Lower Taxes, Better Security, Healthy Planet, More Open Discourse
World Democracy Small as possible Big as necessary
A New World for the New Millennium
I don't remember when or how, but one day it dawned on me what our world would be like if we had a world democracy. Ever since when I read a newspaper, watch news, I imagine how a democratic world federation could help global climate change, the global economy, the suffering of war and violence. Wouldn't we be more secure, more open to other cultures and peoples, with better communication with other nations? I invite you to do your own visioning. Not that there wouldn't be challenges and difficulties. Nothing will work if we don't work at it. But wouldn't it be easier to be good as the companion of Dorothy Day Peter Maurin used to say? Even if we went more in that direction toward a sharing world community, wouldn't that be a better world? Happy envisioning!!
A different way to look at our world is presented in a readable way by Deb Reich in No More Enemies. She invites us to change enemies into partners by envisioning alternatives. Trees take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. We can be inundated by the violence in our world and give out love which unites us. http://globalsolutions.org/books/No-More-Enemies
I also suggest my article in Tikkun on Ersatz Security available at
You can also see my article and others in http://www.globalsolutions.org under Global Citizen at Sept. 10th. Page 8.
"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
I see my total vision a local and global ethic, the various forms of non-violence, a culture and legal structure of basic human rights, economic democracy, and a world federation as a path toward both negative and positive peace, i.e.,a path toward a world without war, and a way to keep a positive peace with justice.
I do not wish to discredit in any way those who have put themselves in harm's way to defend our nation and freedom. I myself am a veteran of World War II. But wars can be a relic of the past. I myself have been a Veteran for Peace.
Welcome to Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace is a global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Our network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars.
- To increase public awareness of the costs of war
- To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
- To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
- To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
- To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
"I represent a party which does not yet exist--the party of . . .civilization. . .There will come from it first a United States of Europe, and then a United States of the World. . . There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo.
"A human being is a part of the whole that we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. And yet we experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical illusion of our consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature." Albert Einstein
Democratic world order is an awesome and inspiring idea. A world community governed in peace and with justice is a profound yet simple concept. We know what patriotism is. As US citizens we work for the security and welfare of US citizens, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. As citizens of the world, by persuasion, we work for the security and welfare of the whole human family, one world, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
Although the idea of a world community is basically simple and not new, our past and our present would seem to make a world democracy an unattainable and distant dream. On the contrary, with God's help, I think our past and our present has a light graced story as well as a dark graced story. In the sections in this web-site on Ignatian Spirituality and Theological Reflection, I trace more fully what I mean. Concerning the development of Democratic World Order, two recent major steps in the right direction are agreement on the principle of Responsibility to Protect and the inauguration of the International Criminal Court that can try individuals, both of which I discuss further on in this section.
A world federation seems idealistic in the near term. How will we ever get rid of the undemocratic veto in the Security Council when the vetoers can veto a change in the veto? But how will we ever get rid of the veto if no one says that we ought to? How can we change the realities of the near term if we don't discuss what is needed in the long term? We the people need to demand democracy. It seems logical to insist that nations not use the veto at least when they themselves are involved and a veto would be an obvious conflict of interest. Also the nations have already agreed to the Responsibility to Protect and have condemned genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity. All nations should refrain from the veto when such issues are presented.
Challege of Peace,God's Promise and Our Response, A Pastoral Letter on War and Peace, National Conference of Catholic Bishops No. 334. Another web-site is http://www.peaceinspired.com Also http://www.dwfed.org World Federalists Also http://transformationaledu.org David Lionel Transforming planetary management. Transforming the United Nations System, Designs for a Workable World Joseph E. Schwartzberg http://worldbeyondwar.org/
At the end of World War II, everyone was ready to put an end to war. In 1946 the American Institute of Public Opinion asked a representative US sampling, "Do you think the UN Organization should be strengthened to make it a global government with power to control the armed forces of all nations including the United States?" An astonishing 54 percent said yes; only 22% said no.
Although we may not be conscious of it, there is a fear of government. One reason government is not working well is that it is being asked to do that which it cannot do without a world federation. We also need to ask whether we fear government more than corporations. Government provides many services, fire protection, police protection, health protection, transportation, communication, education, etc. etc. If government is democratic, has checks and balances, functions according to the principle of subsidiarity, small as possible, big as necessary, government can give us order and security.
By one world we don't mean one government. A federation has national, state, local governments. A world government would be limited to global issues such as the global environment and have sufficient checks and balances. A world government would function according to the principle of subsidiarity. If private groups such as labor unions and corporations can handle a conflict, there is no need for government. If a lower unit such as a City Council can solve an issue, there is no need for the State or Federal government to be involved. However if a lower unit such as County government cannot solve an issue adequately, then State and the Federal government steps in. What we are saying is that there are world-wide issues such as global climate change, fair trade, war and peace, an inclusive and fair global economic democracy, that only a world government can address adequately.
"The very right to live is only afforded to us if we fulfill our duty as citizens of the world. Nationalism is not the highest concept. The highest concept is a world community." -M.K. Gandhi-
"The future peace, security, and ordered progress of the world demand a world federation of free nations, and on no other basis can the problems of the modern world be solved. Such a world federation would ensure the freedom of its constituent nations, the prevention of aggression and exploitation by one nation over another, the protection of national ministries, the advancement of all backward areas and peoples, and the pooling of the world's resources for the common good of all. On the establishment of such a world federation, disarmament would be practicable in all countries; national armies, navies, and air forces would no longer be necessary; and a world federal defense force would keep the world peace and prevent aggression." Mahatma Gandhi
"The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and politics. We have reached the point of regarding each other only as members of a people either allied with us or against us and our approach: prejudice, sympathy, or antipathy are all conditioned by that. Now we must rediscover the fact that we - all together - are human beings, and that we must strive to give to each other what moral capacity we have."
- Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
"We cannot ignore the larger world house in which we are also dwellers. Equality with whites will not solve the problems of either whites or Negroes if it means equality in a world society stricken by poverty and in a universe doomed to extinction by war.p. 195 . . we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.p.200 All of us are interdependent. Every nation is an heir of a vast treasury of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead of all nations have contributed. Each of us lives eternally ?in the red.? We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women.
A final problem that we must solve to survive in the world house that we have inherited is finding an alternative to war. . . Do we have the morality and courage to live together and not be afraid? President John F. Kennedy said: ?We must put an end to war or war will put an end to us.? War is obsolete. . . Every nation must develop an overriding loyalty to humankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. P. 221. This is a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all women and men.
When I speak of love, I am speaking of that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is the key that unlocks the door. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the First Epistle of St. John: 'Let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. God is love. .If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.'
This may be our last chance to choose between chaos and community.?
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Democratically participatory governments at all levels should work together with all other political actors to build a workable global governance system that serves the common good of the whole human family. We can't send an e-mail without a computer. We can't follow the lead of Catholic Social Teaching (See Pope Benedict XVI, Love in Truth no. 67 and footnotes) without a new world constitution. Researchers and educators don't have to start from zero. Drafts of a new world constitution have already been carefully worked out. Many books have been written, much discussion had. Even a few groups like Citizens for Global Solutions and the World Federalist Institute are active.
The war system is eating us alive! War is no longer viable. (See US Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, No. 334) There is an alternative to war, to competing ruthlessly and violently with other nations, pouring a disproportionate amount of resources into destruction of other human persons and of the planet on which we live. The alternative is a workable global governance system such as a democratic world federation.
Fear and frenzy permeated the village of Gubbio because a wolf was devouring the livestock. The townspeople feared they or their children would be next. The wolf was hungry. St. Francis of Asissi spoke to the wolf softly, fed him, and directed his dumbfounded audience to feed him regularly.
There are wolves in our world that howl without and devour within. When we are at peace with ourselves through prayer, our negative emotions no longer dominate. ?Hi fear. There you are again.? ?Hi terrorists. Are you hungry?? ?Hi stranger, I welcome you.?
Wouldn't it make more sense to have an economic system with full production, full employment, and price stability in necessities? Economists like Dr. Gar Alperovitz say we can.
Wouldn't it make more sense to have a global ethic, non-violence, basic human rights, economic democracy, and a democratic world federation?
Wouldn't it make more sense to eliminate nuclear weapons which can be stolen, detonated accidentally, statistically certain to be used if we keep them indefinitely, expensive to maintain? (See Tad Daley, Apocalypse Never)
As St. Paul says, where sin abounds there grace does more abound.
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. . Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good," (St. Paul's letter to the Romans 12.20)
Some object that world order is subject to abuse and corruption. Of course, there needs to be as many checks and balances in the structures as possible. and nothing will work if we don't work at it. But I think a democratic world federation has a better chance of working than the power system we have now.
By dialoguing and visioning together, perhaps we can clarify what a democratic world order would look like if we had it. Is democratic world order absolutely necessary? Is it possible? What is the teaching of the Catholic Church and other religions on Democratic World Order? Is Democratic World Order part of a Consistent Ethic of Life? What is the light graced story in our pilgrimage to Democratic World Order? What is the way forward toward making our dream a reality? The imaginary interview below may help us to begin the dialogue.
After we clarify our vision of what world order would be like, are there different ways to make world order a reality? Confronting War, Humanity?s Most Pressing Problem, Proposals for Solving the War Problem. Dr. Ron Glossop gives three general approaches: I. going from a confederation to a federation (the top down approach); 2. the functionalist approach, increasing agencies such as the Universal Postal Union, the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, The International Criminal Court;The Principle to Protect, etc. 3. direct world citizen action (the bottom-up approach) All of us can begin to think globally, at least part of the time. One plan in citizen action is to draft a world constitution and present it to the people for their approval and support. Ron Glossop feels all three approaches can work together.
When I had a chance to interview an angel the other night, I got out my tape recorder and thrust the microphone in angel Michael?s direction. I tried to present the questions of We the People.
People: What do you see as the main problem on our earth?
Angel Michael: There are so many, it?s hard to say. I would guess you earth people don?t see the value of law.
People But most of us see law as forcing us to pay parking tickets and even income tax.
Angel Michael: Yes, but law protects you and your property. Law promotes the common good. Since everyone is equal before the law, law addresses disparity of military or economic power. Traffic laws can help you develop a sense of courtesy and consideration of other drivers. Although economic disparities remain, civil rights laws have helped to lessen racial segregation in the United States. Although law needs to be accompanied by education and conversion, law itself can teach. Law also can create an orderly market for goods and services.
People: Don?t laws chain us down, repressing our freedom and creativity?
Angel Michael: The purpose of law is to channel human creativity, not to repress it. Laws enacted should be clear and wisely crafted. Since it costs money to pass laws, publicize and enforce them, there should not be more civil laws than necessary.
People: Aren?t our courts already jammed to capacity?
Angel Michael: Since your courts and jails are over-loaded now, you need to search for other ways of solving especially smaller disputes. Trials produce winners and losers. Mediation, arbitration, and meaningful dialogue can often find a better win-win solution in work-place or landlord-renter disputes, divorces, and neighborhood disputes. Win-win solutions can then by ratified by courts.
People: Some feel that our present justice system needs to be replaced by what they call ?restorative justice.? Isn?t that another name for the same unwieldy system?
Angel Michael: There are dangerous offenders from whom you must defend yourself, but you?re filling your jails with those whose needs can be met in much better ways. You need to improve your efforts toward adequate education for all, nutritious food, basic health care, full employment, alternative recreational opportunities for all. Turning toward those with mental health issues, and indeed compassionate listening to all. There are better ways also of dealing with those who violate the law and those who are victims of violent crime.
People:: Don?t we need to get tough with criminals?
Angel Michael: It?s never right to countenance someone committing crimes, but the atmosphere of hatred and revenge that often permeates your criminal justice system is not the way Jesus taught you.
People: I?m afraid many do not look upon law in a positive light.
Angel Michael: Although you need to rethink some of your present attitudes concerning law and be flexible putting people over the letter of the law, local, state, federal, and international laws are better than chaos.
People: But why single out law as a core problem?
Angel Michael: Even while you attempt to reform your present criminal justice system, local, state, and federal law need to be extended to world law. The human family needs an effective global political structures. You have a global economy. You are one human family. Families cannot live together in harmony unless there is a certain order. The human family cannot live together without a minimum of global law and order.
People: Although a minimum of global law and order seems reasonable, such a dream seems so far from our present thinking.
Angel Michael: If you have a disagreement with a friend, do you start punching one another to see who is right?
People: What about larger groups?
Angel Michael: When Kentucky and Ohio have a dispute about who owns the Ohio River, the states don't mobilize their national guards and say winner takes all. They use mediation, arbitration. If all else fails, they abide by the decision of the Supreme Court. If there's a labor-management conflict, you don't pass out machine guns and hand grenades and see who can make the best use of their fire-power. You bring in mediation and arbitration experts, or take the dispute to court.
People: What do we do with nations?
Angel Michael: A similar process should be followed between nations If nations have a dispute, they try mediation and arbitration or take the dispute to regional or international courts.
People: But we don?t have an effective international court. Even if the world court makes a decision, who would enforce it?
Angel Michael: You earth people need an adequate international authority. There needs to be a world legislative body to make laws; a judicial body to interpret the laws; an executive body to carry out the laws; an international police body to enforce the laws.
People: Wow! Wouldn?t that be exposing ourselves to a world dictatorship?
Angel Michael: To protect against domination by any group, no one nation would contribute more than 3% of the international peace force. In the US you couldn?t tolerate a state national guard more powerful than the Federal army. So the world couldn?t tolerate a national army more powerful than the international peace force. A world Democracy needs to be strong enough to be effective without being so powerful that it is no longer democratic. All government should follow the principle of subsidiarity, small as possible, big as necessary.
People: Would that mean the end of the national army, navy, and marines?!
Angel Michael: Present national armies need to be reduced gradually until their use is mostly for internal order and to help in cases of natural disasters. Law needs to replace war. If you make other nations insecure, you make yourself more insecure. We need common security for all.
People: Would international law mean the end of national and state law?
Angel Michael: By no means. You take to a higher level only those cases that cannot be handled at a local level. There are world-wide problems that demand a public authority that can operate on a global basis. Care of the environment is a world-wide issue that one nation cannot solve alone. Acid rain does not stop at the Canadian border as if there were some kind of invisible fence there. If the earth's forests were restored, you could clean up the planet's atmosphere. This could be financed by a progressive international tax, according to each nation's ability to pay.
People: I suppose international law would stop atrocities in Israel-Palestine, Columbia, Peru, the Great Lakes Region of Africa, the Sudan ?we do have our problems, don?t we?
Angel Michael: From an angelic perspective, your life there on earth is simply incredible! You need to peel off some of your encrusted thought patterns and try something really different. The first structure that has to change is your minds and attitudes.
People: Now that we have a global economy, what good are state, even federal laws? Corporations decide what kind of food we eat.
Angel Michael: If you earth people don?t have a democratic control of vital decisions that affect all of you, it?s because you?re too busy to stop and think. You?re terminally ill, and you don?t have time to go to the emergency room. You need to choose either dominance by a few wealthy individuals, corporations, nations, or choose democracy with liberty and justice for all.
People: But government is not working well now. US government lacks a system of proportional representation and our elections are influenced heavily by money.
Angel Michael: All law needs to be reformed and infused by the Spirit, but law does work at least partially. One reason present governments are not working well is that they are in competition with one another to gain and maintain either military or economic superiority or both. A limited world government to address world-wide issues such as the environment, war and peace, fair trade, equitable distribution of resources will remove present pressure on national governments to solve problems beyond their capability. When the emphasis is taken from the national common good alone in competition with the good of other nations and placed on the common good of the human family, the strength of law will be able to function more effectively at the appropriate levels. Of course, nothing will work if we don't work at it. Democratic world order is one pillar of five that you propose.
People:I guess we?re a lost cause.
Angel Michael: By no means. When the odds are impossible, the Spirit breaks through! Try reflecting with small values-based and faith-based communities and then sharing the fruit of your discernment with all. I think you earth people are good at heart. With God?s help, I think you can turn it around. Peace.
A Prayerful Search for Peace
If you thought our fictional Angel Michael had a point, you might want to accept an important challenge. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2307) states: "The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war."
Recent moral exhortations of the Popes on a universal world public authority: (Bold is mine)
a. John XXIII, Peace on Earth 1963 No. 137 ?Today the universal common good poses problems of world-wide dimensions which cannot be adequately tackled or solved except by the efforts of public authorities endowed with a breadth of powers, structure, and means of the same proportions: that is, of public authorities which are in a position to act in an effective manner on a world-wide basis. The moral order itself, therefore, demands that such a form of public authority be established.?
b. Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World 1965 No. 82. ?It is our clear duty, then, to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all, and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights.
c. Pope Paul VI, The Progress of Peoples 1967 No.78 : ?Who does not see the necessity of thus establishing progressively a world authority, capable of acting effectively in the juridical and political sectors??
d. John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message, 2005, No. 9 ?Down the centuries, the teaching of the Church, drawing upon the philosophical and theological reflection of many Christian thinkers, has made a significant contribution in directing international law to the common good of the whole human family. Especially in more recent times the Popes have not hesitated to stress the importance of international law as a pledge of peace.?
e. Pope Benedict XVI, Love in Truth No. 67 and footnotes.(2009)?To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.
f. US Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, God?s Promise and our Response, No. 334 ff. 1983 ?We feel that a more all-inclusive and final solution is needed. We speak here of the truly effective international authority for which Pope John XXIII ardently longed in Peace on Earth ( No.137) and of which Pope Paul VI spoke to the United Nations (1965), #2.?
At Mass June 5, 2013 Pope Francis declared that: "War is the suicide of humanity because it kills the heart and kills love.? war is an act of faith in idols, in idols of hatred, in the idol that leads to killing one?s brother, which leads to killing love. It reminds me of the words of God our Father to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: ?Cain, where is your brother?? Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, crying for this madness of ours, who asks all of us, ?Where is your brother?? Who says to the powerful of the earth, ?Where is your brother? What have you done!?? ?Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy, because we are sad and distressed. See our misery and our pain.? We are confident that the Lord will hear us and will do anything to give us the spirit of consolation.
Just hours later - after the recitation of the Angelus - Pope Francis asked those present to pray in silence for those killed in war, all wounded in war, all their families and for all innocent victims of all conflicts, especially for the people currently suffering in Syria. He pointed out the deplorable and tragic consequences of war which brings with it death, destruction, huge economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. Francis proclaimed: ?Wars are always madness: all is lost in war, all is to be gained in peace.?
St. Paul to the Romans 12.18 ff. "Do all you can to live at peace with everyone. Never try to get revenge. . .If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, let him drink. . Resist evil and conquer it with good."
I offer a Muslim prayer: Prayer for Peace-Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan-1921
Send Thy peace O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting, that our souls may radiate peace.
Send Thy peace O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts.
Send Thy peace O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife, we may enjoy Thy bliss.
Send Thy peace O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all, in the thought of Thy grace and mercy.
Send Thy peace O Lord, that our lives may become a Divine vision and in Thy light, all darkness may vanish.
Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we Thy children on Earth may all unite in one family.
Such a tall order as the end to the war system requires much prayer, reflection, and action, preferably together in small faith-centered groups. We need adequate external structures. We also need to change internal structures, attitudes of sharing, compassionate listening, turning toward one another, not away from one another, humility, our values, our ways of thinking. My own prayer makes me bold enough to propose one path to peace, both local and global peace, a search for peaceful law. We all need to pray for the grace to choose hope over despair, courage over fear, resolve over apathy.
Participants at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Kingston, Jamaica, May 2011 released a message expressing their unified experience of a week-long exploration of a just peace and to navigate a path forward as they return to their homes and churches across the world.
Attempting to take into account each other?s contexts and histories, IEPC participants were unified in their aspiration that war should become illegal and that peace is central in all religious traditions.
The message states: ?With partners of other faiths, we have recognized that peace is a core value in all religions, and the promise of peace extends to all people regardless of their traditions and commitments. Through intensified inter-religious dialogue we seek common ground with all world religions.?
