27 September 2018

UNAI Quiz: Pacific settlement of disputes
















The United Nations Academic Impact is informed by a commitment to support and advance ten basic principles, out of which the tenth is A commitment to the principles inherent in the United Nations Charter.

Principle number 3 in the United Nations Charter reads: All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

Test your knowledge about this UN principle of the with the UNAI Quiz!!

Scroll down to the bottom of this article to find the answers.


1. Does the Charter provide a set of peaceful means that could be used?

a) Yes.

b) No.

c) Not for all disputes between Members of the Organization.

2. Which of the following is a basic premise of a negotiation?

a) States must have a set of clear goals to achieve.

b) States should remain focused.

c) States must finish the whole process in 30 days or less.

3. What is the outcome of a successful negotiation?

a) An instrument containing what was agreed.

b) An instrument containing the details of the negotiation.

c) An instrument containing the interest of the parties involved.

4. Which is the tribunal referred to when a judicial settlement is considered?

a) The United Nations Dispute Tribunal.

b) The International Criminal Court.

c) The International Court of Justice and other international tribunals as appropriate.

5. Is there any role for regional organizations?

a) There might be a secondary role for them.

b) There was role in the past but not anymore.

c) Regional organizations can play an active role according to the Charter.





1.a) The United Nations Charter in its article 33 says that: "The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice". While indeed a list of options is provided, as stated in the Charter itself, it is ultimately up to the Members involved in the dispute to choose which one might suit the best. In some cases though, reads the article, it might be the Security Council the intergovernmental body to "call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means".

2.b) Resolution 53/101 on the Principles and guidelines for international negotiations adopted by the United Nations General Assembly provides some guidelines about how negotiations should be: "(a) Negotiations should be conducted in good faith; (b) States should take due account of the importance of engaging, in an appropriate manner, in international negotiations the States whose vital interests are directly affected by the matters in question; (c) The purpose and object of all negotiations must be fully compatible with the principles and norms of international law, including the provisions of the Charter; A/RES/53/101 Page 3 (d) States should adhere to the mutually agreed framework for conducting negotiations; (e) States should endeavour to maintain a constructive atmosphere during negotiations and to refrain from any conduct which might undermine the negotiations and their progress; (f) States should facilitate the pursuit or conclusion of negotiations by remaining focused throughout on the main objectives of the negotiations; (g) States should use their best endeavours to continue to work towards a mutually acceptable and just solution in the event of an impasse in negotiations".

3.a) According to paragraph 68 of the Handbook on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes between States issued by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs: "When negotiations are successful, they normally lead to the issuance by the parties of an instrument reflecting the terms of the agreement arrived at. This document may be a comprehensive agreement. It may be a joint statement or communiqué. A memorandum or declaration def ining broad points of agreement may precede the issuance of a more detailed agreement".

4.c) The main judicial organ of the United Nations is the International Court of Justice. As stated in its own Statute (article 36), "The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force". It also mentions some specific disputes like "a. the interpretation of a treaty; b. any question of international law; c. the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation ; d. the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation". However, there are other international tribunals with a very specific jurisdiction, such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, created specifically for the settlement of maritime disputes.

5.c) Article 33 of the United Nations Charter refers to both regional treaties and regional organizations. Article 52 of the same instrument actually clarifies that "nothing" in the Charter "precludes the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as are appropriate for regional action". In fact, the same article encourages its use. As a brief example, a Statement issued by the President of the United Nations Security Council on behalf of the body as a whole reads: "The Security Council recognizes and further encourages efforts by the League of Arab States to contribute to collective endeavours to settle conflicts in the Middle East peacefully...".