on the Invasion and Annexation of Kuwait by Iraq and Measures to Resolve the Crisis Peacefully


Vienna, 28 September 1990/P/K/12313

The International Progress Organization presents its compliments to the President of the Security Council of the United Nations and in welcoming the consensus among the permanent members of the Security Council and their commitment to the principles of collective security submits the following Memorandum (in connection with its letter of 17 August 1990 [referring to the crisis in the Gulf] and your letter of 30 August 1990):

1. As the action of Iraq constitutes a violation of Art. 2, Par. 3 and 4 of the United Nations Charter, a peaceful settlement to the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait should be sought on the basis of the principles of collective security as outlined in the Charter. No unilateral action should therefore be taken by member States. All measures to enforce Security Council resolutions 660 et seq. should be carried out within the framework of Chapter VII of the Charter.

2. Because of the special nature of the conflict and because of the involvement of interests which are alien to the region, the Security Council should consider leaving room to a pacific settlement in conformity with Chapter VIII (Regional Arrangements). Art. 52, Par. 3 makes it even a duty of the Security Council to encourage the League of Arab States to seek a settlement within its own framework (the Arab League Charter embodying anyway the same principles as the United Nations Charter) (re. messages of 9 September 1990 by H. M. Hussein I, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and of 25 August 1990 by H. E. Yasser Arafat, President of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to the President of the International Progress Organization). The International Progress Organization notes, however, that Par. 6 of the Arab League Charter contains the rule of unanimity for any decision on the present matter with the stipulation that the member State who has committed the aggression has to abstain from voting.

3. Any enforcement measures in particular those on the basis of Art. 42 have to be carried out under the authority of the Security Council as provided for in Art. 43 and Art. 47, Par. 1 (Military Staff Committee). (According to Art. 43 special agreements have to be concluded between the Security Council and the respective governments participating in enforcement measures.) Unilateral actions involving armed forces are not legitimate when Security Council resolutions are concerned. Besides that, they openly contradict the spirit of collective security as incorporated in the Charter. Further invocation of Art. 51 (collective self-defence) is not valid in this case because the Security Council has already taken necessary measures. Nothing must be done to jeopardize the collective efforts of the Council.

4. The spirit of the United Nations Charter and the nature of legal norms require that fundamental principles of law (whether on the national or international level) are being applied universally, not selectively. The International Progress Organization would like to point to the fact that the Security Council, in several instances, chose not to adopt enforcement measures when armed aggression and/or occupation or annexation had occurred. The most striking example of the selective application of legal norms is the Security Council's continued inactivity in regard to the implementation of resolution 242 (1967). No authority can credibly claim a legal norm such as the provision of Art. 2 (4) of the UN Charter to be binding upon all member states when the same authority does not take any action in regard to a particular violation of that norm. The non-action of the Council in the case of the demands of resolution 242 versus the swift adoption of enforcement measures for resolution 660 clearly shows that the Security Council is applying double standards. This seriously undermines the legal and moral authority of the Council and constitutes a lack of credibility of the Council's efforts to enforce resolution 660. Whenever legal principles are being applied selectively, this indicates that the application of the Charter is being governed by mere power politics, not by the commitment to the universal validity of the norms of the Charter.

5. The enforcement measures as provided for in resolutions 661 et seq. should not escalate the conflict. Any measure within the framework of collective security must not itself jeopardize international security. The cure must never be worse than the cause of the ailment. It is therefore of high importance that the Security Council does not condone acts of warfare by individual States that claim to support the Security Council. This may lead to a large-scale conflict which might jeopardize any future peace efforts of the Council.

6. The present enforcement measures aimed at bringing about Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait do not justify the starving of the entire populations of Iraq and Kuwait. The provisions of the Security Council's resolution of 6 August 1990 (Par. 3 [c]) are very clear in that regard. Collective punishment of the civilian population is not admissible under any pretext whatsoever.

7. The International Progress Organization welcomes the comprehensive proposals presented by permanent members of the Security Council (namely the Soviet Union and France) and calls for an International Peace Conference on the Middle East to be held under the auspices of the United Nations which will deal with all problems of aggression, occupation and annexation in the region. The principles of international law and of the United Nations Charter are indivisible. It is the recognition of this basic truth which will help to regain legitimacy to the resolutions of the United Nations and in particular of the Security Council and which will give credibility to the United Nations as universal organization incorporating a new world order based on justice and equality, not on the hegemony of the so-called superpowers.

The International Progress Organization avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the President of the Security Council the assurances of its highest consideration.

Hans Koechler