Source: Office of Legal Affairs – Codification Division – United Nations (1992)
By its resolutions 39/79 and 39/88 of 13 December 1984, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare, on the basis of the outline elaborated by the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization and in the light of the views expressed in the course of the discussions in the Sixth Committee and in the Special Committee, a draft handbook on the peaceful settlement of disputes between States.
In accordance with the conclusions reached by the Special Committee at its 1984 session with respect to the preparation of the draft handbook, the Secretary-General was instructed to consult periodically a representative group of competent individuals from among the members of the Permanent Missions of the States Members of the United Nations in order to obtain assistance in the performance of his task. At the 1985 session, it was agreed that the “representative group of competent individuals from among the members of the Permanent Missions of the States Members of the United Nations” would be open to all members of the Special Committee and that the group would have purely consultative functions.
The Secretary-General accordingly consulted the above-mentioned representative group in preparing the various chapters of the handbook. The handbook in its final form was approved by the Special Committee at its 1991 session.
The purpose of the handbook is to contribute to the peaceful settlement of disputes between States and to help to increase compliance with international law by providing States parties to a dispute, particularly those States which do not have the benefit of long-established and experienced legal departments, with the information they might need to select and apply procedures best suited to the settlement of particular disputes.
The handbook has been prepared in strict conformity with the Charter of the United Nations. It is descriptive in nature and is not a legal instrument. Although drawn up on consultation with Member States, it does not represent the views of Member States.
In conformity with the above-mentioned resolutions, the scope of the handbook was to be limited to disputes between States, excluding those disputes which although involving States fell under municipal law or were within the competence of domestic courts. However, at the request of the Consultative Group to the Secretary-General, the draft handbook now includes disputes to which subjects of law other than States may be parties. The completion of this Handbook was generally recognized as a concrete and useful contribution to the United Nations Decade of International Law.
Download the handbook at United Nation (1992) Handbook on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes.