Security Council Resolution 2068 does not break significant new ground. It reaffirms the Security Council’s prior resolutions and Presidential Statements and emphasizes certain key points which have appeared in prior resolutions. In particular, the Security Council:
- condemns violations against children
- calls on Member States to bring those responsible to justice
- reiterates its readiness to adopt targeted and graduated measures
- invites the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to brief the Security Council on the criteria for “delisting” parties from the lists of perpetrators of grave violations against children annexed to the Secretary-General’s annual report
- reiterates its call to its Working Group to consider a broad range of actions against persistent perpetrators and
- requests the Secretary-General to continue to submit annual reports
Resolution 2068 should not have been controversial as it largely repeats language which has been agreed unanimously by the Security Council in repeated prior resolutions. The abstaining delegations did not criticize the resolution as such, except for Pakistan which questioned the request to the Secretary-General to continue to submit annual reports to the Security Council. Rather, their criticisms focused on the inclusion in the Secretary-General’s report of certain situations of armed conflict, most notably the internal armed conflict with non-State actors in Pakistan. Delegations questioned whether the Secretary-General had the authority to include in his report situations not already on the agenda of the Security Council and whether inclusion of these situations constituted a legal determination of the existence of an armed conflict or legitimized the status of the parties to said conflict.
These criticisms of the Secretary-General’s report were fully and adequately (to the unanimous satisfaction of the Council in prior years) addressed by the Security Council in resolution 2068 and in its prior resolutions. Not only is the Secretary-General empowered under article 99 of the United Nations Charter to bring to the Council’s attention matters not on its agenda, but he has specifically been requested by the Council to include such situations in his reports ever since resolution 1379 was adopted unanimously by the Council in 2001.
Regarding the definition of armed conflict and the legal implications of including a situation within the Secretary-General’s report, the preamble to resolution 2068 repeats the language unanimously adopted by the Security Council in its resolutions 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011), namely that “the present resolution does not seek to make any legal determination as to whether situations which are referred to in the Secretary-General’s report are or are not armed conflicts within the context of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto, nor does it prejudge the legal status of the non-State parties involved in these situations”.