The Element of Breach: Sources of Obligations Incumbent upon the United Nations

Antonios Tzanakopoulos

in Disobeying the Security Council

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600762
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725210 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs in International Law

The Element of Breach: Sources of Obligations Incumbent upon the United Nations

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Conduct that is attributable to the UN must also be in breach of the UN's international obligations in order to engage the organization's international responsibility. This chapter examines the sources and content of international obligations incumbent upon the UN, particularly when the organization is acting through the Security Council. It argues that the UN is bound by its own Charter, the lex specialis in this case, which includes the obligations to determine the existence of a threat to the peace (Article 39) and to take measures that are proportional (i.e., necessary and appropriate) to counter the threat. It is also bound by general international law, the lex generalis. This lex generalis includes both jus cogens, but also elements of the jus dispositivum, including human rights obligations, which is not automatically cast aside by the operation of Article 103 of the UN Charter.

Keywords: international obligation; breach; proportionality; Article 39; Article 103; lex specialis; lex generalis; jus cogens; jus dispositivum; human rights

Chapter.  18136 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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