The Fourth Library Talk was opened by UNU’s Library Chief Mayako Matsui and chaired by Professor Sukehiro Hasegawa. Dr. Vesselin Popovski then outlined some key shifts that have taken place in the legislative, executive and judiciary roles of the UN Security Council since the end of the Cold War which are taken up in the new volume The Security Council as Global Legislator, edited by himself and Trudy Fraser (Routledge, 2014).
Dr. Popovski touched upon the dilemma faced by the Security Council with respect to the costs of acting too quickly in passing resolutions as opposed to acting too slowly. He elaborated on the development of the legislative function of the Security Council, stating that many of its thematic resolutions have borrowed from the country-specific resolutions in substance. Dr. Popovski further commented that the evolution of international law tribunals has constituted another important part of international law-making, especially with regard to humanitarian and criminal matters.
Dr. David Malone, UNU Rector, remarked that this is a very timely book given that a number of controversies surrounding the UN Security Council have received attention in recent times. He stated that the General Assembly is in fact the sovereign law-making body of the UN but since it has tied itself into knots so often, by default the Security Council has come to be considered the most kinetic body of the UN. In Dr. Malone’s opinion, the best way to develop international law is treaty making because of its voluntary nature where countries deliberate carefully before ratifying it. At the same time, he noted the great speed with which international criminal law has been evolving since the end of the Second World War through tribunals and international courts.
The comments by Dr. Malone were followed by several questions and comments from the audience including Prof. Tatsuro Kunugi (Visiting Professor at UNU-IAS) and Prof. Hideaki Shinoda (Professor at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies) along with Mr. Sebastian von Einsiedel (Director of UNU-CPR) and Ms. Emmi Okada who noted the implications of the various changes taking place in the role of the UN Security Council and other organs.
The Library Talk was concluded by the sharing of Bulgarian wines kindly selected and provided by Dr. Vesselin Popovski who is completing his 10 years of service at UNU.
(Emmi Okada, UNU Junior Fellow)