                        Proliferation takes this advantage to a large extent.

Even though Wassenaar secretariat13 have now also approved non-binding criteria to
guide exports of small arms and light weapons, agreed to exercise greater control on

   Arms Control Association: The Wassenaar Agreement at a Glance; (Accessed 5 August 2012)
   Wassenaar Secretariat: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of

arms brokers, and committed to better regulate exports of dual-use goods purchased by
recipients subject to arms embargos if the item is intended for a military end-use,
International arms trade is often unregulated because of the intricacies involved in the
trade of arms, and the weapons’ genuine similarity in appearance and operation with
weapons that are only meant for peaceful purposes.14

The necessity of the treaty is also complimented by Report of the Preparatory
Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.15

Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey,
Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
   The entire text of the Wassenaar Agreement could be found here:
   UN Report,
om%20Report_E_20120307.pdf (Accessed 3 August 2012)

Arms Trade Treaty: Introduction
Over the past decade, there has been growing international momentum to
conceptualise, document and address the various manifestations of “armed violence”.
To date the discourse has focused largely on the causes and effects of armed violence
and explored the range of available programming options to prevent and reduce it.

Discussions on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) currently underway in the United Nations
(UN) provide an important opportunity to examine armed violence in the context of
decisions concerning international transfers and the export and import of conventional
arms used in armed violence. One of the objectives of the ATT is to address the “absence
of common international standards on the import, export and transfer of conventional
arms.” As the UN General Assembly has noted, this absence contributes to “conflict,
displacement of people, crime and terrorism” thereby undermining peace,
reconciliation, safety, security, stability and sustainable development.”16

In other words, the absence of such common international standards contributes to
armed violence. Common international standards in the ATT should require States to
establish and maintain effective national regulatory mechanisms. The ATT should also
require States to licence or otherwise authorise exports and other international
transfers of conventional weaponry, munitions and related equipment (“conventional
arms”) in conformity with an agreed list of clear criteria that take into account the
potential risks stemming from such transfers. An ATT establishing such standards and
rigorous procedures will help generate consistency in national arms control regulations.
Importing States should be required to authorise imports of conventional arms into
their jurisdiction. Such authorisations must be in conformity with each State’s primary
responsibility to provide for the security of all persons under its jurisdiction and to
promote respect for and observance of human rights as affirmed in the UN Charter and
in other relevant international law.

        Definition: ‘Armed’ Violence

The term “armed violence” has been defined in numerous ways, reflecting the
phenomenon’s many dimensions and the wide spectrum of conflict, post-conflict and
crime-related settings and circumstances in which it occurs. The term has been defined
broadly, providing an overarching framework to capture various forms of violence,
which is an acknowledgement that armed violence fits into a continuum that includes
everything from warfare on the one extreme to more “everyday” forms of criminal and
gang activity on the other. The definitions also broadly describe the tools of such
violence, referring to “arms” or “weapons”, which encompass violence generally
characterised by the use of firearms and other small arms.17

        Armed Violence and Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

  International Action Network Action on Small Arms Report, Amnesty International. Page 17-22, ISBN
044-6756-7789-101, Amnesty International Corps, 12 June 2011
   United Nations Secretary General’s 1999 Definition of Armed Violence

One of the major areas of the impact that would be created by Arms Trade Treaty would
be counter-proliferation of Small Arms to counter armed violence and its impact on
civilian population.

Discussions of the ATT in the United Nations have touched upon many kinds of violent
activity that constitute armed violence. For example, the UN General Assembly
recognised that the “absence of common international standards for the import, export
and transfer of conventional arms is one of the contributory factors to conflict, the
displacement of people, crime and terrorism.”

Essentially, the absence of common international standards for the import, export and
transfer of conventional arms is one of the factors that contribute to armed violence.
States have referenced armed violence in ATT discussions as an overarching issue that
the ATT must address. Many States have expressed the view that the ATT has the
potential to reduce and prevent armed violence. For example, it is the view of some
States that, to be a worthwhile international instrument, “an ATT must reduce the
number of incidents of armed violence”. Others have suggested that “through the ATT
armed violence will be reduced” and that the ATT must “set conditions for reducing
armed violence”. Another State asserted that “all states are exposed to different types of
armed violence, be it rural, ethnic, religious, political, social or economic” and that an
ATT should create a viable framework to “ensure that states…can counter these
manifestations of violence”

       How should ATT address Armed Violence?

