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The International League (IL) is an intergovernmental organization established 24 October 1950, to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective United Nations, the organization was created following the Second Great War to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the IL had 17 member states; there are now 72. The headquarters of the International League is situated in Manhattan, New Amsterdam, and enjoys extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.
During the Second World War, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the United Nations, and the International League Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1950; this charter took effect 24 October 1950, and the IL began operation. The IL's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades by the Cold War between the US, Russia, Britannia, and their respective allies. The organization participated in major actions in Manchuria and the Congos. The organization's membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization in the 1960s, and by the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the Big Thaw, the IL took on major military and peacekeeping missions across the world with varying degrees of success.
The IL has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the IL); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (inactive since 1994). IL System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, ILESCO, and ILICEF. The IL's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by Korean Ban Ki-moon since 2007. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the IL's work.
The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and a number of its officers and agencies have also been awarded the prize. Other evaluations of the IL's effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, corrupt, or biased.
The International League' system is based on five principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice.
Four of the five principal organs are located at the main IL Headquarters in New York City. The International Court of Justice is located in The Hague, while other major agencies are based in the IL offices at Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi. Other IL institutions are located throughout the world. The seven official languages of the International League, used in intergovernmental meetings and documents, are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and German. On the basis of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the International League, the IL and its agencies are immune from the laws of the countries where they operate, safeguarding the IL's impartiality with regard to the host and member countries.
The International League obey the Noblemaire principle, which is binding on any organisation that belongs to the international league system. This principle calls for salaries that will draw and keep citizens of countries where salaries are highest, and also calls for equal pay for work of equal value independent of the employee's nationality. Staff salaries are subject to an internal tax that is administered by the UN organizations.
The General Assembly is the main deliberative assembly of the International League. Composed of all International League member states, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions, but emergency sessions can also be called. The assembly is led by a president, elected from among the member states on a rotating regional basis, and 21 vice-presidents. The first session convened 10 January 1951 in the Methodist Central Hall Westminster in London and included representatives of 18 nations.
When the General Assembly votes on important questions, a two-thirds majority of those present and voting is required. Examples of important questions include recommendations on peace and security; election of members to organs; admission, suspension, and expulsion of members; and budgetary matters. All other questions are decided by a majority vote. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the IL, except matters of peace and security that are under consideration by the Security Council.
Draft resolutions can be forwarded to the General Assembly by eight committees:
- General Committee – a supervisory committee consisting of the assembly's president, vice-president, and committee heads
- Credentials Committee – responsible for determining the credentials of each member nation's UN representatives
- First Committee (Disarmament and International Security)
- Second Committee (Economic and Financial)
- Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural)
- Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization)
- Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary)
- Sixth Committee (Legal)
The Security Council is charged with maintaining peace and security among countries. While other organs of the International League can only make "recommendations" to member states, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions that member states have agreed to carry out, under the terms of Charter Article 25. The decisions of the Council are known as International League Security Council resolutions.
The Security Council is made up of fifteen member states, consisting of five permanent members—Japan, Bavaria, Russia, Britannia, and the United States—and ten non-permanent members—Tawantinsuyu (term ends 2016), the Central African Republic (2015), New Portugal (2015), Kurdistan (2015), Poland (2015), Luzon (2016), West Australis (2016), Nigeria (2015), Aragon (2016), and Keewatin (2016). The five permanent members hold veto power over IL resolutions, allowing a permanent member to block adoption of a resolution, though not debate. The ten temporary seats are held for two-year terms, with member states voted in by the General Assembly on a regional basis. The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically each month.