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Why has the UN Charter remained a central plank of international order, even though it was formulated in wartime by only a few of the victorious powers?

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  1. Definition of the main concepts
  2. The reasons for the successful evolution of the Charter of the UN in the creation and maintenance of international order: its flexibility in interpretation, its uniqueness, its period of creation, its creators, its utopian but realisable principles and its adaptability to a changing world
  3. The possible reforms of the Charter which could help it to renew itself and remain a central plank of international order in the future

If we had had this Charter a few years ago-and above all, the will to use it- millions, now dead, would be alive. If we should falter in the future in our will to use it, millions, now living, will surely die.' (Truman) This statement delivered by Truman reveals the ambitions of the Charter and the hope its conceivers had of it being respected and applied. Since it was formulated, the Charter has remained a central plank of international order. In this essay, we will try to justify its strength, even though it was formulated in wartime and by only a few of the victorious powers, and will reveal the reasons for its power. First of all, before attempting to answer this question we will define what the United Nations Charter is. The United Nations Charter is actually the written constitution of the United Nations Organization. As we can see its wording incorporates both the name of the legal instrument and that of the Organization . It is also a multilateral treaty which in respect of the agreements, rights and duties it confers on its signatories and members is an important source of international law. Its genesis began in the very moment in which the collapse of the League of Nations and consequently of its Covenant became evident. The Charter was signed in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 and was ratified by fifty-one states and came into being on 24 October 1945 (known as United Nations Day). The Charter, which runs to III articles, provides and embodies the UN's organizational structure, principles, functions and powers. The UN is then supposed to apply them. The primary objectives stated in the Charter are to maintain international peace and security through peaceful settlement of disputes and collective security, to promote international economic and social cooperation and last but not least, to promote respect for human rights for all. Secondly, we must define what international order is. It is the combination of major actors, rules, mechanisms and understandings to manage the coexistence and interdependence of states.

[...] Miall Hugh. Week 3 lecture: The foundation of the UN and the UN Charter. Simma Bruno(ed). (1995) The Charter of the United Nations. Oxford University Press. Waters Maurice (1967) The United Nations. McMillan. [...]


[...] With all these minor changes, the UN Charter can hope to still remain a central plank of international order. Moreover the fact that the changes are minor shows how complete and intemporal the Charter is. The reforms we have just cited are the official ones proposed by Kofi Annan but other people say there are other things to change. For example, there is a need to change some things in the Charter as some major powers have tended to deal with each other outside the framework of the UN (US intervention in Iraq not under UN flag). [...]


[...] Why has the UN Charter remained a central plank of international order, even though it was formulated in wartime by only a few of the victorious powers? 'If we had had this Charter a few years ago-and above all, the will to use it- millions now dead would be alive. If we should falter in the future in our will to use it, millions now living will surely die.' (Truman) This quotation shows the ambition the Charter has and the hope its conceivers had for it to be respected and applied . [...]


[...] The principle of unanimity that the Covenant had was abolished by the UN Charter which was a very important novelty to make decisions advance in the decision making processes. Indeed, although the Covenant of the League of Nations was its intellectual forerunner, the Charter itself displays a much more realistic grasp of the mechanics of world affairs. For example, the allocation of veto powers only to the five permanent members of the Security Council permits some decisions to be made. [...]


[...] Moreover, the Preamble of the UN Charter starts with: the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime brought untold sorrow to mankind . We clearly see that the wars which the world had just been through are cited and are the motor of this Charter. People knew that the post war world absolutely required a general international organization that would help to maintain the reestablishment of peace and the Charter was the concretisation of that need. [...]

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