Charter of the United Nations (26 June 1945)
Date of publication: 26/06/1945
The UN Charter is the founding document of the current international system. All states belong to it and indeed regard membership of it as proof of their statehood, i.e. of their legal existence. The principles enunciated in the Charter, many of which in any case correspond to customary international law, are therefore a sort of constitution for the international system, a basic law which underlies all the secondary international law in the form of treaties.
Article 1 of the Charter stresses that the purpose of the UN Organization is to maintain peace. In Article 2 the basic principles are laid out by which the goals of Article 1, peace and international cooperation, are to be achieved. It lists the following principles underlying its action (emphasis added):
The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members...
All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations...
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter ..."