Over the years, the Security Council has on several occasions dealt with humanitarian assistance issues. However, it is Security Council Resolution 2165(2014), related to the situation in Syria, that has brought the role of the Security Council to the forefront of the debate. It is against this background that the article discusses the legal issues arising from Security Council action facilitating humanitarian assistance to be delivered in situations of non-international armed conflict.
Following a brief survey of relevant practice of the Security Council related to humanitarian assistance, the article considers the relevance, if any, of Article 2(7) of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) to humanitarian assistance to be delivered in such situations. It then moves on to analyse whether a rejection by the territorial state of humanitarian aid to be delivered by third parties may amount to a situation under Article 39 of the UN Charter. It then considers in detail whether (at least implicitly) Resolution 2165 has been adopted under Chapter VII and, if this is not the case, whether it can be still considered to be legally binding.
The article finally considers what impact the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2165 might have on the interpretation of otherwise applicable rules of international humanitarian law and, in particular, the right of third parties to provide humanitarian assistance in a situation of a non-international armed conflict in spite of the absence of consent by the territorial state, and the obligations that members of the Security Council, permanent and non-permanent, have under Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions when faced with a draft resolution providing for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, notwithstanding the absence of consent by the territorial state.