6 Important Organs of the United Nations are as follows:
(a) The General Assembly:
General Assembly is the major organ of the United Nations. It is based upon the principles of “sovereign equality of its member”. According to the Article 9, Clause 1 of the U.N. Charter, all the members of the United Nations comprise the General Assembly and each member-state is entitled to have not more than five representatives in the General Assembly. But each member-state has only one vote. Upto 14th December, 1995, the United Nations has the membership of 185 States.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed applications of former U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia states. The general Assembly is essentially a deliberative body. It discusses the matters which come under the purview of the United Nations Charter. All that it can do is to make recommendations to the Security Council to which alone the U.N. Charter has assigned exclusively the task of peace and security the General Assembly is no more than a conference of Diplomats.
It is in no sense legislative body. It discusses only the ordinary principles of co-operation for maintaining peace and security in the world. It deals with and discusses the policy of disarmament and the principles of international peace and security.
It can make recommendation either to its member-states or to the Security Council or to both. The General Assembly reminds the Security Council of those conditions that can cause danger to the peace and security of the world.
The General Assembly meets regularly once a year visually in September. But special sessions can be called at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the members of the General Assembly. In 1950, the General Assembly resolved that it can meet in emergency to take action in a case threatening peace and security.
It can do so only if the Security Council is prevented from taking action because of the use of veto by any of the permanent members of the Security Council. The resolution is known as the “United Action for Peace Resolution”.
The exact wading of the resolution is as follows:
If the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case, where there appears to be a threat to peace, breach of peace or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures, including, in the case breach of the peace or act of aggression, the use of armed forces when necessary to maintain or restore International peace and security.
The General Assembly discusses the following matters and makes recommendation:
(1) To promote the continuous development of the International Co-operation, International Law and its Codification.
(2) To promote economic co-operation in the social, cultural, educational fields and to help in ensuring the fundamental rights and basic freedom to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, language and sex.
(3) The General assembly will discuss the report of the activities of the Security Council and all other organs of the United Nations.
(4) The General Assembly will discuss the budget of the United Nations and recommend it.
(5) The General Assembly will see to it that all the member-states will share the financial burden as decided by the General Assembly.
The U.N. Charter lays down that important questions shall be decided by two- thirds majority and includes recommendations with respect to:
(1) The maintenance of international peace and security;
(2) The election of non-permanent members of the Security Council;
(3) The election of the members of the Economic and Social Council;
(4) The election of members of the Trusteeship Council;
(5) The admission of new members of the United Nations;
(6) Suspension of the rights and privileges of members;
(7) Questions relating to the operation of the Trusteeship System;
(8) Expulsion of members; and
(9) The budgetary question.
The rest of the cases are to be passed by ordinary majority in the General Assembly. The General Assembly is a deliberative organ which will meet regularly once a year. But its special sessions can be convened at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the members of the United Nations. The General Assembly is thus in no way a legislative body. It is only deliberative body of the United Nations Organisation.
(b) Security Council:
Security Council is the chief organ and hence is the most important body of the United Nations. It shoulders the heavy responsibility of maintaining peace and security in the world including collaboration with states which are not members of the United Nations.
The Security Council has a fixed membership of fifteen of whom five are permanent members representing the big five powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and Communist China. The remaining ten non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two year terms.
Previously, the Security Council had only six non-permanent members but on January 1, 1966, the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten at the recommendation of the General Assembly.
The United Nations Charter was amended in 1965 and the amendment was implemented on January 1, 1966. Now the Security Council has the fixed membership of fifteen of whom five are permanent members and the remaining ten are non-permanent ones. India was a non-permanent member of the Security Council for 1995 and 1992.
Great Britain, France, the U.S.S.R., the U.S.A., and the Communist China are the permanent members of the Security Council.
Previously, Formosa was the permanent member of the Security Council but it was expelled on 26th October, 1971 and the Communist China was admitted as the permanent member of the United Nations Organisation.