Addressing armed violence requires a multi-faceted approach. A great deal of analysis of
these approaches and the creation of frameworks to address the impacts of armed
violence on development and human security have been done. The ATT can be another
instrument to prevent armed violence, offering a significant opportunity to focus on the
tools - i.e. conventional arms - used in much armed violence and identify risk factors for
armed violence associated with the availability and supply of these weapons. A vast
array of abuses and violations are facilitated because these arms are available. A State
can improve human security by preventing arms transfers where there is credible and
reliable information that the end users will use these arms to commit acts of “armed
violence” and where there are serious violations or abuses of international law.
Moreover, if there is a substantial risk that the arms in question are likely to be used to
commit or facilitate such violations or abuses, then the transfer of such arms should be
prohibited until that risk is removed.

Creating a viable decision-making framework for the import, export and international
transfer of conventional arms is one of the key challenges in the negotiation of an ATT.
To be effective, such a framework must base licensing and authorisation decisions on
contemporary standards, including international humanitarian and human rights
standards, and clearly elaborates the responsibilities of States to uphold these
standards. The risk assessment process within the ATT prior to the authorisation or
issuance of an export license must consider the full range of potential risks associated
with the export application under review. By incorporating such a comprehensive
approach, the ATT can make a meaningful contribution to addressing armed violence in
its various manifestations. States have for years been called upon to monitor and

regulate arms transfers. Any risk assessment required by an ATT would essentially be
an element of monitoring and regulating arms transfers.

Arms-exporting States should exercise the highest degree of responsibility and effective
control in these transactions. Effective control over arms exports should involve
thorough and objective assessment on a case-by-case basis for each export application.
However, ad hoc or isolated incidents of armed violence should not trigger a
responsibility to prohibit an arms export. Rather, such responsibility should be
triggered by specific types and levels of armed violence, e.g. those that warrant the
attention of the exporter States based upon the nature, severity, scale, and
pervasiveness of the armed violence.

     Questions that Council Must Answer:

            Do the violent activities amount to persistent or serious crimes or violent acts resulting
             in the loss of life or violating physical integrity?
            Will the activities despite a comprehensive and active ATT be serious violations of
             international human rights law or international humanitarian law?
            Do the activities constitute crimes under international law such as torture, enforced
             disappearance, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide?
            Will the transfer of conventional arms under review facilitate or perpetuate such

Scope of Draft Arms Trade Treaty
The conventional weapons and trade transactions that will be covered by the treaty are
referred to as being within the scope of the treaty. The second Preparatory Committee
meeting that took place in February-March of 2011 focused on scope, but states could
not reach agreement on a list of arms and activities that satisfied all parties.

            Weapons Categories

Most states agree that all of the weapons covered by the categories used in the UN
Register of Conventional Arms should fall under the scope of the treaty. These include
tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and helicopters, warships,
and missile systems. Most states, including the United States, are also in agreement that
small arms and light weapons should be included in the treaty. The United States does
not currently support the inclusion of ammunition within the scope, although many
states do.18

  On the arguments for inclusion of small arms ammunition, see Hilde Wallacher and Alexander Harang,
‘Small, but Lethal – Small Arms Ammunition and the Arms Trade Treaty’, Peace Research Institute Oslo,

        Types of Transactions

Most states agree that imports, exports, transfers, and transhipment should be included.
A model text proposed by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee meetings reads:
“International arms transfers involve the transfer of title or control over the equipment
as well as the physical movement of the equipment into or from a national territory.”19

Brokering of arms deals has also been included by many states in their proposals. The
inclusion of technology transfer and manufacture under license is also widely
supported, but several states, including India and Brazil have dissented on this issue.
According to a Brazilian statement made in July 2011, the inclusion of technology
transfer would create a world of “haves” and “have nots” and would improperly mimic a
non-proliferation treaty. Several states have also proposed including an article in the
treaty creating a blanket ban on the transfer of arms from governments to non-state
actors. A transfer that would fall under the purview of an ATT would have to involve
arms covered by the treaty and be of a transaction type covered by the treaty.