The wonderful UN prayer in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate Room of Silence.
"Oh Lord, our planet Earth is only a small star in space. It is our duty to transform it into a planet whose creatures are no longer tormented by war, hunger and fear, no longer senselessly divided by race, color and ideology. Give us courage and strength to begin this task today so that our children and children?s children shall one day carry the name of humanity with pride."
Psalm 46 "The Lord puts an end to wars over all the earth; the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps. He burns the shields with fire, 'Be still and know that I am God.' The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our stronghold."
Although there were positive elements in the President?s 2011 State of the Union like no tax cuts for the wealthy or subsidies to big oil, the risk I see in the President?s approach is that I think we put too much emphasis on competition and not enough on sharing. We need to expand the notion of We to include the whole human family. We?re all in this together. The physical, emotional, economic security of one is the security of all. We share one planet. We are one species. There is one economy, but it is not a fair, inclusive democratic economy. We need compassionate listening to the needs of all nations without favoritism and sharing what we have including power and decision-making.. See my web-site elsewhere for a fuller explanation of what I mean. George Washington said we should not favor one nation over another because we will overlook the faults of our friends, and exaggerate the faults of our supposed ?enemies.? I think we should work to make everyone equal partners with us.
Citizens for Global Solutions
We don't have to wait until the full vision is implemented before we begin. If we begin now, each day we can move one step closer. We can join practical and active groups like Citizens for Global Solutions.
Members of the World Federalist Association and the Campaign for United Nations Reform have united into Citizens for Global Solutions. Citizens for Global Solutions are dedicated to the reform and strengthening of international institutions such as the United Nations and the international Criminal Court.
When the U.S. lost "the most trusted man in America" on July 17, 2009, Citizens for Global Solutions lost an irreplaceable partner and friend. When accepting the Norman Cousins Global Governance Award in 1999, Walter Cronkite said, "Those of us who are living today can influence the future of civilization. We can influence whether our planet will drift into chaos and violence, or whether through a monumental educational and political effort we will achieve a world of peace under a system of law where individual violators of that law are brought to justice. We must change the basic structure of our global community from the present anarchic system of war and ever more destructive weaponry to a new system governed by a democratic UN federation."
Cronkite believed that we have the power to achieve a world of peace, as do I. But, as he said, achieving such a world requires an enormous effort. Our support is critical to keep groups like Citizens for Global Solutions at the forefront of our endeavor. No one individual or group can do everything, but I think it's a mistake to lose sight of ending the war system.
Difference between United Nations and a Global World Authority
Although the United Nations has had many significant achievements, the time has come for a Global Democratic Authority. The UN is a confederation. Individual citizens have no right to interact with a central organization. A Global Democratic Authority would be a federation. Individuals whose basic rights are being violated could appeal to the central organization. The Global Democratic Authority could prosecute individuals like Saddam Hussein without going to war against Iraq. A Global World Authority could have a civilian peace-keeping police force to do what the US is trying to do now in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the 1950's when the governor of Arkansas insisted on racial segregation, President Eisenhower didn't go to war with the State of Arkansas but sent in federal marshals.
Even now if the United Nations had a permanent peace-keeping force, the UN could move into areas where nation states are unable to handle regional conflicts.
Presently resources for the UN come from member states. Some nations have withheld funds until they get their own way. Although the total need for taxes would be less because of much less military spending, fairer trade, and a more sane economic system, a Global Authority would have its own independent sources of revenue, including authority to tax individuals according to the principle of ability to pay. (See section of Economic Democracy)
From 1777 to 1788 the original 13 sovereign states in America operated according to the Articles of Confederation. Appointment to the Continental Congress and the funding came through the thirteen state governments which focused on their own interests. There was no way to enforce agreements under the Articles of Confederation. Boycotting the Congress when a state did not get its way was frequent. In violations of agreements under the articles seven states were printing paper money. New York had its own customs system. Lacking good ports of its own, New Jersey had to send its exports through New York or Philadelphia and to pay taxes to both Pennsylvania and New York. In 1785 Connecticut passed a law that gave its manufacturers an advantage over industries in New York and Massachusetts. New York had a tariff on Connecticut wood and New Jersey butter. Philadelphia refused to accept New Jersey money. About 2000 people were killed in a war between Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
In 1787 in Philadelphia, a Federal Constitution was drawn up to replace the Articles. Today we need to formulate and agree upon a new world constitution. Many draft constitutions have been proposed including The Constitution for the Federation of Earth, created through the efforts of world citizens, politicians, civil society leaders and international lawyers over a period of thirty-three years. The World Constitution and Parliament Association convened a provisional constitutional convention with 200 delegates from twenty-seven countries. A new Global World Authority could arrest individual citizens for terrorism, violations of basic human rights, or any laws made by the Global Democratic Authority. No member states could leave the Global Democratic Authority. Otherwise the Global Authority would be afraid to make decisions nations wouldn't like. Each nation would retain the right to make its own national laws and keep its own police force.
A Global Democratic Authority would have its own legislative body, a judicial system, an executive body, and a police force. Individual nations would need to reduce their military forces, keeping only a minimum force for internal security and to keep order during natural disasters.
A draft Constitution of a Democratic Federal Earth system can be found at
For a US connection to Federation Earth see
Institute On World Problems & Graduate School of World Problems
"Building Leadership Skills for the Earth Federation" 313 7th Avenue, Radford, VA 24141, USA
Selected History of the US and Peace
Taken from Bragdon, McCutchen, History of a Free People: Washington?s Farewell Address: Washington warned the people of the United States against permanent dislike of some nations and passionate affection for others. ?The nation which indulges an habitual hatred for some nations will be too quick to resent the actions of the country it dislikes and too apt to make concessions to the country it likes. ? Washington feared the ?spirit of party? the bitter struggle between the followers of Hamilton (the Federalists) and Jefferson and Madison (the Republicans).
p. 272 ff. In 1828 the American Peace Society advocated the abolition of war. Since the formation of a U.S Federal union of independent states was working and we were in no danger from our neighbors, it was natural for Americans to think universal peace attainable. William Ladd, successful as a ship captain and then as a farmer, devoted his entire energy to the cause of peace. Ladd agitated for a Congress of Nations with courts of international justice to settle all disputes.
339 ff. Lincoln?s Second Inaugural Address: ?with malice toward none and charity toward all, let us bind the nation?s wounds and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.?
Woodrow Wilson?s peace program had detailed points: 1. Abolish general causes of war; have open diplomacy, disarmament 2. self-determination for colonies 3. The League of Nations. Justice for all nations and peoples.
Herbert Hoover had seen the devastation and suffering of World War I. As a Quaker he believed war was morally wrong. ?I think I may say that I have witnessed as much of the horror and suffering of war as any other American. From it I have derived a deep passion for peace. Our foreign policy has one primary object, peace. We have no hates, we wish no further possessions, we harbor no military threats.? Hoover wanted to be a good neighbor to Latin America and withdrew our troops from Nicaragua. He promoted disarmament because armaments increased tax burdens and was wasteful of personnel and the means of production.
In 1928 France and the U.S. took the lead in promoting the Kellogg-Briand Treaty which attempted to ?outlaw war.? 63 nations ratified the document whereby they agreed to abandon war ?as an instrument of national policy? and to settle disputes by peaceful means. The Pact of Paris had no enforcement mechanism and did not prohibit wars in ?self-defense.?
Vision of Hope Speaker Series, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2006
Dr. David Oughton, PhD St. Louis University, member of St. Louis Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions
Dr. David Oughton, PhD, Board Member of Citizens for Global Solutions in St. Louis, coauthor with Rabbi Robert Sternberg of Jewish-Christian Relations and the Holocaust, has his doctorate in Peace Studies from St. Louis University, studied at the Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. participant in World Parliament of Religion in Chicago; Capetown, South Africa; and Barcelona, Spain, spoke at Xavier U. in Cincinnati, Ohio on Mar. 7, 2006 on "Democratic World Order"
"I want to thank Father Ben Urmston, S.J. and Xavier University?s Peace and Justice Programs for asking me to speak about democratic world order as part of the Vision of Hope Series.
I see my topic as the logical conclusion of the other topics in this series (a global ethic, economic democracy, human rights, and non-violence). Speakers in this series are expected to address three questions:
- Is it necessary? I will argue that a democratic world federal government is necessary to outlaw war and solve global problems better than the present international system can. If we do not make a fundamental change in the international system, we are likely to see wars or terrorist acts using nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, inhumane laser weapons, and an obscene multiplication of war-fighting robots and drones within the next 50 years. Also, destruction of the earth?s environment is likely to go beyond the point of no-return. The huge resources going into the world?s militaries and the preparation for war must be redirected to promoting the common good.
- Is it possible? I will argue that creating a democratic world order is possible but extremely difficult. I will point out the many conditions that must come together to make such a new world order possible.
- What is the way forward? I will discuss various proposals for creating a democratic world order in order to create lasting world peace through a system of enforceable world law. I will show that the best means to that goal is a limited, democratic world federal government.
The Catholic Church?s Teaching on World Peace
First, I want to show that the Catholic Church?s teaching on world peace calls for creating a democratic world order.
Let?s begin with the Bible. Isaiah and Micah and other prophets of Israel envisioned a time of shalom when people will beat their swords in plowshares and nations will not train for war again.
Jesus taught love of enemies in his Sermon on the Mount in order to build the Kingdom or Rule of God on Earth as it is in heaven, a time of lasting peace, love, and justice.
Early Christians followed Jesus? example and were pacifists in the Roman Empire until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th century.
During an age when war was a bloody football game of gaining and losing mileage, St. Augustine of Hippo developed Christianity?s version of the Just War Theory which listed the conditions when a war could be considered just and a regrettable but necessary use of violent force. There must be a just cause, right intention, a declaration by a legitimate authority, proportionality, probability of success, and a last resort before a Christian could participate in a war. During a just war, there must be noncombatant immunity and proportional tactics to restore order and justice.
Christian pacifists have held that peace is a precondition for justice. But the majority of Christians since the 4th century have followed the just war teaching of Augustine and Aquinas because of the belief that justice is a precondition for peace.
Many modern Catholic leaders have wondered whether there can ever be a just war with modern weapons. The counter-population bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo and of course the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War obviously violate the principle of noncombatant immunity even though the victors of any war try to justify such tactics.
Modern Catholic leaders have emphasized the recognition of the unity of the human family. Every human being in every country is a brother and sister to each other under the parenthood of God. The Catholic Church?s theology of peace is based on the need for any community to be organized around the principles of justice, law, and order. Social peace is order based on just enforceable laws.
Many local and national communities are organized by systems of law and justice. But the world community still lacks a system of law and order.
Several Catholic leaders have called for global order and have taught that the present war system needs to be replaced by a public authority, that is, by a world government.
In his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris, (Peace on Earth) Pope John XXIII said:
?Today the universal common good poses problems of worldwide dimensions, which cannot be adequately tackled or solved except by the efforts of public authority endowed with a wideness of powers, structure, and means of the same proportions: that is, of public authority which is in a position to operate in an effective manner on a worldwide basis. The moral order itself, therefore, demands that such a form of public authority be established.?
In 1965, the world?s bishops at the Second Vatican Council emphasized everyone?s duty to ?strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all, and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights. But before this hoped-for authority can be set up, the highest existing international centers must devote themselves vigorously to the pursuit of better means for obtaining common security.? (The Church Today, Ch. 5, #82)
This ?hoped-for authority? is not an association of national governments such as the United Nations Organization is, but it is rather a world government that can outlaw war.
The American bishops in their 1983 pastoral The Challenge of Peace give their support to the potential of the United Nations Organization but they have also emphasized the need for transforming the UN confederacy of sovereign nation-states into global systems of governance: ?Just as the nation-state was a step in the evolution of government at a time when expanding trade and new weapons technologies made the feudal system inadequate to manage conflicts and provide security, so we are now entering an era of new global interdependencies requiring global systems of governance to manage the resulting conflicts and ensure our common security? Mutual security and survival require a new vision of the world as one interdependent planet.? (#242 and #244)
In their 1993 pastoral The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace, the American bishops, after the end of the Cold War, showed a preference for pacifism over just war tradition. The American bishops have emphasized that solving the problem of war is part of the Catholic Church?s consistent pro-life philosophy.
Pope John Paul II also supported a world federation when he taught that ?the international community should support a system of laws to regularize international relations and maintain the peace in the same manner that law governs national order.?
(Since David Oughten's lecture at Xavier, Pope Benedict XVI built on the Popes above (See his footnotes) in Love in Truth, Chapter Five, especially No. 67, all of which is printed below.)
The Need for Transforming the United Nations into a Democratic World Federal Government
I am one of the United Nations greatest supporters because it?s the best international organization created so far and also because of its many accomplishments:
- The UN has been able to prevent World War III, some smaller wars, and has been involved in 60 peacekeeping missions, 18 of which are still in operation.
- The UN is older than the majority of its members. It began with 51 national governments and now 191 national governments belong to this international organization. It has supervised the process of decolonization and helped many countries become organized and stable.
- The UN is a recognized center for world debate about world problems.
- The UN has promoted democracy within countries and has helped many countries with monitoring free and fair elections.
The UN and its Specialized Agencies have promoted international travel, communication, trade, workers? rights, education, health, economic development, lower infant mortality rates, and higher life expectancies in many countries of the world.
However, I am also one of the United Nation?s greatest critics because structurally it is weak and ineffective in many ways. Rather than abandoning the UN as some advocates of the United States empire do, I believe that we must make the UN strong and effective by radical reforms.
During the Second World War in which 50 million soldiers and civilians were killed, the United Nations was created to free humanity from ?the scourge of war.? But since the UN was formed, 170 wars have taken place. The UN has not eliminated the war system because it is based on the principle of collective security. When it was formed, the concern was how many nations could threaten to gang up on dictators like Hitler in order to discourage them from committing aggression. The Korean War and the first Persian Gulf War were based on this approach.
So the UN?s structure still reflects the problems of the 1930s, not the globally interdependent 21st century.
Both the League of Nations created after the First World War and the United Nations Organization created during the Second World War are based on accepting the principle of national sovereignty which means that there is no higher authority than the national governments. As a result, some conflicts can be resolved only by resorting to war or coercive diplomacy based on military strength. This encourages intense arms races even when there is no actual war.
National sovereignty fitted a time when nations were relatively independent of each other. But now they are interdependent so the very notion of sovereignty must be changed.
There is no higher authority over the nation-states in the present international system so each national government must pursue what it thinks is its own interest regardless of the consequences for the rest of the global community. Also, each national government must build up its military strength to the maximum it can afford or even if it cannot afford it.
The UN system is based on international law which is not enforceable as positive law is. International law is rather an evolving set of rules and treaties about how nation-states should behave in their interactions with each other.
Most nations keep most of their agreements and treaties most of the time. But when national governments, including the United States, feel that their national interest is improved by violating their agreements and treaties, they often do. But international law holds all members of a nation collectively responsible for violations of international law.
The United Nations is a confederacy of national governments. A confederation or league is a loose association of governments who join together for some common purpose. The governments in a confederation retain complete sovereignty.
A confederacy is only as effective as its members, especially the stronger members, want it to be. The UN confederacy is not a world democracy.
The UN is a confederation with no more power or money than its members give it. Some members (including the United States government) have refused to pay their full legal dues whenever they disagree with something the majority of nations want or when they want to keep it ineffective.
The UN has to do its work on a very small annual budget. Every one of the states in the U.S.A. has larger annual budgets than the UN regular budget! The total budget for the entire UN system (including the regular budget as well as the budgets for peacekeeping, the International Court of Justice, and all of the specialized agencies) is $12 billion, or 1/4 of the annual budget for the state of Ohio! Keep in mind that all of the national governments of the world together spend 1 trillion dollars per year on their militaries. The U.S. military budget is half of that or 500 billion.
The UN General Assembly can only pass non-binding resolutions. Its "one nation, one vote" is not democratic or representative of the world's population because each member regardless of the size of its population gets one vote. A majority can pass a resolution that represents only a small percentage of the world?s population and the poorest countries.
The Security Council is composed of fifteen members--ten two-year members and five permanent members (the United States of America, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France) that have a permanent veto. Security Council measures must pass by a three-fifths vote (9 out of 15), without a veto by any one permanent member.
Just one of the five permanent members of the Security Council can veto a resolution concerning world security. The veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council has prevented many initiatives for peace. Furthermore, the permanent members are limited to the big power victors of the Second World War.
The permanent members of the Security Council also just happen to be the world?s largest arms dealers! Many people around the world profit from the war system. Many people's jobs are dependent upon it. It is therefore difficult for most people to imagine a world in which international conflicts are decided by votes and court decisions. They accept this on the local, state, and national levels but have not extended this concept to the world level.
The UN International Court of Justice deals only with the relationships between member nations, not individuals. The International Court of Justice will not hear a case unless the national governments involved agree in advance to accept the jurisdiction of the Court. But even when the International Court renders a judgment against a nation, there is no guarantee that that government will comply with the ruling.
The UN does not have permanent peacekeeping forces. Each time there is a crisis somewhere in the world, a peacekeeping operation must be created by hiring military personnel from member nation-states.
Before 2002, individuals who violated international law were dealt with by temporary ad hoc tribunals that were established by the UN Security Council such as the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Tribunal for Rwanda. These were developed on the principles established at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal which tried Nazi leaders after the Second World War. According to the Nuremberg principles, individuals can be tried for violating international law and cannot use the defense of "I was only following orders."
The problem of creating peacekeeping forces and ad hoc tribunals is like trying to build a fire department after a fire has already broken out. A permanent fire department is a much better system.
One of the most significant developments in international law is the formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which began in 2002. This treaty called for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court for prosecuting individuals who are accused of participating in (1) genocide, (2) crimes against humanity, and
(3) war crimes.
Even though President Bill Clinton signed the ICC Treaty of Rome in 2000, President George W. Bush ?unsigned? it in 2002 because the U.S. cannot use its Security Council veto for the ICC. Furthermore, the Bush administration has signed numerous ?bilateral immunity agreements? with countries that have ratified the Treaty of Rome in order to make sure that U.S. citizens are not prosecuted by the ICC. The Bush administration has threatened a loss of economic aid in order to encourage countries that have signed the Treaty of Rome to sign these bilateral treaties.
Because the ICC holds individuals responsible for international crimes, it is a step in the right direction.
The Proposals for Creating a Just Global System of Enforceable World Law
The original states of the United States of America were associated under the Articles of Confederation before they formed a federal constitution. During the 1780s American colonists debated the proposal to transform the Articles of Confederation into a federal system that would join state governments under a federal constitution.
In 1789, the United States of America was created as a national federation in which the state governments make and enforce laws that apply within their territory and the federal government makes and enforces laws that apply to individuals in all the states and to the relationship between the various states.
Since joining the national federation, Ohio and Kentucky do not have to call out the National Guard and fight to resolve a conflict over their border or another disagreement. Such conflicts can ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
When the governors of Arkansas and Alabama did not want to end racial segregation in their states, the people of Arkansas and Alabama did not have to be bombed. The federal police intervened to make sure that federal laws were enforced. If necessary, the governors could have been arrested.
A similar debate is now needed about transforming a weak and ineffective UN confederacy into a limited democratic world federation of national governments. This means going from the present system of international laws that are difficult to enforce to a new system that would create, enforce, and adjudicate world law.
World Law is the kind of law that would exist if there were a world government. World law would be like civil law that exists within nation-states but it would apply to individuals everywhere in the world, not just in one nation-state.
In order to create world law, there would need to be a world parliament or legislature to make the laws, a world executive to supervise the enforcement of world laws, a world police force to arrest individuals who violate world laws, a world system of courts to try those accused of violating world laws, and a world prison system to incarcerate those found guilty of breaking world laws.
A world federation of nations would not be a unitary state or the only government in the world. Local, state, and national governments would continue to exist and make laws for their jurisdiction.
