I.P.O. Information Service


Iraq crisis:

so-called "handover of sovereignty" on 30 June 2004 without legal basis, says President of the I.P.O.

Public Fora with Dr. Hans Koechler in the Philippines

Launching of I.P.O. documentation "The Iraq Crisis and the United Nations"


Manila/Vienna, 25 June 2004/P/RE/18753c-is

In a public lecture at the People's Forum on Peace for Life in Manila (Philippines), the President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), Dr. Hans Koechler, stated that the 30 June "transfer" of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government by the United States and other occupying powers will be legally invalid. The United States, having invaded and occupied Iraq without United Nations authorization, has no authority to "transfer" something which it does not rightfully possess. According to international law, sovereignty lies solely with the people of Iraq and cannot be "granted" by any outside power, lest by one that has seized control over the territory of Iraq in violation of the UN Charter. Thus, in legal terms, the June 30 "handover" is a fictitious act which creates the false impression that sovereignty had lied with the occupying powers in Iraq.

Apart from the legal aspects, the interim government of Iraq will not be able to exercise "sovereignty" in material terms, given the fact that this administration will, for the foreseeable future, almost totally depend upon the protection of the occupying powers, Dr. Koechler said. The present crisis and total collapse of public order in Iraq must be addressed in a framework in which the people of Iraq will be able to exercise sovereignty in legal and political-economic terms; this will only be possible after the withdrawal of the occupying powers and after a general refenderum has been held on a new constitution, free and fair elections have taken place, and after legislative, executive and judicial branches of power have been established, Dr. Koechler explained. The President of the I.P.O. also critically analyzed Security Council resolution 1546 of 8 June 2004 in regard to a post factum legitimation of the facts created by the occupying powers in defiance of international legitimacy.

The President of the I.P.O. presented his analysis on 18 June 2004 in a lecture entitled "The U.S. Handover of Sovereignty to Iraq Moral and Legal Questions" at a Public Forum sponsored by the People's Forum on Peace for Life, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, the Ecumenical Women's Forum, and Pilgrims for Peace at the UCCP Shalom Center in Manila. The Public Forum was attended by church leaders of the catholic and protestant churches in the Philippines, among them bishops and supreme bishops of several dioceses and church communities. The Welcome Remarks were delivered by The Most Rev. Ignacio Soliba, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and Chairman of the National Council of Churches.

On the same day, Dr. Koechler was the key speaker at a Public Forum on "The U.S. Handover of Sovereignty in Iraq Implications, Problems and Prospects" organized by Bayan, the Justice Not War Coalition and other civic groups at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.

He also gave a lecture on the Iraq crisis, the role of the United Nations and questions of international legitimacy at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines (17 June) and discussed the global strategic and security implications of the crisis in connection with a lecture at the Command and General Staff College of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (23 June).

The President of the I.P.O. further had an exchange of views on the Iraq situation with the Vice-President of the Philippines, H.E. Teofisto Guingona, Jr., at the latter's office in Manila.

Dr. Koechler was interviewed on the Iraq crisis by Waldy Carbonell for Channel 4 of the Public Television of the Philippines and, on 23 June, was special guest of Ricky Carandang at the morning talkshow of the ABS-CBN TV News Channel (ANC).

The I.P.O. documentation "The Iraq Crisis and the United Nations Power Politics vs. the International Rule of Law" was officially launched on the occasion of the public lectures and meetings in the Philippines. The Republic of the Philippines holds the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of June on the 30th of which the "transfer of sovereignty" to the interim Iraqi government will be declared.

END/2004-06-25/Renowned expert on UN reform meets with Manila leaders/18753c-is