Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Jan Klabbers and Åsa Wallendahl

This pioneering Research Handbook with contributions from renowned experts, provides an overview of the general doctrines making up the law of international organizations.

Chapter 7: International Organiazations – Institutions and Organs

Inger Österdahl

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, european law, human rights, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, international relations


7 International organizations – institutions and organs Inger Österdahl INTRODUCTION Institutions and organs make up the structure and the contents of the international organizations. Without institutions and organs there would be no international organizations but merely assemblies of states. Institutions and organs are the entities that have the potential to make the organization become something other than and – more or less – independent from the member states. Indeed, the existence of institutions and organs make up part of the very definition of an international organization.1 The institutions and organs of an international organization may to a certain extent be compared to the corresponding component of a state.2 An important difference of course between an international organization and a state is that the citizenry of an international organization is made up of states whereas individual human beings make up the citizens of a state. Individual citizens thus are only indirectly represented, at best, in the institutions and organs of international organizations. As far as representatives of authoritarian states are concerned as well as representatives in different expert organs whose appointment has no connection with any political elections, the link between the individual citizen and the persons making up the organs and institutions is even weaker. Since institutions and organs constitute such central components of an international organization a lot of issues of principle arise with respect to these bodies. These issues again can be compared to the constitutional issues arising within a state although the constitutional law of an international organization is always...

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