A limited democratic world federation would need a world constitution that would specify the responsibilities and powers of the federation as well as the rights and jurisdiction of nations. A world federation?s constitution should also include a bill of rights and responsibilities for every world citizen.
A world federation would need a division of powers and checks-and-balances (just as the U.S. federal government has) in order to prevent the possibility of a world dictator. In order to prevent the possibility of a world dictatorship, the world executive should not be an individual person but a committee of representatives from around the world.
A federation or union is a strong association between governments in which member states retain internal sovereignty but not external sovereignty. A democratic world federation is thus a better system than the present UN confederacy of national governments.
The main argument for creating a limited democratic world federation is to eliminate "the scourge of war" that is destructive of human life, property, and the natural environment.
War is "large-scale violent conflict between organized groups which already are governments or which seek to establish their own government over some territory." There are two different kinds of war--international (between nation-states) and intranational (within nation-states such as a secessionist war, a civil war, or a revolutionary war).
Even though there have been wars throughout human history, war is neither inevitable nor necessary. Contrary to Freudian assumptions, war is not part of human nature. War is not about violent individuals but about training individuals to be part of violent groups. War is now part of the present international system of sovereign nation-states.
If you drop the word ?violent? from the above definition, you end up with a definition for politics. Conflicts between individuals and groups are natural but using violence to resolve them is not.
Non-violent conflict between organized groups means that conflicts are resolved by votes, elections, and court decisions, not by bombs and the continuation of the war system. A democratic world order would mean ?justice for all? and not just for the privileged people or groups.
The present war system is also extremely costly; world military expenditures are over one trillion dollars per year (1 million dollars per minute). Even one-tenth of that amount could feed, house, educate, and provide basic needs for every human on this planet! There is therefore a need to replace the present international system that involves war and threats of war with global democracy. Struggles for power would be political and judicial rather than military.
In order to determine global policy, votes would be counted instead of weapons and military forces. Nations within a world federation would not need to establish deterrence (strength and defense through military power) by arms races, nuclear weapons, policies of "mutual assured destruction" ( M.A.D.), other weapons of mass destruction, or military forces. Military forces would no longer have so much influence on domestic politics and government spending. One proposal would be to cut a percentage of all military weapons and forces each year under verifiable inspections. The process could stop or accelerate depending on the cooperation of all nations.
National governments (just like state governments within the U.S.A.) would only need weapons for internal control of their population and for the ability to arrest individuals who violate national laws. The world federation of nations would only need a lightly-armed world police force in order to arrest individuals who violate world law. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction could be eliminated because there could be laws to prohibit individuals from producing or possessing them.
For its needed revenue, the world federation could tax corporations that benefit from the oceans and other common areas of the planet. It could tax international travel and trade. It could tax individual world citizens. But if an individual?s national taxes were greatly reduced because of drastic reductions in defense spending, then the world tax would not increase the amount of tax that individuals currently pay. I think it would be much cheaper.
Here are some auxiliary arguments for creating a limited democratic world federation:
- There is a need to regulate the global economy. Global safety laws, laws protecting workers' rights, supervision of free trade between nations, and a global currency would benefit every country's national economy. Global corporations would not be able to find places where they can pollute the environment, keep workers from forming unions, and avoid taxes by playing national governments off against each other.
- There is a need to avoid ecological disaster by protecting "the commons": the planet's air and atmosphere, the oceans, Antarctica, and outer space. Rain forests could be bought and managed as world parks. Laws could be enforced against individual polluters.
- There is a need to protect human rights better. A world federal constitution would need to include a "Bill of Rights" (which could be based on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights treaties.
- International organized crime such as terrorism and drug trafficking (involving over 500 billion dollars a year) can better be solved by a world federation than by the individual efforts of some nations. Individuals guilty of these crimes could be arrested, prosecuted, and punished for violating world law.
- A democratic world federation would help non-democratic nations to democratize. Even under the present international confederation, stable democratic countries do not go to war against other stable democratic countries. Furthermore, stable democratic countries do not kill their own citizens in groups. But even if every country in the world becomes a stable democracy, a federation of nations is a better system to solve global problems than a confederacy.
How can such a democratic world federation come about? There are several possibilities:
One possibility is to gradually improve and reform the UN system and make it more democratic. This could be done with a system of weighted voting in the General Assembly.
For example, Richard Hudson created the Binding Triad proposal in which votes would be counted three times in the UN: based on membership, population (with a cap of 15%), and contribution to the UN (with a cap of 15%). A proposal would become binding on all members whenever 2/3 of the UN members having at least 51% of world population and contributing at least 51% of the UN budget vote positively. Other similar systems for weighted voting have also been proposed for both the UN General Assembly and Security Council.
- Another possibility is to create regional federations such as the European Union. No one could have predicted that after hundreds of years of warfare and two world wars that France and Germany would agree to live under a common federation. After enough regional federations exist, then a world federation could be created that would united the various regional federations.
- Another possibility would be to create a federation of democratic nations and then invite other nations to join as they democratized and fulfilled certain qualifications. This would be an incentive for non-democratic nations to democratize.
Another possibility is that joining a democratic world federation will help non-democratic countries to democratize. Democracy can advance not only from the bottom up but also from the top down.
A world federation was impossible during the Cold War from 1950 to the 1990. But now another possibility would be if enlightened American leaders would promote the idea that a world federation be modeled on the American system of government. As long as the United States is the only superpower, it could lead the rest of the world in creating the right kind of world government based on democracy and justice. It is in the long-term national interest of the United States to move toward a globalist approach to solving world problems.
No one country, not even the United States, can play the world policeman or world judge for long. First of all, there was no election to make the U.S. the world?s policemen or judge. Secondly, that role isolates the U.S. from the rest of the world and prevents multi-national cooperation. Thirdly, if any national government assumes it is the world?s policeman, what will be able to restrain it from only pursuing its own national interest? Fourthly, the U.S. will not remain the only superpower forever.
At first a weaker kind of federation could be formed if at least ¾ of the nations join or if enough nations join that represent ¾ of the world?s population. If such a federation is effective and just, then the rest of the nation?s could ?wait and see? before they join.
Also, at first, maybe for the first 100 years or so, nations should have the option to withdraw from the federation. Perhaps this trial would take away a nation?s excuse not to join the world federation.
So much depends on how a world constitution is created. If one is created with division of powers based on the principle of subsidiarity, a system of checks and balances, if nations? and individuals? rights are guaranteed, if a fair system of representation is created, and if world laws are properly enforced, then nations will want to remain in the world federation and will want to make it a permanent union.
A world federation of nations would not be perfect because no human system is perfect. In any government there can be corruption and scandals. In such cases, guilty individuals need to be prosecuted and punished. But a system of enforceable world law would be a more just and effective system than the present confederacy of nations in which international law is not always enforced.
The most common objection to world federation is that it is too idealistic or that it will never work. My answer is: of course it?s idealistic. It is a proposal of how nations should interact with each other, how nations should enforce laws against individual violators, and how we should protect the planet. A world federation could be created within 50 to 100 years. It is up to us living now to plant the proper seeds and conditions so that our grandchildren can enjoy a world governed by enforceable just laws for everyone.
World federation could work if it is created on common principles of justice. It could work if it is a true democracy that is based on majority rule and the protection of human rights. It could work if there is a fair system of selecting representatives for a world legislature. Such a legislature could be bicameral or tricameral, based on population and other criteria.
There have been successful examples of moving from a confederation to a federation. The United States of America and the European Union are good examples of national and regional federations. Creating a world federation will be even more difficult but not impossible.
Our world needs a global federation in order to solve global problems that are not being solved in a confederal approach. Therefore, all of us should work to overcome obstacles that are preventing such a solution and to make sure that a future democratic world federation is the best world government that can be created.
Building the Necessary Foundation
In order to build the right type of global system that would eliminate the war system and develop a system of global justice, we need to first build a solid foundation.
In addition to national citizenship and patriotism, we need to promote world citizenship and ?humatriotism? (loyalty to the human family). The present international system obviously promotes national citizenship and patriotism (loyalty to "the fatherland') in order to be able to fight wars against humans in other countries.
World citizenship and humatriotism could be promoted by:
- A world flag and world symbols, a world anthem, a "pledge of allegiance to the world," and the celebration of world holidays. In my classroom at Christian Brothers College and also outside the school, the UN flag, the U.S. flag, the Missouri flag, and the St. Louis flag are flown in order to emphasize everyone?s world, national, regional, and local citizenship. As a school we recite the pledge of allegiance to the world. In most classrooms there is a picture of Earth from outer space.
- The study of world history, the world religions, peace heroes, and peace education around the world. At CBC, we teach courses in peace studies, world religions, world history, and Holocaust and Genocide studies. We also have a Model UN Club and Amnesty International Club.
- Travel to many different countries and communication with people around the world through the internet.
- A universal secondary language could be taught in all elementary schools around the world in addition to national languages. This proposal is important for promoting world democracy. An "artificial" language like Esperanto that is learned by all would not give speakers of any one national language an advantage over others. Esperanto has the advantage of being easier to learn than native languages because of a simple, rule-guided grammar with no exceptions as well as a system of word formation which facilitates remembering vocabulary. A course in Esperanto is offered at Christian Brothers College.
- Interreligious dialogue and cooperation. The religions of the world need to commit themselves to the process of creative interchange so that they can learn from and correct each other. Because most people belong to a major religion, peace among the nations requires peace among the religions. The Parliaments of the World?s Religions, which I have been fortunate to attend, are an important start. Local dialogues are essential to understand what motivates people of different religions. For the past 20 years, I have organized St. Louis? Dialogue Group of the World?s Religions and Philosophies, the annual pilgrimage to different houses of worship, and the annual Interfaith Gathering for Peace for UN Day. Besides the Catholic Church, the religious group that also promotes world federalism is the Baha?i Faith. During the 19th century, Baha?u?llah said that a federation of nations was part of the Lesser World Peace before the spiritual unification of the planet, which he called ?the Most Great Peace.?
- Commitment to live according to the Declaration of a Global Ethic which is based on the Golden Rule and on the common commandments taught by all of the world?s major religions. There is a copy of it hanging in my classroom.
Join the United Nations Association and Citizens for Global Solutions, the new name for the World Federalists Association and the Campaign for UN Reform. We can do little as individuals but much more when we join together in groups. These two organizations try to influence our political leaders to take steps that will promote a global outlook.
Laws alone do not guarantee peaceful living. You can have all of the constitutions and laws that you want. But a large majority of any community must agree that a system of laws is just and necessary for the common good. We are slowly developing the realization of a global community and the religious vision of a human family. A democratic world federal government is therefore a necessary condition for promoting peace and justice.
Will an effective, just, and democratic world federation ever be created? According to the Catholic Church?s teaching on world peace, it should be.
We are called by our Church to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all wars can be completely outlawed by international consent.
Our present duty is to begin the worldwide debate on how to create the best global system for achieving lasting world peace through enforceable world law."
- Father Ben Urmston?s web-site
- Dr. Joseph Fahey. War and the Christian Conscience, especially the last chapter.
- Ronald Glossop. Confronting War: An Examination of Humanity?s Most Pressing Problem. McFarland and Company, 4th edition, 2001.
- Ronald Glossop. World Federation?: A Critical Analysis of World Federal Government. McFarland and Company, 1993.
- Barbara Walker, ed. Uniting the Peoples and Nations: Readings in World Federation. World Federalist Association, 1993.
- Jerry Tetalman and Byron Belitsos. One World Democracy: A Progressive Vision for Enforceable Global Law. Origin Press, 2005.
- Mortimer J. Adler. How to Think About War and Peace. Simon and Schuster, 1943.
- Greenville Clark and Louis Sohn. World Peace through World Law. Harvard University Press, 1960.
- Benjamin Ferencz and Ken Keyes. Planethood: The Key to Your Future. Love Line Books, 1991.
- David Oughton, The Implications of Henry Nelson Wieman?s Philosophy of Creative Interchange for World Peace. Ph.D. dissertation, Saint Louis University, 1998.
Pope Benedict XVI Caritas in Veritate, Love in Truth
Vatican, July 8, 2009
OF THE HUMAN FAMILY
 Cf. ibid.
 Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 1998 World Day of Peace, 3: AAS 90 (1998), 150; Address to the Members of the Vatican Foundation ?Centesimus Annus ? Pro Pontifice?, 9 May 1998, 2; Address to the Civil Authorities and Diplomatic Corps of Austria, 20 June 1998, 8; Message to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 5 May 2000, 6.
 According to Saint Thomas ?ratio partis contrariatur rationi personae?, In III Sent., d. 5, q. 3, a. 2; also ?Homo non ordinatur ad communitatem politicam secundum se totum et secundum omnia sua?, Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 21, a. 4, ad 3.
 Cf. John Paul II, Address to the Sixth Public Session of the Pontifical Academies of Theology and of Saint Thomas Aquinas, 8 November 2001, 3.
 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church Dominus Iesus (6 August 2000), 22: AAS 92 (2000), 763-764; Id., Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (24 November 2002), 8: AAS 96 (2004), 369-370.
 Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, 31: loc. cit., 1010; Address to the Participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Church in Italy, Verona, 19 October 2006.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 5: loc. cit., 798-800; Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the Fourth National Congress of the Church in Italy, Verona, 19 October 2006.
 No. 12.
 Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo Anno (15 May 1931): AAS 23 (1931), 203; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 48: loc. cit., 852-854; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1883.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to Members of the International Theological Commission, 5 October 2007; Address to the Participants in the International Congress on Natural Moral Law, 12 February 2007.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of Thailand on their ?Ad Limina? Visit, 16 May 2008.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, New York, 18 April 2008.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
441. Concern for an ordered and peaceful coexistence within the human family prompts the Magisterium to insist on the need to establish ?some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights?. In the course of history, despite the changing viewpoints of the different eras, there has been a constant awareness of the need for a similar authority to respond to worldwide problems arising from the quest for the common good: it is essential that such an authority arise from mutual agreement and that it not be imposed, nor must it be understood as a kind of ?global super-State?.
Political authority exercised at the level of the international community must be regulated by law, ordered to the common good and respectful of the principle of subsidiarity. ?The public authority of the world community is not intended to limit the sphere of action of the public authority of the individual political community, much less to take its place. On the contrary, its purpose is to create, on a world basis, an environment in which the public authorities of each political community, their citizens and intermediate associations can carry out their tasks, fulfil their duties and exercise their rights with greater security?.
442. Because of the globalization of problems, it has become more urgent than ever to stimulate international political action that pursues the goals of peace and development through the adoption of coordinated measures. The Magisterium recognizes that the interdependence among men and nations takes on a moral dimension and is the determining factor for relations in the modern world in the economic, cultural, political and religious sense. In this context it is hoped that there will be a revision of international organizations, a process that ?presupposes the overcoming of political rivalries and the renouncing of all desire to manipulate these organizations, which exist solely for the common good?, for the purpose of achieving ?a greater degree of international ordering?.
In particular, intergovernmental structures must effectively perform their functions of control and guidance in the economic field because the attainment of the common good has become a goal that is beyond the reach of individual States, even if they are dominant in terms of power, wealth, and political strength. International agencies must moreover guarantee the attainment of that equality which is the basis of the right of all to participate in the process of full development, duly respecting legitimate differences.
443. The Magisterium positively evaluates the associations that have formed in civil society in order to shape public opinion in its awareness of the various aspects of international life, with particular attention paid to the respect of human rights, as seen in ?the number of recently established private associations, some worldwide in membership, almost all of them devoted to monitoring with great care and commendable objectivity what is happening internationally in this sensitive field?.
Governments should feel encouraged by such commitments, which seek to put into practice the ideals underlying the international community, ?particularly through the practical gestures of solidarity and peace made by the many individuals also involved in Non-Governmental Organizations and in Movements for human rights?.
http://www.zenit.org/article-33718?l=english ZE11102402 - 2011-10-24 Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-33718?l=english
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE ON THE GLOBAL ECONOMY)
Another link is http://www.justpax.va
Moving from a War System to Enduring Peace
The survival of the fittest theory came up in a subsequent discussion of a Democratic World Federation. Those interested might want to explore articles by Robert Wright and his book: Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. Dr. Ron Glossop writes that Wright "has been widely praised for the manner in which modern biological and anthropological knowledge is used to raise questions about the extent to which there is a purpose at work in the world leading to the development of a harmonious global community. Wright's view is that biological and cultural evolution are both consequences of a world where zero-sum games (competitive situations where winners gain at the expense of losers) necessarily, by virtue of a survival-of-the-fittest process, gradually give way to ever richer forms of positive nonzero-sum interactions (cooperative situations where working together produces a gain for the participants collectively). The religious question, basically the same as the issue addressed by the commentators on Immanuel Kant's views, is whether this bias in favor of cooperation over competition is purely an accidental feature of our world or whether there is a force at work which in some sense has established or is using a system where cooperation eventually wins out over competition." Wright writes: ?The more closely we examine the drift of biological evolution and, especially, the drift of human history, the more there seems to be a point to it all. Because in neither case is ?drift? really the right word. Both of these processes have a direction, an arrow. . .World government of a meaningful sort is probably in the cards. It follows from basic technological trends and stubborn economic and political logic. And, what?s more, it?s a good idea.?
Sovereignty belongs to each of us. .we share and delegate our sovereignty to our family, our city, our county, our state, our country. We have no adequate institution with whom to share our sovereignty on a global level. The present global community is not arising from a democratic process but from a marriage of science and corporations. Business makes lightning-like international financial transactions that now occur at the rate of trillions of dollars a day. A democratic world federation will require that all nations will abide by certain agreed rules of behavior and those nations and people that don't abide by those rules will be dealt with. This is required if humanity is to survive the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction produced by science and the destructive weapons of an immoral economy forced by business structures that kill hundreds of millions of people. Nation states, especially the smaller nation states, have already surrendered to the World Trade Organization, the G-8, the World Bank and private banks, corporations, the United Nations, and other global institutions which are not democratic. (Inspired by Waging Peace Worldwide, Spring 1998, pp. 8-9)
700 years ago in his De Monarchia, Dante insisted, "to achieve a state of universal peace and well-being, a single world government is necessary." That remarkable proposition was elaborated in Immanuel Kant's Perpetual Peace, Jean Jacques Rousseau's A Lasting Peace Through the Federation of Europe, H.G. Wells' A Modern Utopia, Emery Reves' The Anatomy of Peace, Vernon Nash's The World Must Be Governed, Wendell Willkie's One World, Bertrand Russell's Toward World Government, G. A. Borgese's Foundations of the World Republic, Mortimer Adler's How to Think About War and Peace, and Grenville Clark and Louis Sohn's, World Peace Through World Law. That same proposition was defended by Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, Arnold Toynbee, E. V. White, Norman Cousins, Oscar Hammerstein, Carl Van Doren, US Supreme Court Justices Owen Roberts and William Douglas, former US Senators Alan Cranston, Harris Wofford, Paul Simon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Alfred Lord Tennyson dreamed of the hour when we might "hear the war drum throb no longer, see the battle flags all furled, in the parliament of humankind, the federation of the world."
On July 17, 1998 an international conference in Rome approved by a vote of 120 to 7 (with 21 abstentions) a treaty to create a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) as an alternative to relying on the ad hoc tribunals established by the U.N. Security Council after the crimes were committed in places such as the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Unlike the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or "World Court" which deals with disputes between national governments, the ICC can try and prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity. Support for the treaty was led by the like-minded group which included countries such as Canada, Australia, Britain, Norway, Germany, and South Africa cheered on by an 800-member international coalition of citizen groups. Opposition was led by the United States, even though up to the time of the Rome Conference it had supported the effort because it had assumed that the ICC would deal only with cases referred to it by the Security Council. With such an arrangement it would have been able to veto any cases involving Americans. The seven countries voting against the ICC treaty were China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, Yemen, and the United States.