Implementation Issues: Arms Trade Treaty20

In discussions at Preparatory Committee meetings and expressed in official statements,
states have made it clear that implementation of the treaty must be conducted at the
national level. States will retain sovereign decision-making powers and have rejected
supranational oversight of the treaty.

Reporting: States have largely agreed that reports on steps toward full implementation
of the treaty should be mandatory. These reports should include updates on legislation
to bring national controls in line with the treaty’s requirements. Reports on application
of the treaty have proven more controversial, however. Application reports would
include details on arms transfers and license approvals.21Some states already provide
public reports on some or all arms transfers. The U.S., for example, publishes an annual
‘655 report’ on direct commercial sales approved by the State Department’s Directorate
of Defense Trade Controls. Records of sales managed by the Department of Defense
under the Foreign Military Sales program are also made public. European Union
member states agreed to an arms sales “Code of Conduct” in 1998 that, among other
obligations, asks member states to provide data for a joint EU annual report on arms
transfers and licenses. The reports on application of the ATT will likely be no more and
possibly much less detailed than either of these examples.22

  On the need for controls in these two areas, see Control Arms Campaign, ‘Arms Without Borders: Why a
globalized trade needs global controls’, October 2006, available at
   Whole Citation: (Accessed 6 August
   For more on reporting mechanisms, see Paul Holtom and Mark Bromley, ‘Implementing an Arms Trade
Treaty: Lessons on Reporting and Monitoring from Existing Mechanisms’, Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute Policy Paper No. 28, July 28, 2011, available at
   See reports at

While supporters of a strong ATT have called for annual reports on application of the
treaty to be made public, a growing number of states oppose such a measure. At
present, most state proposals support the sharing of reports between states-parties,
without making them available to the general public. In addition, the publication of
transfer license denial information has met with strong resistance for two reasons.
While a number of states oppose such an obligation on the grounds of confidentiality or
national security, others believe it would incorrectly imply that transfer approvals or
denials require justification when they do not.

International Cooperation: For smaller states with weak existing trade controls, meeting
the obligations of the treaty may prove difficult both in terms of financing and technical
expertise. At the same time, arms smugglers often use these same states for transfer
purposes precisely because of their lax standards. In the course of discussions with
state proponents of the treaty, developing countries have stressed the importance of
creating a framework for cooperation and aid as an integral part of the treaty.

Implementation Support Unit: While the ATT is unlikely to create a large secretariat,
most states are in agreement that a small support unit will be needed to collate state
reports and facilitate international cooperation projects. The size of an Implementation
Support Unit (ISU) will ultimately depend on the roles assigned to it. Almost all states
are in agreement that the ATT should not create a transnational regime that monitors
the actions of state-parties or verifies reports. While proposals for a more intrusive ISU
have been floated, none appear to have gained traction yet. At present there also exist
differences over whether the ISU should be hosted within the United Nations or should
be separate and funded by states-parties alone.

Entry into Force: Finally, the question of the requirements for the treaty’s formal legal
entry into force must be decided. To date, only a few states have expressed a preference
on the requirements for entry into force of the treaty. Most states that have expressed a
view on the issue have suggested that entry into force should be triggered when a
certain number of signatories, many suggesting between 30 and 60 states, ratify the
treaty. A small minority of states have advocated that the top arms-producing states
must ratify in order to trigger entry into force.


The ATT provides an important opportunity to help prevent various forms of armed
violence, including homicide with firearms.23 By requiring States to implement high
standards and rigorous procedures to effectively regulate the export, import and
international transfer of conventional arms in each case, the ATT could help stop
relevant arms reaching a State where those arms are likely to be used for a range of
violent activities, contrary to the lawful use of force.

