The UNSCOM Inspection Regime, Material Breaches, and Desert Fox

Marc Weller

in Iraq and the Use of Force in International Law

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199595303
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595769 | DOI:
The UNSCOM Inspection Regime, Material Breaches, and Desert Fox

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This chapter traces the development of the theory of material breach. The original design of the doctrine left it for the Security Council to determine that (a) a breach had occurred; (b) the breach was of sufficient gravity to suspend the cease-fire; and (c) the authority to use force revived in relation to certain former coalition powers. In this way, the doctrine was exclusively linked to the Council and its administration of the cease-fire conditions. It would not be available for invocation by states in other circumstances. Instead, the material breach argument merely furnished an indirect way for the Council to generate a mandate for the use of force. However, this approach turned out to be very risky. As time progressed, more and more states expressed dissatisfaction with the ongoing disarmament process and the failure to conclude it through the review process envisaged in Resolution 687 (1991). While it was Iraq's own failure to comply in an unqualified way that had caused this delay, aspects of the UN Special Commission' (UNSCOM) performance, the fact that much of its mandate appeared to have been fulfilled, and the repeated use of force against Iraq turned opinion in favour of Baghdad. The initial consensus, favouring limited force to constrain compliance with the disarmament provisions, vanished.

Keywords: theory of material breach; international relations; UN Special Commission; UN Security Council; disarmament; use of force

Chapter.  13997 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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