Letter: What morality demands of the UN

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The Independent Online
Sir: Regarding Bosnia, it is a reasonable interpretation of the UN Charter that the Security Council has broken its terms of authority under Article 51. The Security Council is authorised to interfere in a country's self-defence only if it is taking measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Since an armed attack on another country is a breach of international security, the only effective measure against a determined aggressor is military intervention or assistance in order to produce military balance.

The present Security Council actions breach principles of morality. Instead, they should now use the authority available to them under the Prevention of Genocide Convention 1948, Article 8, to take appropriate action to prevent genocide. Such intervention would mean raising the arms embargo, and training and arming civilians at a local level for the purpose of self-defence. Because the arms embargo has been so damaging, positive military intervention should be undertaken to compensate for the period of adverse interference since 22 May 1992 when the UN recognised Bosnia as a member country. In their actions so far, the individual leaders of the Security Council have shown an appalling lack of leadership and personal morality. As the Security Council acts on behalf of the members of the UN, the General Assembly should press for a revision of the UN Charter Article 12, whereby they must suspend their powers of judgment on a matter on which the Security Council is supposedly taking action, and press for measures of accountability of the national governments within the Security Council.

Yours faithfully,


London, W14