To be effective, an ATT should include a rigorous assessment procedure addressing a
range of possible risks that every potential export might pose. This includes, for

  National Archives of United Kingdom,
0.pdf (Accessed 6 August 2012)

example, the risk of the conventional arms being used to commit or facilitate serious
violations of international human rights and humanitarian law or terrorist attacks, or
being used in the commission of transnational organised crime. As firearms-related
homicide is the most commonplace form of criminal armed violence, the ATT should
also require an assessment of whether there is a “substantial risk” that the transfer in
question will be used to perpetuate a pattern of, or contribute to, high levels of firearms-
related homicides. Proof of authorisation from the import State should be required
prior to the issuance of an export license.

The importing State must also be required to rigorously assess any risks associated with
the potential import of items into its jurisdiction, particularly where the import is for
firearms that could pose a substantial risk of being used to contribute to high levels of
firearms-related homicide.

“Standards of Intervention”

      Security Council Session

          DAVMUN 2012

The ICISS report expresses a well-sought out and properly planned approach to the
acceptance of military intervention for human protection purposes. Foremost, less
intrusive and coercive measures must be exercised before more coercive and intrusive
ones are applied. However, in cases of extreme circumstances - those that "shock the
conscience of mankind, or which present danger to international security" - use of force
can be considered.
The international community recognizes 6 criteria as to when a military intervention
would be justifiable under some sort: right authority, just cause, right intention, last
resort, proportional means and reasonable prospects.

       Right Authority

The most legitimate body to authorize military intervention is the United Nations
Security Council. The Authorization from a legitimate authority like the United Nations
Security Council is a must. A formal request should be laid down in the Security Council
by those who are seeking for intervention, or have the council initiate such actions on
its own, or have the UN Secretary General raise such issue under the mandated power
under Article 99 of the United Nations Charter. However, should the Council reject a
proposal or fail to take up a situation within a reasonable amount of time the General
Assembly can consider the matter during an Emergency Special Session under the
"Uniting for Peace" procedure or regional and sub-regional bodies can act within their
geographic jurisdiction, subject to their approval from the United Nations Security
Council. Should the Security Council fail to act on the matter and does not carry out its
duty, the concerned states can look at alternatives to meet the gravity of the situation
they face.

       Just Cause Threshold

In order for the military intervention to be warranted, irreparable and serious harm
must be done to people or is at least likely to occur to them. Before which two main
aspects must be justified for the same.

large scale loss of life, actual or apprehended, with genocidal intent or not, which is the
product either of deliberate state action, or state neglect or inability to act, or a failed
state situation;

large scale 'ethnic cleansing', actual or apprehended, whether carried out by killing,
forced expulsion, acts of terror or rape.

       Right Intention

Every Action in this world has a motive behind it or at least should. Similarly there
might be many motives or intentions behind internvention or strictly speaking the
intervening states, but the primary motive is supposed to be to halt human suffering of

all or any forms. The right intention is justified or better assured with multilateral
operations, which is supported by the local or regional people and the victims

Last resort:when every non-military option for the prevention or peaceful resolution of
the crisis has been explored and has been unsuccessful, that is when military
intervention can be justified. Even believing on reasonable grounds that other actions
would not have worked is a reason enough for intervention.

Proportional Means: The scale, duration and intensity of the planned military
intervention should be the minimum necessary to secure the defined human protection

Reasonable prospects:There must be a reasonable chance of success in halting or
averting the suffering which has justified the intervention, with the consequences of
action not likely to be worse than the consequences of inaction.

ICISS also concluded that the most appropriate body to authorize such military
intervention is the security council and the most important task of the security council
is to make sure the mistakes of the past are not repeated. The United Nations Security
Council has an obligation to intervene in situations that threaten international peace
and security, in order to take appropriate actions and save human lives.

Types of Intervention

       Authorized Intervention

Most states prefer to secure UN authorization before using force for humanitarian
purposes, and agree that the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN
Charter, can authorize military action in response to severe atrocities and other
humanitarian emergencies that it concludes constitute a threat to peace and security.

