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3 Institutional Structure and the Position of Members, 3.3 Conditions of Admission of a State to Membership in the United Nations (Article 4 of the Charter), Advisory Opinion, [1948] ICJ Rep 57; Competence of the General Assembly for the Admission of a State to the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, [1950] ICJ Rep 4

James D. Fry, Agnes Chong

From: Judicial Decisions on the Law of International Organizations

Edited By: Cedric Ryngaert, Ige F Dekker, Ramses A Wessel, Jan Wouters

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 18 August 2022

Subject(s):
Judges — Membership of international organizations — International organizations, practice and procedure — Responsibility of international organizations

Statehood traditionally has been determined by reference to the Montevideo Convention criteria. However, more recently, many commentators have come to see collective recognition through UN membership as the main avenue to statehood, a view supported by the extraordinary efforts taken by emerging states to gain UN membership. Only states can be UN members, and so UN membership is the ‘badge’ of statehood, or so the argument goes. In light of this shift to collective recognition through UN membership, the two ICJ advisory opinions gain particular importance. In responding to the political stalemate in the Security Council over admission of new UN members, the ICJ insisted on adhering to the legal rules of the UN Charter concerning admission, which is one of the main lessons of these advisory opinions. However, politics ultimately prevailed over the law when resolving the stalemate, which might be the more important lesson.

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