Committees, Working Groups and Ad Hoc Bodies

 

All existing committees and working groups are comprised of the fifteen members of the Council. While standing committees are chaired by the President of the Council, rotating on a monthly basis, other committees and working groups are chaired or co-chaired by designated members of the Council who are announced on an annual basis by a Note of the President of the Security Council.

 

Article 29 of the United Nations Charter sets out that the Security Council may establish subsidiary bodies as needed for the performance of its functions. This is also reflected in Rule 28 of the Council’s Provisional Rules of Procedure.

All existing committees and working groups are comprised of the fifteen members of the Council. While standing committees are chaired by the President of the Council, rotating on a monthly basis, other committees and working groups are chaired or co-chaired by designated members of the Council who are announced on an annual basis by a Note of the President of the Security Council.

The mandate of subsidiary organs, whether they are committees or working groups, can range from procedural matters (e.g. documentation and procedures, meetings away from headquarters) to substantive issues (e.g. sanctions regimes, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations).

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) are subsidiary organs of the Security Council within the terms of article 29 of the Charter. As such they are dependent on the UN in administrative and financial matters, although as judicial institutions, they are independent of any one State or group of States, including their parent body, the Security Council.

Committees

Counter-Terrorism Committee

Guided by Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), the Committee works to bolster the ability of United Nations Member States to prevent terrorist acts both within their borders and across regions. It was established in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States.

Non-Proliferation Committee

On 28 April 2004, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540 (2004) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter which affirms that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security.  

United Nations Military Staff Committee

The Military Staff Committee helps plan UN military measures and regulate armaments.

Sanctions Committees

The use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State or entity to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council without resorting to the use of force. Sanctions thus offer the Security Council an important instrument to enforce its decisions. The universal character of the United Nations makes it an especially appropriate body to establish and monitor such measures.

The Council has resorted to mandatory sanctions as an enforcement tool when peace has been threatened and diplomatic efforts have failed. The range of sanctions has included comprehensive economic and trade sanctions and/or more targeted measures such as arms embargoes, travel bans, financial or diplomatic restrictions.

Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Bodies

United Nations Compensation Commission

The Commission was created in 1991 as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations Security Council(link is external) under Security Councilresolution 687 (1991) to process claims and pay compensation for losses and damage suffered as a direct result of Iraq’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990-91.

Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566 (2004)

In accordance with paragraphs 9 and 10 of Security Council resolution 1566 (2004) the Working Group is tasked to examine a) "practical measures to be imposed upon individuals, groups or entities involved in or associated with terrorist activities, other than those designated by the Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee" and b) "the possibility of establishing an international fund to compensate victims of terrorist acts and their families".

Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations

The Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations was established pursuant to a decision of the Security Council contained in a statement by its President (S/PRST/2001/3) made at the Council’s 4270thmeeting on 31 January 2001. In the statement, the Council reiterated its agreement to hold consultations with troop-contributing countries in a timely manner at different stages of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

The Security Council Working Group pursuant to resolution 1612 (2005) reviews reports on violations against children affected by armed conflict committed by parties that are listed in the annexes to the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict.

Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa

The ad hoc Working group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa has its origins in the Statement by the President of the Security Council of 31 January 2002 (S/PRST/2002/2), in which the Security Council recognized the need for adequate measures to prevent and resolve conflicts in Africa, and expressed its intention to consider setting up an ad hoc Working Group to monitor the recommendations contained in the same Presidential statement.

Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions

The Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG) was established in June 1993 to improve the process by which the Security Council addresses issues concerning its documentation and other procedural questions.

International Courts and Tribunals

The Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993, following massive violations of humanitarian law during the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. It was the first war-crimes court created by the United Nations and the first international war-crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals at the end of the Second World War. The Tribunal tries those individuals most responsible for appalling acts, such as murder, torture, rape, enslavement, destruction of property and other violent crimes. It aims to render justice to thousands of victims and their families, thus contributing to a lasting peace in the area. As of the end of 2011, the Tribunal had indicted 161 people.

The Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 1994 to prosecute those responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda between 1 January and 31 December 1994. It may also deal with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens who committed acts of genocide and other such violations of international law in the territory of neighbouring States during the same period. In 1998 the Rwanda Tribunal handed down the first-ever verdict by an international court on the crime of genocide, as well as the first-ever sentence for that crime.