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THE UNITED NATIONS Structures Processes International Law: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity & War Crimes The United Nations General Assembly Security Council Economic and Social Council Trusteeship Council International Court Of Justice History of the UN

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the united nations
  • Structures
  • Processes
  • International Law: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity & War Crimes
the united nations2
The United Nations
  • General Assembly
  • Security Council
  • Economic and Social Council
  • Trusteeship Council
  • International Court Of Justice
history of the un
History of the UN
  • first coined by FDR on Jan. 1, 1942
  • forerunner was League of Nations
  • first met in 1945 at San Francisco
  • originally had 51 members
  • officially came into existence on Oct. 24, 1945
  • UN Day is celebrated every Oct. 24
declaration of st james palace
Declaration of St. James Palace
  • representatives of Commonwealth nations and other nations in exile (currently at war with Nazi Germany)
  • June, 1941 in London, England
  • established the concept of enduring peace requiring the co-operation of the free peoples of the world
  • this peace would then bring about economic and social security
atlantic charter
Atlantic Charter
  • August 14, 1941
  • meeting between Roosevelt (USA), and Churchill (England)
  • affirmation of common principles in policies of their nations on which they based their hopes for a better future for the world
  • document later signed by 10 other European nations (USSR and other 9 occupied nations of Europe
  • October, 1943
  • foreign ministers of USA, Britain, USSR
  • recognized the need for establishing a general international organization based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace loving states
  • organization to be open to all states, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security
  • also signed by China later on
dumbarton oaks
Dumbarton Oaks
  • private mansion in Washington, DC
  • October, 1944
  • Representatives of China, Britain, USSR, and USA
  • established the formation and structure of the UN
  • also established necessity of having member states place armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council
  • voting procedure for Security Council was established at Yalta, USSR
general assembly
General Assembly
  • all members of the UN have representatives, each with an equal vote
  • currently has 191 members
  • last two to join were Switzerland and East Timor in 2002
functions and powers of the general assembly
Functions and Powers of the General Assembly
  • consider and make recommendations on the maintenance of international peace and security (recommendations not made on issues before the Security Council)
  • initiate studies and make recommendations to promote
    • international political cooperation
    • development and codification of international law
    • realization of human rights
    • International collaboration in economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields
functions and powers of the general assembly10
Functions and Powers of the General Assembly
  • make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation
  • receive and consider reports from the Security Council and other UN Organs
  • consider and approve the UN budget and apportion the contributions among members
  • elect
    • non-permanent members of Security Council
    • members of Economic and Social Council
    • Judges of International Court of Justice (along with Security Council)
    • Secretary General (recommended by Security Council)
security council
Security Council
  • 5 permanent members (China, France, Russia, USA, England)
  • 10 non-permanent members serving two year terms
  • Canada has served 6 times (last time 1999-2000)
  • maintenance of international peace and security
  • representative of each member must always be present at UN
security council12
Security Council
  • if there is a threat to peace the Council will first recommend a peaceful agreement and may offer mediation and set forth principles of a peaceful settlement
  • if there is a fight its first goal is to end it as soon as possible, issuing cease-fire directives, or sending peace-keeping forces
  • may decide on enforcement measures, economic sanctions, or collective military action
security council13
Security Council
  • a country may be suspended from exercising the privileges of membership if actions taken upon it by Security Council (upon recommendation of Council)
  • if country is persistent it may be expelled form UN upon recommendation of Security Council
security council14
Security Council
  • a non-member of the Security Council may participate (no vote) in discussions of Council if said country’s interests are affected
  • Council will set the conditions of participation of non-member participants
  • Presidency of Council rotates monthly according to the English alphabetical listing of its member states
functions and powers of the security council
Functions and Powers of the Security Council
  • maintain peace and security
  • investigate any dispute or potential friction
  • recommend methods of adjusting terms of settlement
  • determine existence of threat and recommend action
  • call on members to apply economic sanctions and other methods not involving force
  • take military action against an aggressor
  • exercise trusteeship functions in strategic areas
functions and powers of the security council16
Functions and Powers of the Security Council
  • recommend admission of new members
  • recommend to General Assembly the appointment of Secretary – General
  • together with General Assembly elect the judges of the International Court Of Justice
economic and social council
Economic and Social Council
  • coordinate economic, social, and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions, and 5 regional commissions
  • 54 members elected for overlapping three year terms
  • 14 allocated to Africa, 11 to Asia, 6 to East Europe, 10 to Latin America and Caribbean, 13 to Western Europe and other states
  • represents over 70% of the human and financial resources of the UN
10 function commissions of economic and social council
10 Function Commissions of Economic and Social Council
  • Statistical Commission
  • Commission on Population and Development
  • Commission for Social Development
  • Commission for Human Rights
  • Commission on the Status of Women
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs
  • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
10 function commissions of economic and social council19
10 Function Commissions of Economic and Social Council
  • Commission on Science and Technology for Development
  • Commission on Sustainable Development
  • United Nations Forum on Forests
responsibilities of economic and social council
Responsibilities of Economic and Social Council
  • promotion of higher standards of living
  • promotion of full employment
  • promotion of economic and social progress
  • identification of solutions to economic, social , and health problems
  • facilitating cultural and educational cooperation
  • encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
trusteeship council
Trusteeship Council
  • suspended operations November 1, 1994
  • last nation under direction was Palau
  • designed to assist newly independent nations in the development of their sovereignty
international court of justice
International Court of Justice
  • Peace Palace, the Hague, Netherlands
  • settles with accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by States
  • give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies
  • comprised of 15 judges elected to nine year terms by the Security Council and General Assembly
  • Elections every three years for 1/3 of members and members may be re-elected
  • Judges are independent magistrates and do not represent their countries
universal declaration of human rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Adopted and proclaimed by Gen. Assembly December 10, 1948
  • Includes a proclamation of rights that include most basic rights found in CCRF, but also includes:
  • A prohibition against slavery (Art. 4)
  • Right to asylum (Art. 14)
  • Right to a nationality (Art 15)
  • Right to marry and found a family, right to choose marriage(Art. 16)
  • Right to property (Art. 17)
universal declaration
Universal Declaration