The consent of the nine member-states out of fifteen is necessary for the agenda of procedural matters and for other matters the consent of the big five powers- Great Britain, the U.S.A., the U.S.S.R., France and the Communist China is required.
This means that in regard to all matters except procedural ones, each of the five permanent members has the right to veto. If any of these five permanent member- states vetoes a particular resolution, it cannot be passed. Every member-state has one vote.
Speaking in practical terms if a permanent member-state is absent at the tune of veto, its veto will be regarded as null and void. No member-state to the Security Council can vote for the decision which is related to the peaceful settlement of the dispute to which the member-state concerned is a party. For the procedural matters, the consent of any nine members is needed.
A non-permanent member-state which retires after the term of two years cannot have immediately after its retirement. Every member-state always has its permanent representative at the headquarters of the United Nations Organisation, so that he may be able to attend the meeting of the Security Council called in emergency or at any time. The President of the Security Council changes every month according to alphabetical order.
The Security Council can all of a sudden discuss the matter causing danger to the peace and security of the world. It can discuss any matter which comes under the purview of the U.N. Charter.
It adopts the following procedures for the settlement of the international disputes:
(1) It requests the nations to settle their dispute by correspondence or by negotiations.
(2) If this procedure fails, it gives suggestions to the disputing nations to resolve the dispute with the help of the International Court of Justice, Tribunals or mediators.
(3) “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force, are to be employed to give effect to its decisions and it may call upon the members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, air, sea, postal, telegraph, radio and other means of communication and the severance of diplomatic relations.
(4) “Should the Security Council consider that measures provided in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace or security. Such action may include demonstration, blockade and other operations by air, sea or land forces of Members of the United Nations”.
Following are the functions of the Security Council:
(1) To consider and take such action as may be necessary to facilitate the pacific settlement of international disputes, to deal with threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and act of aggression, including enforcement measures and supervision of military action by the United Nations.
(2) To recommend to the General Assembly admission of States for membership of the United Nations.
(3) To recommend expulsion of States for violation of the Charter or restoration of privileges.
(4) To formulate plans for regulation of armaments.
(5) The review the administration of strategic trusteeship territories.
(6) To participate with the General Assembly in the election of Judges to the International Court of Justice.
(7) To make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to judgments of the International Court of Justice in the event of a party fails to perform its obligations there-under.
(8) To recommend to the General Assembly the person to be appointed as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
(9) To participate in deciding whether a conference to revise the Charter should be held.
(c) The Social and Economic Council:
The Social and Economic Council had the membership of fifty-four states in 1991. All these members are elected by the General Assembly. 18 members of the Social and Economic Council are elected for three years after retirement of 1/3 of its members.
The retired member-state can contest the election immediately after its retirement. Every member-state will have only one representative in the Council. Every member-state will have only one vote. All the decisions will be taken by majority vote.
Following are the scope and functions and scope of the Social and Economic Council:
(1) The Social and Economic Council studies and deals with the economic, social, cultural, educational matters and matters pertaining to health or makes a, provision for this study and recommend such matters to the General Assembly, the members of the United Nations Organisation or to other bodies of the U.N.
(2) It can make recommendation for ensuring human rights and basic liberties to all. It can make conference to attain its aim. For that purpose it can appoint commissions and hand over their reports to the General Assembly. It gives all possible assistance to the General Assembly and the Security Council.
(d) The Trusteeship Council:
The Trusteeship Council had five members in 1991. One member, the United States administers Palau. One of the remaining four entities which constituted the original Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the only territory that still remained under the system.
On 22nd December, 1990, the Security Council terminated the Trusteeship Agreement for three of the entities the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, which had drawn up Compacts of Free Association with the United States and the Northern Mariana Islands which had agreed to a Common Wealth Covenant with the Administering Authority.
Palau however, has got independence; therefore the Security Council suspended the operation on November 1, 1994. The non- administering members of the Council are the other four permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom or Great Britain).
