As set forth in the United Nations Charter, the UN Security Council is conferred "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security" (UN Charter, V/24/1).

It consists of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) and 10 members elected by the UN General Assembly for two years each. Every member has one vote. Decisions on substantive matters require nine votes, including the concurring votes of all five permanent members. This is the rule of "great Power unanimity", often referred to as the "veto" power.