Conflict and Compromise: International Law and World Order in a Revolutionary Age

By Edward McWhinney | Go to book overview

4 THE UN CHARTER: TREATY
OR CONSTITUTION?
Changing Rôle of the World Court

In his dissenting opinion on Certain Expenses of the United Nations — the Advisory Opinion handed down by the World Court on 20 July 1962, whose majority position precipitated the Western-sponsored action to deprive the Soviet Union and France of their vote in the UN General Assembly under Article 19 of the UN Charter — the then President of the Court, Polish jurist Judge Winiarski, formulated principles of interpretation which reveal, very dramatically, basic doctrinal differences between Soviet bloc and Western jurists as to the nature and character of the Charter. As President Winiarski commented:

The Charter, a multilateral treaty which was the result of prolonged and laborious negotiations, carefully created organs and determined their competence and means of action.

The intention of those who drafted it was clearly to abandon the possibility of useful action rather than to sacrifice the balance of carefully established fields of competence, as can be seen. for example, in the case of voting in the Security Council. It is only by such procedures, which were clearly defined, that the United Nations can seek to achieve its purposes. It may be that the United Nations is sometimes not in a position to undertake action which would be useful for the maintenance of international peace and security or for one or another of the purposes indicated in Article 1 of the Charter, but that is the way in which the Organization was conceived and brought into being....

Judge Koretsky of the Soviet Union made the same point, but

-53-

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