Réflexions sur la validité des opérations entreprises contre l’Iraq en regard de la Charte des Nations Unies et du droit canadien

Les auteurs se sont vus décerner  le Prix Fitzgerald du Conseil canadien de droit international pour cet article.



Reflections on the Validity of the Operations against Iraq in Light of the Charter of the United Nations and Canadians Law.


On November 30, 1990, Resolution 678 of the Security Council purported to authorize the use of force in the Persian Gulf. It was acted upon by a coalition of States during the first months of 1991. At the end of January, the authors filed an action in the trial division of the Federal Court. In their statement of claim, they alleged that the Canadian government was acting in violation of section 31(1)(b) of the National Defence Act, which authorizes military action undertaken pursuant to the United Nations Charter. In the author’s opinion, Resolution 678 was contrary to the United Nations Charter. And thus Canadian Forces could not rely upon the National Defence Act to take military action in the Gulf. The action was discontinued as hostilities ended before the case could be heard. This article presents the arguments the authors intended to raise in court.

In part I the authors argue that Resolution 678 cannot be justified by any of the Charter provisions, either as a measure of collective self-defence or as an example of the collective security system envisaged by the provisions of chapter VII of the Charter. Neither can the theory of implicit power be invoked, since Resolution 678 amounts to a total abdication of power by the Security Council and, moreover, cannot be reconciled with the stated purposes of the United Nations.

In Part II the authors address the jurisdiction of Canadian courts to deal with the matter. They first explain how the royal prerogative relating to the armed forces has been displaced by statute. They then demonstrate that Canadian courts have always held it to within their jurisdiction to interpret conventions referred to in a statute, and that nothing in this case warrants derogation from this well-established rule. Finally, the authors deal with the question of standing.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 12/05/2016 à 10 h 42 min.