How Effectively does the United Nations Security Council Regulate the International Use of Force?

Categories ISSUE 7

How Effectively does the United Nations Security Council Regulate the International Use of Force?

by Josephine Carver

After the atrocities of World War I and II, the victor states ratified the United Nations Charter in 1945 creating the UN Security Council to prevent such grave conflict from ever repeating itself. Fast forward to 2018 and the type of conflict has significantly changed. ‘World War’ appears to be a relic of the past and states now use ‘force’ by alternative means to achieve their goals. This article critically examines the effectiveness of the United Nations Security Council in regulating the international use of force and its ability to adapt to new landscapes and types of conflict. The UN Security Council’s most important articles, Article 2(4) and Article 51, are critically analysed in an effort to identify how states may sidestep the prohibition on the use of force, without a UN Security Council mandate. Current examples from the past decade are used to highlight the Security Council’s lack of control in the international cyber-sphere and analyse how sufficiently grave cyber-attacks may prompt future armed conflict.

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