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On foreign policy measures to force Russia to make peace
 29 January 2015
 UN, International assistnce, Russia, War

This refers to increasing the role of the UN Security Council in this process, which is now limited to Russias right of veto against any draft resolution of the SC aimed against it. It is proposed not to initiate any reform of the UN (it is a long and controversial process) but to use existing opportunities stipulated in the UN Charter.

Article 27 of the Charter states,

3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters (except procedural that are referred to in paragraph 2, Article 27 ed.) shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that ... a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting...

So the main problem is recognising Russia a party to the conflict. Basically, this requires Ukraines appeal to the UNSC asking to recognise the fact of aggression of Russia. However, using the right of veto, Russia is constantly blocking the process of considering the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and any decisions of the UNSC containing even hints to the charges of aggression. However, Ukraine can appeal not to the UNSC but to the UN General Assembly. This time, Russia can also try to hinder the reformatting of the discussion of this conflict (into the UNGA instead of the SC), referring to Article 12 of the UN Charter,

While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.

However, for this case, there is a procedure (and precedents, in particular concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict when the U.S. used the right of veto) for the UN General Assembly adopting vetoed draft resolutions of the SC. This procedure is defined by Resolution 377 (V) of the UN General Assembly Uniting for Peace of 3 November 1950,

...if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures, including in the case of a breach of the peace or act of aggression the use of armed force when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security. If not in session at the time, the General Assembly may meet in emergency special session within twenty-four hours of the request therefor. Such emergency special session shall be called if requested by the Security Council on the vote of any seven members, or by a majority of the Members of the United Nations.

Thus, the algorithm of Ukraines actions as a victim party lies in it legally recognising Russia as a party to the conflict (what many other countries are also willing to do). The Verkhovna Rada did it on 27 February 2015 by adopting a respective appeal encouraging the international community to acknowledge a fact of an aggression against Ukraine, of occupation of its territory and strengthen the demands to reverse to the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine, preventing the creation of a dangerous precedent in the form of an arrogant violation of the world order and security system shaped out in the aftermath of the World War II.

This is a necessary step but not sufficient. We need to appeal directly to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly demanding to convene an emergency special session, whose agenda should include the issues of recognition of the conflict as internationalised internal, inspired by Russia, and such that continues with its participation (of course, providing conclusive evidence of Russia being guilty). After the adoption of a positive decision the president, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other government and public institutions should work hard for that the UNGA and SC will have every reason to take adequate (up to military, according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter) measures against Russia, from which it is withdrawing.

For more details see: National Security and Defence, 2014, 5-6


Mykola Sunhurovskyi

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