International Roundtable Meeting

The United Nations and International Democracy
(Geneva, 1-2 July 1994)

COMMUNIQUÉ (excerpt)

Experts of international law, political science, peace research and philosophy from Austria, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Libya, Mexico, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey and the United States of America met from 1 to 2 July 1994 in Geneva under the chairmanship of Dr. Hans Koechler, Professor and Director of the Philosophy Department at the University of Innsbruck (Austria), to discuss the questions of "The United Nations and International Democracy".

Research papers were presented on the structure of the U.N. Charter and its contradictions and inconsistencies vis-à-vis the requirements of the international rule of law and a universal policy committed to the realization of peace and human rights.

The experts agreed that the present U.N. system is lagging behind the development of international relations because it incorporates the post-war balance of power of 1945. The experts regretted that the overwhelming influence of the industrialized countries in the U.N. has brought about a new division between North and South and that the world organization has abandoned its earlier call for the establishment of a New International Economic Order. They called for a basic review of the Bretton Woods institutions.

The experts pointed to the fact that basic rules of democracy are negated by the veto privilege accorded to five members of the Security Council. They called for the abolishment of the respective provision of Art. 27 of the Charter and for further democratic reform of the world organization, in particular for the creation of an international peoples' assembly which should be the principal organ of the world organization.

The experts held the unanimous view that the role of the International Court of Justice should be strengthened and that − according to the principle of the division of powers − the Security Council should not exercise any judicial authority. They further stressed that the international rule of law can only be guaranteed an the basis of sovereign equality among all member states. The United Nations' mission to preserve world peace can only be assured if the principles of democracy are recognized in their universal validity: as guiding rules for the relations between the member states and for the decision-making mechanisms of the world organization itself.

The experts, therefore, held the view that the present monopolar international power structure − with the United States dominating the decisions of the Security Council − is not conducive to the implementation of the basic goals as outlined in the Preamble and in Art. 1 of the UN Charter. The self-declared "New World Order" of the United States is unacceptable for the large majority of member states because it implies the abuse of the UN Charter for the hegemonial purposes of the United States as the only superpower after the end of the East-West conflict. Only a multipolar power structure − on the basis of regional balance in the composition of the Security Council and with proper guarantees for the respect of the sovereign equality of all member states − is compatible with a just world order.

The experts therefore stressed the need for building an international network of researchers and non-governmental organizations to raise the awareness of people worldwide and to help build a movement for a more democratic United Nations. The experts endorsed the recommendations of LP.O.'s earlier Conference an a More Democratic United Nations (Vienna 1991) and agreed to publicize the research papers of the Geneva roundtable.