United Nations Intervention in Internal Conflicts: Iraq, Somalia, and Beyond

Part I of this article will examine the concept of domestic jurisdiction. One of the principal purposes of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security, which in 1946 was thought to essentially entail maintaining the peace between nation States. Internal power struggles and conflicts were thought to be within the jurisdiction of the State where they took place, unless they posed a rather substantial “threat” to the peace. Thus, the drafters of the U.N. Charter made sharp distinctions between internal and international conflicts. For instance, the Charter generally proscribes international, but not domestic, conflict, and the U.N. Security Council is accorded primary responsibility for maintaining international, not internal, peace and security. The Charter also contains a specific prohibition on intervention in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of Member States, unless there is a need for enforcement measures under chapter VII.