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RE: [casi] Last News titles, 21-28/05/03

Hi all,
Food for thought, Peter, thanks. May I expand this point:
" To break the sanctions regime 'illegally', however, would
mean radically challenging the existing system of 'international law'"?

As noted in another post, the "legal" sanctions regime depended on the
will of countries not to defy the US/UK. There was every possibility
to declare the sanctions illegal at the the International Court of Justice,or
the General Assembly (where there was never even a debate, as far as
I know). There could have been use of the veto at the
Security Council. As this list knows, nongovernmental activists (Karen
Parker, myself, Dr Beatrice Boctor, WILPF, Women for
Mutual Security, Bridges to Baghdad etc etc) went to the UN
SubCommission on the Protection and the Promotion of Human
Rights, and got rulings that the sanctions were indeed illegal, the most
forceful was the Bossyet report in 2000.
After 2000, many more countries were flying into Iraq, and the sanctions were
in a much more precarious position.
We also got similar rulings on DU (thanks also to Felicity and Damacia Lopez).
These decisions were copied by other UN human rights
bodies, saying the same things, all this being closely watched
by the US and UK (whose delegates did everything to stop
us...another story!) --but we had gained a beachhead, and personally I think
the US knew the writing was on the wall in the legal sense. If
countries had wanted to, they could have pursued this avenue
to the max. Certainly the US and Uk knew the value of the anti-sanctions and
anti-DU resolutions and kept them out of public view -- but what was puzzling,
was why so few organizations in the anti-sanctions movement used them in their
campaigns or supported the legal initiative that challenged the Security
Council within the UN itself.
The UN is built on a hierarchical system, but it's not
homogeneous. I agree that the whole system needs,
desperately, to be reformed or another constructed. As we think of that, I
would like to make a distinction between the system through which the law
is delivered (ie the UN Charter), political will, and international
treaties, laws etc, resolutions, decisions, the latter of which can be in our
favor, but not unless we use them more energetically. UN bodies are the only
places where NGOs  and countries can meet, raise issues together that
challenge the US. Many native american, indigenous peoples use this avenue,
attend UN human rights sessions etc, considering it worthwhile  with "the
seventh generation" ahead of them in mind. Can we dismiss their wisdom so
lightly? Philippa Winkler

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