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How to Overturn Russia's UN Veto


The anti-human crimes committed by a terrorist country must be punished both at the legal level and in terms of turning the aggressor state into a rogue state. Anton Kuchukhidze, an expert at the United Ukraine Analytical Center, writes about this in his article for The Gaze. The text of the article can be found below.


Currently, analysing the legal mechanisms for depriving the Russian Federation of its right of veto in the UN Security Council is extremely relevant, because a state that violates all the principles, provisions and goals of the Charter of the United Nations has no political, legal, or moral right to be one from influential countries in the world in solving security issues.


The problem is that according to the UN Charter, every permanent member of the UN Security Council has the right of veto, that is, it can block any decision of the Council. This gives Russia the opportunity to use its power of veto to protect its interests, regardless of the international legal system and moral principles.


However, there are certain mechanisms that can help deprive Russia of the right of veto. For example, it is possible to change the UN Charter by holding an appropriate conference at which new voting rules in the Security Council would be agreed upon.


What Is Wrong With Russia's Seat in the UN Security Council

However, solving this issue requires a lot of time and effort, because it is related to changes in international legal provisions and political agreements. Therefore, the most effective way to combat Russia's violations of international law at the moment is to recognize the fact that the Russian Federation in no way inherited the seat of the Soviet Union in the UN Security Council and occupies this seat illegally and without grounds.


Russia, according to formal characteristics, is not even a member country of the UN, since it did not go through the procedures for joining the UN and is not the legal successor of the Soviet Union in this matter. Therefore, it is impossible to apply to it the mechanism that was used by the UN General Assembly in 1971, when, thanks to the adoption by the UN General Assembly of Resolution No. 2758 "Restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations", the PRC replaced the Republic of China (Taiwan) both during meetings and events of the General Assembly itself, and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. At that time, despite its power of veto in the UN Security Council, Taiwan was unable to stop its own exclusion through a General Assembly vote.


In addition to that, it is worth noting that the existing procedural norms of the UN Charter clearly define the reasons for which a state may be deprived of the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and even be excluded from the United Nations. In particular, due to the neglect of the principles and goals of the UN, defined in Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter, which the Russian Federation violated (resolution of conflicts by peaceful means, territorial integrity of states, etc.).


Expelling from the UN is directly provided for violation of the principles and goals of the Organization by the provisions of Article 6 of the Charter, which states that "a member of the Organization who systematically violates the principles contained in this Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council." Therefore, it is very important to understand the legal validity of this aspect, that is, the presence of the Russian Federation in the UN Security Council.


Currently, the Article 23, Clause one of the UN Charter specifies that five countries are permanent members of the Security Council, namely: the People's Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.


There is no hint of the presence of the Russian Federation among the permanent members of the Security Council. In addition to that, there is no legal confirmation that Russia is the successor of the Soviet Union in the UN or in other international organizations, which could become a precedent for depriving its representatives of the right to be present in these organizations and recognizing the obligation to go through all the procedures for acquiring membership.


For example, Article 4, Clause 2 of the UN Charter establishes that the admission of any state to the Organization's membership is carried out by a resolution of the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.


The international practice regarding the legal succession of states is extremely controversial and diverse. The Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in respect of Treaties dated 23 August 1978 and the Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in respect of State Property, Archives and Debts dated 8 April 1983 can be defined as the main international legal documents on legal succession. Both of these documents are valid in Ukraine, but as for Russia... they have not entered into force there!



The Soviet Heritage of Ukraine

In addition to that, the Russian Federation did not adopt legislative acts that would determine its legal succession to the USSR, except for debt obligations. I would like to remind you that on 4 December 1991, the Agreement on legal succession concerning external public debt and assets of USSR was signed in Moscow between the USSR and 15 former Union Republics.


According to this treaty, the USSR was listed as a "predecessor state", and all 15 former union republics were designated as successor states, and the debts and property of the USSR were divided in certain percentages. This is the only similar document that recognized the joint legal succession of all union republics in relation to the USSR, but only regarding economic obligations.


However, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Legal Succession" No. 1543-XII dated 5 October 1991 that was entered into force, where it is clearly defined that since the declaration of independence:

  • Ukraine confirms its obligations under international treaties concluded by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic before the declaration of Ukraine's independence (Article 6).

  • Ukraine is the legal successor of the rights and obligations under the international treaties of the USSR, which do not contradict the Constitution of Ukraine and the interests of the Republic (Article 7).

Accordingly, since the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was a co-founding country of the UN, and Ukraine is its legal successor, and the legal successor of the rights and obligations under the international treaties of the USSR, it will be quite logical and fair to raise the issue of introducing amendments to Article 24, Clause 1 of the UN Charter regarding the introduction of Ukraine to the list of permanent representatives of the UN Security Council instead of the USSR, as was done in the case of replacing the Republic of China (Taiwan) with the People's Republic of China in 1971.


Such decisions are made in the presence of a certain political situation and political will, and all this happens according to clearly regulated procedures provided for in the UN Charter.


Crimes against humanity committed by the terrorist state must be punished both at the legal level and from the point of view of turning the aggressor state into a rogue state. In this context, it is important to understand that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine rightfully promotes and defends at the international level the idea of depriving the Russian Federation of its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.


Source: "The Gaze"


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