I.P.O. Information Service

The Security Council as Administrator of Justice?

International Progress Organization concludes research project on collective security

Vienna, Austria, 27 January 2011


The International Progress Organization has today published a comprehensive evaluation of the role of the United Nations Security Council in the field of international criminal justice. Volume XXXII of the Studies in International Relations -- The Security Council as Administrator of Justice? Reflections on the Antagonistic Relationship between Power and Law by Hans Köchler -- addresses the question of the compatibility of international power politics with the requirements of international criminal justice, and whether criminal law can at all be an instrument of enforcement for measures of collective security under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

The chapters of the book deal, inter alia, with problems concerning the legality of ad hoc international tribunals; the Security Council's influence on the exercise of jurisdiction by the International Criminal Court; and the Council's legal and practical incompetence as a "terrorism court." The study identifies the absence of a global balance of power as one of the key factors of the arrogation of judicial and legislative powers by the Security Council, and warns of a profound delegitimization of international criminal law. The book specifically analyzes the lack of authority for the creation of the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and describes the complex legal problems related to the referral of the situation in Darfur (Sudan) to the International Criminal Court.

The publication of the book concludes the organization's long-term research project on the changing doctrine of collective security and the evolving practice of the Security Council since the collapse of the Cold War balance of power.


I. The role of the Security Council in the absence of a balance of power

II. The Security Council and ad hoc international tribunals

1. Questions of legal authority

A. The creation of courts by the Security Council

a. Criminal courts as coercive measures for the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security?

b. Can a court of law be established by executive fiat?

c. Other legal problems

B. The establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

2. Questions of competence and credibility in the operation of courts

III. The Security Council and the International Criminal Court

IV. The Security Council's legal and practical incompetence as a "terrorism court"

V. Conclusion: The delegitimization of international criminal law by the Security Council


International Progress Organization 
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