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On Tue, 27 Oct 1998, CI Rowat wrote: > 3. Iraq is well aware of what it needs to do to ensure that the process of > lifting sanctions can begin: it must comply with its obligations under the > relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular its obligations with > respect to its weapons of mass destruction programme. According to > the terms of SCR 687 [which extended the sanctions after Iraq's expulsion > from Kuwait], only when UNSCOM and the IAEA have reported that > Iraq has fully complied can the Security Council begin to consider lifting > the oil embargo. > COMMENTS ON THE FCO LETTER > > 3. Proponents of a hard line on Iraq point to SCR 687 (which links the > sanctions to Iraq's weapons) to validate their position. If SCR 687 > causes the Security Council to violate its commitment to uphold the UN > Charter, though, there may be conflicting legal principles at work. The > UN Charter affirms, "universal respect for, and observance of, human > rights", which include (as defined in the Charter and the Universal > Declaration of Human Rights) rights to life, health, education and > employment. As these rights have arguably been violated in the case of > Iraq (although there are signs that caloric intake has increased) appeal to > SCR 687 may not be sufficient.... A couple of comments: The Security Council is not legally bound by its past resolutions, and can (and often does) supercede past resolutions by creating new obligations or freedoms - it would not be 'violating' them. Therefore, the SC need not wait until the terms of SCR687 para.22 are met to lift the economic sanctions. This is reinforced by the fact that UNSCOM is a subsidiary body to the SC, and has no duties apart from those given to it by the SC; and that SCR687 para.22 only calls for SC (not UNSCOM) determination that (inter alia) para.9 (re UNSCOM's task) is fulfilled. Reference to SCR687 by HMG is of no consequence to what future resolutions HMG can agree to in the SC. As far as the SC goes, then, para.22 is no more than a non-binding timetable, creating a non-legal expectation of annulment of sanctions on disarmament. Your comments are more directed at the question: would it be legitimate for a state to ignore the economic sanctions, in defiance of SCR661 - 687secF. The legal argument would not be that SC resolutions have somehow fallen into desuetude because so many other states ignore them (tho this may be more persuasive politically, it cannot have legal ramifications, any more than I could plead this way if I were caught cycling on a pavement). The lawyer would argue i) that economic sanctions as they stand violate the fundamental principles of international law, the jus cogens - basic human rights fall into this category (rights of the child, right to food &c); sending food, medicine &c would be in conformity with this law; and ii) any importation of eg foodstuffs or medicine without approval of the sanctions committee could be excused under the international legal defence of necessity - unavoidable actions specifically designed to prevent loss of human life in situations of emergency. Let me know what you think of the argument & if you can spot any mistakes. Glen. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html