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The Charter of the United Nations - A Commentary, Volume I (2012-11-22)

Ch.IV The General Assembly, Functions and Powers, Article 11

Eckart Klein, Stefanie Schmahl

From: The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary, Volume I (3rd Edition)

Edited By: Bruno Simma, Daniel-Erasmus Khan, Georg Nolte, Andreas Paulus, Nikolai Wessendorf, (Assistant Editor)

Subject(s):
UN General Assembly — UN Security Council — International peace and security — Disarmament

(p. 491) Article 11

(1) The General Assembly may consider the general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments, and may make recommendations with regard to such principles to the Members or to the Security Council or to both.

(2) The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security brought before it by any Member of the United Nations, or by the Security Council, or by a state which is not a Member of the United Nations in accordance with Article 35, paragraph 2, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations with regard to any such questions to the state or states concerned or to the Security Council or to both. Any such question on which action is necessary shall be referred to the Security Council by the General Assembly either before or after discussion.

(3) The General Assembly may call the attention of the Security Council to situations which are likely to endanger international peace and security.

(4) The powers of the General Assembly set forth in this Article shall not limit the general scope of Article 10.

  1. A.  Article 11 (1) 1–17

    1. I.  General Meaning 1

    2. II.  Powers of Consideration and Recommendation 2–5

      1. 1.  The Scope of the Power of Consideration 2

      2. 2.  The Scope of the Power of Recommendation 3–4

      3. 3.  Initiative 5

    3. III.  Subjects of Consideration and Recommendation 6–17

      1. 1.  General Principles of Cooperation in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security 6–8

      2. 2.  The Principles Governing Disarmament and the Regulation of Armaments 9–17

  2. B.  Article 11 (2) 18–33

    1. I.  General Meaning 18

    2. II.  The Power of Discussion 19–26

      1. 1.  Terms and Meaning 19

      2. 2.  Subject 20

      3. 3.  Limits 21

      4. 4.  Submission Requirement 22–25

      5. 5.  The Relationship between Article 11 (2) Clause 1 and Article 10 26

    3. III.  The Power of Recommendation 27–33

      1. 1.  Subject and Exercise of the Power 27

      2. 2.  Addressees of Recommendations 28–30

      3. 3.  Limits 31–32

      4. 4.  The Effect of Referral According to Article 11 (2) Clause 2 33

  3. C.  Article 11 (3) 34–39

    1. I.  General Meaning 34

    2. II.  Scope and Definition 35–39(p. 492)

      1. 1.  The Exercise of the Power 35

      2. 2.  The Power of Determination 36–37

      3. 3.  The Relationship between Article 11 (3) and Article 11 (2) Clause 2 38

      4. 4.  Reaction by the Security Council 39

  4. D.  Article 11 (4) 40–46

    1. I.  General Meaning 40

    2. II.  Interpretation 41–46

  5. E.  Evaluation 47

Select Bibliography

See the select bibliography for Art. 10.

A.  Article 11 (1)*

I.  General Meaning

Article 11 (1) defines in more detail the general authority of the GA laid down in Art. 10. Much of the provision had already appeared in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals,1 and it was not very controversial in the drafting of the Charter. The move by Egypt and Mexico to give the GA special power to consider the continuing validity of international treaties was not taken up at Dumbarton Oaks.

II.  Powers of Consideration and Recommendation

1.  The Scope of the Power of Consideration

It lies within the discretion of the GA whether and how practically to deal with principles mentioned in this provision. In contrast, Art. 26, in determining the functions of the SC in the area of arms control, imposes an obligation on that organ to formulate concrete plans for arms regulation. There is no qualitative distinction between the terms ‘consider’ and ‘discuss’ as used in Art. 10 (cf Klein and Schmahl on Art. 10 MN 5).

2.  The Scope of the Power of Recommendation

The exercise of the power of recommendation is also within the discretion of the GA. It is important to note that the provision of Art. 12 (1) does not apply in this context (see Klein and Schmahl on Art. 12 MN 6); thus it does not matter whether the SC is dealing with the same issue. Article 11 (1) gives expression to the general notion of the Charter that the GA should consider the general principles of political cooperation, whereas the SC should deal mainly with the solution of specific disputes.2 So to this extent, no direct contradiction between resolutions by the two organs will arise.

The recommendations of the GA referred to in Art. 11 (1) are to be directed to the members of the UN, the SC, or both. In this respect, the provision corresponds to Art. 10. (p. 493) It is, however, narrower than Art. 11 (2) cl 1, which authorizes the GA to make recommendations to States which are not members of the UN as well. In contrast, Arts 13 and