One major question remains looming: what impact, if any, will the General Assembly’s vote have?
2. Do General Assembly resolutions have the force of law?
On the one hand, decisions of the General Assembly are not binding on United Nations member States. The General Assembly, unlike the Security Council, only issues binding resolutions in the area of budgetary matters regarding the allotment and collection of dues. Therefore, the General Assembly’s vote will have a largely symbolic effect without any real, immediate impact on the content of international law.
However, while General Assembly resolutions are not per se legally binding, they can contribute to the content of international law. General Assembly resolutions are a means through which States express their opinions about the status of international questions. A resolution that receives widespread support may therefore shape the content of customary international law, a binding source of international law. When a legal principle becomes customary international law, it becomes binding on States to the extent that they do not repeatedly and publicly announce opposition to the principle.
Moreover, the resolutions and declarations of international organizations, including the United Nations, may constitute opinio juris, one of the five sources of international law. While opinio juris is not itself a source of law, it serves as a “subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law” (article 38 Statute of the International Court of Justice).
Therefore, while General Assembly resolutions are not themselves binding, they may contribute to and shape the content of binding international law.
3. When is Statehood Recognized under International Law?
|Principles of International Law (2d ed.)|
covers the principal topics of public
international law, including criteria for
Statehood and the recognition of