International Law Studies


Gadi Ezra


The release of the UN Security Council from the “veto chains” that characterized the Cold War has led it to intensively engage in a wide spectrum of conflicts and issues. This expanded activity has peaked around its “global legislation” attempts. Although often used in the legal literature, this term is vague and contested. Scholarly work occasionally discusses the Council’s alleged global legislation, but without initially offering a proper working definition of the term. Arguments both for and against are frequently laid incoherently and can roughly be divided into two types: those assessing the Council’s authority to engage in global legislation, and those assessing the appropriateness of such conduct. The controversies that characterize these discussions are underscored by the alleged manifestations of global legislation, within thematic resolutions and general rules or obligations within case-specific “threat to peace” resolutions. This article highlights the controversy regarding the Council’s global legislation attempts and stresses the need for a policy-based solution that addresses the concerns it raises. It analyzes the different concerns relating to the Council’s capacity to undertake global legislation and suggests considerations that should inform a policy-based solution to address them. Ultimately, the article suggests that a proper solution would need to satisfy two conditions: first, it should not be unduly restrictive, in order to allow the Council to operate effectively considering its central role in maintaining international peace and security; and second, it should not be too wide, in order to restrain the Council from abusing its powers.