This treaty, known as the Rome Statute, stipulated that the jurisdiction of the ICC would begin on the first of the month 60 days after the 60th ratification. Enemies of the treaty were confident that it would be 10-25 years before that many ratifications would be acquired. But largely because of the efforts of a coalition of non-government organizations called the international Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), the required 60th ratification of the Rome Statute was registered on April 11, 2002, only 45 months after the treaty was adopted. As a result the jurisdiction of the ICC began on July 1,2002. The CICC can also take a lot of credit for the fact that as of March 21, 2007 the Rome Statute has already been ratified by 104 countries out of the 193 countries in the world. The most recent was Chad, now the home of many refugees from Darfur, Sudan. On March 24, the Yemeni House of Representatives voted to ratify the treaty, so it will soon become the 105th country. That activitist coalition, whose office is at 708 Third Avenue, 24th floor, in New York City, now includes over 2,000 civil society organizations. Its website
Representatives of countries which have ratified the treaty make up the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). The first meeting of this governing body for the ICC was held at UN Headquarters in New York September 3-10, 2002. It called for nominations for the Prosecutor and the 18 judges of the Court before tne first of December. The 18 judges were elected in February 2003, and they were sworn in on March 11 in the Hague where the ICC will be located. Each Judge must have established competence in criminal law and procedure or in relevant areas of international law. The Judges are divided into three divisions, a Pre-Trial Division, a Trial Division, and an Appeals Division. The rules for electing judges assures that they will come from different parts of the world and that a fair proportion of them will be women. Of the 18 judges selected in the first election, 7 were women. Their normal term of office is nine years, but after this first election they drew lots so that one-third had 3-year terms and one-third had 6-year terms.
Judge Philippe Kirsch of Canada was elected President of the ICC. In April 2003 the Assembly of States Parties elected Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina to be the first Prosecutor, and he was sworn in June 16, 2003. In June the ASP elected Bruno Cathala of France to be the first Registrar of the Court. His swearing in on July 3, 2003 marked the successful appointment of all the senior officers of the Court, just over a year after its jurisdiction began. In January, 2006, elections were held for the six judges who had three-year terms. Five of the six were re-elected and the sixth was a woman, so for a time there were 8 women judges. But in December 2006 Judge Maureen Harding Clark of Ireland resigned to serve on the High Court of Ireland. Her replacement will be elected at the Fifth Assembly of States Parties to be held in December 2007.
In September 2003 the second Assembly of States Parties met in New York and elected five distinguished persons (two of them Nobel Peace Laureates) for three-year terms to the Board of Directors for the Victims Trust Fund of the ICC. This fund assures that the ICC will not only prosecute those guilty of committing crimes but will also assist those who have been injured. The five original members were Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, former President Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica, former Prime Minister Tadekusz Mazowiecki of Poland, former President of the European Parliament Simone Veil of France, and Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. The first two have resigned and have been replaced by Bulgaa Altangerel of Mongolia and Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson of Trinidad and Tobago.
In July 2004 a new supplemental treaty, the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC (APIC), entered into force. This treaty, which is essential for carrying out the work of the tribunal, gives employees of the ICC the same immunities and privileges granted to employees of the UN and other inter-national organzations. As of February 1, 2007 this treaty providing immunity for ICC employees has been signed by 62 countries and ratified by 48.
One great value of the Rome Statute generally overlooked is the fact that nations which ratify the Statute are committed to bringing their own national laws into conformity with the international norms set up in the treaty. Consequently, many national legal systems are being modified to establish jurisdiction over the crimes of genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing, and rape.
An issue that everyone knew would require attention right from the time of the adoption of the Rome Statute is the matter of defining the crime of aggression as it applies to individuals. The Rome Statute gives the ICC jurisdiction over four kinds of crimes: (1) genocide, (2) war crimes, (3) crimes against humanity (which are clearly described in the statute itself), and (4) aggression. But it was decided in Rome that having jurisdiction on aggression would require a clear delineation of that crime. Discussion of this issue is being carried out by the Special Working Group of the Crime of Aggression (SWGCA) which held its third session June 8-11, 2006 at Princeton University. The aim is to have a proposal ready for action by the Review Council for the Rome Statute to be held in 2009. Issues involve not only defining aggression but also deciding whether jurisdiction of the Court should be restricted to the most clear-cut cases of aggression and determining the extent to which decisions of the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice need to be taken into account.
On January 29, 2004 the ICC got its first case when the government of Uganda referred the situation in its northern region to the ICC. On April 19, 2004 the Court got its second case when the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo called on the ICC to investigate crimes committed in that country since the Court's jurisdiction began July 1, 2002. Two months later Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo announced the beginning of formal investigations in both these countries.
One of the most important events in the young history of the ICC occurred on March 31, 2005 when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1593 on the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan by a vote of 14-0 with one abstention, that of the United States. It was widely assumed that the U.S. would veto this measure because it included a section calling on the ICC to investigate the alleged crimes being committed in Sudan. Just over 2 months later, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo concluded that the requirements for initiating a formal investigation had been satisfied. The Prosecutor has reported to the Security Council on this matter four times, in June and December of 2005 and June and December of 2006. In the last two reports he called for more cooperation from national governments and other organizations.
One of the few times that the mainstream media has really focused attention on the ICC is related to its activity in Darfur. On Sunday, April 2, 2006, the cover story of THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE was "The Prosecutor of the World's Worst" by Elizabeth Rubin. The cover boldly presented this message. The U.N. is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. The African Union is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. The U.S. is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. NATO is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. The European Union is not going to stop the genocide in Darfur. But someday, Luis Moreno-Ocampo is going to bring those who committed the genocide to justice. This article provides a great deal of detail about how the leaders in Sudan are well aware of the work of the ICC and are actively doing all they can to prevent it from carrying on its work.
One reason the Sudanese government leaders don't want UN peacekeepers from countries that have ratified the Rome Statute is they might be arrested by them, especially now that as of April 27, 2007 (with the news being made public on May 2, 2007) warrants have been issued for the arrest of the former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushbayd (real name Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahman). Nevertheless, the statement issued by the Office of the Prosecutor for the ICC notes that the Government of Sudan itself has a legal duty to arrest these defendants. The Sudanese government has refused to accept these judgments of the ICC on grounds that it has not signed or ratified the Rome Statute, but that is irrelevant in this case because the UN Security Council has authorized the ICC to be involved. The question now is whether the U.N. or some countries in the U.N. will take action to back up the ICC judgments.
ICC President Kirsch has given reports to the UN General Assembly in November 2005 and October Assembly. This gives national representatives at the UN a chance to comment on the work of the ICC, and most of them have praised its work. A major theme of both the report itself and the responses from the General Assembly have focused on the need of national governments to assist the ICC, especially in the arresting of those indicted by the ICC such as Joseph Kony and four other leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. They were indicted October 13, 2005 but have still not been arrested. A ticklish issue at present is whether these indicted leaders are going to be given amnesty as part of a peace agreement being negotiated at Juba, the capital of the regional government of southern Sudan. This possibility has evoked a loud cry of outrage from many human rights leaders.
On March 17, 2006 the ICC announced its first arrest. The defendant is Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, leader of a Congolese militia responsible for ethnic massacres, exploitation of child soldiers, rapes, and torture in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was turned over to the ICC by Congolese authorities aided by the French government and the UN Mission in the Congo (MONUC). The public hearing with Lubanga present was held March 20, 2006 in the Hague.
"Much good can come from the court's focus on child soldiers. The decision by the international tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia to treat rape as one of the most serious international crimes has changed legal attitudes and practice worldwide. The International Criminal Court is now drawing attention to another widespread, yet widely ignored, horror. Guerrilla leaders in Colombia, Sri Lanka, West Africa and elsewhere, and government officials in Myanmar, should pay close attention."
In fact, at least one has. Elizabeth Rubin in her article in THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE of April 2, 2006 mentioned earlier, notes on page 43 that Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo "holds up Carlos Castaño, one of Colombia's top paramilitary commanders, as an example of the court's potential reach. After Colombia ratified the ICC treaty, Castaño laid down his weapons because, according to his brother, he realized that he might become vulnerable to ICC prosecution."
C. Opposition of the Bush Administration to the ICC
The ICC has been progressing despite the efforts of the Bush administration to undermine it. President Clinton signed the treaty on December 31, 2000, the last day when a government could sign the treaty and not ratify it at the same time, something that would have been impossible in the United States. On May 6, 2002 the Bush administration announced that it had "nullified" the U.S. signature of the treaty, something not permitted by international law. It also launched a campaign against the ICC. A policy was adopted of trying to get other countries to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs) which indicated that no U.S. citizens would ever be sent to the ICC either for prosecution or even to testify. Economic assistance was to be cut off to any country which did not sign such an agreement. According to the U.S. administration 101 nations have signed these BIAs, but many of these cases are just executive agreements. Less than 40% have been ratified by parliaments. In addition 53 governments have publicly announced that they refuse to sign BIAs with the U.S. government. Several national governments in eastern Europe have been squeezed by a U.S. policy threatening to cut off financial assistance to countries that won't sign a BIA while the European Union has indicated that any country that does sign a BIA can forget about becoming part of the European Union.
Another part of the U.S. campaign against the ICC is the legislation adopted by the U.S. Congress in August 2002 known as the American Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA). Its enemies refer to it as "The Hague Invasion Act" since it authorizes "any means necessary" to keep U.S. citizens from ICC custody in the Hague. A third U.S. effort against the ICC is the Nethercutt Amendment to the U.S. Foreign Appropriations Bill of December 2004. This measure goes further than the ASPA because it authorizes the end of Economic Support Funds to any country, including many key allies, that ratifies the Rome Statute but does not sign a BIA. The Nethercutt Amendment was reauthorized in the Joint Appropriations Bill for 2006.
A fourth element of campaign against the ICC was to try to work through the UN to get immunity for all U.S. personnel involved in international peacekeeping efforts. The first effort in July 2002 succeeded. UN Security Council Resolution 1422 was adopted granting immunity from the ICC during a one-year period for all personnel participating in missions authorized by the United Nations from countries who had not ratified the Rome Statute. Since that resolution stipulated only a one-year period, it came up for renewal the next year as UNSC Resolution 1487. It was passed again but with less support. In 2004 the U.S. wanted to renew this provision again, but withdrew it realizing that it would not be passed again.
On July 23, 2006 THE NEW YORK TIMES published an op-ed piece by Mark Mazzetti entitled "U.S. Cuts in Africa Aid Said to Hurt War on Terror." He noted how the ASPA has led to the cutting off of millions of dollars in assistance to countries such as Kenya, Mali, Niger, and Tanzania who had been assisting in efforts against Al Quaeda and other terrorist groups. He also mentioned the situation in Latin America where, as in Africa, the Chinese are moving in as the U.S. is cutting back on its economic assistance. He quoted Secretary of State Condolezza Rice's comment in March 2006 that cutting military assistance because of ASPA is "sort of the same as shooting ourselves in the foot." He noted that the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review issued in February 2006 called for the government to separate military funding from that anti-ICC law. He cited the opposition to the ASPA voiced by General Bantz J.Craddock of the U.S. Southern Command when testifying before the Senate in March 2006.
Such arguments may be having some effect. Last October President Bush directed Secretary of State Rice to waive the prohibitions in the ASPA with respect to 21 countries. But the anti-ICC Nethercutt Amendment has not been revoked, and any changes in U.S. policy are motivated by concerns about the expanding influence of China, not by any readiness to support international law. What would be helpful would be a "sense of Congress" resolution saying that the policy of the U.S. government should be to support the International Criminal Court, including ratifying the Rome Statute so that this country can become a member of the Assembly of States Parties and so that U.S. citizens would be eligible to become a judge on the Court."
Since Dr. Glossop gave the above talk, President Obama has given other nations freedom to ratify the International Criminal Court without penalties from the US that Bush imposed. The Nethercutt Amendment no longer is in effect!! Below is a statement from the present Ambassador to the UN Ms Rice:
?President Obama is committed to building strong international partnerships to tackle global challenges?The International Criminal Court, which has started its first trial this week, looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda, and Darfur.")
Responsibility to Protect
"Does the international community ever have the right to intervene within the borders of a sovereign nation-state? If so, under what conditions? What theoretical base could possibly justify such outside intervention? The International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty's answer in the report calls attention to the need of governments to preserve the "personal security" of their citizens as well as their "national security" in relations with other countries. It is argued that the notion of "state sovereignty implies a dual responsibility." (p. 8 of the report) Each state not only has the responsibility "to respect the sovereignty of other states" but also has a responsibility "to respect the dignity and basic rights of people within the state." (p. 8) The Commission says, "We prefer to talk not of a 'right to intervene' but of a 'responsibility to protect.'" (p. 11) The key point is to shift focus from "sovereignty as control" to "sovereignty as responsibility." (p. 13)
The Commission's report notes that the term "intervention" can be used to refer not only to military intervention but also to other coercive measures such as sanctions and criminal prosecutions of individuals. (p. 8) At the same time the Commission deliberately refrains from using the term "humanitarian intervention" in deference to humanitarian groups who object to using that expression in any situation where military action is being employed. (p. 9)
Sovereignty as responsibility means that leaders of national governments: (1) must protect their citizens and promote their welfare, (2) are responsible to their citizens and to the international community through the U.N., and (3) can be held accountable for their acts of commission and omission. (p. 13) Thus not only do international criminal tribunals have a right to exert jurisdiction, but with regard to crimes like genocide where treaties provide for universal jurisdiction even other national governments can act. But the Commission cautions that "It is only when national systems of justice either cannot or will not act to judge crimes against humanity that universal jurisdiction and other international options should come into play." (p. 14) Furthermore, the responsibility to protect includes (both for national governments and for the international community) not only the responsibility to react to human catastrophes but also to prevent them and to rebuild the community afterwards. (p. 17)
A great deal of the Commission's 85-page report deals with very specific and detailed commentary about specific situations organized in accord with specific topics such as the responsibility to protect individual citizens (pp. 11-18), the responsibility to prevent catastrophes (pp. 19-27) (including how to deal with root causes in order to avoid the need for interventions), the responsibility to react to catastrophes (pp. 29-37), the responsibility to rebuild the community after interventions (pp. 39-46), the various roles of the U.N. in interventions (pp. 47-55), the issue of how military interventions are to be carried out (pp. 57-67), and what needs to be done in the future (pp. 69-75), all with many references to specific past incidents, e.g. Kosovo, Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cambodia, and East Timor.
This report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty aims "to strengthen, not weaken, the sovereignty of states" while also improving "the capacity of the international community to react decisively when states are either unable or unwilling to protect their own people." (p. 75) It does this by proposing a re-interpretation of the notion of "national sovereignty" so that it includes the responsibility of a state to protect the security of its own citizens.
Official Adoption of the R2P Principle
Three years later in December 2004 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change fully embraced and called for implementation of the Responsibility to Protect principle. The following year the Secretary-General's own report In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security, and Human Rights for All presenting recommendations for action to the 60th session of the General Assembly included a reference to the "emerging norm of the Responsibility to Protect."
In September 2005 the U.N. General Assembly incorporated the Responsibility to Protect principle into the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. Paragraph 138 reads: "Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability."
Paragraph 139 of that document, addressing the issue of international intervention, says: "The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian, and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for the General Assembly to continue consideration of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law. We also intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out. "
On April 28, 2006 these two key paragraphs of the World Summit Outcome Document were affirmed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council when it adopted Resolution 1674 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. It says: "The Security Council reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."
In March 2007 a report by the UN High-Level Mission of the Human Rights Commission concerning the situation in Darfur, led by Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams, disturbed by the failure of the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement to do much to improve the situation, called on the international community to take action, noting that the Responsibility to Protect principle required it. But the government of Sudan refused to allow the Mission to enter Sudan to carry on its investigation and objected to the use of the R2P framework in the report. The Human Rights Commission then appointed a new working group to work with the African Union and the Sudanese government on this issue.
As in the case of the ICC, civil society is pushing the national governments to act responsibly. In fact, the coordination of the NGOs in this effort is again in the hands of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) in New York. On this occasion they were asked to fulfill that task by the Canadian government which had sponsored the original report on the Responsibility to Protect. This coordination is being done under the name "Responsibility to Protect-Engaging Civil Society" or simply "r2p-cs" ("cs" is for "civil society"). One success for this civil society effort was the March 14, 2007 adoption by the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco of a "Resolution Endorsing the United Nations Principle of the Responsibility to Protect."
The results of a global public opinion poll released on April 5, 2007 by
- See also: this site
Speaking April 9, 2007 on the 13th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said: "All the world's governments have agreed in principle to the responsibility to protect. Our challenge now is to give real meaning to the concept, by taking steps to make it operational." The Secretary-General then indicated that he was making his special adviser for the prevention of genocide (Juan Mendez of Argentina) a full-time post and that he was upgrading the UN Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention.
The situation is that there is plenty of theoretical support for the Responsibility to Protect principle both among national governments and the public, but how to implement it in particular circumstances has yet to be worked out. One relevant proposal is to establish a U.N. Emergency Peace Force made up of individuals employed directly by the United Nations which could be quickly moved into difficult situations like those in Darfur until the typical peacekeeping forces can be assembled and put in place. (See Robert Johansen [ed.], A United Nations Emergency Peace Service to Prevent Genocide and Crimes against Humanity [New York: World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, 2006]).
WHY THESE TWO DEVELOPMENTS ARE SO IMPORTANT
Let me conclude by noting why the creation and development of the ICC and the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect principle are so important. Both of them eliminate the notion of the unlimited sovereignty of national governments, a principle which has been used by ruthless national rulers to justify campaigns of violence against both other nations and those labeled "enemies" in their own country. The International Criminal Court establishes a permanent international institution to prosecute those individual high-ranking government officials and military officers responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity no matter where these are committed while the Responsibility to Protect principle makes it clear that those committing these crimes can't hide behind the old notion of national sovereignty, the now rejected view that national governments can do whatever they want within their own borders.
The creation of an International Criminal Court is a giant step forward in spreading the rule of law in the world. Professor Robert Johansen of Notre Dame University has noted that the creation of the ICC "could well be the most important institutional innovation [for the world] since the founding of the United Nations." ("A Turning Point in International Relations: Establishing a Permanent International Criminal Court," Report of Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies for Fall 1997 [No. 13], p. 2) The adoption of the Responsibility to Protect principle is a gigantic step forward in protecting people from the murderous inhuman actions of their own national governments, something that in the last century has caused as many deaths as wars. (See R. J. Rummel, Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 [New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994]) Human history shows that establishing judicial institutions and principles of law is an effective way of promoting peace and justice in the human community, just as important as repeated appeals to individuals to be more loving and less violent. We can be grateful that during our lifetimes the institutions and principles of law are being extended beyond the national level to the international level." Dr. Ronald Glossop, Philosophers for Peace.
The national anthem of the US has rockets and bombs bursting. We often hear "God Bless America." I like better the more peaceful Finnish national anthem: "O hear my song, thou God of all the nations; A song of peace for their land and for mine." Surely God doesn't bless the U.S. and neglect other nations! My God is a God for everyone and every nation. God wants freedom for all. God also wants us to be brave as we work toward a universal peace with justice and love.
The World Federalist Association (Now merged with the Campaign for UN Reform and is called Citizens for Global Solutions)
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the World Federalist Association and what did it stand for? (Although the main U.S.World Federalist Association is now Citizens for Global Solutions, there are still World Federalist groups around the world.)
The World Federalist Association (WFA) was a nonprofit membership organization that worked to promote the views of a broad majority of Americans seeking common-sense and effective global solutions to global problems.
Through the education and advocacy efforts of our professional staff and committed activists across the U.S., WFA (now Citizens for Global Solutions) works to present a more hopeful future for U.S. international leadership and pragmatic policy recommendations to the U.S. public, NGO community and policy makers. We work to achieve U.S. support for prosecuting war criminals through the International Criminal Court, improve global environmental governance, reform UN peacekeeping to allow intervention before a conflict escalates into genocide, and democratize the institutions of globalization.
