The Rule of Law in the United Nations Security Council Decision-Making Process: Turning the Focus Inwards, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Rule of Law in the United Nations Security Council Decision-Making Process

Turning the Focus Inwards, 1st Edition

By Sherif Elgebeily


208 pages

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The UN Security Council is entrusted under the UN Charter with primary responsibility for the maintenance and restoration of the international peace; it is the only body with the power to authorise military intervention legally and impose international sanctions where it decides. However, its decision-making process has hitherto been obscure and allegations of political bias have been made against the Security Council in its responses to potential international threats. Despite the rule of law featuring on the Security Council’s agenda for over a decade and a UN General Assembly declaration in 2012 establishing that the rule of law should apply internally to the UN, the Security Council has yet to formulate or incorporate a rule of law framework that would govern its decision-making process.

This book explains the necessity of a rule of law framework for the Security Council before analysing existing literature and UN documents on the domestic and international rule of law in search of concepts suitable for transposition to the arena of the Security Council. It emerges with eight core components, which form a bespoke rule of law framework for the Security Council. Against this framework, the Security Council’s decision-making process since the end of the Cold War is meticulously evaluated, illustrating explicitly where and how the rule of law has been undermined or neglected in its behaviour. Ultimately, the book concludes that the Security Council and other bodies are unwilling or unable adequately to regulate the decision-making process against a suitable rule of law framework, and argues that there exists a need for the external regulation of Council practice and judicial review of its decisions.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part 1: Defining a Security Council Rule of Law: How, Why and What? 2. Yoking Pantagruel- why the Security Council needs a Rule of Law 3. The rule of law- shifting sands on the international plane 4. Ethereal reality- The components of a bespoke Security Council rule of law Part 2: Exploring the Components of the Rule of Law 5. Clarity of Action- Procedural Transparency and Public Promulgation 6. Equality before the Law 7. The Predictability Paradox- the avoidance of arbitrariness, supremacy of the law and fairness in the application of the law 8. Consistency with International Human Rights Norms and Standards 9. The Separation of Powers and Acting ultra vires 10. The Equitable Participation in Decision-Making Processes 11. Accountability 12. Conclusion

About the Author

Dr Sherif A Elgebeily is the Director of the Centre for the Study of International Peace and Security (CSIPS), co-chair of the International Law and Policy in Africa Network (ILPAN), and was the 2016 Bingham Centre International Visiting Rule of Law Research Fellow.

He has worked for the UN Department of Political Affairs (Iraq Team) and the European Commission, and has also lectured internationally on topics including the rule of law, human rights, and international law in Hong Kong, Egypt, and the UK.

About the Series

Routledge Research in International Law

The series offers a space for new and emerging scholars of international law to publish original arguments, as well as presenting alternative perspectives from more established names in international legal research.  Works cover both the theory and practice of international law, presenting innovative analyses of the nature and state of international law itself as well as more specific studies within particular disciplines. The series will explore topics such as the changes to the international legal order, the processes of law-making and law-enforcement, as well as the range of actors in public international law. The books will take a variety of different methodological approaches to the subject including interdisciplinary, critical legal studies, feminist, and Third World approaches, as well as the sociology of international law. Looking at the past, present and future of international law the series reflects the current vitality and diversity of international legal scholarship.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General