Legal Studies

United   Nations

- The word veto comes from Latin and literally means I forbid. It is used to denote that a certain party has the right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation. A veto thus gives unlimited power to stop changes, but not to adopt them.
- In the United Nations Security Council, the five permanent members (the United States, Russia, People's Republic of China, France and the United Kingdom) have veto power. If any of these countries votes against a proposal, it is rejected, even if all of the other member countries vote in favor.

Success of the UN
- Raising consciousness of the concept of human rights through its covenants and of its attention to specific abuses through its resolutions or rulings (e.g. abolishing Apartheid in South Africa)
- UN helped run elections in countries with little democratic history including Afghanistan and East Timor
- The UN has set up war crimes tribunals to try war criminals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Criticism of the UN
- Ineffective
- Overly bureaucratic
- Prone to corruption
- Acting outside the intended limits of its original charter
- The UN involvement in the Korean conflict, which the UN was instrumental in causing the perpetuation of the political division of the Korean Peninsula rather than in promoting a peaceful resolution to conflict.
- The UN is powerless, should member nations ignore UN resolutions (state sovereignty) or also, proceed with actions without UN support. (US led invasion of Iraq)
- The major powers have to deal with each other outside the frame work of the UN.

Security Council
- Limited success with respect to peacekeeping in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti and Sierra Leone indicate that, unless the parties over seen by such forces are desirous of peace, perhaps the council can asset itself successfully only when the great powers are convinced that their interests are at stake.
- 2004, oil-for-food program, corruption
- “Iran warns against UN sanctions”...