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Montevideo, August 16th 2022 - 19:23 UTC



UN General Assembly passes resolution requiring disclosing of rationale behind veto use

Wednesday, April 27th 2022 - 08:43 UTC
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The initiative was submitted by Liechtenstein to give a voice to those not on the Security Council The initiative was submitted by Liechtenstein to give a voice to those not on the Security Council

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is bringing on some changes regarding world affairs and the United Nations Tuesday agreed to redefine the Security Council veto power, which is in the hands of the body's permanent members, which are also the ones with a stronger military might — the US, Russia, China, the UK, and France.

The “Standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast in the Security Council” initiative was introduced by Liechtenstein last week and supported by more than 50 UN members, including the United States, which resorted to it on 60 out of the 82 total cases in history.

As per the consensus adopted Tuesday, a General Assembly special session is to be convened every time one of the five permanent members of the Security Council uses its veto power. According to the new rule, the global powers will be required to justify their use of the veto.

“Together, we have let the world know that a veto will no longer be the final word on peace and security,” said Linchestein's mission.

However, a diplomatic source admitted countries could resort to vague wordings that would prompt a precautionary veto only to put their rival nations in the difficult position of having to justify their stance. Delegations skeptical regarding the future of the measure have warned it could divide the UN even further.

According to the resolution passed Tuesday, the UNGA is to be convened within 10 working days after a veto “to hold a debate on the situation as to which the veto was cast.”

Almost 100 countries joined Liechtenstein in co-sponsoring the reform, including the United States, Britain, and France. Neither Russia nor China were among the sponsors, though.

The measure will “create a new procedure,” said Liechtenstein’s ambassador Christian Wenaweser, who insisted the proposal was “not against anyone,” although the most recent case of a veto came from Russia barring the UN Security Council from condemning its own military deployment in Ukraine.

The United States has long maintained Russia has abused its veto rights for two decades and the proposed text is intended to remedy the situation.

Wenaweser argued the initiative sought to “promote multilateralism“ and give a voice on matters of international peace and security to those ”who are not veto holders and who are not on the Security Council.”

The text is non-binding, and nothing prevents a country that has used its veto from declining to explain its actions to the UNGA. Besides its five permanent members, the Security Council has 10 other members elected for two years, but without the right of veto.

According to rumors in UN circles, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and India are vying to become permanent members of a potentially enlarged Security Council.

The rule change does not eliminate or otherwise modify the existing veto, as that would require an amendment to the UN Charter, something that a majority of the body's 193 members would likely reject. Rather, it requires that the Security Council member casting the veto provide a formal explanation for its reason for doing so to the General Assembly, which will then have the opportunity to debate the matter. The General Assembly can then pass its own resolution rejecting or approving the veto and taking other action.

Categories: Politics, International.

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