The vision of the World Federalist Association is the abolition of war, the preservation of a livable and healthful global environment, and the promotion of a just world community through the development of enforceable world law. Achievement of that goal requires the establishment of a democratic federal world government with powers adequate to keep the peace, prevent environmental degradation, protect individual human rights, and assist in the promotion of a just world community. In such a federation, international conflicts would be resolved by political and judicial means rather than by violence, while national governments would continue to manage their own internal affairs. While the precise details of the world federation we seek remain to be determined, we agree that the decision-making structure must be controlled by the will of the people rather than by entrenched rulers.
What is a federation?
A federation is an arrangement of national or regional government with multiple levels and specified jurisdictions at each. Through a federal constitution, member states delegate limited powers to a central government, reserving others for themselves or their citizens. Thus the federal principle is designed to prevent the central government from becoming all-powerful, by leaving in the hands of member states the authority to handle local affairs. At the same time, it identifies common threats or interests to the member states (war, trade, foreign policy) that are addressed more effectively through a central government. Adapting the United Nations (a confederal system) to a world federation would continue to protect the distinct identities of members states while more effectively addressing problems global in scope.
What examples of national federations could serve as models on which to establish a world federation?
The United States of America is the first modern federation, having adopted its Constitution in 1789. Since then, many nations have adopted the US model and worked closely with US representatives in drafting federal constitutions and practices. According to the Forum of Federations, a "clearing house" for information and resources on the practice of federalism, there are 24 formal federations in the world today - Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Comoros, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Malaysia, Micronesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, St. Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela, and the Former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In addition, there are numerous quasi-federal arrangements that operate along federalist lines to a limited degree - decentralized unions, confederations, federacies, associated states, condominiums and leagues - which all together constitute more than 46 countries in addition to those above.
Are you in favor of creating a one-world government?
No. WFA opposes any sort of highly centralized or unitary world government. A centralized one-world government, even democratically based, could very easily impose uniform standards and obligations on everyone without regard for individual rights or differing cultural or political values. Rather we support the establishment of a limited, democratic government that is essentially federal in nature and with extensive checks and balances of power. We propose building on the current global governance structures, such as the UN, to help the world better respond to truly global problems.?
What is the difference between a one-world government and a federal world government?
Federal government, on the other hand, is based on the principle that local communities are best at solving local problems, regional government at solving regional problems and national government at solving national problems. When a problem becomes too big or too taxing for one level of government?such as national defense or interstate trade?then it is delegated to the next level. World federal government is the application of this principle to problems, such as the environment or international terrorism, that do not respect national borders or sovereignty and cannot be solved by individual nations.
Would not this infringe on our national sovereignty?
No. Sovereignty is the ability of a nation to assert ultimate authority within its territory and to act as an independent agent in international affairs. Today, national sovereignty is being infringed and eroded by economic, financial, environmental, and security crises which ignore national borders. Individual persons are finding that their national governments are unable to protect them from global flows of capital and jobs, raids on their currencies, the pollution of their air and water, and terrorist attacks in their homelands. Because of these global problems, national governments are losing their sovereign ability to effectively govern. A world federation will clearly delineate the sovereign rights of nations and provide them with a democratic means of representing their national interests in solving these global problems. In this way, the idea of national sovereignty will change, but will become more meaningful. See also the recently released report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect.
Is a world government inevitable?
Yes. We are already seeing that many groups - from local farmers in the Midwest to financial brokers on Wall Street - rely on dependable and open relations between nations. This need has translated into political treaties and economic agreements binding nations together in many fields, principally economics. Such ties will only increase as trade, communications and travel increase. With regard to health and disease organizations, we already act as one globe (disease outbreaks, prevention of smallpox, medical assistance for catastrophes). How other agreements are made and enforced will determine the nature of global governance, and the resulting institutions of government necessary to create and enforce them.
Isn't this too radical an idea to even attempt?
No. The process of federation is historically sound. It may be seen in the evolution of countries such as Switzerland and the United States. In 1291, the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden entered what was known as the Perpetual League. Then came the Confederation of eight cantons in 1353, the Confederation of 13 cantons in 1513, the Act of Mediation with 19 cantons in 1803, the Federal Pact with 22 cantons in 1815, and in 1848 present-day Switzerland was born. A similar process, though in a much shorter time, took place within the United States, with the "Perpetual Union" under the Articles of Confederation giving way to the Federal Constitution of 1787. Since that time, over 30 nations have followed the examples and adopted (and adapted) federal governance for their own countries. A world federation should not be attempted overnight either, relying instead on a deliberate and informed process of evolution.
Won't a world federal government continue the policies of the WTO and other international financial institutions recently denounced by democracy groups on the left and anti-internationalist groups on the right?
No. The call for world federal government is in fact a response to the unaccountable actions on which both sides of the spectrum actually agree. Decisions of the WTO and the UN itself are made by ambassadors and other appointees of their respective governments in power. There is little connection between the local and the global in the current formula. The result is that local communities are often impacted by international decisions without having had a fair say in the decision-making process. World federalism requires local communities, states, and nations to be fairly represented in decisions that affect them.
Who supports world federalism? Who are some notable federalists? Who's on your Board of Directors/ Advisors?
Historically, world federalists have included such prominent figures as Albert Einstein, Oscar Hammerstein II, Justice William O. Douglas, Carl Van Doren, E.B. White, Lloyd Bridges and Steve Allen. More recently, journalist Walter Cronkite, AmeriCorps Director Harris Wofford and Congresswoman Diane DeGetter and Representative Mark Udall have publicly supported world federalism. WFA's Board of Advisors includes actor Martin Sheen, Nuremburg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, World Watch Institute vice-president Hilary French, economist Hazel Henderson, Jihad vs. McWorld author Benjamin Barber, actress Mimi Kennedy and actor Mike Farrell. The World Federalist Association's current President is John B. Anderson, who served as a Republican member of Congress for 20 years and was the 1980 independent presidential candidate.
Won't world federalism abolish national sovereignty and destroy our rights under the Constitution?
A world federal government would be based on the consent of the people, just as our Constitution is, and enforced by our commitment to it democratically. We face more threats to our rights and freedoms from an unaccountable world bureaucracy, international criminals, and indefensible borders than we would from a government elected by, accountable to, and representative of "We, the People," whether that government is local, national, or global. The key to protecting our Constitutional rights with the establishment of a world government is to ensure that such a government is federal in nature - and respect the rights and freedoms of local communities, states, and national governments in their respective jurisdictions. As with the US Constitution, a world constitutional charter must include a bill of rights to protect individual rights and civil liberties against any acts by the world federation.
In regards to individual rights and freedoms, world federalists concur with Hamilton's admonition in Federalist Paper #15 that, "we must resolve to incorporate into our plan those ingredients which may be considered as forming the characteristic difference between a league and a government; we must extend the authority of the Union to the persons of the citizens, --the only proper objects of government." The United States government does not hold the states responsible for the illegal acts of their citizens, but proceeds directly against the individual violators themselves. Similarly, a world federation would not hold a nation responsible for an attempt to accumulate biological weapons for use in attacking a neighboring country, but rather hold the responsible individual accountable.
Is world federalism simply a new name for the communist insiders in the UN?
No. World federalism is the antithesis of communism. In the tradition of James Madison and the American Founders, we are skeptical of highly centralized government. We believe that individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness are absolute and inalienable. The problem is that these rights are not being protected in the contemporary world, which is rife with war, environmental harms, and terrorism. In fact, that is the reason that we support democratic world federation ? to better secure these rights. World federalism does not represent any political viewpoint, but rather advocates open and transparent meetings of the United Nations and other international bodies. It is this openness and transparency that will allow more accountable government to exist at the world level, and for which world federalists were severely attacked by Soviet officials and communist sympathizers in their early efforts.
Are you proposing a new imperialism by expanding the American system of federalism to the world level?
No. While the US Constitution developed federalism for a larger territorial government and has lasted longer than other systems established at the same time, confederalism had been previously used by Switzerland and other small nations, and over 30 nations have adopted federal governments since 1787. It will be on this successful model of governance, not the imposition of any one style, that world federalism will be molded. Despite the economic, political and social differences between the world's many federations, their adoption of federalism demonstrates the applicability of federalism worldwide.
I understand that world governance is coming. But why can't it be regional, rather than worldwide? After all, regions of the world are forming trade and defense blocs, so why can't they be forming regional political alliances? Aren't we skipping a step when jumping to world government?
We are seeing these regional arrangements being created for the exact reasons we need world federal government. The security of peoples' interests and liberty demand greater cooperation and less saber-rattling between national governments, and these alliances are providing that. Regional governments, such as the European Union, are consistent with world federalism, which require that whenever possible, regional problems should first be addressed by regional authorities. But some problems are world-wide in scope and even regional government is not sufficient to adequately address them. While encouraging regional arrangements, and more democratic reforms of existing ones, world federalists see these alliances as necessary steps toward accountable governance at the global level.
Is it politically possible to establish a world government?
That depends on how strongly people want freedom, security and a sustainable standard of living. Government provides these by providing political and social opportunities and defending against unfair or dangerous elements within society. When the threats from environmental degradation, terrorism or the price of everyday commodities begin impacting our daily lives, we'll begin to ask, "Who's representing my individual interests on the global level?"
Why would the US want to support establishing a world federal government?
Government, on the local or global levels, helps provide stability and safety. Accountable government helps ensure this over the long term, through crises and impending threats. A world federal government, while not ending all conflict, would better manage problems of a worldwide nature. The US would thus have less need to deploy troops to protect its own interests, more confidently interact with other nations on issues, more fairly share the financial burdens of internationalism, and reduce the taxes that pay for it all.
Won't world government set the stage for a world dictatorship? What are the options if the world government becomes oppressive?
Establishing a world dictatorship would require submission of each branch of the world government to a central and oppressive political ideology. Federalism is a system designed to counter the ambitions of one person, one party or one level of government with the ambitions of all others. This check and balance system has preserved American democracy for over two centuries and has been adapted in almost 30 other nations worldwide where diverse ethnic, religious or political groups vie for power. Without establishing an accountable system of world government, we risk allowing unaccountable groups to establish it for us - one much more likely to establish an oppressive system based on economics, religious fundamentalism, or military rule.
We've learned we cannot always trust government, how do we know we could trust an international government?
Unlike in an autocratic or totalitarian society, citizens of a democratic federation have the right to replace or remove their elected representatives when those leaders fail to adhere to the will of the people. At present, no such rights exists for us to replace or remove many of the individuals making policies at the global level (except through war or assassination). Establishing the international government as a democratic federation will extend our rights to the global level, providing us with the instruments needed to change this.
Wouldn't a planetary government be vulnerable to corruption on a scale potentially hurtful to the whole world?
As we saw in the ratification process of the US Constitution, and currently in the admissions of new members to the European Union, member states will have to operate within fairly secure parameters in regards to human rights, due process of law and accountability of government officials. Without meeting such minimum requirements, nations will lose out on the benefits of wider markets, political security and legal justice for citizens. Today there is no check on the abuse of power by factions and leaders supported by the "divided-and-conquered" system of international relations.
Will the American people ever be willing to sacrifice the sovereignty of our country to what would be - if a majority rules - essentially a foreign power?
Americans will not have to sacrifice sovereignty over many of the problems for which world federalism is advocated. In world trade, prevention of genocide and other areas currently beyond the control of American sovereignty, establishing an accountable world government would extend the voice of Americans in world affairs. Just as with national defense in the United States, citizens of the states do not sacrifice their sovereignty by delegating authority over national issues to the national government - in fact, their sovereignty over other issues is strengthened by sharing the burden - and the benefits - with citizens of all other states.
Does this mean more regulation and taxes? Could I lose my job because of decisions by the world government?
No. The opposite may in fact prove true. Reduced military spending by nations fearful of their neighbors will result in less taxation or in more funding going to education and job training programs. Additionally, checking the decision-making of international financial institutions and establishing basic standards of living worldwide would better protect workers from losing their jobs when their companies move abroad in search of less fair standards of labor. While a political system can never fully guarantee against the dislocations of an economic system, it can mitigate economic strife, balance the interests involved, and make the economic system more fair.
Will I still get to own a gun? Could I be arrested by the world government for picking flowers in a protected reserve?
World federal laws would be defined a democratic body representative of the people and would be limited to strictly inter-national affairs. National governments would still be primarily responsible for defining the right to own personal weapons, however the transfer of such across national borders (just as inter-state acts within the US) could fall into the jurisdiction of the world federal government. The several member states of the UN have their own domestic laws as well as protections of civil rights, and world federalist support the rights of their citizens to define their own political system, within the parameters of inalienable human rights.
Perhaps a brief philosophical discussion of law will help distinguish the moral law from civil law, natural rights from the exercise of our natural rights through civil law.
Natural or moral law is our participation through reason in eternal or divine law. Since natural law is often general like ?do not kill,? civil or positive law makes natural law specific, concrete, and enforceable. Civil law governs acts that are public and external such as theft, but these external acts often flow from internal virtues or vices like excessive ambition, revenge, and greed. Civil law is complemented by religious and moral development.
Civil law should be the result of basic consensus rather than forced by a few. Although the use of alcohol needs to be regulated, most citizens in the US did not accept Prohibition in the 1920's or observe it.
The inspiration of our faith may move us to go beyond the minimum. Our religion can give us insights into natural law. However, civil law should come from basic human rights that all religions and those of no religion can agree on. The rights of the unborn, for example, are best based on natural law rather than the tenets of Catholic Faith.
Some advocate community policing and community-based corrections. We need to focus on empowerment and real accountability. The victim, the offender, and the community need to be involved in the entire repair process. Indeed, an ounce of prevention through education, full employment, community building, and respect for each human person is worth a pound of cure. (Paul H. Hahn, Emerging Criminal Justice, Three Pillars for a Proactive Justice System, p. 159)
Although we need to rethink some of our present attitudes concerning law in the US, our present local, state, and federal laws are better than chaos. Several groups argued with the decision of the US Supreme Court in the November 2000 election. But citizens for the most part accepted the decision because they saw the value of law even when the decision was not what they thought was best.
If we had a truly democratic and fair legal system, law could be a non-violent way through which dialogue and consensus can take place. We can't force others to agree with us or to do what is right, but we can help to prevent automobiles and guns from injuring and killing others. Law can promote the common good.
Even as we attempt to reform local, state, and federal law, we need to be equally zealous for international law. If earth were being invaded by a hostile force from outer space, the United Nations would call an emergency session and appoint a task force to work night and day, day and night to defend our planet. Cries like ?The Martians are coming!? would alarm any of us.
Earth is being threatened from many directions. A member of the 86th Infantry Division during World War II, I emerged from the war certain there had to be a better way to deal with threats to our security. I chose the Society of Jesus as my way to join faith to striving for a more peaceful and just world. Sixty three years later I am convinced that democratic international law is an essential ingredient of a vision for peace.
"Just as the time has finally come when in individual states a system of private vendetta and reprisal has given way to the rule of law, so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community." (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus No. 52.)
The human family needs to make a choice between domination by a few wealthy nations or wealthy people and liberty and justice for all; between domination by a few nations that have more guns or settling disputes among equals by mediation and by law. If we choose democracy for all over domination by a few, we need world-wide structures governed by law. Since we have a global economy today, I dream of the "truly effective international authority" which was the ardent wish of Blessed John XXIII in Peace on Earth. We are one human family. Families cannot live together in harmony unless there is a certain order. The human family cannot live together without a minimum of global law and order. My dream is a world constitution which would establish a new world democratic authority. Accompanying this new democratic world authority would be local community ownership of the means of production.
There are world-wide problems that demand a public authority that can operate on a global basis. Care of the environment is a world-wide issue that one nation cannot solve alone. Through the regeneration of forests on a world-wide level we can create carbon-fixing and oxygen-producing factories. Care of the environment is essential to all of us and should be paid for by an international tax that is progressive, according to ability to pay.
Terrorism can strike our airports and cities as happened on Sept. 11, 2001. (Or as 911 Truth groups say.)
Terrorism can corrupt our food supply. Floyd Horn of the US Department of Agriculture calls agroterrorism on our nation's farms or its agricultural research facilities quite plausible. Chemical or biological attacks against food crops or livestock would be substantially easier and less risky to carry out than attacks on people. There are at least twenty-two germ agents that are lethal or contagious to animals. Overuse of antibiotics and steroids has lowered the natural tolerance of animals to disease and bred drug-resistant strains of germs. We need to change current large scale farming and marketing strategies. We need to promote small farm agriculture, sustainable agriculture and rural social justice, natural farming practices, smaller concentrations of livestock, less reliance on single varieties of seeds, less reliance on heavy dosages of antibiotics and the development of markets for products closer to where they are produced. (See National Catholic Reporter Nov. 9, 2001, pp. 8-9)
Electronic attempts to create viruses are hard to trace, inexpensive, but can cause billions of dollars of damage. The internet needs some kind of international supervision and regulation.
A biological attack of weaponized small pox could kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Sophisticated international surveillance could minimize the risk of biological or chemical terrorism.
Without global safeguards, infectious diseases can become pandemic. The vastly increased volume of world trade and travel must be accompanied by clean water, sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics for all.
There could be a meltdown of Nuclear Energy Power Reactors through neglect, accident, or terrorism.
The world budget for the war system is crippling. Besides current expenses, we tend to overlook the cost of past wars, the human cost of post traumatic stress, loss of limbs, handicapped for life. Veterans expenses are obvious. But we tend to forget that most wars are financed by borrowing and are the main reasons for debt and the interest on debts. www.oneminuteforpeace.org/budget The US spends one trillion dollars each year on the military. Imagine what one minute of that could do for peace needs.
Of course, we cannot get absolute security except in God's love. But we can take reasonable precautions.
In Peace on Earth (No. 137) Pope John XXIII said: "The moral order demands that a universal public authority be established."
We are citizens of the United States. We are also citizens of the world. Together we must search for the common good of the whole world. All stakeholders need to be involved in basic decisions about world trade. Safe food, a healthy earth, small farm agriculture, a living wage are concerns of all of us. Ordinary citizens should not be simply observers in crucial decisions that affect everyone. Openness and transparency are essential for democracy. We all need the spiritual freedom to be able to listen to one another and engage in constructive dialogue.
In When Corporations Rule the World (Chapter 20, up-dated 2001 edition) Dr. David Korten proposes that the organizations agreed on in July, 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, which today are known as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization be brought back under open and democratic control of the United Nations. The Bretton Woods institutions need to be decommissioned, and three new UN agencies be created with roles nearly opposite of the present structures.
An International Insolvency Court hears cases brought by debtor nations to grant a stay of its debt repayments agreeing at the same time to incur no new debt. Bad debts which were not legitimately contracted or used for purposes that yielded no public benefits would be rescinded. Rescheduling, reduction, and cancellation of the remaining debt would be made on terms which would allow governments to provide essential social services. "Such plans would ideally take into account the implicit debt owed to the debtor country by creditor countries in the North for wealth previously extracted without proper compensation." Mechanisms would be put in place to keep the international accounts of nations in balance.
An International Finance Organization which would replace the International Monetary Fund will promote productive domestic investment and domestic ownership of productive resources. This new UN agency would maintain a central data base on international accounts and facilitate negotiations among trading partners to correct imbalances. It would help prevent the use of offshore banks and tax havens for money laundering and tax evasion.
An Organization for Corporate Accountability which would replace the World Trade Organization will assure "public accountability of international corporations and finance; break up concentrations of corporate power in banking, media, and agribusiness; prevent unfair competitive practices; decharter corporations with a history of regulatory violations; enable persons harmed by a corporate subsidiary in one country to sue the parent company for damages in another; set rules and standards for businesses; prohibit the patenting of genetic materials, life forms and processes, and indigenous knowledge; and access beneficial information and technologies from other countries on reasonable terms."
Church Teaching on Common Security
Even if the world's problems were not that acute, there are positive reasons for global law. There is only one earth. There is one human family created by the same God, destined for the same goal--union with God and with one another. We are all united by common bonds of basic human rights and responsibilities. Scientists agree we are one race, homo sapiens
In Peace on Earth (No. 137) Pope John XXIII said: "The moral order demands that a universal public authority be established."
