Situating the accountability of the UN Security Council: Between liberal-legal and political ‘styles’ of global constitutionalism?



Murphy, Ben ORCID: 0000-0002-5832-5444
(2020) Situating the accountability of the UN Security Council: Between liberal-legal and political ‘styles’ of global constitutionalism? Global Constitutionalism. 1 - 35.

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Abstract

‘Accountability’ is the international legal term du jour. The concept is omnipresent in contemporary discussions about the UN Security Council in particular. From the lack of due process guarantees for individuals implicated in its counter-terrorism sanctions regime, to the (in)compatibility of Council authorized uses of force with international human rights and humanitarian law, no aspect of the Council’s recent practice has been immune from an accountability critique. Driven by the context in which it has emerged, the turn to accountability is seemingly prompted by a felt desire among international lawyers to constrain the arbitrary use of the Council’s considerable powers. However, beyond this felt desire, the concept lacks a robust theoretical foregrounding, both on its own terms and in relation to existential developments in international law. In an attempt to remedy this, this article situates the turn to accountability as a product of the broader turn to ‘constitutionalist’ thinking in international law. Specifically, it suggests that mainstream approaches resonate with a particular ‘liberal-legalist style’ of global constitutionalism. From both an etymological and epistemological perspective, however, I argue that this prevailing style offers an incomplete sense of accountability. The article introduces the dichotomy of ‘liberal-legal’ and more overtly ‘political’ styles of global constitutionalism as a heuristic device in order to offer a broader conception of accountability in the Security Council context. Political constitutionalism, I believe, offers important insights that will allow us to perceive and critique the Security Council in new ways.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2020 10:07
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2021 19:10
DOI: 10.1017/S2045381720000222
Open Access URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambri...
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3101666