009- Competence of the General Assembly for the Admission of a State to the UN

On November 28th, 1949, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was requested by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to rule on the following question:

”Can the admission of a State to membership in the United Nations, pursuant to Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Charter, be effected by a decision of the General Assembly when the Security Council has made no recommendation for admission by reason of the candidate failing to obtain the requisite majority or of the negative vote of a permanent Member upon a resolutions to recommend ?”

In order to answer the question posed, the ICJ examined Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations, which provides that “The admission as a Member of the United Nations of any State fulfilling these conditions shall be by decision of the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council”.

In its advisory opinion delivered on March 3rd, 1950, it stated that it had no doubt as to the interpretation to be given to this article. Indeed, according to that article, 2 cumulative conditions are necessary for the admission of a State to the United Nations:

  • A “recommendation” of the Security Council;
  • A “decision” of the General Assembly, the recommendation must, by the nature of things, precede the decision.

Therefore, a State cannot be admitted as a Member of the United Nations, under Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Charter, by decision of the General Assembly when the Security Council has not recommended its admission.

Advisory Opinion of 03-03-1950.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.