On the 40th anniversary of Peace on Earth, Feb. 1, 2003, A 18, New York Times, Peter Steinfels wrote: "Pope John Paul II made Peace on Earth the subject of his World Day of Peace Message. .John XXIII conceived of writing Peace on Earth in October 1962--in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis--during the late-night hours when he passed back and forth from his writing desk to his private chapel, composing a message sent to Kennedy and Khrushchev. Pope John XXIII was thinking outside the box. . . His thinking focused on two topics: a lengthy catalog of human rights, including economic rights. The other was a call for some new kind of world authority adequately empowered to address what he called the 'universal common good.' As Pope John Paul II summarizes 'The road to peace lay in the defense and promotion of basic human rights.'. . .when one reads John XXIII's description of that 'public authority, having worldwide power and endowed with the proper means for the efficacious pursuit of its objective,' one recognizes that today there is another claimant to the role besides the UN:: the United States. . . What has galvanized opinion in other parts of the world, however painful or unfair it may seem to Americans, is not just the potential threat of Iraq but also the potential threat of the United States.. John XXIII saw such a problem forty years ago when he warned that the world authority he envisaged 'must be set up by common accord, and not imposed by force' or assumed on the basis of military or economic superiority. Effective global power had to be exercised with 'sincere and real impartiality' rather than as 'an instrument of one-sided interest.' . . .Peacemaking was a gestalt--a total configuration of endeavors that encompassed disarmament, human rights, economic development, sensitivity to the dignity of weaker nations and, John XXIII would doubtless add today, environmental protection and the campaigns against terrorism and weapons of Mass destruction."
The Second Vatican Council ("The Church Today" no. 82) pleas: "It is our clear duty to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all, and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights."
On Oct. 4, 1965 Pope Paul VI urged at the United Nations (No. 19) : "No more war. War never again!" "Humankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to humankind." "Who does not see the necessity of establishing a world authority, capable of acting effectively in the juridical and political sectors?" Populorum Progressio No. 78
In The Challenge of Peace (No. 334) the US bishops state: "War is no longer viable. There is a substitute for war." ?Looking ahead to the long and productive future of humanity for which we all hope, we feel that a more all-inclusive and final solution is needed. We speak here of the truly effective international authority for which Pope John XXIII ardently longed in Peace on Earth, and of which Pope Paul VI spoke to the United Nations on his visit there in 1965. The hope for such a structure is not unrealistic, because the point has been reached where public opinion sees clearly that, with the massive weaponry of the present, war is no longer viable. There is a substitute for war. There is negotiation under the supervision of a global body realistically fashioned to do its job. It must be given the equipment to keep constant surveillance on the entire earth. Present technology makes this possible. It must have the authority, freely conferred upon it by all the nations, to enforce its commands on every nation. It must be so constituted as to pose no threat to any nation?s sovereignty. Obviously the creation of such a sophisticated instrumentality is a gigantic task, but is it hoping for too much to believe that the genius of humanity, aided by the grace and guidance of God, is able to accomplish it? To create it may take decades of unrelenting daily toll by the world?s best minds and most devoted hearts, but it shall never come into existence unless we make a beginning now. No. 336. We beg our government to propose to the United Nations that it begin this work immediately; that it create an international task force for peace; that this task force, with membership open to every nation, meet daily through the years ahead with one sole agenda: the creation of a world that will one day be safe from war.?
"Just as the time has finally come when in individual states a system of private vendetta and reprisal has given way to the rule of law, so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community." (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus No. 52.)
Can we say war is a last resort when we not only make no effort to create according to the principle of subsidiarity with sufficient checks and balances an effective democratic international authority, but we use our military and economic power to subvert the international criminal court and many other international treaties?
Only an impartial global trade commission can justly handle fair trade between the wealthy and poorer nations. "We must expand our understanding of the moral responsibility of citizens to serve the common good of the entire planet. . . All economic agents must consciously and deliberately attend to the good of the whole human family. We must all work to increase the effectiveness of international agencies in addressing global problems." US Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All No. 322-325.
One way to give us a voice in global trade decisions is by democratic international law. The common good cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces. Although the market can be a useful tool, it is not a god. Made up of all of us sinners, the market can often be motivated by greed and selfishness. (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus No's 35 and 52) A companion direction would be community ownership of the means of production. (See my section on Economic Democracy) Smaller units of production would provide sufficient checks and balances and better serve local, national and world trade. (Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, No. 23, 24 See also Making a Place for Community. Local Democracy in a Global Era, Thad Williamson, David Imbroscio, and Gar Alperovitz, Routledge, 2003.)
"Violence begets violence," Pope John Paul II concludes. "War must always be considered a defeat: a defeat of reason and of humanity. May we soon make a spiritual and cultural leap forward to outlaw war! Yes, never again war!" Sept. 8, 2004. Address to religious leaders of the world at Assisi, Italy.
God is Love Pope Benedict XVI
Deus Caritas Est Pope Benedict XVI. 15. "This principle of love is the starting-point for understanding the great parables of Jesus. The rich man (Luke 16.19-31) begs from his place of torment that his brothers be informed about what happens to those who simply ignore the poor man in need. Jesus takes up this cry for help as a warning to help us return to the right path. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37 offers two particularly important clarifications. Until that time, the concept of 'neighbor' was understood as referring essentially to one's countrymen and to foreigners who had settled in the land of Israel; in other words, to the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbor. The concept of 'neighbor' is universalized, yet it remains concrete. Despite being extended to all humankind, 'neighbor' is not reduced to a generic, abstract and undemanding expression of love, but calls for my own practical commitment here and now. The Church has the duty to interpret ever anew this relationship between near and far with regard to the actual daily life of her members. Lastly, we should especially mention the great parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), in which love becomes the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life's worth or lack thereof. Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. 'As you did it to one of the least of these, my sisters and brothers, you did it to me.' (Mt. 25.40) Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God."
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where do we go from Here? Chaos or Community? P. 218.
?We cannot ignore the larger world house in which we are also dwellers. Equality with whites will not solve the problems of either whites or Negroes if it means equality in a world society stricken by poverty and in a universe doomed to extinction by war.p. 195 . . we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.p.200 All of us are interdependent. Every nation is an heir of a vast treasury of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead of all nations have contributed. Each of us lives eternally ?in the red.? We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women.
A final problem that we must solve to survive in the world house that we have inherited is finding an alternative to war. . . Do we have the morality and courage to live together and not be afraid? President John F. Kennedy said: ?We must put an end to war or war will put an end to us.? War is obsolete. . . Every nation must develop an overriding loyalty to humankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. P. 221. This is a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all women and men.
When I speak of love, I am speaking of that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is the key that unlocks the door. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the First Epistle of St. John: 'Let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. God is love. .If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.'
This may be our last chance to choose between chaos and community.?
?On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life?s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make this journey on Life?s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs re-structuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries and say: ?This is not Just.? . .A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: ?This way of settling differences is not just.??
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Beyond Vietnam. Address given at Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967.
Pope John Paul II's 2005 World Day of Peace Message
"Teaching legality: 5. In this task of teaching peace, there is a particularly urgent need to lead individuals and peoples to respect the international order and to respect the commitments assumed by the Authorities which legitimately represent them. Peace and international law are closely linked to each another: law favors peace.
From the very dawn of civilization, developing human communities sought to establish agreements and pacts which would avoid the arbitrary use of force and enable them to seek a peaceful solution of any controversies which might arise. Alongside the legal systems of the individual peoples there progressively grew up another set of norms which came to be known as "ius gentium" (the law of the nations). With the passage of time, this body of law gradually expanded and was refined in the light of the historical experiences of the different peoples.
This process was greatly accelerated with the birth of modern States. From the sixteenth century on, jurists, philosophers and theologians were engaged in developing the various headings of international law and in grounding it in the fundamental postulates of the natural law. This process led with increasing force to the formulation of universal principles which are prior to and superior to the internal law of States, and which take into account the unity and the common vocation of the human family.
Central among all these is surely the principle that "pacta sunt servanda": accords freely signed must be honored. This is the pivotal and exceptionless presupposition of every relationship between responsible contracting parties. The violation of this principle necessarily leads to a situation of illegality and consequently to friction and disputes which would not fail to have lasting negative repercussions. It is appropriate to recall this fundamental rule, especially at times when there is a temptation to appeal to the law of force rather than to the force of law. One of these moments was surely the drama which humanity experienced during the Second World War: an abyss of violence, destruction and death unlike anything previously known.
Respect for law
6. That war, with the horrors and the appalling violations of human dignity which it occasioned, led to a profound renewal of the international legal order. The defense and promotion of peace were set at the center of a broadly modernized system of norms and institutions. The task of watching over global peace and security and with encouraging the efforts of States to preserve and guarantee these fundamental goods of humanity was entrusted by Governments to an organization established for this purpose -- the United Nations Organization -- with a Security Council invested with broad discretionary power. Pivotal to the system was the prohibition of the use of force. This prohibition, according to the well-known Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, makes provision for only two exceptions. The first confirms the natural right to legitimate defense, to be exercised in specific ways and in the context of the United Nations: and consequently also within the traditional limits! of necessity and proportionality.
The other exception is represented by the system of collective security, which gives the Security Council competence and responsibility for the preservation of peace, with power of decision and ample discretion.
The system developed with the United Nations Charter was meant "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind."(4) In the decades which followed, however, the division of the international community into opposing blocs, the cold war in one part of the world, the outbreak of violent conflicts in other areas and the phenomenon of terrorism produced a growing break with the ideas and expectations of the immediate post-war period.
A new international order
7. It must be acknowledged, however, that the United Nations Organization, even with limitations and delays due in great part to the failures of its members, has made a notable contribution to the promotion of respect for human dignity, the freedom of peoples and the requirements of development, thus preparing the cultural and institutional soil for the building of peace.
The activity of national Governments will be greatly encouraged by the realization that the ideals of the United Nations have become widely diffused, particularly through the practical gestures of solidarity and peace made by the many individuals also involved in Non-Governmental Organizations and in Movements for human rights.
This represents a significant incentive for a reform which would enable the United Nations Organization to function effectively for the pursuit of its own stated ends, which remain valid: "humanity today is in a new and more difficult phase of its genuine development. It needs a greater degree of international ordering."(5) States must consider this objective as a clear moral and political obligation which calls for prudence and determination. Here I would repeat the words of encouragement which I spoke in 1995: "The United Nations Organization needs to rise more and more above the cold status of an administrative institution and to become a moral center where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a family of nations."(6)
The deadly scourge of terrorism
8. Today international law is hard pressed to provide solutions to situations of conflict arising from the changed landscape of the contemporary world. These situations of conflict frequently involve agents which are not themselves States but rather entities derived from the collapse of States, or connected to independence movements, or linked to trained criminal organizations. A legal system made up of norms established down the centuries as a means of disciplining relations between sovereign States finds it difficult to deal with conflicts which also involve entities incapable of being considered States in the traditional sense. This is particularly the case with terrorist groups.
The scourge of terrorism has become more virulent in recent years and has produced brutal massacres which have in turn put even greater obstacles in the way of dialogue and negotiation, increasing tensions and aggravating problems, especially in the Middle East.
Even so, if it is to be won, the fight against terrorism cannot be limited solely to repressive and punitive operations. It is essential that the use of force, even when necessary, be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks. The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels: on the one hand, by eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice which frequently drive people to more desperate and violent acts; and on the other hand, by insisting on an education inspired by respect for human life in every situation: the unity of the human race is a more powerful reality than any contingent divisions separating individuals and people.
In the necessary fight against terrorism, international law is now called to develop legal instruments provided with effective means for the prevention, monitoring and suppression of crime. In any event, democratic governments know well that the use of force against terrorists cannot justify a renunciation of the principles of the rule of law. Political decisions would be unacceptable were they to seek success without consideration for fundamental human rights, since the end never justifies the means.
The contribution of the Church
9. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Mt 5:9). How could this saying, which is a summons to work in the immense field of peace, find such a powerful echo in the human heart if it did not correspond to an irrepressible yearning and hope dwelling within us? And why else would peacemakers be called children of God, if not because God is by nature the God of peace? Precisely for this reason, in the message of salvation which the Church proclaims throughout the world, there are doctrinal elements of fundamental importance for the development of the principles needed for peaceful coexistence between nations.
History teaches that the building of peace cannot prescind from respect for an ethical and juridical order, in accordance with the ancient adage: "Serva ordinem et ordo servabit te" (preserve order and order will preserve you). International law must ensure that the law of the more powerful does not prevail. Its essential purpose is to replace "the material force of arms with the moral force of law,"(7) providing appropriate sanctions for transgressors and adequate reparation for victims. This must also be applicable to those government leaders who violate with impunity human dignity and rights while hiding behind the unacceptable pretext that it is a matter of questions internal to their State.
In an Address which I gave to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 13 January 1997, I observed that international law is a primary means for pursuing peace: "For a long time international law has been a law of war and peace. I believe that it is called more and more to become exclusively a law of peace, conceived in justice and solidarity. And in this context morality must inspire law; morality can even assume a preparatory role in the making of law, to the extent that it shows the path of what is right and good."(8)
Down the centuries, the teaching of the Church, drawing upon the philosophical and theological reflection of many Christian thinkers, has made a significant contribution in directing international law to the common good of the whole human family. Especially in more recent times the Popes have not hesitated to stress the importance of international law as a pledge of peace, in the conviction that "the harvest of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace" (Jas 3:18). This is the path which the Church, employing the means proper to her, is committed to following, in the perennial light of the Gospel and with the indispensable help of prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 World Day of Peace Message
"The very name Benedict, which I chose on the day of my election to the Chair of Peter, is a sign of my personal commitment to peace. In taking this name, I wanted to evoke both the patron saint of Europe, who inspired a civilization of peace on the whole continent, and Pope Benedict XV, who condemned the First World War as a 'useless slaughter' and worked for a universal acknowledgment of the lofty demands of peace.
"The theme chosen for this year's reflection - 'In truth, peace' - expresses the conviction that wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendor of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace."
"Peace cannot be reduced to the simple absence of armed conflict, but needs to be understood as 'the fruit of an order which has been planted in human society by its divine Founder,' ... As the result of an order planned and willed by the love of God, peace has an intrinsic and invincible truth of its own, and corresponds 'to an irrepressible yearning and hope dwelling within us'." "Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that 'grammar' of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts, whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing"
Seen in this way, peace appears as a heavenly gift and a divine grace which demands at every level the exercise of the highest responsibility: that of conforming human history-in truth, justice, freedom and love-to the divine order. Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that 'grammar' of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts, whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing. St. Augustine described peace as tranquillitas ordinis: the tranquillity of order."
6. Everyone should feel committed to service to the great good of peace. All people are members of one and the same family. An extreme exaltation of differences clashes with this fundamental truth. We share a common destiny.
Scripture and Peace
Scripture holds up for us a vision of peace. "God shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." (Isaiah 2.4)
Zechariah 9.9-10."Your King shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; the warrior's bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations."
Jesus indicated that his peace is unique. ?Peace is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you. I do not give it to you as the world gives peace. Do not be distressed or fearful.? (John 14.27)
Although I have always tried to live the peace of Christ, I don?t identify the peace of Christ with political and economic peace. I look upon integral peace as grace and mystery. Comprehending peace can be as elusive as God, the author of peace, or the human person, who never fully reaches peace, or the human family, who at this stage groans and is in agony as it searches for peace. I don?t think we should be too quick to conclude that we fully understand what the peace of Christ is or can be.
Christians, Jews, and Muslims share at least in theory a common understanding of peace as not only the absence of war which is certainly important but also the presence of justice which is equally essential. Peace is harmonious relationships among God, the family, the community, ourselves, and the earth. Peace is the exercise of basic human rights protected by law.
God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. "I mean that God, in Christ, was reconciling the world to himself, not counting humankind's transgressions against them, and that he has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us." (2 Corinthians 5.17-21.)
Part of Total Vision
Democratic international law needs to be complemented by economic freedom, the many forms of non-violence, personal virtue, family and community values. On the other hand without international and global law, individual and even national efforts can be ineffective. The building of a new world order needs all five pillars presented on this web-page. One will not work without the others.
Hope Against Hope
I never underestimate the will and power of God for good. Once we had kings and queens. Now democracy is the norm. Once we had slavery, later de jure and de facto segregation. Now we have civil rights legislation. Once women were not permitted to vote. Now we have the League of Women Voters. As St. Paul says, "Where sin abounds, there grace does more abound." (Romans 5.20) When the odds are impossible, the Holy Spirit breaks through.
As we enter the new millennium, congratulations are in order for our world as 139 nations including the US have signed the Rome Treaty establishing a permanent international criminal court. A carefully crafted treaty can be a major step toward a peace with justice.
Acknowledging the difficulties inherent in the ratification stage of the treaty, I pray that religious persons become spiritually free to consider the important advantages of a democratic international court. We are often encumbered by mentalities that block open discussion of issues different from our usual way of thinking. Spiritual discernment can help us throw off encrusted thought patterns.
Democratic Global Law
Once we reach the spiritual freedom to think new thoughts, we can see how basic and how reasonable international law is. Even while we attempt to reform our present criminal justice system, we need to work to extend our local, state, and federal law to world law. The human family needs an effective international authority. There needs to be a world legislative body to make laws; a judicial body to interpret the laws; an executive body to carry out the laws; an international police body to enforce the laws. Many philosophers and experts have filled in the blank spaces and have proposed detailed ways to execute the basic concept. (See Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace; Jean-Jacque Rousseau, On the Social Contract with Geneva Manuscript and Political Economy; Mortimer Adler, How to think About War and Peace, Emery Reeves, Anatomy of Peace. Dr. Ronald J. Glossop, Confronting War, World Federation? A Critical Analysis of Federal World Government.)
If we have a disagreement, do we start punching one another to see who is right? No, we try to dialogue with one another and then, if that fails, get a mediator. As a last resort we take our case to court. We need law and order between nations. My reason is that peace is better than war; justice beats injustice; a sound earth is better than a deteriorating earth.
A structure of laws needs to be carefully thought out and tested by experience. A truly democratic United Nations would have legislative, judicial, and executive resources adequate to do the job. We need an global authority with the kind of checks and balances in the US Constitution. We need democratic law according to the principle of subsidiarity, that is, taking to the higher level only those cases that cannot be solved at local, regional, state, or national levels. One approach is to reform the present United Nations. Another approach is to call for a World Constitutional Convention and not let our elected representatives out of the Convention until they reach an agreement.
Certainly there are risks in such a fundamental change. But there are fewer risks in democratic world law than in the present system.
Common Food Security
In February, 1999, a UN-backed summit of 174 nations met in Cartagena, Columbia, debating how to regulate trade in gene-engineered potatoes, cotton, grains and trees. Six nations blocked the rest of the world from agreeing on a treaty. If we had democratic international law, citizens of the world could insure our common food security. Now we have rule by the World Trade Organization which is a tribunal of corporate executives. Farmers in third world nations are being ruined. Third world nations have to export more food to be able to pay their unfair debt. Now the US sets world prices.
Rule of Law of the US Institute of Peace
"Societies based on...the rule of law are prerequisites for...the lasting order of peace, security, justice, and cooperation." - Conference on Security and Cooperation In Europe (1990)
Research suggests that societies based on the rule of law are more likely to be stable democracies and contribute to international order and less likely to be sources of conflict than other states. Since its inception, the Rule of Law of the US Institute of Peace has devoted increasing attention to the relationship between types of governments and the prospects for long-term peace or conflict. To focus its work in this arena the Institute's Rule of Law Program works to assist institutions and processes that will best bring about law-based management of international conflict and a sense of justice. The program is based on the premise that adherence to the rule of law entails far more than the mechanical application of static legal technicalities; it requires an evolutionary search for those institutions and processes that will best bring about authentic stability through justice. Over the years the Institute's Rule of Law Program has worked on numerous projects ranging from international war crimes issues to legal issues related to the protection of human rights around the globe. For additional information about the work of the Rule of Law Program please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Through a combination of working groups, on-the-ground consultation, and special workshops, the Rule of Law Program seeks to build upon and refine principles on the rule of law articulated by various international bodies and to provide practical guidance for their implementation.