The term “threats to peace and security” has been broadened ever since 1990s,which
today even includes issues such as mass displacement and today United Nations
Security Council has authorized intervention even in cases which states might have seen
as “internal disputes” years ago. Hence, UNSC authorization becomes very important as
the UNSC is the sole legitimate body which has the power to do so. A very recent
example for UN Authorized Intervention is the 2011 intervention of Libya, which took
place during the civil war to stop the atrocities committee by Colonel Gaddafi and his
followers. The UNSC took notice of the situation in Libya in the beginning of 2011 and
after various discussions passed UNSC resolution 1973 which Authorized the military
intervention in Libya.

       Unauthorized Intervention

Unauthorized Intervention is when a nation or an alliance decides to intervene
unilaterally without obeying the set orders of legitimate authority. In several instances
states or groups of states have intervened with force, and without advance
authorization from the UN Security Council, at least in part in response to alleged

extreme violations of basic human rights. Fairly recent examples include the
intervention after the Gulf War to protect the Kurds in northern Iraq as well as NATO’s
intervention in Kosovo.

Excusable breach: Humanitarian intervention without a UN mandate is technically illegal
under the rules of the UN Charter, but may be morally and politically justified in certain
exceptional cases. Benefits of this approach include that it contemplates no new legal
rules governing the use of force, but rather opens an “emergency exit” when there is a
tension between the rules governing the use of force and the protection of fundamental
human rights. Intervening states are unlikely to be condemned as law-breakers,
although they take a risk of violating rules for a purportedly higher purpose. However,
in practice, this could lead to questioning the legitimacy of the legal rules themselves if
they are unable to justify actions the majority of the UN Security Council views as
morally and politically unjustified.

Case Specific Examples

       India and East Pakistan, 1971: Unauthorized

The war between India and Pakistan of 1971 was a military conflict caused by the
Indian intervention as a response to MuktiVahini’s appeal for assistance to help the
majority Bengali speaking people gain independence. Lasting only 13 days, it is
considered one of the shortest wars in history. During the course of the war, Indian and
Pakistani forces clashed on the eastern and western fronts. The war effectively came to
an end after the Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces signed the Instrument
of Surrender on December 16, 1971, following which East Pakistan seceded as the
independent state of Bangladesh. Approx. 90,000 members of the Pakistan Armed
Forces including paramilitary personnel were taken as Prisoners of War by the Indian
Army, subsequently to be released after the signing of the Shimla Agreement between
the two governments. It is estimated that between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 civilians
were killed in Bangladesh, and four hundred thousand women raped by the Pakistani
armed forces. As a result of the conflict, a further eight to ten million people fled the
country at the time to seek refuge in neighbouring India. As opposed to working and
attempting to stop the growing issue within Pakistan, “The United Nations focus was on
preventing that repression from leading to an armed conflict between India and
Pakistan”. The Security Council’s response itself was thoroughly inefficient. The Council
only met after the outbreak of the hostilities and after several long hours of debate,
came to a conclusion that it was best to have the issue moved and debated in within the
General Assembly. The only significant resolution that was passed throughout the time
of the issue was the resolution that demanded continuation of ceasefire after the
Pakistan troops retreated. This conflict illustrates the arguable grounds for intervention
without international support.

       Somalia: Authorized

Following the eruption and escalation of the civil war in Somalia in 1991, the UN strived
to subside the suffering that was caused as a result of the intense conflict. Out of the 4.5
million people living in Somalia, over half were in severe danger of starvation and
malnutrition-related disease, mostly in the drought-stricken rural areas. The UN was

engaged in Somalia from early in 1991 when the civil conflict began. UN personnel were
withdrawn on several occasions during periodic flareups of violence. A series of
resolutions were passed by the Security Council (Resolution 733 and 746) and
diplomatic visits eventually helped impose a ceasefire between the two key parties,
signed at the end of March 1992. By the end of this crisis, it had been evident that the
international community accepted intervention as being a legal act, as they responded
to the General’s Assembly urgent call for action.

Current Situation in Syria

Should the UN have already intervened? Why did some members feel that they had no
right to intervene? What conditions have to be met before the UN has a right to
intervene? Should we examine and analyse why China and Russia still feel that the
council has no right to intervene but other countries such as France and UK feel that the
conditions warrant intervention?
Important Links and Citations



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