Larry Johnson’s answer to his own question is a qualified “no.” Surely he is correct when he says that the General Assembly does not need the Uniting for Peace resolution in order to consider a matter that is on the UN Security Council’s agenda. The International Court of Justice made that clear in its Advisory Opinion on the Construction of a Wall. It is only when the Security Council is actively pursuing the matter that UN Charter Article 12(1) requires the General Assembly to defer to the Council.
Johnson is also correct when he says that Uniting for Peace does not serve to enhance the authority that the UN Charter itself supplies to the Assembly to adopt non-binding resolutions intended to keep or restore peace. The ICJ also made that clear in its Advisory Opinion on the Construction of a Wall. Without relying on the Uniting for Peace resolution, the ICJ in paragraphs 27 and 28 of its Opinion approved the practice of the General Assembly to deal with matters concerning maintenance of international peace and security. The Court turned to the Uniting for Peace resolution only in the ensuing paragraphs of its Opinion, dealing with procedural matters related to the Assembly’s request for an Advisory Opinion.