Article 99 of the UN Charter

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NewsAntonio Guterres invokes Article 99For war in Gaza
WhatSpecial power for Secretary-General
Unique political tool in UN Charter
Enables Secretary-GeneralCall Security Council meetings
Issue warnings about threats
Address matters not on council’s agenda
WhyTo prevent threats to international peace
To mobilize UN action
For preventive diplomacy
WhereChapter XV of the UN Charter
WhenFirst invoked in 1960Dag Hammarskjold on Congo conflict
Other notable invocations1979 Iran crisis (Kurt Josef Waldheim’s tenure)
1989 Lebanese civil war (Javier Perez de Cuellar’s tenure)
WhoSecretary-General of the United NationsDiscretionary power
Requires political judgment
HowSecretary-General may bring to UNSC’s attentionMatters threatening peace and security
ProsAdds political role to Secretary-General
Key in mobilizing UN action
Allows addressing UNSC without invitation
ConsCannot ensure lasting peace
Does not change political calculations of UNSC’s powerful members
One veto can derail interventions
ChallengesDependent on UNSC’s responseNeeds agreement of all five permanent members
Vulnerable to veto power
Past failure to invokeExample: Rwandan Genocide in 1994
Way ForwardExplore ways to enhance Article 99’s effectiveness
Address challenges related to UNSC dynamics
Increase awareness of Article 99’s potential and limitations

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