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          About ten days after the opening of the 58th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on November 4, 2003, the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan announced and formed a group of high ranking officials to research the threats, challenges and changes in the system of international security (hereafter referred to as the Group). Anan named the former Prime Minister of Thailand Anand Panyarachun as the president of this six member body, whose other members are Robert Badinter (the former French Minister of Justice), Gro Harlem Brutland (the former Norwegian Prime Minister and former Director General of the World Health Organization), Sadako Ogata (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), Yevgeni Primakov (former Prime Minster of the Russian Federation) and other renowned officials, who were previously or still are at high government or international positions and who enjoy international credibility.  This team of eminent persons was tasked with a mandate which in essence consists of: (1) to investigate the threats that the modern world are facing and to compile analysis of future challenges to international peace and security; (2) to clearly identify the contribution of collective action in prevention of these threats; and (3) to recommend the necessary changes in the mechanism of collective action that would make it more efficient, including here potential changes in the structure and functioning of the main UN bodies.

          It is necessary to recall that the events connected to the illegal American-British military intervention against Iraq in the spring of 2003, showed how dramatic are the divide and disagreements among the UN’s members regarding the extent and the nature of the global security challenges and modes of collective reaction to those challenges, which were strongly manifested exactly during the 58th session of the UN General Assembly that started in September 2003.

          After a year of work and collecting the opinions and analyses of numerous scientific institutions, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, the Group finished its work on December 1, 2004. The UN Secretary General informed the General Assembly about the conclusion of their work (UN Doc. A/59/565). Along with the Secretary General’s report, UN members were presented with a Study (named "A Safer World") on global security threats and challenges, as well as with recommendations about possible changes in the UN system of collective security. Among many conclusions, suggestions and recommendations, several of them attract most of the attention:

          1) Within the scope of the six qualified and indisputable types of modern, global security threats (interstate conflicts, internal conflicts, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international organized crime, economic and social threats), the economic and social threats (poverty, infectious diseases, environmental degradation) have been unjustifiably neglected for a long time, even though they deserve priority treatment.

          2) A new definition of terrorism is recommended, defining it as "every act, in addition to the acts already in existing conventions on different aspects of terrorism, the Geneva Conventions and the UN Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004), conducted with an intent to cause death or serious injuries to civilians or non-soldiers with the goal, according to its character and context, to frighten the population or to force a government or international organization to complete an action or to refrain from acting."

          3) It is considered unacceptable to revise to offer a new interpretation of Article 51 of the UN Charter according to which, instead of UN collective intervention, are unilateral, preventive military action would be allowed and legalized for the reason of individual self defence, far beyond the borders of national territory and if an immediate threat to national security has not been identified. Approving such a unilateral, preventive military intervention would mean allowing similar actions in the future, which would unavoidably lead towards the dismantling of the international order and to chaos in the world.

          4) The solution that regional organizations, when initiating their own peacekeeping operations, must first ask the approval of the UN Security Council remains in power in all cases. An exception, i.e., to ask the agreement from the UN Security Council after the peace operation has been initiated, is possible in urgent situations.

          5) It is necessary to establish new principles of obligatory collective international protection, according to which the UN Security Council would be able to approve collective military intervention as the last resort in the case of genocide and other mass slaughters, ethnic cleansings or severe violations of human rights, if sovereign governments are proven to be powerless or incapable to prevent such events.

          6) In the process of deciding on initiating collective intervention and approving the usage of military forces, the Security Council would have to start at least from five fundamental criteria (severity of the threat, legitimacy of the motives, military force as a last resort, proportionality of the actions, and balancing the consequences), where the significance of the legitimacy of motives and the balancing of consequences were especially underscored.  Namely, any collective intervention motivated by other reasons, except by the removal of a security threat, is unacceptable. Also, a preceding estimation that the consequences of military intervention would not be worse than the consequences of not reacting is necessary.

          7) Reform of the Security Council, i.e., an expansion, defining candidates and electing members of this body, must be based on principles that, in addition to already standard criteria (participation in the UN budget, participation in peacekeeping operations, contributions to UN volunteer activities in the domain of security and development, and fair geographic representation), include also the criteria of democratization and a contribution to the efficiency and responsibility of the Council, as well as to the current diplomatic action towards developed countries in terms of more responsible fulfilling of their obligations regarding the 0.7 percent contribution from their GDP as aid to developing countries.

          8) With regard to the expansion of the UN Security Council, there are two suggested possible solutions referred to as formulas A and B.  According to formula A: there would be six new seats for permanent members of the Security Council without veto power (two would belong to Africa, two to Asia-Pacific countries, one to Europe and one to the Americas), three new seats for non-permanent members with a two-year mandate. The number of permanent members would be increased from five to eleven, with the current five being the ones with veto power. The number of non-permanent members would be increased from ten to thirteen. Out of twenty-four total seats (fifteen current seats and nine additional), there would be six seats per each large regional group, but with different status.

          According to formula B: no new permanent seats are planned, but only new categories of seats with renewable four year mandates and seats that cannot be renewed beyond a two year term. Eight seats with renewable four year mandates are suggested, where each of the large regions would have two. The current permanent members with veto power would retain their status. The current non-permanent seats plus one new (a total of eleven) would be renamed as seats with a non-renewable two year mandate.  Out of twenty-four total seats in the Security Council, every region would be represented by six seats with different statuses. The chosen solution would not be permanent. Therefore, it is recommended that all these aspects should be revisited in 2020.

