22 November, 2015

A global and unprecdented threat ~ UN SCR 2249


Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris on Friday 13th November - Reuters 14th November.   At the time, the President of France described the attacks as "an act of war."

The United Nations Security Council has now adopted UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2249 (2015) - Read the Resolution.  The resolution calls upon those Member States with the capacity to do so to take


"all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da’esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United Nations Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council, pursuant to the statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of 14 November, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria ....

The resolution further urges 

" ... Member States to intensify their efforts to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria and to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, and urges all Members States to continue to fully implement the above-mentioned resolutions; ..."

The exact action to be taken under this resolution remains to be seen but the Council has now given its authority to all necessary measures though it will be noted that the Council requires the measures taken to be " in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law."  The word "necessary" is also important.

The security council decided to "remain seized of the matter.”

Sir Michael Wood on the Interpretation of UN Security Council Resolutions

UN Charter Chapter VII

The United Nations Act 1946 permits Orders in Council to be made to give effect to UN Security Council measures not involving the use of armed force.

: Other action - NATO Charter and EU Treaty :

It is worth noting another development which took place prior to the Security Council resolution.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Charter (Article 5) states:

"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security."

Given the possibility of further similar events to that of 13th November, it might be considered that there was an attack against France albeit not by forces of another State but by non-State actors.    If such a reading is accurate then this Charter would enable NATO to take "such action as it deems necessary" to assist France.  Article 5 was invoked after the 11th September 2001 attacks in New York (and in other parts of the north-eastern USA).  This question is discussed at Will NATO respond to the attacks in Paris but there appear to be good reasons not to invoke Article 5 as discussed in The Fiscal Times 17th November

France did however turn to Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty - see The Guardian 17th November.


"If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States
shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in
accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation."

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