Perfect Injustice: The United Nations Security Council and the Question of Legitimacy


ACLS Fellowship Program




The United Nations Security Council is called upon with great regularity to respond to warfare, massacres, and human rights violations. Its legitimacy as a central institution of global governance is seemingly beyond question. But in recent years there have been increasing challenges to its credibility. Accusations were made that the Council’s actions in the early 1990s overstepped its authority, and even violated international humanitarian law. In the last few years, European courts have effectively invalidated Security Council measures because they were judged to have violated fundamental principles of human rights. This project explores the tension between the Council’s mandate to address threats to peace and security and the issues of accountability, credibility, and legitimacy.