Building a Foundation for Law and Order in Afghanistan. Within days of the start of military action against the Taliban regime, the Institute took the lead in facilitating discussion among legal experts to explore the challenges of the administration of justice in post-conflict Afghanistan. At the request of the United Nations, the Institute developed a series of proposals for use at the Bonn negotiations between Afghanistan's warring ethnic and political factions. One provision of the subsequent Bonn Accords, regarding the establishment of a framework for reorganizing the interim legal system, was based directly on Institute recommendations. In addition, the Institute's Rule of Law Program at the request of the U.S. State Department also facilitated the compilation, translation, production, and distribution of 1,000 copies of Afghanistan's pre-war law and legal codes?copies of which had been systematically destroyed throughout the nation by the Taliban.
Promoting Post-Conflict Reconciliation and Transitional Justice
To help nations peacefully transition into law-based societies, the Institute of Peace has developed knowledge, analysis, and practical tools that have been used to promote post-conflict reconciliation in over 50 countries. In particular, the need to deal with the legacy, personnel, and victims of war-time atrocities and abuses committed by the former regime has proved to be a consistently daunting dilemma. To assist societies dealing with these complex issues the Institute's Rule of Law Program has actively explored questions of prosecution, amnesty, victims' compensation, and the use of historical or "truth" commissions as a tool for societal healing. Recognized as a leader around the world in issues related to post-conflict reconciliation and transitional justice, the Institute has consulted and worked with over 20 different nations across the globe. Notable examples of this work include practical guidance provided by the Institute to officials seeking to re-establish legal order and bring to account human rights violators in countries such as South Africa, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.
A Look at the Institute in Action
Assisting Reconciliation in Rwanda. Since 1994 the Institute has sought to establish justice and accountability and to help rebuild stable social foundations in the wake of the bloody ethnic strife that consumed Rwanda during the early 1990s. Since 1995, at the request of the Rwandan president, the Institute's Rule of Law Program has played a key role in developing detailed plans to handle the complex challenges of accountability and justice in Rwanda without the resort to further violence. Over the years the Institute has maintained close ties with Rwanda, consulting in the ongoing pursuit of post-genocide justice, advising the U.S. government on assistance issues, consulting with the country's constitutional commission, and playing a central role in planning for the overhaul of the Rwandan judiciary.
- United States Institute of Peace -- 1200 17th Street NW -- Washington, DC 20036 (202) 457-1700 (phone) -- (202) 429-6063 (fax)
Objections to Democratic International Law
If the Popes and the bishops and so many other leaders from Dante, St. Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant to today have advocated a democratic and truly effective world order which would bring us a peace with justice through law, why don't we have common security? Why don't we even talk about it? I suggest there are three main reasons.
One reason even those committed to peace and justice are skittish about world federalism is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are terrified, and rightly so, by the thought of an centralized authority with excessive concentration of power. No one wants a form of global law open to abuse but one democratically founded, using the principle of subsidiarity, with proper checks and balances. International law and order would not mean we would no longer have the responsibility of being active and committed citizens. Without responsible citizens, nothing will work. On the other hand without the proper structures, even active citizens will be ineffective. The question today is whether we don't already have an excessive economic power concentration which in turn dominates what is left of governments.
The second reason is that we are used to thinking of legitimate self-defense in terms of large armed forces. Until we do establish democratic and effective global law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2308, 9) reluctantly allows for legitimate defense by military force under strict conditions. But can we defend ourselves today by putting all our emphasis on dangerous weapons of mass destruction or by greater investment in education, health care, negotiation, and economic justice on a world-wide basis?
I think a permanent global police force will need to use occasionally a minimum of force. Sadly there are times when words of persuasion are not enough to take weapons of destruction from individual or governmental terrorists. However, the world's present levels of military spending defy all sense of balance and proportion. Only one-fourth of the world's military expenditures could feed, house, and provide basic health care for each person on earth.
By putting all of our eggs in the military basket, we expose ourselves to economic, electronic, biological, chemical, nuclear, environmental, and social risk. Instead of putting all our trust in dangerous weapons of mass destruction, why don't we trust in God's plan for us?
The third reason we don't have common security is that people think we would never be able to convince enough nations that world order is reasonable and moral. This I think is a lack of trust in God. Of course, I could never convince you or anyone else of the moral imperative that Pope John XXIII talked about. But with God's grace, we all could come to a consciousness of the importance of global law and order. There's nothing that is more important.
Once we are convinced of the absolute and immediate necessity of working day and night, night and day for world order, small values-based communities could strive for a consensus on an world constitution. The fruit of small group discussions could then be shared with the wider community.
There are many elements in the present United Nations that need to be changed. The veto in the United Nations Security Council is hardly democratic. The General Assembly has little power, and its votes are not weighted according to population. There is no permanent international peace-keeping force. The international financial institutions are not held accountable to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Although it is a beginning and has had significant achievements, the present United Nations lacks the resources and structures that will adequately meet world-wide concerns.
A Sustainable Global Economy
I recommend a small book by Hazel Henderson for the New Economics Foundation: Beyond Globalization, Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy: "Ever more problems and issues have become global--beyond the reach of national governments. . .Money itself has morphed into information, as debit cards, credit cards, and trillions of digitized bits flow between millions of computers. Money and information are now equivalent--we are already off the money and gold standard and on the information standard worldwide. If money-based transactions and credit-availability are not overhauled drastically, consumers, businesses, employees, and investors will simply go around banks and money-based transacting to pure information-based transactions such as high-tech barter, local scrip currencies and LETS systems, electronic commerce via e-cash, credit and debit cards, virtual banking, etc. (p. 51)
Many citizens' groups are challenging the practice of creating money as debt to banks who can lend money out at interest while only retaining a fraction (usually 8%) in reserves. There needs to be local credit-union, micro-credit, small banks devoted to local lending. (p. 52)
Cincinnati's Time Store was a bring and buy, local skills and labor exchange.
The most prominent example of sovereignty-sharing is the European Union. Power-sharing has not come easily, but operates effectively within the principle of subsidiarity: control retained at local or provincial levels where appropriate." (p. 3)
The light graced story of globalization includes the advance of citizen organizations and movements. More access to information has helped empower citizens, employees, socially responsible investors, and consumers.
The dark graced story of globalization includes the secrecy of corporations and banks. Corporations hide what they're doing by unreal accounting. It is not hard to make globalization look good if your accounting disenfranchises a significant minority, ignores the running down of natural resources (about 30% of Nature's productive capacity has been lost), and discounts future risks.
"Unpaid work (parenting, caring for old and sick family members, growing food for family and community needs, maintaining households, volunteering in community service, do-it-yourself home and community construction, and repair projects) is some 50% of all production in developed countries and 60 to 65% in developing countries." (p. 10)
The GNP "private" sector rests on the GNP "public" sector (roads, schools, etc) which rests on the Social cooperative Caring Economy (unpaid work) which rests on Nature's Layer (which absorbs costs of pollution, recycles wastes if tolerances are not exceeded, etc)
"Addressing the tasks of restructuring the global economy requires a multitude of disciplines and metrics beyond money--that is a systems approach. . . Systems theorists have shown that many of our social and environmental problems experienced at one level are generated at another level. The reductionist paradigm of solving problems, one at a time, in isolation, without an overview of the whole system is precisely what generates impacts elsewhere) Our global networked economy is composed of millions of daily actions and interactions at all levels--between governments, banks, investors, corporations, employees, and consumers--all nested in ecosystems. Sadly, many millions are increasingly left out of these networks. . . Almost the entire continent of Africa (except for South Africa) has been bypassed by the flows of the global economy as have inner cities and rural areas in many developed countries." p. 15.
"On an annual budget of less than New York City's municipal fire department, the UN has cajoled, networked and convened its member states to agree on a wide range of major global concerns. . .The UN is the most inclusive, open and democratic of the global institutions, the General Assembly of all member-states, as well as its International Court of Justice and universal Declaration of Human Rights. Partly due to this democratic structure, the rich, powerful countries and financial interests which dominate the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group (including the International Development Association and the International Finance Corporation) have pulled these Bretton Woods-created agencies away from UN control. Thus today the World Bank and IMF often act secretively and autonomously. These agencies need to return to the UN fold. . the independent World Trade Organization, largely dominated by corporate and "free market" agendas need to be reformed and democratized." (p. 26)
There needs to be a properly trained standing force of UN peace-keepers, a rapid-deployment humanitarian force, a reformed and expanded Security Council with restricted use of the veto, an end to global arms trafficking, an emphasis on a credible deterrent before conflicts break out. (p. 27)
International criminal trials should be televised before the ultimate court of world opinion.
We need public goods, knowledge, health, infrastructure, national parks, defense, police and justice systems, peace, equity, financial stability, and environmental sustainability. The Internet and cyberspace are global public goods. Nobel economist Amartya Sen treats global justice as a public good. A well-regulated, transparent, well-functioning system of financial markets is a global public good. "Financial instability is an international public bad."
People or companies who use these public goods need to pay their fair share of the costs. There needs to be equitable international taxation. Simple derivative instruments such as forward contracts would be easy to tax. The Canadian Parliament passed a resolution in April 1999 to study the international financial transaction tax proposed by economist James Tobin, a tax that would affect only wealthy institutions.
There needs to be a global version of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a new Bretton Woods conference convened by the UN, a new accounting system that can better monitor ecological assets, human and social capital, and unpaid work in the caring sectors of all economies.
There needs to be an international central bank which could stabilize foreign exchange markets by maintaining its own currency as an international unit of account.
Prevention costs much less than coping with problems after they occur.
In 1998 violent weather (a well-documented effect of climate change) cost the world's insurance industry a record US $89 billion--more than all weather related catastrophes in all of the 1980's. (p. 30)
Corporate charters need redrafting to reflect new realities, where knowledge is recognized as a key factor of production and social/environmental performance are benchmarked and audited. All stakeholders affected by the means of production, workers, the community, the earth, need to be recognized. (p. 46)
New Quality of Life scorecards would also measure toxic wastes, resource depletion, shrinking safe-water supplies, polluted air, unsafe streets, drugs, money-laundering, poverty, and global epidemics. (p. 56)
In developed nations the limiting factor now is time rather than money. The Attention Economy is turning off information overload and costly mass consumption and moving to more caring, attention-based health services geared to self-knowledge and prevention, eco-labeling and social seals of approval.
A global TV/Internet network is a reality (www.wetv.com) WE stands for "We the People" and the "Whole Earth"
Cultural diversity is as important as bio-diversity.
We must abolish nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and turn technology to positive good and to building our common future.
We need to accept compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Committee; increase the Courts' powers of enforcement. Establish an International Environmental Court to enforce international treaties on the environment and protect the global commons.
Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.: "When we truly discover the power of love, it will prove more important than the harnessing of fire."
Sense of Balance and Proportion
The United States is the last of the Big Time Military Spenders. When our military budget was $289 billion, the US military budget was more than five times larger than that of Russia, the second largest spender. It was more than nineteen times as large as the combined spending of the seven countries traditionally identified by the Pentagon as our most likely adversaries (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria). It was over seven times that of our ally, Japan, and more than eleven times that of Germany. The US and its close allies spend more than the rest of the world combined, accounting for 63% of all military spending. Together they spend over thirty times more than the seven rogue states. (See Center for Defense Information http://www.cdi.org) Instead of reducing our budget, we have now increased it to 350 billion!
- I suggest Ronald J. Glossop, World Federation? A Critical Analysis of Federal World Government, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1993. Confronting War, An Examination of Humanity's Most Pressing Problem, 4th edition, McFarland, 2001. Has excellent bibliography. P. 274. Report of Our Global Neighborhood.: "There is need to balance the rights of states with the rights of people, and the interests of nations with the interests of the global neighborhood. . . the global neighborhood of the future must be characterized by law and the reality that all, including the weakest, are equal under the law and none, including the strongest, is above it."
- Also Monika Hellwig, A Case for Peace in Reason and Faith, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1992.
US Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, God's Promise and Our Response.
Michael T. Klare and Yogesh Chandrani, World Security, Challenges for a New Century,Third edition, 1998.
Gerald and Patricia Mische, Toward a Human World Order, Beyond the National Security Straitjacket, 1977
Grenville Clark and Louis B. Sohn. World Peace through World Law, 3rd edition, enlarged. Cambridge MA Harvard University Press, 1966.
- A classic is Mortimer J. Adler, How to Think about War and Peace, Simon and Schuster. ""What always has been always will be" is not always true. If the cause can be controlled or eradicated, the event which once seemed inevitable may be avoided. . That will depend on us--on our learning the causes to control, and on our making an adequate effort to control them." p. 27. The only cause of war is international anarchy. Government can control all the other causes of war. "We know that we can prevent war by abolishing international anarchy." p. 75 "Economic freedom is indispensable to the unfettered exercise of political freedom. .Economic democracy involves economic justice for all." p. 128 " World peace will be difficult to achieve--difficult, not impossible, p. 126. "Our imaginations need to be amplified. For that, an amplified experience is needed. The world would be nearer peace than it now is if most men had the experience that a few have had--the experience of the world's physical unity, and of its potentialities for social and political unity." p. 299.
Veterans for Peace
Veterans for Peace includes men and women veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, other conflicts and peacetime veterans. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.
Veterans For Peace is an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) represented at the UN.
Department of Peace
Congressman Dennis Kucinich has proposed a Department of Peace to replace the nation of fear that has been created since Sept. 11th."We are organizing a whole new approach to create a new political movement in this country. If you want to keep your eyes at our site,-- which is www.thespiritoffreedom.com -- we are going to be putting stuff on the website that talks about organizing. So we are going to help people get organized all around the country in a nonviolent way, in a creative way, in a way which is empowering to people, and which can help people assert their own basic rights as citizens of this country and as citizens of the world, because this is not just about America. Peace is in our national interest. International cooperation is in our national interest. We need to have grand civic dialogue about what we might be able to do here to change the direction of the nation. It certainly needs change. We can spend an extra forty-five billion dollars this year for military when they can't even keep track of their own budget, and still we have forty-two million people without adequate health insurance, senior citizens splitting pills in order to try to meet their health requirements and still protect their budget. We have schools that are still falling apart with programs that don't work. We have so much to do. Yet, society is becoming militarized. People want change. The fifteen thousand emails in the last three weeks told me that people want a different direction. I think they are representative of millions of Americans who want to take a different approach. They don't want to be trapped into a condition that the level of support for war is equated with patriotism."
?President Obama is committed to building strong international partnerships to tackle global challenges?The International Criminal Court, which has started its first trial this week, looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda, and Darfur." Ms. Rice. Current Ambassador to UN.
International Criminal Court
See a description of the very conservative treaty: NGO Coalition for an International Criminal Court.
Independent polling has twice determined between 60-70% of Americans support the concept of creating an international court to try perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. To shift the balance in the US from anti-ICC to pro-ICC go to here.
- See also http://www.amicc.org
"The court is most likely to have a prominent role in situations like the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda, where those in power want to protect the perpetrators of crimes, or the country?s legal system is simply not capable of mounting effective prosecutions. It is under exactly these circumstances that the United States has supported international prosecutions in the past as a contribution to international peace, and the fact that the court is already in existence will mean it will be able to swing into action without the delay involved in setting up a legal body from scratch. For this reason, Whewell Professor of International Law at Cambridge University, and Chairman of the International Law Commission Professor James Crawford predicted that at some point the United States would conclude that it was in its interest to become a party: "Sooner or later we?ll have another Yugoslavia or whatever, and the rest of the world will say, ?This falls squarely within the jurisdiction of the ICC, we?ve created it, we?re not going to duplicate, we?ll just use the body we?ve set up.? Any attempt by the Americans to set up a separate body through the Security Council, as they did with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, will fail. And the Americans are going to find out that they have no influence over the way things are happening."
A new web resource on the ICC developed by the Crimes of War Project analyzes the US action toward the ICC, and hopes to clarify common misconceptions about the Court. http://www.crimesofwar.org/onnews/news-us-icc.html
On May 6, 2002, the United States government delivered a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations giving formal notice that the US has no intention of becoming a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The letter also requested that the US declaration be reflected in the Rome treaty?s official status list ? effectively canceling out the US signature to the treaty that was entered by the Clinton administration on December 31, 2001. This measure ? popularly referred to as "unsigning" ? sets the United States in outright opposition to the court, which will come into existence on July 1 of 2002.
The move confirmed that the Bush administration will not submit the Rome treaty establishing the court to the Senate for ratification, and that it will refuse to cooperate with the court once it is up and running. The administration also announced that it would attempt to negotiate bilateral agreements with as many other countries as possible to prevent them from surrendering US agents to the court.
What does ?unsigning? mean? The administration?s repudiation of the treaty has been condemned by many human rights groups and numerous foreign observers, including the European Union. Whatever one thinks of it as a policy matter, however, the action of withdrawing from a treaty prior to ratification is explicitly sanctioned by international law. Under Article 18 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a state that has signed but not ratified a treaty is obliged to "refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty?until it shall have made its intention clear not to become a party to the treaty."
According to James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law at Cambridge University, and Chairman of the International Law Commission working group that produced the first draft statute for the court in 1994, it was "probably appropriate, given their intentions toward the court" that the United States make a formal announcement that it was not going to become a party to the treaty. Crawford said that he thought it was "very unfortunate" that the United States took the attitude toward the court that it did, but that under those circumstances, it was entitled to say "We?re not going to be a party to this."
For the United States, withdrawal from the treaty gives it a freer hand to launch a diplomatic offensive to minimize the chances that US military, governmental or other official personnel might ever appear before the court. On the same day that the withdrawal was announced, the government said that it was designating an official named Marisa Lino to negotiate bilateral agreements with countries to prevent them surrendering US agents to the court?s jurisdiction.
Will the ICC be able to function without US support? The International Criminal Court will be funded entirely by states that are a party to it; United States non-participation means that the US will not contribute anything to meet the running costs of the institution. However Professor Crawford pointed out that "the court is not going to cost very much, because in the short term it?s not going to do very much." This is because (as discussed further below) the ICC will effectively be a court of last resort, and it can be assumed that most states that are party to it would, in the event that any of their citizens faced credible charges of committing war crimes, use their primary jurisdiction to try the case themselves.
Of more concern for the Court may be the apparent determination of the United States not to provide any help to the prosecutor with regard to information, documents or testimony. According to Pierre-Richard Prosper, Ambassador for War Crimes Issues, on May 6: "If the prosecutor of the ICC seeks to build a case against an individual, the prosecutor should build the case on his or her own effort and not be dependent or reliant upon U.S. information or cooperation. We have detached ourselves from the process; we have divorced ourselves from the process and do not intend to contribute in that regard."
Will United States personnel be liable to prosecution by the court? Under the Rome Statute for the ICC, the court has jurisdiction over cases where the suspect is a national of a state that is a party to the treaty, or where the crimes were committed on the territory of state that is a party to the treaty, or where the case is referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council. Because the US will not be a party to the treaty, US nationals would only fall within the jurisdiction of the court if they were accused of crimes committed on the territory of a state party. (As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States would be able to veto any attempt to refer a case involving an American citizen to the court.)
In its public statements, the United States has spoken in particular of its concern that US military personnel or government officials serving overseas should not be liable to prosecution by the court. During his press conference on May 6, Ambassador Prosper said, "Our primary concern is toward our US service members and officials acting in their official capacity." In a statement released on the same day, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated, "Fortunately there may be mechanisms within the treaty by which we can work bilaterally with friends and allies, to the extent they are willing, to prevent the jurisdiction of the treaty and thus avoid complications in our military cooperation."
