Wednesday, December 1, 2004

UN panel proposes criteria for legitimate military action

With countries still bitterly divided over the war in Iraq, a high-level panel appointed by the United Nations has recommended a five-step guideline to determine when to use military action.

An ambitious blueprint for helping the world body adapt to new global realities, [complicity in resource wars], in the 21st century, the panel's report said the following five criteria should be met for military action endorsed by the UN Security Council to be legitimate:

[- Sovereign Nations With No WMD.]

- Seriousness of threat. "Is the threatened harm to state or human security of a kind, and sufficiently clear and serious, to justify prima facie the use of military force? In the case of internal threats, does it involve genocide and other large-scale killing, ethnic cleansing or serious violations of international humanitarian law, actual or imminently apprehended?"

- Purpose of action. "Is it clear that the primary purpose of the proposed military action is to halt or avert the threat in question, whatever other purposes or motives may be involved?"

- Question of last resort. "Has every non-military option for meeting the threat in question been explored, with reasonable grounds for believing that other measures will not succeed?"

- Proportional means. "Are the scale, duration and intensity of the proposed military action the minimum necessary to meet the threat in question?"

-- Consequences. "Is there a reasonable chance of the military action being successful in meeting the threat in question, with the consequences of the action not likely to be worse than the consequences of inaction?"

[After the fact? The UN was complicit in the deaths of over 100,000 iraqi's. The UN has never bought anyone to trial over those deaths. To those this would be seen as a little too late. People who have any confidence in the UN need their head read because the UN has become part of the war agenda for NATO and the Coalition of the Killing.]

The panel recommended that all of the UN's 191 member states should subscribe to the guidelines.

But it also came out against changing a key article in the UN charter, which upholds "the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations" until the Security Council authorises action of its own.

UN secretary general Kofi Annan asked the panel to come up with its report last year in the wake of the Security Council's divisions over military action in Iraq.

Council members the United States and Britain launched the war without approval from the 15-nation council.

"The task is not to find alternatives to the Security Council as a source of authority but to make the council work better than it has," the panel said.

By Illegal and Degrading Wars 1 December 04


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