The United Nations System and Its Predecessors - Vol. I

The United Nations System and Its Predecessors - Vol. I

The United Nations System and Its Predecessors - Vol. I

The United Nations System and Its Predecessors - Vol. I


In 1995 the United Nations celebrated its 50th anniversary, ensuring that public and scholarly interest in this increasingly important field of international politics is particularly high at this point in time. This two-volume set, reproducing official documents in this field (such as charters, statutes, and other legal instruments) provides easy access to the legal bases of international organizations. As such, the set will be an invaluable addition to the library of all scholars and practitioners of international law.


The present edition is based on a bilingual (English or French and German) compilation of documents of the United Nations and its specialized agencies which was published in two volumes in 1995 by the C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung in Munich. By letting the record speak, our effort was intended to represent a separate form of stock-taking of the United Nations system after 50 years, as a contribution to the organization's 50th anniversary in 1995. We were, and are, quite aware that only a selection of the United Nations' record can be presented in view of the abundant material yet covering the major fields of United Nations activities.

In preparing an entirely English version it seemed desirable to both the editors and publishers to revise, update, and also enlarge the previous edition. In particular, the consideration of GATT and the World Trade Organization -- despite their only loose or intended connection with the United Nations -- aims at further enhancing the attractiveness of our compilation.

Nowadays the United Nations is challenged by financial cut-backs while, at the same time, it is perhaps the international organization best suited to promote collective international security and to provide to its member states institutions of global governance needed to cope with the growing interdependence in international relations. Therefore, it is the more important to remind the public of the United Nations' previous contributions to the development of international law and international regimes.

The first part of the present volume describes the organizational and taskspecific development of the United Nations system on the basis of constituent instruments and important legal acts. Accordingly, it contains the most relevant documents which led to the establishment of the United Nations Organization and of its relationship with member states. It also contains the rules of procedure of four main organs of the United Nations (General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and International Court of Justice) as well as the instruments of the most important subsidiary organs. From among the numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Councils, those which are reprinted distinguish either important developments in the United Nations or recent foci of United Nations activities such as, for example, the promotion of democratic elections.

The General Assembly represents a global forum for the codification and progressive development of international law. Accordingly, a number of conventions and agreements which highlight this particularly important function of the United Nations are reprinted with full documentation of the link between United Nations organs and specific treaties, many of which deal with the protection of human rights. The example of the law of outer space is used to portray the process of establishing norms under international law beginning with a declaration of principles and resulting in a treaty.

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