Functions and powers
The Security Council has, according to the Charter, the following powers and functions:
- Maintain international peace and security in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Investigate any controversy or situation that may create international friction.
- Recommend methods of adjustment of such controversies, or conditions of settlement.
- Prepare plans for the establishment of a system that regulates armaments.
- Determine if there is a threat to the peace or an act of aggression and recommend what measures should be taken.
- Urge Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures that do not entail. the use of force, in order to prevent or stop the aggression.
- Take military action against an aggressor.
- Recommend the entry of new members.
- Exercise the United Nations trusteeship functions in “strategic areas”.
- Recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary General and, together with the Assembly, elect the magistrates of the International Court of Justice.
In the event of a complaint of threat to the peace being submitted, the Council generally recommends that the parties reach a peaceful settlement, and even acts in mediation or investigation. In addition, it may appoint special representatives or request the Secretary General to intervene as such or to use his good offices. On the other hand, the Council can also state principles for a settlement.
In the event that a controversy leads to an armed struggle, the Council seeks to end it as soon as possible. It does this by issuing ceasefire directives, and even by sending United Nations peacekeeping forces to regions where there are unrest, in order to create the conditions for a peaceful settlement to be reached. Pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council can decide to adopt coercive measures, economic sanctions or collective military actions.
Economic and social Council
The Economic and Social Council (or ECOSOC according to abbreviationfinder) is the body that coordinates the economic and social work of the United Nations and of the institutions and specialized agencies that make up the United Nations system. It is made up of 54 members elected by the General Assembly, with three-year terms. Each member has one vote and decisions within this body are taken by simple majority.
Functions and powers
The Economic and Social Council has the following prerogatives:
- Serve as a central forum for the examination of economic and social problems and the elaboration of policy recommendations directed to the Member States and the United Nations System
- Carry out or initiate studies, reports and recommendations on economic, social, cultural, educational, health and other related matters
- Promote respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all
- Call international conferences and prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly for consideration
- Coordinate the activities of the specialized agencies, through direct consultations and recommendations, or by making recommendations to the Assembly and the Member States
- Consultation with non-governmental organizations dealing with matters within the Council’s competence
This body was established in order to supervise the administration of the territories in trust or under the trusteeship regime. Its purpose is to promote the advancement of the inhabitants of the eleven original trust territories to reach their own government or independence. The Trusteeship Council is made up of the five permanent members of the Security Council: China, the United States, the Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom.
Since the United Nations was founded in 1945, more than 80 nations, whose peoples had been subject to colonial rule, have joined the Organization as sovereign and independent states. In addition, many other territories have become politically associated with independent states or integrated with other states as a result of self-determination.
In 1994, the Security Council terminated the Trusteeship Agreement for the last of the original eleven trust territories on the program: the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Palau), administered by the United States. The Trusteeship Council, by modifying its regulations, will meet only when necessary.
Despite much progress, around 1.3 million people are still under colonial rule. The United Nations continues to strive for self-determination or independence in territories that are not yet self-governing. Because of this, the General Assembly has declared the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001-2010).
international Court of Justice
It is the main judicial organ of the United Nations and its headquarters are in The Hague. It is responsible for resolving legal disputes between States Parties and issues advisory opinions for the United Nations and its specialized organizations. The “Statute of the Court” is an integral part of the “Charter of the United Nations”.
The Court is made up of fifteen magistrates elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council in independent votes, according to their merits and not their nationality. Efforts are made to ensure that the main legal systems of the world are represented in the Court. There cannot be two magistrates from the same country. They have a nine-year term with the possibility of re-election and cannot engage in any other occupation for the duration of their term.
Functions and powers
All states parties to its Statute can appeal to the Court, including all members of the United Nations. States such as Switzerland, which are not Members of the United Nations, can also become parties to the Statute and therefore turn to the Court. Individuals cannot resort to it.
The General Assembly and the Security Council may request advisory opinions from the Court on any legal question. The other organs of the United Nations and the specialized agencies may also request, with the authorization of the Assembly, advisory opinions on legal questions relating to the scope of their activities.
The Court has jurisdiction over all matters submitted to it by the States in relation to all matters provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in current treaties and conventions. States may commit themselves in advance to accept the jurisdiction of the Court, through treaties or agreements that they sign or special declarations that exclude certain types of cases.
The Court decides the resolution of controversies based on:
- The international conventions that establish rules recognized by the litigating States;
- International custom or jurisprudence as evidence of general practice accepted by law;
- The general legal principles recognized by the nations;
- The judicial decisions and the teachings of the most qualified scholars from different countries.
Since its establishment in 1946, the Court has dealt with 119 cases that the States have submitted to it, and the organizations have requested 23 advisory opinions. The cases have dealt with international disputes related to economic rights, rights of way, the prohibition of the use of force, diplomatic relations, hostage-taking, the right of asylum and nationality.