Rule Of Law Embedded In United Nations


The notion of the “rule of law” stems from many traditions and continents and is intertwined with the evolution of the history of law itself. The Code of Hammourabi, promulgated by the King of Babylon around 1760 BC, is one of the first examples of the codification of law, presented to the public and applying to the acts of the ruler. In the ancient world of Arab, the supreme importance was given to Islamic laws. The most important principles were that the wishes of the people before their ruler can be seen and the ruler was accountable for the functioning of his government and it can be found mainly moral and philosophical traditions across the Asian continent, including in Confucianism.

In the Anglo-American context, the Magna Carta of 1215 was a seminal document, which has given most importance to the role of judiciary and independence of judiciary as the most essential features of rule of law. In continental Europe, the rule of law has emphasized mainly on the nature of the state and most and specifically on the role of constitutionalism.

Recent attempts are made to give shape to its meaning. The modern conception of the rule of law has developed as a concept distinct from the “rule of man”, involving a system of governance based on nonarbitrary rules as opposed to one based on the power and whim of an absolute ruler. The concept of rule of law is linked with the principles of justice, fairness and accountability to protect the rights, prevention and punishment of wrongs.

  • RULE OF LAW basically means the supremacy of law and that what is there in united nations.
  • At international level keeps the balance between the interest of different
    nations by giving importance to the treaties signed between the nations.
  • In the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, it said that human rights
    be protected by rule of law.
  • The UN Secretary-General also defines the rule of law as a governing principle that persons, institutions, companies: public or private, state all are accountable to the laws which are made and enacted publicly.
  • The most important core stone link between the UN charter and international rule of law is that the charter promotes the rule of law among nations.
  • Rule of law promotes the supremacy of law.
  • Rule of law promotes equality before the law, equal treatment given to everyone without any discrimination.

This is what is incorporated in united nations charter and other international
instrument about the rule of law.

In fact, on the footprint of sand of time, it can be traced back that law is
is been given the most importance as mentioned in the starting part of this article.

Long before the United Nations was made, States were working to form the rule of justice in international community with a view of establishing an international community based on law is which is purely for maintenance of peace and law and order.

Today, the concept of the rule of law is incorporated in the United Nations Chapter.

In its Preamble,

one of the aims of the UN is “to establish conditions and atmosphere where justice and obligations, duties arising out of international treaties among nations and from other international instrumentality and other sources of international law can be maintained and preserved.

It is clearly mentioned in UN charter that use of force and threat is strictly prohibited under ARTICLE 2 (4), this is done to make every nation realise that law is of supreme importance and no one has right to infringe it.
No nation can interfere in the working of other nation or in their domestic matters neither do United Nations can interfere thus it clearly tell that the law of each and every state is recognised by UN and is given supremacy in their territorial area.

The primary purpose of the Organization is “to maintain international peace and security and to achieve this by peaceful means which must be in conformity with the principles of justice and international law and adjustment and settlement of dispute through peaceful means like arbitration ,mediation ,good offices,etc which might lead to breach of peace without these means of peaceful settlement.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, recognizes that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms, recognizes if a man is not to be compelled to have recourse to rebellion against tyranny and oppression,  then that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

For the UN, the Secretary-General defines the rule of law as “a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public or private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are promulgated publicly equally enforced and independently examined and which are compatible with international human rights usual norms and  standards.

It requires,  as well as it measures   also to ensure compliance to  the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the applicability of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision making, legal assurance, avoidance of autocratic arbitrariness  and procedural and legal glassiness.”  (Report of the Secretary-General: The rule of law and transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies” (2004).

The principle of the rule of law are applicable at the national and international levels. At the national level, the UN supports a rule of law framework that includes a Constitution   as according to Dicey constitution of a state must be there highest law of the land; a clear and permanent document which is flexible too when it comes to amendment and implementation thereof; strong institutions of justice, governance, security and human rights that are well structured, financed, trained and equipped; transitional justice processes and mechanisms; and a public and civil society that contributes to strengthening and nourishing the rule of law and making public appointee and institutions accountable. These are the norms, policies, institutions and processes that form the core and crux of a society in which people feel safe and secure, where legal protection or legal shield  is  available and provided for rights and entitlements, and disputes are settled peacefully through peaceful means 
and effective redress is available for harm suffered, and where all who violate the law, including the State itself, are held to account.

At the international level, the principle of the rule of law embedded in the Charter of the United Nations encompasses elements relevant to the conduct of State to State relations.

The Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations recognizes the inherent link between the UN and the international rule of law.

Its preamble emphasizes “the paramount importance of the Charter of the United Nations in the promotion of the rule of law among nations.” Drawn from existing commitments in international law, the core values and principles of the UN include respect for the Charter and international law; respect for the sovereign equality of States and the principle of nonuse or threat of use of force; the fulfillment in good faith of international obligations; the need to resolve disputes by peaceful means; respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; recognition that protects from genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes is not only a responsibility owed by a State to its population, but a responsibility of the international community, the equal rights and self determination of peoples; and the recognition that peace and security, development, human rights,
the rule of law and democracy are interlinked to one another and are mutually reinforcing.



Content Writer, Law Corner, B.A.LL.B(Hons), 5th Semester, Unity Law and PG college

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