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Security Council’s Contribution to the Evolution of the Law of the Sea: Avant Garde or Self-Limitation?

  • Kiara NeriEmail author
Conference paper
  • 13 Downloads

Abstract

Undoubtably, the UNSC has played a significant role in the recent evolution of the Law of the Sea. This role is very clear when we focus on the derogations to the core principles of the law of the sea that UNSC has granted along the years (in the framework of the enforcement of sanctions and embargoes, to fight various traffics at sea—migrants; drugs; crude oil, etc.—or to combat piracy and armed robbery). These authorizations have enabled an evolution of the practice at sea, but they are based on exceptions, derogations granted on a case to case basis. The chapter wishes to explore the following question: have UNSC resolutions given rise to an evolution of the rule? The links between the Resolutions at stake and the formal sources of international law are unclear. Can these resolutions really lead to a modification of the fundamental rules applicable at sea, conventional or customary? The exemption clauses contained in the UNSC resolution excluding the formation of a customary norm are challenging. Indeed, when it authorizes Member States to penetrate Somali territorial waters to combat armed robbery or when it authorizes the boarding of foreign ships in the high seas to fight migrant smuggling, the Council indicates that these resolutions “shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of member states under international law” and “shall not be considered as establishing customary international law”. In doing so, UNSC is affecting the scope of its own contribution to the evolution of the law of the sea.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University, Faculty of LawLyonFrance

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