Open lecture

The Role of UN Organs in Implementing State Responsibility in Global Security Contexts

October, 4



Vincent-Joël PROULX, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore



While considerable scholarly emphasis has been placed on the UN Security Council’s role as legislator, i.e. as creator of primary counterterrorism obligations, insufficient emphasis is placed on the Council’s role as implementer of those legal norms, when it is time to actually enforce legal obligations. The absence of discourse on this front leaves us with the vital query whether that body can apply State responsibility law, the mechanism invoked to engage States’ legal responsibility for failing to comply with their international obligations, and implement legal consequences flowing from its findings of illegality. I will examine the role of this mechanism, if any, in catalyzing or informing the Council’s exercise of its powers when handling counterterrorism matters. My objective will be to shed light on whether the institutionalization of this normative scheme can yield interesting policy payoffs in responding to global security threats. Moving away from self-help remedies and unilateral countermeasures, I will argue that State responsibility for failing to prevent terrorism could be implemented by the Council and other UN organs. In substantiating my claims, I will draw from relevant institutional and State practice. The picture that will emerge is one where the Council can play a role, sometimes determinant, in applying SR norms, a prospect that may be a welcome alternative to unchecked unilateralism.