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32 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 725 (1999-2000)
Accrediting Democracies: Does the Credentials Committee of the United Nations Promote Democracy through Its Accreditation Process, and Should It

handle is hein.journals/nyuilp32 and id is 735 raw text is: ACCREDITING DEMOCRACIES: DOES THE
Between 1991 and 1999, the United Nations (U.N.) ac-
credited five governments to participate in the General Assem-
bly as representatives of their respective states, despite those
governments' lack of effective territorial control. In the cases
of Haiti, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Liberia, and Afghanistan,
the Credentials Committee of the General Assembly refused to
accredit the representatives of the governments in effective
control-i.e., the authorities actually exercising power in the
state-and instead seated in the General Assembly representa-
tives of former regimes possessing few, if any, of the attributes
of government. These credentials decisions decidedly di-
verged from previous practice in two notable respects. First, in
contrast to the decisions during the Cold War, the five creden-
tials decisions of the 1990s and their attendant debates re-
flected a high degree of consensus about which governments
to accredit and how credentials determinations should be
made. Second, the decisions constituted a departure from the
Credentials Committee convention of seating governments in
effective control of United Nations Member State (Member
State) territories. What accounts for this change in direction,
this Note argues, is the growing interest in using the creden-
tials process as a vehicle to promote democracy. That is to say
that though democracy alone cannot explain any one of the
credentials decisions, the credentials decisions in these five
cases ultimately turned upon whether the applicant govern-
ment was democratic and whether the applicant government
* Associate, Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan, LLP; J.D., New York
University School of Law; M.Sc. International Relations, London School of
Economics; BAL, Williams College. I would like to thank Professors Thomas
Franck and Gregory Fox for their insightful comments and assistance.

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Politics

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