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Struture of League of Nations


LON

The League of Nations worked like a Parliamentary democracy. It had 3 principal organs:

The Assembly

It was the general conference of the member states. All the members were represented in it. Each state sent a delegation of not more than 3 delegates. Each delegation was entitled to have one vote, as a whole. An annual session was held at Geneva. However, there was a provision of special sessions as well. League held its First session in November 1920. Its last session was held in April 1946, in which it was formally abolished, and its assets were transferred to the UNO.

The Assembly elected its own President and 8 Vice-Presidents every year. Assembly functioned through various committees. There were four types of voting procedures: Unanimous; Absolute majority; Two-Third majority; and, Simple majority.

According to the Covenant of the League, any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world could be considered by the Assembly. Specific functions of the Assembly were: Election of one-third members of the Council; judges of the international court; admission of new members; Discussion on matters affecting world peace; amend the covenant of the League.

However, the League could not interfere in the domestic matters of any state.

The Council

It acted as the executive organ of the League. It was more effective than the Assembly. Council was smaller in size, and was dominated by the ‘big-powers’. Originally, the covenant provided for 5 Permanent members1 and 4 temporary once. But, US could never become a member of the League. The number of members of the council were many-times changed. In 1926, Germany was admitted into the Council, and the League, as a big-powers. In 1934, Soviet joined as a big-powers. Each member country was represented by one member in the Council.

Council held three regular meeting every year, along with the provision of special meetings. The Presidency of the Council rotated in successive sessions among the delegates in alphabetical order of the name of the country in French. Decision of the council were taken unanimously.

All the members of the council enjoyed the Veto power. The Council was expected to deal with most of the emergency situations. Disputes likely to create a rupture were brought to the notice of the council. Council could also refer a matter to the Assembly.

Council attempted conciliation between parties to a dispute. It could also call upon the members to apply economic sanctions against an aggressor. It could also call upon for a military action in the support of victims.

It was the responsibility of the Council to administer certain territories, on behalf of the League. The Secretary General, of the League, was appointed by the Council, with the consent of the Assembly. Council also took part in the election of the judges of the international court. It also protected the interest of the minorities.

The Secretariat

it looked after the administration of the League. It was headed by a Secretary General. He was appointed by the Council, on recommendation of Assembly. He was not expected to represent the interest of any country. All international treaties, signed by the League members, were given to the Secretary-General for registration in Secretariat. Secretariat was the permanently functioning agency of the League.

Permanent Court of International Justice

PCA-01

Pacific Settlement of international conflicts was an important objective of the League. In its Second session, the Council appointed a committed of jurists to draw up a statute of the court. The draft was adopted in December 1920. The Court was established at Hague. Originally it had 11 judges, who were later increased to 15. Judges were elected for a term of 9 years. The Judges elected the President of the Court, from amongst themselves, for 3 years.

The Court decided disputes of legal nature, between countries. Under Advisory Jurisdiction, it gave an advisory opinion upon any questions referred to it by the Council or Assembly. The advises were not binding.

A dispute between states could be submitted to the court, only if the two parties agreed in advance. Thus, it followed a Voluntary Jurisdiction. However, there was also a clause of Compulsory Jurisdiction, which was optional.

Only States could bring disputes to the court, not individuals. The Permanent Court of International Justice was transformed into the International Court of Justice in 1946.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

It was established to improve the conditions of work and living of the working classes. League pledged to secure and maintain fair and human conditions of labour for women, men and children of all nations. Funds of ILO were provided by the League, and all League members automatically became the members of ILO. However, non-League members could also join the ILO.

ILO followed the structure of the League. It was based at Geneva. It had 3 main organs- General Conference; Governing Body; and International Labour Office. General Conference had a delegation of 4 members from each state. In each delegation, one member represented labour, one represented the employer, and two represented the government. Each delegate had one vote.

After the birth of UNO, ILO became one of its specialized agencies.

Next Part coming Soon…

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