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45 - September 1983

Article 24 of the U.N. Charter
"In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf".

At a time when a new United Nations General Assembly opens in New-York it is worth recalling this first paragraph of Article 24 of the Carter. Since responsibility implies power and authority, without which an agent of whatever sort cannot truly be described as responsible, it follows that Article 24 is in contradiction to Article 2, paragraph 7, which excludes the right of the United Nations to "intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.

Is this contradiction a mere oversight, or was it knowingly inserted by the drafters of the Charter who were "playing a double game", wishing on the one hand to encourage membership by saying to the Nation-States, "All right, national sovereignty will be safeguarded", while, on the other, reminding these same States that if they really want peace they will have to face up to the problem of sovereignty ? For if the United Nations is to be given any real responsibility, then all states, and particularly the five permanent members of the Security Council, must be prepared to forego unconditional sovereignty.

One may suspect that this Article 24 may have inspired the drafters of some national constitutions, for example that of France which includes the following sentence : France is prepared to consent, on a strictly reciprocal basis, to such a limitation of sovereignty as would be required for the institution and preservations of peace". This clause was retained even by General De Gaulle. One finds similar clauses in the constitutions of Italy (Article 11) and of the German Federal Republic (articles 24, 25 and 26).

Even when the terms are less precise, some other constitutions tend towards the same notion : those of Japan (art. 9 and 98), India (Art. 51, §d), Costa-Rica (Art. 12), Belgium (Art. 25bis) Luxemburg (Art. 49bis) and Denmark (Art. 20, to which one may add about twenty other constitutions which allude to the possibility.

U Thant, while Secretary General of the United Nations once declared that "we must change the outdated and unworkable concept of unlimited national sovereignty". In the light of this realization, jurists of each country could perhaps get included, in their own constitutions, such a clause as put forward for Switzerland : "The Swiss Confederation consents, as far as it is required for the establishment of a just peace among states, to limit (on a reciprocal basis) its exercises of sovereignty".

After that, a conference of representatives from the 163 states could proceed to these reciprocal arrangements, and start the process of a last giving mankind : World law to guarantee its survival.

AMIP - Mundialist News Agency

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