6. Right to social security (Art. 22)

7. Right to work, equal pay for work of equal value, right to unionize (Art. 23)

8. Right to rest and leisure … and paid holidays

9. Right to an adequate standard of living … including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services

10. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance

universal declaration25
Universal Declaration

11. Everyone has the right to education, including free elementary education. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality !!!

12. Right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

13. Right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.


Genocideis defined as a list of prohibited acts, such as killing or causing serious harm, committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. (Rome Treaty (2002) est. International Criminal Court)


The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide(1948) proclaims genocide to include:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
genocide definition
Genocide Definition
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
genocide punishment
Genocide - Punishment

Article III of the Convention identifies punishable acts:

  • Genocide;
  • Conspiracy to commit genocide;
  • Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
  • Attempt to commit genocide;
  • Complicity in genocide.
genocide legal liability trials
Genocide- Legal Liability & Trials
  • Constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.
  • · tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal
crimes against humanity
Crimes Against Humanity
  • Crimes against humanityinclude crimes such as the extermination of civilians, enslavement, torture, rape, forced pregnancy, persecution on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds, and enforced disappearances - but only when they are part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population. (Rome Treaty (2002))
crimes against humanity33
Crimes Against Humanity
  • The "widespread or systematic" qualification for crimes against humanity is very important, as it provides a higher threshold, requiring a particular magnitude and/or scope before a crime qualifies for the Court's jurisdiction. This differentiates random acts of violence - such as rape, murder, or even torture - that could be carried out, perhaps even by soldiers in uniform, but which may not actually qualify as crimes against humanity.
war crimes
War Crimes
  • War crimesinclude grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other serious violations of the laws and customs that can be applied in international armed conflict, and in armed conflict "not of an international character", as listed in the Statute, when they are committed as part of a plan or policy or on a large scale.
war crimes35
War Crimes

Under a 1973 Convention, there are no statutory limits on War Crimes or Crimes Against Humanity.

war crimes36
War Crimes
  • Every State has the right to try its own nationals for war crimes against humanity.
  • States shall co-operate with each other on a bilateral and multilateral basis with a view to halting and preventing war crimes and crimes against humanity
war crimes37
War Crimes
  • States shall not grant asylum to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity.