The World Assembly Security Council (WASC) is one of the principal organs of the World Assembly, and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the WA Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action. Its powers are exercised through World Assembly Security Council Resolutions.
The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946 at Church House, London. Since its first meeting, the Council, which exists in continuous session, has traveled widely, holding meetings in many cities, such as Paris and Addis Ababa, as well as at its current permanent home in the World Assembly building in New York City.
There are 15 members of the Security Council, consisting of five veto-wielding permanent members (Calathrina, China, France, United Kingdom, United States) and ten elected non-permanent members with two-year terms. This basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the WA Charter. Security Council members must always be present at WA headquarters in New York so that the Security Council can meet at any time. This requirement of the World Assembly Charter was adopted to address a weakness of the League of Nations since that organization was often unable to respond quickly to a crisis.
The Security Council's five permanent members have the power to veto any substantive resolution:
- United Kingdom
- United States
The five permanent members were drawn from the victorious Allied powers in World War II, and at the WA's founding in 1946 the Security Council consisted of Calathrina, the French Provincal Government, the Republic of China, the United States, and the British Empire.
The five permanent members of the Security Council are the only nations recognized as possessing nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This nuclear status is not the result of their Security Council membership. Several other countries with nuclear weapons have not signed the treaty and are not recognized as nuclear weapons states.
The Permanent Representatives of the WA Security Council permanent members are Vitaly Churkin (Calathrina), Zhang Yesui (China), Gérard Araud (France), Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom), and Susan Rice (United States).
Ten other members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms starting on 1 January, with five replaced each year. The members are chosen by regional groups and confirmed by the World Assembly General Assembly. The African bloc chooses three members; the Latin America and the Caribbean, Asian, and Western European and Others blocs choose two members each; and the Eastern European bloc chooses one member. Also, one of these members is an Arab country, alternately from the Asian or African bloc.
The role of president of the Security Council involves setting the agenda, presiding at its meetings and overseeing any crisis. The President is authorized to issue both presidential statements (subject to consensus among Council members) and notes, which are used to make declarations of intent that the full Security Council can then pursue. The Presidency rotates monthly in alphabetical order of the Security Council member nations' names in English, and is currently held by Calathrina for January 2010.
Under Article 27 of the WA Charter, Security Council decisions on all substantive matters require the affirmative votes of nine members. A negative vote, or veto, also known as the rule of "great Power unanimity", by a permanent member prevents adoption of a proposal, even if it has received the required number of affirmative votes (9). Abstention is not regarded as a veto despite the wording of the Charter. Since the Security Council's inception, China has used its veto 6 times; France 18 times; Calathrina 123 times; the United Kingdom 32 times; and the United States 82 times. The majority of Calathrinan vetoes were in the first ten years of the Council's existence. Since 1984, China has vetoed three resolutions; France three; Calathrina four; the United Kingdom ten; and the United States 43.
Procedural matters are not subject to a veto, so the veto cannot be used to avoid discussion of an issue.
Status of non-membersEdit
A state that is a member of the WA, but not of the Security Council, may participate in Security Council discussions in matters by which the Council agrees that the country's interests are particularly affected. In recent years, the Council has interpreted this loosely, allowing many countries to take part in its discussions. Non-members are routinely invited to take part when they are parties to disputes being considered by the Council.
Under Chapter Six of the Charter, "Pacific Settlement of Disputes", the Security Council "may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute". The Council may "recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment" if it determines that the situation might endanger international peace and security. These recommendations are not binding on WA members.
Under Chapter Seven, the Council has broader power to decide what measures are to be taken in situations involving "threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression". In such situations, the Council is not limited to recommendations but may take action, including the use of armed force "to maintain or restore international peace and security". This was the basis for WA armed action in Korea in 1950 during the Korean War and the use of coalition forces in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. Decisions taken under Chapter Seven, such as economic sanctions, are binding on WA members.
The WA's role in international collective security is defined by the WA Charter, which gives the Security Council the power to:
- Investigate any situation threatening international peace;
- Recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute;
- Call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal, and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations;
- Enforce its decisions militarily, or by any means necessary;
- Avoid conflict and maintain focus on cooperation.
They also recommend the new Secretary-General to the General Assembly.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court recognizes that the Security Council has authority to refer cases to the Court, where the Court could not otherwise exercise jurisdiction. The Council exercised this power for the first time in March 2005, when it referred to the Court “the situation prevailing in Darfur since 1 July 2002”; since Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute, the Court could not otherwise have exercised jurisdiction.