By Rainer Rothe
[This article published in: Zeit-fragen, October 2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/.]
The worldwide protests against misanthropic wars violating international law continue. The right of self-determination starts from the people worldwide. International law is the law of the people. The rulers, dictators and war criminals of this world do not define what is just and unjust. The human conscience is the tribunal of humanity. This foundation belongs to people. International law has absolute authority. Breach of law by war criminals does not annul effective international law. People determine what is just, not the war criminals. The prohibition on the use of force (aggressive war) is one of the unchangeable and irrevocable laws of the people codified in Art 1 Par 2 and Art 55 of the UN Charter, Resolution 1514 (XV) of the UN General Assembly, the identical Art 1 of the two human rights pacts of 12/19/1966, the right to self-determination recognized in common law, respect of their territory and security of their own existence as a people. For example, Art 1 Par 1 of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights declares: “All people have the right to self-determination. By virtue of this right, they decide freely over their political status and organize their economic, social and cultural development in freedom.”
ON THE PRINCIPLE OF SELF-DETERMINATION
Excerpts from the UN Charter
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
a. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and
c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
All Members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.
These rights are not annulled by a war – especially a war violating international law. Rather the de facto authority of the belligerent occupying power is limited by a series of international law regulations (including the 4th Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in times of war, Art 27ff and the supplementary protocols). Many obligatory duties are imposed on them like prohibition on annexation, responsibility for the welfare of residents and institutions, concern for orderly living conditions, supply of the population with food and medical services, maintenance of the old intact legal order, respect of basic rights and human rights, prohibition on transfer, deportation and expulsion, respect for private property and prohibition on confiscation. The population’s loyalty and obedience toward the occupiers cannot be coerced. In every case, the occupation should be ended as quickly as possible and the people granted their right of self-determination.
A liberal constitution can only function when no resistances exist, especially no foreign or domestic resistances.
The international law principle of the inviolable freedom of people means that every people can always decide and regulate their affairs themselves.
“The right to a home is one of the most fundamental human rights like the right to life that first makes possible enjoyment of other rights. Developing a relation to one’s immediate environment is part of a person’s nature. Protecting this relation through legal norms and prohibitions is an essential characteristic of civilization and the law. The right to a home is an expression of the human need to establish a family, accommodation, residency and a prerequisite for the development of identity and culture.”
Alfred M. de Zayas, Right of Abode is a Human Right, 2001, p.39 (Heimatrecht ist Menschenrecht).
An essential element of the right of people to self-determination is that every people can always decide over the production, use and sale of its mineral resources, the construction of pipelines and so forth. Art 1 Par 2 of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights declares: “All people can freely control their natural wealth and resources for their own purposes, notwithstanding all obligations arising from international economic cooperation for mutual welfare and from international law. In no case may a people be robbed of its own means of existence.”
“No state may assist or grant support to another state in committing actions against international law (according to Article 16 on state responsibility for actions against international law accepted by the International Law commission of the United Nations, resolution of the UN General Assembly on December 12, 2001).”
“With the military strike against Iraq, the intervention forces have fulfilled the fact of aggression as defined in the 1974 General Assembly resolution. Aggression is one of the “worst crimes” according to the 1999 statute of the International Court.”
Theodor Schweisfurth, Aggression. The Iraq War and International Law, 2004