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Updated on 26 December 2017

Chapter 6:   VOTING

Section 9:   Abstentions


Vote on Ukraine/Crimea in context of Article 27(3)


At a meeting convened on 15 March 2014, the Russian Federation vetoed draft resolution S/2014/189, by which the Security Council would have declared that a referendum to be held the following day “can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea”.  The draft resolution would also have urged “all parties to pursue immediately the peaceful resolution of this dispute through direct political dialogue, to exercise restraint, to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric that may increase tensions, and to engage fully with international mediation efforts”, thus placing the text within the parameters of Chapter VI of the UN Charter.  At the meeting, no Council member asserted that the Russian Federation accordingly was obligated to abstain under the terms of Article 27(3) (S/PV.7138). 


However, at the Council’s annual open debate on its working methods held on 23 October 2014, the representative of Australia, in possible reference to the Russian veto, stated that “deserving of the Council’s attention is the application of Article 27 of the Charter of the United Nations, which provides that a Council member must refrain from voting on a matter in which it is a party to a dispute” (S/PV.7285).  The representative of Ukraine, speaking at the afternoon session of the same meeting, similarly stated that “the elaboration of a proposed code of good conduct for permanent members of the Council . . . should also include revitalization and making operational provision of the Article 27 of the Charter of the United Nations stating that a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting in the Council” (S/PV.7285 (Resumption 1)). 


At a meeting held on 19 July 2016 (S/PV.7740), the representative of Ukraine, which by that time was in its first year of a new term as an elected Council member, stated that  

"we would like to draw attention to the existing provision in the Charter of the United Nations that

would prevent abuse of the right of the veto by the permanent members of the Council.  It is a

disgrace that paragraph 3 of Article 27 of the Charter – that a party to a dispute shall abstain from

voting – continues to be blatantly ignored.  It is imperative that clear proceedings be introduced for

operationalizing and properly implementing this Article."


(This update supplements page 349 of the book.)


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