THE ROLE OF UNITED NATIONS AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN RESOLVING DISPUTES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

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THE ROLE OF UNITED NATIONS AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN RESOLVING DISPUTES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

 

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

The international political climate is currently fraught with unresolved inter-state and intra-state disputes that emanate often from mere suspicion, mistrust, political and economic rivalry as well as competition over territory. Disputes, if not carefully monitored and resolved peacefully, they may, (as they have) lead to armed conflicts –conflicts that would bring (as they have done so) devastating effects not only to the disputants but also to the international community. To this end, the desire for the maintenance of international peace and security has always been at the heart of the international community. States have concluded a number of multilateral treaties ranging from 1899 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes which was revised by the second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 aimed at peaceful settlement of their disputes and difference[1]. This was also the basic objective behind the creation of the League of Nations in 1919 and the United Nations (UN) in 1945. Since its inception, the UN has taken responsibility for maintaining world peace and security. Drafters of UN Charter envisioned an organisation in the entire spectrum of conflict management and resolution, from preventive measures to ad-hoc responds to crisis, to longtime stabilisation of conflict areas with view of saving the succeeding generations from the scourge of war which has on two separate occasions brought untold sorrow to mankind[2]. To this end, the Charter obliges the parties to any dispute capable of endangering international peace and security to settle such dispute either through negotiations, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, good office or adjudication or any peaceful means of their choice. Or resort should be had to regional arrangements or agencies. When this is not successful, the UN is permitted to intervene to consider the dispute and make recommendations[3].

However, the end of cold war presented both opportunities and challenges for the international community. Opportunities in the sense that UN found itself freer to act than at any time in its history; challenges in the sense that the end of cold war has ushered in a regime of armed conflicts at intra- state level largely because people‟s expectations for an improved and egalitarian  society have not materialised. Consequently, ethnic and nationalist forces whose expectations were not met began to challenge state authority and old imperial boundaries. In fact, sub-national group demands for empowerment, autonomy and even independence took a violent dimension in the struggle for self-determination[4]. This has for instance resulted in the collapse of state institutions in Somalia, a coup in Haiti, and civil wars in Bosnia, Cambodia, Salvador, Guatemala, DR Congo, and Angola among other countries. Sequel to this development therefore, it became necessary for the UN to draw support from regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.

[1] Collier, J. and Lowe, v. The Settlement of Disputes in International Law, Cambridge (1999) @ www. , accessed on 5th June, 2013 at 9.00pm.

[2] Osmancavusoglu, E. “Challenges to United Nation Peacekeeping Operation in the Post-Cold War Era “ Journal of International Affairs, (1999-2000) VOL. 4 p.4

[3] Article 1 (1) & 33 (1) United Nation Charter, 1945.

[4] Gambari, I. A.  The Challenges of Peace-Keeping and Peace-Making in Africa: The  Role of the United Nations and Nigeria‟s Contributions (2000)  @www.nigerianworld.com/feature/article/peace-keepinghtml

 

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THE ROLE OF UNITED NATIONS AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN RESOLVING DISPUTES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

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