Petulant and Contrary: P5 understandings of ‘threat to the peace’
level 10 (entry via level 9 stairs)
185 Pelham Street
Aside from Article 51 of the UN Charter, a UN Security Council authorisation under Articles 39-42 is the only exception to the prohibition on the use of force provided for in Article 2(4). To authorise military intervention within a given situation, the Security Council must first determine whether or not that situation constitutes a ‘threat to the peace’ under Article 39. The Charter has long been interpreted as placing few bounds around how the Security Council arrives at such determinations. As such commentators have argued that the phrase ‘threat to the peace’ is undefinable in nature and that such decisions are fluid, arbitrary and lacking in consistency. Through a critical discourse analysis of the justificatory discourse of the P5 surrounding individual decisions relating to ‘threat to the peace’ (found in the meeting transcripts), I have determined that each P5 member has a consistent definition and understanding of what constitutes a ‘threat to the peace’. As a result, I argue that a Security Council wide definition, if this was ever possible, would sit in the middle ground of these national understandings.
Tamsin Phillipa Paige, Research Associate
Tamsin Phillipa Paige
UNSW Canberra at ADFA
Tamsin Phillipa Paige is a Research Associate with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra @ ADFA and a PhD Candidate with Adelaide Law School. Her work is interdisciplinary in nature, using qualitative sociological methods to analyse international law. She was awarded an Endeavour Scholarship for her PhD research on the Security Council and ‘threat to the peace’. Previously her research examined the application and impact of international law in counterpiracy operations in Somalia. In a former life, she was a French trained, fine dining pastry chef.