POLSCI 1G06 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Dispute Settlement Body, Norns, Advantageous

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International Organizations
IO's have vastly increased in number and size over last century
1. IO's can be viewed as having nothing more than instruments for some other actor- e.g.
- IO's have very little autonomy or power
- IO's act where, when, and how, powerful states tell them to act
2. IO's can be viewed as having a semi-autonomous impact- e.g. Liberal institutionalism
- Might not initiate changes in the direction of world politics, but they can make certain
outcomes possible that would not be possible in their absence
- E.g. they can help overcome prisoners dilemma type situations
3. They can be viewed as autonomous and independent actors that have the ability to
influence international events independently
- Either through hard power or soft power (establishing norms and intellectual frameworks
through which other actors see the world as in constructivism)
United Nations
Multipurpose universal organization
Most important organs of UN to note are General Assembly, Security Council, and
the Secretariat
General Assembly:
Basic negotiating forum for all states
Each state has an equal vote
Does the GA actually have any significant power? Critics say it cannot force a state to
do something it doesn't want to do- its power is limited to soft power – i.e. world
Decisions are made on basis of absolute majority or 2/3 majority depending on the
Security Council:
Hard power lies here
15 members, 5 of which have a permanent veto over Security Council decisions
Secretary General and his/her staff
SG has become increasingly active in bringing international issues to public attention
Contrasting opinions on autonomy, independence, and effect of UN
Powerful actor: it is the centre of world diplomacy
Centre of world legitimacy- can say certain actions are legitimate and others are
illegitimate- can win over minds all over the world which is important, otherwise why
would states agree to come together and talk- states feel compelled to try and gain
legitimacy from the UN before action
Colin Powell- USA went to UN first before going to Iraq
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Weak actor: it lacks any financial autonomy, a situation that has hampered its
Doesn't generate funds autonomously – this makes it dependent upon some states
more than others- certain members of UN pay more than others depending on size of
your economy
They're more dependent on certain states than others, so they are dependent on
continuing support from those states- gives USA leverage because UN needs their
If USA doesn't agree with what UN is doing, it will stop giving funds
So UN has to back down because it needs those funds to survive
Would transforming the Security Council lead to a more robust UN?
Should SC be expanded to make it more representative of world's population, culture,
and geography?
Should the veto be eliminated?
Some say SC should be eliminated all together – League of Nations didn't reflect the
reality of powers at the time, and eventually didn't work- the SC is there for a reason,
can't get rid of it and give everyone equal power because that simply wouldn't work
So if there aren't vetos given to the powerful nations and the UN stops recognizing
the reality of power in the world, would it work at all?
UN was created as a war time organization
International Criminal Court
Newest IO that we're going to look at (2002)
Trying, and if necessary convicting individuals who are responsible for committing
genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression
Previous international criminal tribunals (like Nuremburg after WWII) were ad hoc
and largely viewed as dispensers of "victors' justice"- winners set the terms – not a
ICC will try people regardless of if they're on the winning or losing side- a priori
Not every state is subject to jurisdiction of ICC treaty
122 have signed and ratified ICC treaty, but some key states haven't- China, India,
Russia, USA (signed but didn't ratify)
The ICC can try an individual in 3 circumstances:
1. "The accused is a national of a State Party or a State otherwise accepting the jurisdiction of
the court
2. "The crime took place on the territory of a State Party or a State otherwise accepting the
jurisdiction of the court"
3. "The UN Security Council has referred the situation to the prosecutor, irrespective of the
nationality of the accused or the location of the crime"
Where none of these are true, the ICC does NOT have jurisdiction
Even where ICC has right to prosecute the court operates under the principle of
complementarity :
This means that if a state with jurisdiction is able and willing to try that individual,
then the ICC will not act
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