          9) In order to improve the organizational capacities and the efficiency of UN activities, it is recommended to establish: (a) A commission for peace consolidation as a new auxiliary body to the Security Council that would be tasked with planning and organizing aid for endangered countries in the phase of conflict prevention and during the period of peace stabilization; (b) a bureau for supporting peace stabilization as a new administrative body of the UN Secretariat that would be in charge of logistics support of the commission for peace stabilization and the UN Secretary General in the process of conducting the task within his/her jurisdiction in coordinating and managing actions in the field; (c) two new undersecretary positions to the Secretary General, one in charge of peace and security and the other for economic and social issues, who would be directly helping the UN Secretary General in conducting his duties.

          10) Based on the recommended reform steps and the radically changing international situation, it is suggested to: (a) revise the content of Article 22 of the Charter that refers to the makeup of the Security Council; (b) revise Articles 53 and 107 of the Charter that refer to enemy states from the Second World War; (c) remove Chapter XIII of the Charter, which refers to the Trusteeship Council, in its entirety: (d) to remove Article 47, which refers to the Military Staff Committee, as well as all the parts of Articles 26, 45 and 46 of the Charter that refer to this committee.

          Every well informed and unbiased analyst is left with the impression that with this big endeavour of defining recommendations and suggestions for reforming the UN system of collective security, which deserves commendation, a very important but not radical step forward was made in the direction of improving the legal framework and the instruments of collective actions for combating global security challenges. It is very much possible that, by doing so, the upper limit of realistically possible reform actions has been reached. Of course, this upper limit is significantly lower than what was expected by the majority of UN members and by the widest international audience.  Namely, even in connection with the defined suggestions and recommendations, there are still many big questions opened that relate to the real functionality and efficacy, as well as to a reform system of collective security in the future.

          If, for example, a completely justifiable conclusion is that the economic and social threats, among all global security threats, deserve priority treatment, how can the already dominating realization about that be used for achieving new consensus about one much broader and effective concept of collective security? How can the support from highly developed countries be obtained when they, except for honourable exceptions (Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan), have not shown a particular responsibility in fulfilling their already declarative obligations (giving 0.7% of their GNP for the developing world)? It is certain that the best opportunity for, at least partial, answers to these questions will be opened already in March 2005, at the General Assembly’s summit dedicated to the completion of the goals of the Millennium Declaration on Development Goals from the year 2000.

          Are there any grounds for believing that this latest attempt, similar to many previous endeavours for defining terrorism, will decisively contribute to the removal of double standards in interpreting international terrorism and various, even conflicting, approaches in reacting to that global challenge? In any case, any kind of all-encompassing and proper definition of terrorism is not and has never been a crucial reason for double standards and failures in fighting this global danger thus far.

          What are the institutional guarantees that unilateral military interventions, based on invoking the right to individual self-defence far beyond the borders of national territory, will be precluded or at least suspended in cases when the imminent threat to national security is not reliably identified? Which mechanism should be used to stop such preventive military actions of any country when it is shown that the motive is false or invented? There are not even instruments that would be exclusively used for the recovery of the countries-victims of such non-legitimate actions and for permanent compensation for the damages that they suffered, along with adequate charging of the initiators of these actions.

          There cannot be found a single serious reason for the exception from the general rule that the regional organization must seek the approval from the Security Council for initiating their peace operations in all cases.  Why would it be allowed that such organizations in the case of urgency can ask for such approval after the fact? It is hard to believe that, no matter how the particular situation is urgent, any regional security treaty can momentarily (without any previously planned and organized preparations), start a peace mission that can be then legalized through the approval of the Security Council within 48 hours.

          Concerning the offered variants of the suggestions for reforming the Security Council, it is clear that the conclusion not to expand the veto right is merely an expression of the very stubborn attitudes of a certain number of current permanent members of this body, i.e., their unwillingness to share their exclusive right with new permanent members. The question is, of course, that anything could be gained in terms of the Security Council’s efficiency, if the new permanent members were given the possibility to use the veto right. By doing so, formally, it is likely that a more just and democratic balance of interests would be assured, but there are no hard arguments that such a solution would make it easier to achieve consensus and less frequent usage of the veto among permanent members or that it would make the Security Council’s work more efficient generally speaking. Will the most frequently mentioned candidates (Germany, Japan, India, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, and Indonesia) accept the status of permanent members without veto power or just the status as council members with renewable mandates when both options are below their expectations? Are they going to accept such a simple redistribution of factual responsibility in the Security Council, when the exclusive responsibility, pro forma and de facto, remains in the possession of the current permanent members? It can easily happen that these and some other questions related to the reform of the Security Council can become a reason for enflaming new animosities and for renewing the debate on this subject that has been going on for twelve years now.

          In addition to the summit on the goals of the Millennium Declaration in March, the celebration of the 60th jubilee anniversary of the United Nations, at the end of June, and the 60th regular session of the General Assembly in September 2005 are the right opportunities when UN members will be able to express their opinion on the proposals, recommendations, and the open and all other questions in connection with the initiated reform process of the collective security system. Then, in the public international arena, the sincerity of their determination to ensure the collective security in the 21st century will be tested.

          * Translated by Natalija Marić

        • Tags: Security, collective, international organisations, United nations, un, international relations, global security challenges
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