Argument: The UN SC veto violates democratic principal of sovereign equality

Issue Report: UN Security Council veto


[…]MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela) said the majority of Member States were frustrated by the lack of progress on reform of the Council. At the Millennium Summit, heads of State and government had expressed the wish to double efforts for Council reform. One aspect of reform was the question of the veto. The veto was an anti-democratic practice nowadays, even though it had been justified in the past. He supported elimination of the veto in accordance with the principle of the sovereign equality of States.”
  • Bardo Fassbender. UN Security Council Reform and the Right of Veto: A Constitutional Perspecitve. 1997 – “‘according to international law, all the states have the same capacity of being charged with duties and of acquiring rights; equality does not mean equality of duties and rights, but rather equality for capacity of duties and rights.’ In this view, the priviledges of the permanent members appear as rights freely bestowed on them by the totality of states ratifying the charter. In other words, the states not being permanent members have agreed to their diminished status under the charter. It is exactly the sovereignty and equality of states which is said to enable them to enter into international agreements which may, or may not, provide for different rights and obligations of the parties.
This argument is, however, no longer viable if the constitution is seen as the constitution of the international community. Since this approach dissolves the dualism of “general international law” and the law of the charter, exceptions to sovereign equality provided in the latter can no longer be justified by having recourse to the former category. If sovereign equality is a fundamental principle of the international legal community, and identified as such by the fundamental law of this community, the natural consequence appears to be that ‘All member states should enjoy equal and have equal duties’ in the organization, as article V of the OAU charter puts it, and that the norms of the international law are equally applicable and enforceable.”
  • Tad Daley and David Lionel. “Reinventing the United Nations”. The Foreign Service Journal. September 2006 – “Perhaps the most important single one of these is the single most important feature of the original San Francisco Charter – ‘the veto.’ Few things could be more profoundly undemocratic than a rule that allows a single state to stand opposed to the rest of the world, and command the rest of the world into impotence and inaction. Even when a veto vote is not actually cast, veto calculations dominate virtually every decision the Security Council makes. Why? Because it is always necessary to get all five permanent members on board. Has there been any exercise in the past decade more inequitable (or cynical) than the one in December 1996, when the vote to reappoint UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to a second term tallied up at 14-1 … but the one won? If we believe, as Churchill insisted, ‘democracy is the worst form of government — except for all those others,’ then we ought to aspire to democracy at every level of human governance.”
  • Babu Das Augustine. “UN least democratic body, says Mahathir”. Malaysia Today. November 30, 2005 – “United Nations is the least democratic organisation in the world and the practice of veto has to be done away with in order to make it a relevant international body, said Mahathir Mohammed, the former Malaysian premier in Dubai yesterday. ‘If I were to head the UN, the first thing I will do is to disband the UN Security Council and abolish the veto,’ Mahathir said at the Leaders In Dubai Summit yesterday.”
  • Osita G Afoaku and Okechukwu Ukaga. “United Nations Security Council Reform: A Critical Analysis of the enlargement options”. Journal of Third World Studies. Fall 2001. 18:2. pp. 149-169. p. 158 – “most countries were of the view that the veto power was anachronistic, antidemocratic, and contrary to the principle of sovereign equality of states.”[1]