General Assembly

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What can the UN General Assembly do about Russian Aggression in Ukraine?

Yesterday Devika Hovell wrote an excellent post on this forum, rightly noting that the Security Council was not the body to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine. Hovell pointed to the General Assembly as the most appropriate alternative, and suggested that the Security Council should pass a ‘Uniting for Peace’ (U4P) resolution, referring the matter of Ukraine to the Assembly. This post picks up from where Hovell’s left off. It examines, firstly, whether there is any need for the Security Council to refer the matter of Ukraine to the General Assembly pursuant to the U4P Resolution; and secondly – briefly – what the Assembly could practically do. The Uniting for Peace Resolution The U4P Resolution was passed by the General Assembly in 1950, in order to circumvent the Soviet veto in relation to the Korean war. It states that: If the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of…

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Is the ICJ at Risk of Providing Cover for the Alleged Genocide in Myanmar?

The first anniversary of the coup mounted by the Myanmar military was marked by a surprising step. On 1 February 2022, the National Unity Government of the Union of Myanmar (NUG) made a declaration to the International Court of Justice. The government, which mainly consists of those elected representatives not yet captured by the military regime, was created…

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Beyond COP26: Time for an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change?

The recent Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26) provided a stark reminder of the gap between states’ planned greenhouse emission reductions and the global temperature goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The conference also dramatically showcased once more the plight of vulnerable nations faced with the devastating impacts of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

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Will the Taliban Represent Afghanistan at the UN General Assembly?

The work of the Credentials Committee of the General Assembly is normally procedural. Typically, the Committee reviews the credentials submitted by state representatives, and ensures they comply with the Assembly’s procedural rules.  The Committee is scarcely ever called upon to consider matters of government legitimacy.  In stark contrast to this status quo, it seems this year’s…

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Could the General Assembly Exclude Myanmar from the UN by Refusing to Recognise the Credentials of its Ruling Military Junta?

Earlier this month, Myanmar’s military seized power from the democratically elected government in a dramatic coup d’état.  State Counsellor Aung San Suy Kyi was arrested alongside other government ministers, parliamentarians and activists.  The military’s Commander-in-Chief, who a UN Fact-Finding mission said in 2018 should be prosecuted for crimes under international law, is running the country.    …

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