Following are the functions and scope of the Trusteeship Council:
(1) To ensure the political, economic, social and educational advancement of colonial people without undermining their colonial culture.
(2) To help in maintaining international peace and security.
(3) To assist colonial people to achieve self-government and independence.
(4) To treat the people justly and protect them against abuse.
(5) To encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
(6) To encourage recognition of the inter-dependence of the people of the world.
(7) To ensure the equal treatment of members of the United Nations of their relationship with the trust territories.
(e) International Court of Justice:
International Court of Justice, a successor of the Permanent Court of International Justice is the Judicial organ of the United Nations. It comprised of fifteen judges, no two of which can be the nationals of the same state. These judges are elected independently by the General Assembly and the Security Council.
They possess the qualifications required in this respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial officers. They are elected for a term of nine years and one-third of them retire after every three years. After their retirement these judges can be reelected. This Court elects its own President for a term of three years.
The venue of this Court is Hague (Holland). But this Court can call its meetings at other places also. Nine judges of this Court constitute the quorum and all the decisions are taken by a majority of judges. The Court is permanently in session except holidays.
Every judge get annual remuneration and the President is entitled to other allowances as decided by the General Assembly. The United Nations Organisation bears the expenditure incurred on this Court. All the cases which are related to the United Nations Charter come in the purview of this court.
Only States can be parties before the Court which is open to all the member-states of the United Nations. Even the non-member states can use the services of this Court on conditions recommended by the Security Council and approved by the General Assembly.
The cases of interpretation of the Treaties renounced during that time and of the traditions in force at that time also come in the interpretation of the International Law. All the decisions are taken by a majority of judges. The President has a right to vote. The decision of the Court has no binding force except between parties and in respect of the particular cases.
The Secretariat is like an international civil service. It recruits its employees from almost all the member-states. It is the principal administrative body of the United Nations. The General Security is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. He occupies the office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the United Nations.
The General Assembly always appoints him by majority votes. But it does not mean that two-thirds majority is needed for his appointment. The Secretary General acts as the Chief Administrative Officer in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and in the Trusteeship Council. He looks after the cases filed to the General Assembly by these councils. The Secretary General gives his report to the General Assembly.
If the Secretary General feels that there is a danger to international peace and security, he can invite the attention of the Security Council to that matter.
In the performance of their duties, Secretary General and officials shall neither seek nor give advice to any state or any other official outside the Organisation. They are international officials and they are only responsible to the U.N. They shall not do anything which is not in consonance with their status. All these officials are appointed on the basis of their ability.
The Secretary General is appointed for five years. Mr. Trygve Lie of Norway was appointed first Secretary General in 1946 for five years. When in 1950 the Security Council could not arrive at a unanimous decision to appoint a new Secretary Genera], Mr. Trygve Lie’s tenure was extended for three years.
But after two years the tendered his resignation. After that on the recommendation of the Security Council the General Assembly appointed Mr. Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden as Secretary Funeral for a period of five years. Mr. Hammarskjold took oath of his office on 10th April, December 1957, he was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly for another five years.
On 17th September, 1961 Mr. Hammarskjold died in a plane crash in Africa. After that in November, 1961 Mr. U. Thant of Burma was appointed as officiating Secretary General and in November, 1962, he was appointed as Secretary-General till 3rd November, 1966. On 4th November, 1966 on the recommendation of the Security Council, the General Assembly extended his tenure till the end of its twenty-first session.
After that his tenure was again extended till 31st December, 1971. After that Mr. Kurt Waldheim was elected to this office. After the end of the term of Kurt Waldheim, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar was elected. From 1st January, 1993, Boutros Boutros-Ghali was appointed on this post.
The Secretariat has been divided into eight departments. It keeps a record of all the organs and agencies of U.N. According to the rules laid down by the General Assembly, the Secretary General appoints the officials of the Secretariat.
The duties and the responsibilities of this Secretariat are purely international. Every official of the Secretariat, irrespective of his nationality, is considered to be an international official. He serves the whole world and also protects the interests of his own country.