Collected papers prepared on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations

By Hans Koechler

Vienna/New York, Springer-Verlag: 1995

The publication contains a collection of research papers written during the last decade and reflecting on the major changes before and after the end of the East-West conflict. (All copyrights have been obtained.) The papers deal with the basic concept of democracy and its application in the international system. The outhor bases his theoritical approach on the Kantian concept of the autonomous subject. He relates direct democracy to this philosophical and anthropological conception of the subject as a sovereign being. He attempts to create a new (alternative) doctrine of international relations and of international law on the basis of this philosophical assumptions.

Several of the papers (see list of contents) deal with the need for a structural reform of the United Nations system along the lines of genuine democracy. The author challenges the current ideology of the "New World Order" and critically deals with Francis Fukuyama's Hegelian (eschatological) conception of history. Two of the papers contain specific proposals for the improvement of the United Nations Security Council in regard to the international rule of law. The author criticizes the policy of double standards established in the (recent) practice of the Security Council, and points to the weaknesses of a system of collective security in regard to preserving common standards of human rights. He proposes a fundamental reconsideration of the Security Council's sanctions policy in that regard.

All the papers are characterized by a critical "idealistic" approach towards international relations as distinct from the "realistic" doctrine of power politics.

Two of the papers were originally published in the German language in the Austrian Journal of Public International Law and in the proceedings of the international Congress of Philosophy in Edinburgh, respectively.

The analyses of the author have been widely appraised by political and diplomatic fighres, such as former Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschlaeger. German Forein Minister Klaus Kinkel - in a letter to the author - stated that the author's proposals for Security Council reform contain useful and important ideas. The United Nations secretariat in New York has also intensively studied the author's respective proposals.

The author is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). As President of the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), an NGO in consultative status with the United Nations, he frequently organizes international conferences and seminars on questions of international law, democracy and human rights. He also acted as convenor of the Second International Conference on a More Democartic United Nations (CAMDUN) at the United Nations Office in 1991.


"Disputing the merits of the power politics approach, Professor Köchler is among the few leading contemporary philosophers offering alternative theories of direct democracy applicable to the largest of all social groups: the international society. His pioneering criticisms are coupled with constructive proposals that can make the multinational community a more democratically based gathering."
Dr. Türkkaya Ataöv
Professor of International Relations, Universities of Ankara and Bilkent,
Editor, The Turkish Yearbook of International Relations, Turkey

"This book is an eloquent testimony to Professor Köchler's deep commitment to a just world where equality and freedom will reign supreme."
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
Director, Just World Trust (JUST), Malaysia

"The reflections in Dr. Köchler's paper present numerous interesting and thought provoking ideas for the current discussion about the reform of the United Nations Security
Dr. Klaus Kinkel
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Germany
(commenting on the paper on
"The Voting Procedure of the UN Security Council")

"Some few people devote their lives to the fulfillment of principles they believe humanity requires. Hans Köchler is one of these few. His vision of peace depends on democratic
institutions of governance, an effective United Nations, the full development and enforcement of international law, the protection of the human rights of all, non-violence and reason. Here are the major building blocks from his long struggle to fulfill that vision of peace. Read, learn and act to do your part. His contribution is enormous."
The Honorable Ramsey Clark
Former Attorney-General of the United States of America

"Professor Köchler is one of the most original, principled and courageous analysts of international law, politics and organizations writing in the West today. His numerous contributions to the scholarly literature presented here and elsewhere have bridged the gap between the First World and the Third World, and especially between Europe and the Middle East. This book should be read and pondered by all of those interested in seriously reforming the United Nations into becoming a truly democratic organization as it enters upon the 50th anniversary of its existence."
Professor Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law, University of Illinois/College of Law
in Champaign, USA

"Dr. Köchler is a philosopher, political scientist, constitutional law expert and has a total grasp on contemporary politics. His knowledge of the United Nations, its functioning and its shortcomings are enormous. He has tried through numerous forums to focus attention on these statutes to be replaced by new ones, and he has proposed fundamental challenges. There is no doubt that he ranks in the front row of intellectuals and political scientists.
Dr. Köchler is popular in the Third World for his forward thinking, particularly in India, where he is both loved and respected. Former President Gyani Zail Singh held him in high
esteem as a thinker.
As a parliamentarian and the former Secretary-General of the ruling party in Congress under Mrs. Gandhi, I wish him much success."
Professor Dr. S.S. Mohapatra
Former General Secretary, All-India Congress Party (I), Chairman, Foreign
Affairs Club of India, Secretary-General of the Parliamentarian Centre for
Peace, India

"Dr. Köchler's disciplined mind is once again in good service. He explores crucial international issues with courage, insisting on ethical and consistent behaviour by governments. This book will help readers to resist the 'realism' that so often only masks realpolitik, and to know how to demand a democratic strengthening of the United Nations and creative international law."
Erskine Childers
Former Senior UN Advisor, Ireland

Send your orders to