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IPO, Vienna. Legal assessment of imminent US aggression

Presumably this applies as much to the UK as the US...

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Information Service

Tel. +431-5332877, fax +431-533296221


                                        Vienna, 12 February 1998/P/K/15814c-is

In a message forwarded today to the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, the President of the International Progress
Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, urged the world organization to act in
conformity with the United Nations Charter and to firmly reject the
illegitimate interference of the most powerful member state into the
decision-making processes of United Nations organs. The "Iraq crisis" must
not be solved by a unilateral act of aggression on the part of the United
States but by collective diplomatic efforts in the framework of the United
Nations. In a statement to the international media the President of the
I.P.O. summarized the recent crisis between Iraq and the United States and
its impact on the credibility and standing of the United Nations
Organization as follows:

1. The US threats against Iraq and the preparations for all-out war
constitute a flagrant violation of the basic purposes and principles of the
United Nations as outlined in Art. 1 (1) of the Charter. The US actions
constitute a "threat to the peace" according to the definition in Art. 39
of the UN Charter. The Security Council is called upon to immediately deal
with this issue. In this regard, the Secretary-General should himself make
use of the provision in Art. 99 of the Charter to place this issue on the
agenda of the Council.

2. If the Security Council, because of US obstruction, is prevented to act,
the General Assembly should be convened in an emergency session in
conformity with the provisions of the "Uniting for Peace Resolution." The
present threat of aggression against Iraq constitutes a major threat not
only to peace in the Middle East but to world peace.

3. In regard to previous Security Council resolutions since the beginning
of the Gulf crisis in 1990, the US administration has no authority at all
to undertake unilateral aggressive action against Iraq.

4. The continued total UN embargo imposed on the people of Iraq constitutes
a crime against humanity according to the definition of the Nürnberg War
Crimes Tribunal. The embargo also constitutes a crime of genocide according
to Art. II (c) of the International Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. The decision-makers in the
countries enforcing the sanctions have a personal legal and criminal
responsibility for the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of
innocent Iraqis, foremost among them children, the sick and the elderly.

5. The present US threats against Iraq confirm the negative impact of a
unipolar international order on global peace and justice. In the absence of
checks and balances, the present international system is led into anarchy
and new forms of oppression and recolonization of the Third World, foremost
the Arab and Muslim world.

6. At this crucial moment in Arab history, the Arab world is threatened to
lose its freedom of action for a very long time should it not be able to
stand united against this most serious attack on its independence and
dignity. The stage is set for "neutralizing" Arab wealth and strategic
power in order to liquidate the Palestinian issue once and for all and to
establish Israeli hegemony over the whole Middle East. It will be a tragic
mistake if Arab and Muslim leaders yet another time fall victim to the
grand designs of their adversaries.

7. It has to be emphasized that Israel is in the possession of huge
stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological arms which constitute the
biggest threat to the security in the Middle East. Israel has violated all
United Nations resolutions calling for the withdrawal from occupied
territories in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. The United Nations
Organization has never even tried to enforce its resolutions related to
Israeli occupation and has never applied economic sanctions on Israel.

8. This policy of double standards, victimizing the Arabs and Muslims in
favour of US hegemonial interests, is threatenting to totally destroy the
credibility of the United Nations as guarantor of world peace. The
Secretary-General should understand this challenge to the integrity and
survival of the organization and should act in a sovereign and courageous
manner to achieve a diplomatic solution to the present crisis.

9. The reasonable proposals put forward by the League of Arab States and
Russia, China and France, permanent members of the Security Council, should
be followed up by the Secretary-General without further delay. The issue of
arms inspections must not become the pretext for another devastating war
which will destabilize the whole Middle East and Muslim world for a very
long time and which will have serious repercussions on European and global


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