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Structural Challenges Facing International Organizations

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Re-assessing the League of Nations

image of International Community Law Review

This article reflects upon the lessons which might be learned from the League of Nations. It highlights a number of the key differences between the League of Nations and the United Nations, with consideration given to the characteristics which shaped both institutions, and the impact which those aspects have had on their ability to fulfil their respective mandates. The article addresses issues including the composition of the institutions’ memberships, the role of sanctions, the roles of the respective Secretariats, and concludes with reflections on broader lessons which might be learned, drawing on the purposes and principles of the respective institutions. The importance of Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations is emphasised, with recognition given to its central role in securing a peaceful society in which the Organization’s goal of bringing about social progress and better standards of life might be secured.

Affiliations: 1: United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, Lessons from the League of


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