Journal Article

Deadlock or Restraint? The Security Council Veto and the Use of Force in Syria

Philippa Webb

in Journal of Conflict and Security Law

Volume 19, issue 3, pages 471-488
Published in print December 2014 | ISSN: 1467-7954
Published online September 2014 | e-ISSN: 1467-7962 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jcsl/kru018
Deadlock or Restraint? The Security Council Veto and the Use of Force in Syria

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  • Military and Defence Law
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The situation in Syria has revived the use of the veto power by some of the permanent five members of the Security Council. Repeated vetoes of draft resolutions and even the mere threat of a veto have stalled negotiations and rendered the Security Council largely passive in the face of mass atrocity. This article examines what this situation means for the accountability of the Security Council under international law. It concludes that there is no legal requirement at the present time for P5 members to abstain from the use of veto nor is the Security Council legally responsible for the internationally wrongful acts being committed in Syria. It considers the limited prospects for reforming the veto power through formal and informal changes to practice. The article suggests recasting the veto as a neutral technique, neither good nor bad. Some situations may call for the Security Council to encourage discussion and in-depth consideration of alternatives to the use of force. The veto power may create a more circumspect Council, which may be the more accountable entity in certain circumstances.

Journal Article.  8001 words. 

Subjects: Military and Defence Law ; Public International Law ; Police and Security Services ; Terrorism and National Security Law ; Use of Force, War, Peace and Neutrality

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