Washington International Law Journal


Michael Ramsden


Although the end of the Cold War has seen the functional expansion of the United Nations Security Council, concerns still remain over its legitimacy, driven in part by its failure to address serious and persistent human rights abuses. While this has resurrected arguments in favour of the doctrine of humanitarian intervention outside the U.N. Charter framework, little attention has been paid to how the U.N. General Assembly may authorise such enforcement action under a U.N. mandate through the invocation of the Uniting for Peace mechanism. Some dismiss Uniting for Peace as little more than a relic of the Cold War, but, if properly conceived, the General Assembly may authorise a humanitarian intervention where the Security Council is deadlocked and has failed to accomplish its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. This article will consider the constitutional foundations of the Uniting for Peace resolution and the scope for the General Assembly to assume analogous functions to that of the Security Council in authorising enforcement action.

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