Prohibition of the Use of Force in International Law

Seoul, Korea, March 16, 2016

President of International Progress Organization Hans Köchler attends global peace meeting in Korea, highlights normative contradictions in international treaties and stresses need for Security Council reform.

Amidst rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, more than 200 NGO representatives, government officials and legal experts from all continents met in Seoul (13-15 March 2016) to work on a Draft Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War, highlighting the prohibition of the threat or use of force in international law. The initiative is in follow-up to the World Summit of Religions for Peace held in Seoul in September 2014.

As member of the initiative’s Peace Advisory Council, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Köchler (Austria), stressed the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations Charter, in particular of its Chapter VII provisions, in order to make the general ban on the use of force applicable. He called for the elimination of normative contradictions in the UN Charter that relate to the status of member states in matters of collective security, and in particular concerning to decision-making on coercive measures by the UN Security Council. The President of the I.P.O. explained that the prohibition of war will only be credible if it applies equally to all member states of the United Nations and if decision-making procedures in the organization are brought into conformity with the principle of sovereign equality of member states (Article 2, Par. 1 UN Charter). This relates first and foremost to Article 27 of the Charter, regulating voting in the Security Council. Wars of aggression such as the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, or the invasion of Iraq in 2003, by "coalitions of the willing," with widespread destabilization and regional conflicts as a consequence, should not anymore be beyond the scrutiny of the law, Dr. Köchler explained.

Since the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Organization (1985), the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.) has been campaigning for a consistent, comprehensive and effective system of collective security that does away with the relics of jus ad bellum in the body of contemporary international law, and in particular in the UN Charter. In 1991, the I.P.O. was the sponsor of the Second International Conference on a More Democratic United Nations (CAMDUN-2). On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations (2005), the I.P.O. convened an international meeting of experts on "The Use of Force in International Relations." In the course of 2016, the International Progress Organization will co-ordinate a special research project aimed at identifying normative contradictions in the UN Charter and other international treaties such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that are the root causes for the ineffectiveness, indeed inapplicability, of the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.

The meeting in Seoul was attended, among others, by Mr. Lex Mpati, President of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa; Ms. Alice Chaptini, Minister of Displaced and Acting Minister of Justice of Lebanon; Mr. W. Rajapakse, Minister of Buddha Sansana, Sri Lanka; Prof. Marcilio Toscano Franca Filho, President of the International Law Association of Brazil; Dr. Franklin Hoet Linares (Venezuela), President of the World Jurist Association; Prof. Milenko Kreca, President of the International Law Association of Serbia and member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration; and Judge Gustav Möller, President of the International Law Association of Finland.