I.P.O. Information Service



Declaration of the President of the I.P.O.

Vienna, 15 March 2003/P/RE/18106c-is

In a message delivered earlier today, the President of the International Progress Organization, Professor Dr. Hans Koechler, urged the Secretary-General of the United Nations to make use of his powers under Art. 99 of the Charter in connection with the escalating crisis over Iraq. The President of the I.P.O. stated that the threat of the use of force by the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq constitutes a grave breach of Art. 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter and endangers international peace and security. The Secretary-General should have the courage to bring this fact to the attention of the Security Council.

The urgency of the matter is obvious in view of tomorrow's meeting   that appears to be planned more like a "war council" than a last-ditch peace meeting between the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal at an airbase on the Azores island of Terceira.

In conformity with the I.P.O. Memorandum of 18 February 2002, addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, Dr. Koechler outlined the basic legal aspects of the present crisis: 

       The large-scale military build-up around Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom constitutes a threat of the use of force against the political independence of Iraq in the sense of Art. 2 (4) of the UN Charter.

   The repeated intrusions by US marines, since 4 March 2002, into the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait, reported to the Security Council by United Nations peacekeepers, constitute a serious breach of the Security Council resolution on the basis of which the zone was set up after the Gulf War ceasefire in 1991.

       It is the sole responsibility of the Security Council to decide on compulsory measures to restore international security in the region. However, because the threat of aggression emanates from two permanent members of the Council, the supreme executive organ of the United Nations is paralyzed because of those countries' veto power.

       The unilateral imposition and enforcement by fighter jets of so-called no-fly zones in the North and South of Iraq have constituted an act of aggression against the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Iraq. This measure, including bombardments of Iraqi air defense and civilian installations, is an act of war and is not authorized by the Security Council.

       Security Council resolution 1441 (2002) does not authorize the use of force against Iraq. Any decision on the use of force is to be taken by the Security Council in a specific resolution; such decision is not within the powers of individual member states. If this would be the case each and every member state of the United Nations could wage war against Iraq and international anarchy would result from such arbitrary action. According to Art. 42 of the UN Charter, any armed action with the aim to enforce the Council's resolutions is to be taken by the Council itself, not by individual member states. Operative Par. 13 of resolution 1441 (2002), warning Iraq of "serious consequences" in case of non-compliance with Security Council resolutions, does in no way authorize the United States or the United Kingdom to attack Iraq. No armed action against Iraq may be waged without a specific additional resolution of the Security Council.

        The efforts of the United States to induce elected members of the Security Council by means of economic pressure and bribery to support a draft resolution for the authorization of war against Iraq constitute a serious violation of letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter and run counter to the basic principles of civilized behaviour among nations.

        The presentation of fake documents by the US Secretary of State in a session of the Security Council has constituted a serious breach of diplomatic rules. The documents were used as evidence of alleged Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Niger and were declared "not authentic" by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. In a letter addressed to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Senator John Rockefeller asked that the FBI investigate this matter.

       According to a report in the London Times of March 4, 2003, later confirmed in a CNN debate by the Times' United Nations correspondent, the United Nations Secretariat has drawn up a secret plan to establish a post-Saddam government in Iraq. The 60-page document commissioned by Under Secretary-General Louise Frechette, envisages the establishment of a United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), similar to the one established in Afghanistan. The commissioning of such a report by the United Nations Secretariat at a time when the United Nations Security Council has not authorized the use of force against Iraq and when the world organization is still trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, constitutes not only a blatant violation of the UN Charter, but the most serious breach of obligations a civil servant of the United Nations can commit. By this illegal action (that runs counter to the UN Charter's basic aim of peace), the Secretariat has undermined the legitimacy of the very organization which it is supposed to serve, and has made itself an accomplice of a policy of aggression against a United Nations member state.

       Should the three sponsoring countries of an "Iraq war resolution" in the Security Council the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain decide to wage war against Iraq on a unilateral basis (with a "coalition of the willing"), their action will constitute an act of aggression in the sense of Art. 2 (4) of the UN Charter. Should they finally choose this avenue, those countries will undermine the very foundations on which the United Nations Organization was built after World War II. Such action will threaten the entire global order and negate the principles of collective security as enshrined in Chapter VII of the UN Charter. What is at stake is the international rule of law as such.

       It is to be recalled that the "crime of aggression" will be one of the crimes over which the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction according to Art. 5 (2) of the Rome Statute. Both the United Kingdom and Spain are States Parties to the treaty. Although this particular provision for the Court's jurisdiction will enter into force at a later date, it is to be noted that the listing of the "crime of aggression" as international crime, over which there exists universal jurisdiction, in the Statute of the International Criminal Court is a warning to all political leaders not to violate the UN Charter's ban on the use of force against another state except in self-defense.

It would have been and still is the solemn obligation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to bring these grave facts to the attention of the Security Council. Although the Council cannot act against the interests of the permanent members, such an initiative by the Secretary-General may have a decisive impact on international public opinion. The office of Secretary-General as defined in the UN Charter has no meaning if he remains silent when the world organization faces its deepest crisis since its foundation and is threatened by marginalization as a result of unilateral action by the only superpower and its allies.

The President of the International Progress Organization further stated that by their threat of the unilateral use of force against Iraq the United Kingdom and Spain have violated Art. 6 of the Treaty of Amsterdam which is binding upon all member states of the European Union and obliges them to respect the principles of human rights and the rule of law. The threat of the use of force in violation of the UN Charter is definitely not compatible with the requirements of the rule of law, considered as one of the "principles which are common to the Member States" of the European Union according to the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Amsterdam). The Council of the European Union should consider appropriate action against the violation of European principles by the United Kingdom and Spain.

The President of the I.P.O. further stated that because of the paralysis of the League of Arab States, which utterly failed in its mission to defend one of its member countries against the threat of aggression by the United States and the United Kingdom the General Assembly of the United Nations may consider to meet in an emergency session on the basis of the provisions of the "Uniting for Peace Resolution" (Res. 377A [V]). Should the Security Council because of the permanent members' veto power further be prevented from discharging its responsibilities for the preservation of peace and security in connection with the Iraq crisis, any nine members of the Security Council or the simple majority of the General Assembly members could request the holding of an emergency session within 24 hours. In a message sent to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Jan Kavan, the President of the I.P.O. emphasized that this extraordinary measure should be seriously considered in a situation in which the future of the United Nations Organization as guarantor of the international rule of law is at stake.

Memorandum of 18 February 2002 concerning the threat of the use of force against Iraq