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United Nations Charter
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United Nations Charter

The United Nations Charter is the constitution of the United Nations. It was signed at San Francisco on June 26, 1945 by the 50 original member countries. It entered into force on October 24, 1945, after being ratified by the five founding members—the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and a majority of the other signatories.

As a treaty, all signatories are bound by international law to obey the provisions of the Charter. Furthermore, it explicitly says that the Charter trumps all other treaty obligations. It was ratified by the United States on August 8, 1945, making that nation the first to join the new international organization.

Critics of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war argue that the United Nations Charter has been ratified by the United States, thereby making it a treaty binding of the U.S. government as domestic law. Therefore, they say, the doctrine is in violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter, which states that "[a]ll Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."

Supporters of the doctrine counter that the United Nations is not a world government, that the US is a sovereign nation with a Constitution that specifies the war powers of both the President and the Congress and is the supreme law of the US. Further, Article 2 of the UN Charter states that "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members."

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