I.P.O. Information Service

Unilateral Use of Force and the Ineffectiveness of International LAW

I.P.O. President addresses 2nd anniversary summit of World Alliance of Religions for Peace


Seoul, Korea, 21 September 2016

At the second anniversary celebration of the World Alliance of Religions for Peace Summit in Seoul, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Köchler, called upon the international community to undertake credible steps to infuse new life into the United Nations system of collective security and to make the UN Charter's prohibition on the international use of force effective. In speeches and statements before the conference's International Law and Peace Advocacy committees, Dr. Köchler identified the reasons for the ineffectiveness of the existing ban on the use of force under international law. He particularly referred to contradictions in the United Nations Charter between the decision-making rules of the Security Council on the one hand and the norms and requirements of peaceful co-existence on the other.

Apart from the elimination of normative contradictions in the UN Charter, the President of the I.P.O. emphasized the importance of an integrated approach towards a peaceful world order: Not only will there have to be effective procedures to implement, i.e. to enforce, the already existing ban in a reformed system of collective security; the legal ban in the UN Charter (relating to state behavior) will have to be complemented by a comprehensive system of international criminal justice, which will require ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court not only by small and weak countries, but by the major military powers of today. Further steps will have to be taken towards the already agreed-upon goals of nuclear disarmament and towards reigning in, in the words of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower,  the "military-industrial complex," including the international arms trade, with its enormous influence on decision-making particularly in advanced industrial societies. At the socio-cultural level, states should also be committed to eliminating the exploitation of violence in the entertainment industry. As long as violence "pays" -- whether because of the lack of effective sanctions for acts of aggression by states or the personal impunity of state leaders,  or because of the profits of the military-industrial complex and, at a different level, of the entertainment industry -- the existing legal provisions in the UN Charter and other treaties will continue to remain dead letter, Dr. Köchler said.

More than 1,000 delegates from religious life, culture and politics on all continents attended the conference sessions in Seoul, among them the First Lady of the Republic of Albania, H.E. Odeta Nishani; the Speaker of the National Assembly of Madagascar, the Hon. Jean Max Rakotomamonjy; the Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia, H.H. Samdech Preah Agga Maha Sangharajadhipati Tep Vong; the Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Mr. Thore Vestby (Norway);  Dr. Kamal Hossain, former Minister of Justice and Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh; the Ministers of Justice of Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Bosnia-Herzegovina; Mr. Abdessatar Ben Moussa, Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize and President of the Tunisian League of Human Rights; Mr. Carlos Villán Durán, President of the Spanish Society for International Human Rights Law; and Ms. Paula Bolan, Executive Director (Washington DC Branch) of the United Nations Association of the United States of America.

The conference sessions were followed by a Peace Festival at Seoul's Olympic Stadium, attended by over 100,000 people.

  • Text of speech of Prof. Hans Köchler at Peace Advocacy Session

  • Hans Köchler, Normative Inconsistencies in the State System. Advance Access