NLP Panel on U.N. Resolution 1540

Did the Security Council Exceed its Authority?

In 2004, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1540 in order to address the growing threat of the spread of weapons of mass destruction.  The resolution calls on UN member states to enact legislation to stop the spread of weapons materials to non-state actors, especially terrorist groups.  Requesting states to criminalize the proliferation of WMD to non-state actors, establish domestic controls to prevent proliferation, and report its efforts to the UN, concern over the resolution’s legality has become a contentious topic of debate:  In passing the resolution, did the 15-member council exceed its mandate under the UN charter?

On November 22, the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security, in conjunction with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation, hosted a panel discussion on the implications of UN Resolution 1540.  The panelists discussed the legal and security implications of this resolution, which when passed, addressed the proliferation of nuclear materials with UN member states.  The panel focused on the immediate implications following passage of the resolution, as well as future implications for member states and the process of nonproliferation.