GoJIL Vol. 2, No. 3 (2010)
Unilateral Interpretation of Security Council Resolutions: UK Practice
Unilateral interpretation of UN Security Council resolutions takes place where, due to political considerations of the day, one or more States attempt construing the resolution in question as falling short of, or exceeding, the agreement between the Council's Member States that the resolution on its face suggests. Whether unilateral interpretation indeed takes place depends on what the content of the resolution actually is, which question in its turn depends on the use of transparent methods of interpretation applicable to resolutions. After examining the applicability of the 1969 Vienna Convention in this process, the article turns to four instances of unilateral interpretation from the UK practice, and to reactions to the attempts of unilateral interpretation. These four instances demonstrate that the consistent use of interpretation methods, coupled with the reaction by other States to that effect, can help maintaining the adherence to the resolution's meaning. Where the national or international courts are available as forums to challenge unilateral interpretation, they can further enhance the maintenance of proper meaning of these instruments.
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