On the Legality of the Russian Vetoes in the UN Security Council and the Harsh Reality of International Law, opiniojuris.org

Turning now to the question of the legality of Russia’s vetoes, let me put it succinctly: Russia’s veto on April 10, and its previous eleven vetoes on draft resolutions relating to Syria, were lawful. In fact, each of the 203 vetoes (for the full list: see here) cast by the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council since the veto was first exercised by the Soviet Union on February 16, 1946, were lawful.[…]

Professor Trahan suggests that the Russian veto represents an abuse of power. She writes: “It is time to recognize that the veto power is being abused in a way never anticipated when the Charter was drafted.” She also claims that the veto “had absolutely nothing to do with blocking investigations and/or prosecution of atrocity crimes.”

Again, I respectfully disagree. Russia, and the other Permanent Members, have exercised the veto exactly as anticipated when the UN Charter was negotiated. This is patently apparent from a careful perusal of the Charter’s travaux préparatoires. Unsurprisingly, the veto was the most controversial aspect of the UN Charter when it was being negotiated in San Francisco. Many delegations expressed misgivings about extending such a prerogative to the Permanent Members and worried about the potential for its abuse. Therefore, led by Australia’s Foreign Minister Herbert Evatt, the future UN Member States submitted a questionnaire to the future Permanent Members to invite them to clarify the limitations on the veto and the situations in which it would and would not be exercised.

In response, the future Permanent Members submitted a joint statement that revealed that the veto was designed to be a virtually limitless power to prevent the Security Council from taking any action that a Permanent Member considered threatening to its vital interests. Läs artikel