Geneva/Vienna, 12 June 1995/K/JC/14842c-is

At an international seminar on "Human Rights and International Conflicts" in Geneva, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, presented a comprehensive legal evaluation of the United Nations' sanctions policy in regard to the requirements of human rights.

Prof. Koechler criticised the U.N. Security Council for establishing - under the Chapter VII-rules on international peace and security - a sanctions régime which totally ignores the fundamental rights of the affected populations. He pointed to the example of the sanctions against Iraq which effectively deny the Iraqi population its basic right to life, to adequate nutrition and health care. The President of the I.P.O. further criticised U.N. Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali for not raising his voice with the determination required in such a humanitarian emergency. It would be the Secretary-General’s noble duty to call upon the Security Council in unambiguous terms to stop a sanctions régime which is in total contradiction to the rules of international humanitarian law.

In his presentation, the President of the I.P.O. specifically dealt with the violations of international conventions and U.N. resolutions committed by the Security Council itself in the course of its sanctions practice. He explained that the individual citizens of the affected countries such as the citizens of Iraq and Libya have the right to full compensation for the damages inflicted upon them by the Security Council. The responsible politicians of Security Council member states and U.N. officials involved in these sanctions practices bear a personal legal responsibility for the consequences of actions ordered by them. Apart from the legal violations, the President of I.P.O. stated that the sanctions measures of the Security Council are the result of a shortsighted hegemonical policy of one of the Council's member states. This policy may well lead to the political destabilization of the whole Islamic world.

The comprehensive legal study by Prof. Koechler on the issue of sanctions has already been published in German language. It will be available in English and Arabic later this year.

The human rights seminar in Geneva was organised by "North-South XXI." It was attended by experts from France, Switzerland, U.K., Austria, Belgium, Malta, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Poland, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, and other countries. A special guest at the seminar was the former President of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella.