Friday, August 21, 2009
Principal Organs of the United Nations
The character provided for the establishment of six organs of the UN. The General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Council of Justice and the Secretariat.
The official languages of the General Assembly, all its main committees and sub-committees, the Security Council and Trusteeship Council are Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. These languages together with Arabic are the working languages of the Security Council and its seven main committees. The official languages of international court of justice are English and French.
The General Assembly is the apex body of the United Nations. It has been described as the town meeting of the world because all the members of the United Nations are ipso facts members of the General Assembly. Each member has a single vote even through each state can send five representatives to the Assembly. These representatives are the nominees of their respective governments. The charter does not impose any restriction on the member states with regard to the appointment of the delegates to the General Assembly except that Article 8 enjoins upon the states not to make any discrimination on the basis of sex. These representatives have to act in accordance with the instruction of their respective governments and are directly responsible to their governments. Thus the General Assembly is more of a diplomatic coference than a legislative body.
The General Assembly at its first session elects a president for a term of twelve months. As a matter of convention, the president is taken from a minor country. It may be noted that though the president is elected by the General Assembly, in reality the choice of the candidate for the post of president is made through private consultations before the session of the Assembly and a candidate who is acceptable to the majority of the members is elected as president. It is note worthy that during the initial years close contests took place the office of President Ship.
Vice Presidents and Chairmen of Standing Committee:
In additional to the president the General Assembly at its first session also elects seventeen vice Presidents and seven chairmen for the seven standing committees. All these officials, along with the president constitute the General Committee, which acts as the steering committee fore each session. This committee acts as advisory body t the president. How ever, its recommendations are not binding on the president. It mainly advises the president with regard to agenda and priorities of debates, allocation of items to the seven committees, co ordination of work of the standing committees, fixing date for adjournment of Assembly and assistance to the president in the discharge of his responsibilities.
While nominating the seven vice presidents of General Assembly effority is made to provide representation to all the areas. Usually seven members are taken from Asian and African states; one from Eastern European States, three from Latin American states; two from Western European and other states and five seats are given to five permanent members of the Security Council. Like wise the Chairman ship of the seven committees is also allocated on the basis of these areas.
Sessions of Assembly:
The regular session of the General Assembly is held once a year. The session commences on the third Tuesday in September and continues until mid-December. In addition special session of the Assembly can be called at the request of the Security Council a majority of member states or one member states with the concurrence of the majority, Emergency special session of the Assembly can be called within 24 hours of a request by the Security Council on vote of any nine of its members, or by a majority of the member states.
Decision on all important questions are taken by two third majority of the members present and voting. Some of the important matters, which fall in this category include recommendations on peace and security. Election of members of the security council: the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council, admission suspension and expulsion of member states: trusteeship questions and budgetary matters. The other matters can be decided by simple majority.
The General Assembly conducts its business on the basis of the agenda which is prepared by the secretary. General in the month of duty. The secretary General has not much dis-creation with regard to the determination of the agenda because there are certain items which must find their place on the agenda. Thus the agenda of the Assembly invariably includes Annual Report of the Secretary General, reports of other organs of the United Nations, items proposed by members of the United Nations. Further, this agenda is reviewed by the General Committee of the Assembly to avoid overlapping and repetition.
Functions and Powers:
The General Assembly performs varied ad extensive functions which cane be conveniently studied under the following heads.
1. Deliberative Functions: The General Assembly can discuss any question or matter within the scope of the UN charter and relating to any organ of the United Nations. It can also invite the attention of the Security Council to the situation which are likely to endanger international peace and security and recommendation measures for the peaceful adjustment of situation which is likely to disturb the friendly relations amongst nations.
The General Assembly can also initiate studies and make recommendations for (a) promoting international co-operation in political arena and encourage progress of international Law and its codification. (b) Promoting international co-operation in the economic, Social, Cultural educational and health fields and assising in realisation of human rights and fundamental freedom for all without discrimination as to race, Sex Language or religion. The deliberative functions of the Assembly according to Prof: Vandenbosch and Hogan implies two things. First it entails the power to ascertain the facts and information necessary for the discussion. Secondly, its deliberations may go beyond mere discussion and may result in certain recommendations. In other words the General Assembly can make recommendations and also conduct studies for promoting international co-operation.
The recommendations of the General Assembly do not possesses any legal sanction and are merely an expression of opinion or advice of the Assembly, which is not binding on the member states. Further thought the General Assembly enjoys extensive powers with regard to discussion on world problem, it can not intervene in the matters falling within the domestic jurisdiction of the states. But in view of the growing inter dependence of internal and foreign affairs, it is not always easy to say what really falls under the domestic jurisdiction. For example in 1948 India lodged a compliant with General Assembly regarding maltreatment of Indian minority in South Africa but the South African Government challenged the right of the Assembly to consider the issue on the plea that the matter essentially relates to ‘domestic jurisdiction’. Despite this the General Assembly proceeded to adopt a resolution in December 1946 and insisted that the treatment of the Indian minority should be in accordance with international obligations, including the provisions of the charter. It is a different matter that the South African government refused to implement the resolution on the ground that the matter did not fall within the competence of the General Assembly.
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