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The Security Council`s Contribution to a Global Concept of the Rule of Law

The PhD thesis aims to determine the content and use of the rule of law as a principle of governance in the decisions of the United Nations Security Council (SC).

Beginning in the 1990s, the SC started to refer to the rule of law as a principle conducive to the fulfilment of its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. The study examines in a first step under which circumstances and for what purposes the SC refers to the rule of law.

Based on a preliminary analysis of SC decisions, the study assumes that the SC applies the rule of law as an instrument to fulfil various tasks associated with its mandate such as the fight against crime of a cross-border dimension or with cross-border effects (e.g. terrorism, piracy), the stabilisation of crisis-affected states or the prevention and resolution of conflicts with significant regional or international ramifications. In a second step, the study analyses SC decisions in order to determine what guarantees, institutions and procedures commonly associated with the rule of law can be qualified as part of the SC’s rule of law understanding. The study then applies a set of qualifying factors to the identified rule of law elements to distinguish rule of law elements of considerable normative and political weight from mere political parlance.

The research project is based on the assumption that the decisions of the SC may indicate the emergence and scope of a converging rule of law concept among SC member states and inquires to what extent SC decisions containing binding rule of law measures may result in a convergence of different rule of law concepts in states subject to such decisions. The fact that binding rule of law measures may interfere substantially with the internal governance structure of an affected state or individual rights of its inhabitants, constitutes another reason why it is essential to establish a clearer understanding of the contours of the SC’s rule of law understanding and the circumstances of its use.


PhD candidate

Nuscha Wieczorek, MLaw, LL.M.

Supervisor