British PM: Legal Basis for Military Intervention Outside of UN Approval in Some Cases

By Melanie Arter | August 29, 2013 | 12:53 PM EDT

British Prime Minister David Cameron (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

( – British Prime Minister David Cameron told the British Parliament Thursday that while it would be “unthinkable to proceed” with military action against Syria “if there was overwhelming opposition” in the United Nations Security Council, “it cannot be the case that is the only way to have a legal basis for action.”

“It cannot be the case that is the only way to have a legal basis for action, and we should consider for a moment what the consequences would be if that were the case,” Cameron said.

“You could have a situation in a country where its government was literally annihilating half the people in that country, but because of one veto on the Security Council, you would be hampered from taking any action,” he said.

“Now I can’t think of any member in any party of this House who would want to sign up to that, and that’s why it’s important that we do have the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, which is set out in the attorney general’s excellent legal advice to this House,” the British PM said.

Cameron also said it would be “unthinkable to proceed if there was overwhelming opposition in the Security Council.”

“Let me set out for the House why I think this issue is so important. The very best route to follow is to have a Chapter 7 resolution, take it to the UN Security Council, have it passed, and then think about taking action. That is the path we followed with Libya,” he said.