The Rule of Law and Its Application to the United Nations

Conference on the meaning and the consequences of the rule of law for the UN and its specialized agencies concerning their own actions and activities.

“[T]he rule of law applies to […] the United Nations and […] should guide all of [its] activities.” This is a statement that sounds like a wonderful and far-flung promise: Many States that were addressees of UN sanctions might have wished more than once to find a convincing argument to stop the Security Council from adopting measures which in their view were unfair or inappropriate. Others wanted to hold the Security Council accountable for actions under a UN mandate that caused damage to innocent people. Again others have hoped to find a way to “democratize” the composition of and procedure in the Security Council. UN staff, in turn, had and have an interest in an internal justice mechanism against the UN as an employer since the UN is not subject to national jurisdiction. And, most strikingly, individuals listed as terrorist suspects long for due process and legal protection.

The “Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels” adopted as a resolution by the UN General Assembly on 24 September 2012 (UN Declaration) declares – with the words cited above - the rule of law applicable to the UN itself and its principal organs. That raises many questions: What is the legal basis of the rule of law on the international level? Which parts of the Declaration apply to whom? What are the concrete contents of the rule of law? What does the rule of law mean for sanctions, peace-keeping and development activities of the UN with external effects? What is its significance for administration and procedures as well as for legal protection and dispute settlement at the UN internally?

The conference will address these questions and take a comprehensive look at the meaning and the consequences of the rule of law for the UN and its specialized agencies concerning their own actions and activities. To that end, the conference gathers scholars and legal advisors of the UN in order to provide both the academic view and the reality of practice to allow for discussions that hopefully lead to practicable results which might indeed be realizable in everyday life of the UN.

To see the program of the event, please click here.

To register, please send an email to registration@mpi.lu indicating your full name and affiliation or call Martina Winkel at +352 269488 923.

With the support of the Fonds National de la Recherche.