Pre-bunking ‘Russia’s UNSC P5 Veto Power Abuse, again.
The UN is chronically dysfunctional, but it can be fixed. Here’s how.
The Ukrainian government has called a UNSC meeting about the Russian regime’s further invasion and strategically ambiguous declaration of war.
Predictably, the Russian regime representative at the UN will attempt to abuse the P5 veto power, as they always do, to prevent any UNSC Resolution against them or their client regimes and political proxies and paramilitaries. Normally up till now, the rest of the P5 acquiesce to their (illegal) veto power abuse, because otherwise they couldn’t abuse the P5 veto power when they want to.
Everytime this happens, there’s a public discussion about the veto power abuse, but the majority of people don’t know yet that it’s not actually legal. Then the news moves on, people far away continue being massacred, but mainstream public attention is on other, happier things, so the debunking is too late. That’s one reason why pre-bunking against disinformation is so important.
Must Russia Abstain on Security Council Votes Regarding the Ukraine Crisis?
As the Security Council deliberates possible action on Ukraine, the question of abstention nonetheless looms large…
Article 27(3) of the UN Charter states that a member state must recuse themselves and abstain from voting, and a veto is a vote, in case they are a belligerent or party to a dispute which is being discussed in the UNSC. In the first decade of the UN, some of the P5 followed this rule, but in later decades it has practically become moot by desuetude, but it is still in the Charter.
What Lawfare presumably can’t say or recommend is what to do about that, maybe because what’s needed currently seems “not politically realistic”.
I believe it would be a reasonable interpretation for the rest of the UNSC members to refuse to recognize as valid a vote by a member who is blatantly violating Art.27(3), but they should do so consistently, even when it’s them or one of their allies misusing the P5 veto power, such as when the US government vetoes all UNSC motions critical of the Israeli government.
Longer-term, to make the UN function properly according to the Charter purposes, a UNGA Resolution should be made setting some objective criteria for recognition of a ‘state’ or a ‘state’ representative of a country to the UN, according to democratic values. As an inter-governmental organisation, the lack of an objectively facts-based, legally rational definition of a ‘state’ underlies why the UN, in almost all of its agencies, consistently fails to stick to its mission when that clashes a government/s’ “alternative facts” or arbitrary whims.
Currently, the UN and other inter-governmental organisations are effectively members’ clubs with arbitrary mutual recognition. Too many of the UNGA member ‘states’ are neither really independent nor really representative and legitimate according to democratic values. They function as clients or proxies of bigger ‘states’ or regimes, and because they’re more dependent on external supplies of legitimation, financial credit, and weapons, than on the consent of their subjects or acting for their citizens’ welfare and common goods, they vote according to their patrons’ wishes, not as independent members of the UNGA, which is essentially why the backup mechanism in UNGA R377 the ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution, which is supposed to circumvent abuse of the veto power or other bad faith blockage in the UNSC, cannot function, it just mirrors the UNSC results.
The chronic dysfunctionality of the UN is solvable. The democratic members just have to become willing to apply the Charter consistently. Their old sense of what’s normal and acceptable has to go. It’s why we’re in a death spiral. To make the UN and other international treaty organisations function properly, they should interpret state membership or recognition of a state according to objective criteria based on democratic values, not just arbitrarily according to their own vested interests, or the interests of transnational corporations paying tax in their jurisdictions in maintaining corrupt puppet governments.