According to Annalisa Ciampi, Researcher in International Law at the University of Florence, Rumsfeld was probably referring to Article 98 of the statute. This article states that the Court "may not proceed with a request for surrender which would require the requested State to act inconsistently with its obligations under international agreements pursuant to which the consent of a sending State is required to surrender a person of that State to the Court, unless the Court can first obtain the cooperation of the sending State for the giving of consent for the surrender." Ciampi said that this clause was primarily intended to cover existing "status of forces" agreements that require countries where US troops are serving to return them to the United States for trial if they are accused of war crimes.
However she pointed out that there is nothing in the Statute that specifies that such agreements must already be in existence, or even that they must require trial in the United States for US personnel. In other words, if the United States can persuade another country to sign a bilateral agreement, promising not to hand over US personnel serving in that country in an official capacity to the ICC, then the court would not be able to ask the country to hand over the American officials. This will be the focus of Marisa Lino?s diplomatic efforts. (In what appears to be a related policy, the United States was reported on May 16 to be pressing the United Nations for a guarantee that peacekeepers of all nationalities serving with the UN in East Timor should be immune from prosecution by local or international courts.)
Are there more effective mechanisms for promoting international justice? In a speech explaining the reasons for the US renunciation of the ICC, Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, said that "states, not international institutions are primarily responsible for ensuring justice in the international system." He said that the US would continue to play in leading role in promoting the rule of law and accountability for violations of international humanitarian law, but that that should be done wherever possible through reinforcing the capability of domestic legal systems. Grossman referred to the newly-created hybrid tribunal for Sierra Leone as an example of how the international community could work constructively with domestic bodies.
According to Horst Fischer, Academic Director of the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at Ruhr University in Germany, the argument that the ICC infringes the principle of domestic primacy represents the exact opposite of the court?s fundamental approach. "Under the principle of complementarity agreed in Rome," he said, "it?s the main task of the national courts to deal with all the crimes mentioned in the statute, not the ICC." The court will only exercise jurisdiction when national courts are unwilling or unable genuinely to prosecute. There is nothing in the court?s statute that would prevent domestic legal systems ? with or without international assistance ? from taking the main responsibility for prosecuting those charged with breaches of international law.
Will the Court interfere in domestic transitional justice? Marc Grossman said on May 6 that "when a society makes the transition from oppression to democracy", it should be allowed to choose its own method of confronting its past. He referred to the example of South Africa?s Truth and Reconciliation Committee as a "democratic decision" that might be threatened under the current framework of the Rome treaty.
Article 17 of the Rome Statute sets out the criteria for determining when a state can be said to be unwilling to prosecute a suspected offender. The relevant test here is whether "the proceedings were or are being undertaken or the national decision was made for the purpose of shielding the person concerned from criminal responsibility." According to Professor Crawford, this measure gives some latitude for countries to decide that national reconciliation would be served by some process other than full prosecution ? since under those circumstances the decision would have been taken in the wider interests of the society, rather than merely to shield an offender from justice.
However Crawford said this was an area which would require delicate judgment from the court: "I think there is a question about truth commissions, because you can?t say a priori which ones are a reasonable response to the situation, and which ones are a cover-up. It?s going to require extreme care by the prosecutor. There may be some problem there with the capacity to subvert those processes if they are reasonable, and we?ll just have to hope that the institutions within the court take a sensible view about it. But complementarity extends to covering internal processes which don?t necessarily involve prosecutions of individuals, so there?s no reason why the principle of complementarity ought not to cover an appropriately constituted truth commission."
Crawford added that he expected over time that there would develop "some form of informal criteria for the adequacy of truth commissions". He suggested that one possible test would be whether the procedure in question had been freely ratified by the successor regime, "so it?s not just a way that the generals can sign their amnesty on the way out of the door."
Will the Court try people for aggression? Aggression ? or crimes against peace ? was one of the crimes listed in the London Charter for the Nuremberg trials (largely through the initiative of the United States) and confirmed in the tribunal?s judgment. It was not included in the jurisdiction of the ad hoc tribunals for ex-Yugoslavia or Rwanda (which was in any case an internal conflict).
In the Rome Statute, aggression is listed as a crime but with the proviso that the court will only exercise jurisdiction over it "once a provision is adopted?defining the crime and setting out the conditions under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime. Such a provision shall be consistent with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations." The Statute also says that no amendments may be made for seven years after the treaty comes into force.
The statute?s treatment of aggression is one of the main reasons cited by the United States for its rejection of the court. Marc Grossman said the possibility that the prosecutor might be able to issue indictments for aggression "dilutes the authority of the UN Security Council" and warned that the ICC prosecutor and judges might be able to "sit in judgment on the security decisions of states without their assent."
However Professor Crawford argued that the question of aggression was in "cold storage", and that it was likely to remain there. Amendments to the statute require the support of two-thirds of the states that are party to the statute, and he said it was unlikely that this number of countries would unite behind a definition that was problematical.
It is also worth noting that the Rome Statute explicitly requires that any definition of aggression should be compatible with the Charter of the United Nations, which states in Chapter VII, Article 39: "The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken?to maintain or restore international peace and security." This appears to require that any definition of aggression that the court might adopt should preserve a central role for the Security Council in determining that an act of aggression had taken place.
Will the ICC be an "unchecked power"? According to Marc Grossman, the Rome Statute "places enormous unchecked power in the hands of the ICC prosecutor and judges" and opens the way for "controversy, politicized prosecutions and confusion". The United States objects to the ability of the prosecutor to launch investigations and prosecutions independently, without authorization by the Security Council or national governments. US officials also complain that the court?s judges are the final arbiters of the court?s jurisdiction ? so that they can rule on such questions as whether national legal systems are making a genuine effort to prosecute offenders.
Supporters of the court point out that, under the Rome Statute, there is an institutional check on the self-initiating actions of the prosecutor: any investigation or prosecution launched by the prosecutor must be approved by a three-person pre-trial chamber. Moreover, there is also an external safeguard: under Article 16 of the Statute, the Security Council can vote to suspend any investigation or prosecution for a renewable one-year period.
According to Horst Fischer, the charge that the court will be unchecked represents a misunderstanding of the notion of the rule of law. "Checks and balances does not mean that the court should be politically controllable," he said. "That is the essence of what the rule of law is about, that you have an independent judiciary."
Does the Rome Statute undermine the role of the Security Council? According to the State Department?s Marc Grossman, the Rome treaty "dilutes the authority of the UN Security Council", because it may give the court the right to decide when an act of aggression has taken place. Grossman also argued that the Security Council should have the right to check possible excesses of the prosecutor, by giving its approval before investigations initiated by the prosecutor could go ahead.
However, as noted above, the Statute?s treatment of aggression explicitly states that the definition should be framed in such a way as to be consistent with the UN Charter and the special role that it gives the Security Council. Moreover, as also noted above, the Security Council retains the right to suspend prosecutions for a renewable period of one year, if the Council determines that such a suspension is necessary for the promotion of international peace and security.
The difference between this provision, and the version that the administration would have preferred (i.e. that the Security Council should approve prosecutions in advance) appears to revolve around the contrast between an affirming and a blocking vote of the Security Council. If the Council had to approve all prosecutions, then any investigation could be halted through the veto of one of the Council?s permanent members (such as the United States). Under the current arrangement, it would take a positive vote of the Council to stop an investigation, and the United States would not be able to engineer this on its own. It is not the power of the Security Council that is being limited, it seems, but the power of a single permanent member to act independently as a block on the court?s actions. Professor Crawford characterized the United States? apparent desire to retain an absolute veto on the prosecutor?s power to investigate American personnel as expressing the view, "International law is for others."
Does the Statute infringe US sovereignty? In the words of Marc Grossman, "The court, as constituted today, claims the authority to detain and try American citizens, even though our democratically-elected representatives have agreed not to be bound by the treaty. While sovereign nations have the authority to try non-citizens who have committed crimes against their citizens or in their territory, the United States has never recognized the right of an international organization to do so, absent consent or a UN Security Council mandate." Grossman said this aspect of the court threatened the sovereignty of the United States.
It is true that the court will (as discussed above) have jurisdiction over United States citizens, even though the US has not signed the treaty, but only if they are charged with crimes committed on the territory of a state that is party to the Statute. As Grossman acknowledged, under these circumstances the Americans involved would already be subject to the jurisdiction of national courts in the countries concerned. Horst Fischer argued that it was illogical to say that, by transferring their right to try such cases to an international body, countries were taking a step that altered American sovereignty in any way. He also pointed out that the United States has promoted and become a party to several treaties that create new international crimes over which national courts have jurisdiction (for instance, money laundering and drug trafficking), even if the accused is a citizen of a country that is not a party to the treaty, and even if the crimes were not committed in the country that proposes to try them.
ROME STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT*
[* as corrected by the procés-verbaux of 10 November 1998 and 12 July 1999]
The States Parties to this Statute, Conscious that all peoples are united by common bonds, their cultures pieced together in a shared heritage, and concerned that this delicate mosaic may be shattered at any time, Mindful that during this century millions of children, women and men have been victims of unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity,
Recognizing that such grave crimes threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world, Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation, Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes, Recalling that it is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes, Reaffirming the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular that all States shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations, Emphasizing in this connection that nothing in this Statute shall be taken as authorizing any State Party to intervene in an armed conflict or in the internal affairs of any State,
Determined to these ends and for the sake of present and future generations, to establish an independent permanent International Criminal Court in relationship with the United Nations system, with jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, Emphasizing that the International Criminal Court established under this Statute shall be complementary to national criminal jurisdictions, Resolved to guarantee lasting respect for and the enforcement of international justice, Have agreed as follows
PART 1. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COURT
Article 1 The Court
An International Criminal Court ("the Court") is hereby established. It shall be a permanent institution and shall have the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern, as referred to in this Statute, and shall be complementary to national criminal jurisdictions. The jurisdiction and functioning of the Court shall be governed by the provisions of this Statute.
Article 2 Relationship of the Court with the United Nations
The Court shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations through an agreement to be approved by the Assembly of States Parties to this Statute and thereafter concluded by the President of the Court on its behalf.
Article 3 Seat of the Court
- The seat of the Court shall be established at The Hague in the Netherlands ("the host State").
- The Court shall enter into a headquarters agreement with the host State, to be approved by the Assembly of States Parties and thereafter concluded by the President of the Court on its behalf.
- The Court may sit elsewhere, whenever it considers it desirable, as provided in this Statute.
Article 4 Legal status and powers of the Court
- The Court shall have international legal personality. It shall also have such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes.
- The Court may exercise its functions and powers, as provided in this Statute, on the territory of any State Party and, by special agreement, on the territory of any other State.
PART 2. JURISDICTION, ADMISSIBILITY AND APPLICABLE LAW
Article 5 Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court
The jurisdiction of the Court shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute with respect to the following crimes:
- a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression.
- The Court shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once a provision is adopted in accordance with articles 121 and 123 defining the crime and setting out the conditions under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime. Such a provision shall be consistent with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Article 6 Genocide
For the purpose of this Statute, "genocide" means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article 7 Crimes against humanity
For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
(a) Murder; (b) Extermination; (c) Enslavement; (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population; (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; (f) Torture; (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; (i) Enforced disappearance of persons; (j) The crime of apartheid; (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
For the purpose of paragraph 1: (a) "Attack directed against any civilian population" means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack; (b) "Extermination" includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;
(c) "Enslavement" means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children; (d) "Deportation or forcible transfer of population" means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law; (e) "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions; (f) "Forced pregnancy" means the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy; (g) "Persecution" means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity;(h) "The crime of apartheid" means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime; (i) "Enforced disappearance of persons" means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
- For the purpose of this Statute, it is understood that the term "gender" refers to the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society. The term "gender" does not indicate any meaning different from the above.
Article 8 War crimes
- The Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of war crimes in particular when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.
- For the purpose of this Statute, "war crimes" means: (a) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention: (i) Willful killing; (ii) Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments; (iii) Willfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health; (iv) Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly; v) Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power; (vi) Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial; (vii) Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement; (viii) Taking of hostages. (b) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts: (i) Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; (ii) Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives; (iii) Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict; (iv) Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated; (v) Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives; (vi) Killing or wounding a combatant who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defense, has surrendered at discretion; (vii) Making improper use of a flag of truce, of the flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy or of the United Nations, as well as of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions, resulting in death or serious personal injury; (viii) The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory; (ix) Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives; (x) Subjecting persons who are in the power of an adverse party to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are neither justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the person concerned nor carried out in his or her interest, and which cause death to or seriously endanger the health of such person or persons; (xi) Killing or wounding treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army; (xii) Declaring that no quarter will be given; (xiii) Destroying or seizing the enemy's property unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war; (xiv) Declaring abolished, suspended or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party; (xv) Compelling the nationals of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the belligerent's service before the commencement of the war; (xvi) Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault; xvii) Employing poison or poisoned weapons; (xviii) Employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices; (xix) Employing bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions; (xx) Employing weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict, provided that such weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare are the subject of a comprehensive prohibition and are included in an annex to this Statute, by an amendment in accordance with the relevant provisions set forth in articles 121 and 123; (xxi) Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (xxii) Committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, as defined in article 7, paragraph 2 (f), enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence also constituting a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions; (xxiii) Utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations; (xxiv) Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law; (xxv) Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions; (xxvi) Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities. (c) In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause: (i) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (ii) Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (iii) Taking of hostages; (iv) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable. (d) Paragraph 2 (c) applies to armed conflicts not of an international character and thus does not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence or other acts of a similar nature. (e) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflicts not of an international character, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts: (i) Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; (ii) Intentionally directing attacks against buildings, material, medical units and transport, and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law; (iii) Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict; (iv) Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives; (v) Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault; (vi) Committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, as defined in article 7, paragraph 2 (f), enforced sterilization, and any other form of sexual violence also constituting a serious violation of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions; (vii) Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities; (viii) Ordering the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand; (ix) Killing or wounding treacherously a combatant adversary; (x) Declaring that no quarter will be given; (xi) Subjecting persons who are in the power of another party to the conflict to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are neither justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the person concerned nor carried out in his or her interest, and which cause death to or seriously endanger the health of such person or persons; (xii) Destroying or seizing the property of an adversary unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of the conflict; (f) Paragraph 2 (e) applies to armed conflicts not of an international character and thus does not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence or other acts of a similar nature. It applies to armed conflicts that take place in the territory of a State when there is protracted armed conflict between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups.
Nothing in paragraph 2 (c) and (e) shall affect the responsibility of a Government to maintain or re-establish law and order in the State or to defend the unity and territorial integrity of the State, by all legitimate means.
For the full text see NGO Coalition for an International Criminal Court: Council of Europe Documents
Below is the latest resolution by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), expressing the IADL's concerns over US efforts to undermine the ICC through the signing of impunity agreements.
Previous resolutions by the IADL can be viewed here.
IADL RESOLUTION CONDEMNING US TACTICS TO EVADE ICC JURISDICTION [Adopted at its Bureau meeting at Bancelona-October 26-27,2002]
Internnational Association of Democratic Lawyers, IADL, in consulative status with UN ECOSOC, and UNICEF and having members in
more than 96 countries, condemns the U.S. manouvers to evade the jurisdiction and gain immunity of U.S. military personnnel through bilateral agreements with member or non-member States to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The IADL expresses its grave concern that the Bush Administration sent to more than a hundred States an offer of agreement not to surrender its nationals to the ICC or to cooperate with the Court, purportedly under Art. 98 of the Rome Statute. It is deplorable that some States have already signed the agreement, which clearly runs counter to the terms and spirit of the Statute. There is a strong opinion in those countries against entering into such bilateral agreement and efforts are on to prevent their ratification by the respective parliaments. Furthermore, we, as an international association of democratic and progressive lawyers, strongly condemn attempts by the US to seek immunity from the ICC by any means, going so far as to arm-twist the weaker States. Such a bullying tactic can not but be condemned. Art. 98 of the Rome Statute admits the States Parties some exception to their obligation to cooperate with the ICC. But, it must be noted that Art. 98 is a provision to harmonize the States Parties obligation with the existing obligations of any bilateral agreements concluded before the day of entry into force of the ICC Statute, namely July 1st, 2002. It should also be noted that under the international law, particularly in the Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties of 1980, any State has to refrain from impeding or breaching a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, when the State signs or ratifies it. The US tactic is therefore a clear and persistent attempt to violate international law or principle of bona fide, which is now recognized as a part of customary international law. It should be noted that any agreement, bilateral or multilateral, is null and void should it destroy or obstruct the object and purpose of the Rome Statute. Furthermore, it may be noted that the US tactic is based upon the US Service Personnel Protection Act of 2002 (SPA), which stipulates U.S. President's power to cut U.S. military aids to those States that refuse to sign the above mentioned bilateral agreement of non-surrender to or non-cooperation with the ICC. It is clearly an attempt to coerce and pressurize state parties who depend on the military aid and support from US. While we firmly believe that military aides in general are not compatible with the spirit of the UN Charter, it would be a matter of grave concerns for the World at large and the UN member States in particular to see a region or a State less peaceful or secure if any abstention of US military aides could breed such a situation. The bilateral agreements offered by the US Administration are thus hypocratic and dangerous in nature. We call upon the US Administration to desist from such tactics and would further urge the State Parties to resist such pressures and decline to sign the proposed bilateral agreements. The IADL further calls upon its members and other lawyers to build up a strong opinion against such moves which are aimed to scuttle and nullify ICC from its inception and urge their respective national governments not to give in to the pressure tactics of US.
October 27, 2002, Published on Friday, January 3, 2003 by the Seattle Times,
The U.S. Shouldn't Fear International Criminal Court
by Jamie Mayerfeld
The United States government prides itself in assisting the global expansion of democracy. This boast makes its attack on the new International Criminal Court particularly disappointing. The ICC is one of the great democratic achievements of our age. It merits the support and adherence of the United States, not its continued opposition.
The ICC, inaugurated on July 1, 2002, is empowered to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It was for the purpose of prosecuting these very crimes that the United States persuaded the U.N. Security Council to establish ad hoc criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
But these tribunals were set up to punish atrocities that had already broken out. Many people thought there should be a permanent court to warn perpetrators ahead of time of the consequences of their deeds. The ICC was created to play this role.
When a country ratifies the treaty authorizing the ICC, it grants the court jurisdiction over crimes committed by its citizens and crimes committed on its territory.
Under the first form of jurisdiction, a ratifying country makes all of its citizens vulnerable to the court's prosecution for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ratification thus becomes an important measure of a country's commitment to the protection of fundamental human rights ? a commitment that underlies the democratic enterprise itself. The 87 countries that have so far taken this pledge deserve our admiration and applause.
So why does the United States oppose the court? It complains that, under the second form of jurisdiction, U.S. citizens become vulnerable to prosecution for acts allegedly committed on the territory of ratifying countries, even though the United States has not itself joined the court.
Under the "principle of complementarity," however, the court may undertake a criminal investigation only if the relevant national government proves unwilling or unable to do so. A bona fide investigation by the U.S. government into credible charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity would prevent any activity by the ICC. If the ICC prosecutor claims that the U.S. investigation is a sham, the U.S. government can challenge that ruling before the judges of the court.
The United States nonetheless charges that it is unfair even in principle to allow the prosecution of citizens whose governments have not joined the court. This objection flies in the face of the universally recognized right of governments to punish crimes committed on their territory by citizens and foreigners alike ? a right flowing from the undisputed responsibility of governments to preserve order in their domains. (Note that the United States prosecutes, punishes and indeed executes foreigners for crimes committed on American soil.)
If a country fears that its inhabitants could suffer genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity at the hands of foreigners, and foresees that it may lack the means or the will to prosecute such crimes itself, it has every right to entrust an international court with the power of doing so on its behalf.
Attempting to portray the ICC as untrustworthy, the United States has labeled it an "institution of unchecked power," but this is untrue to the facts. The ICC is accountable to an assembly of member states that chooses its prosecutors and judges and can vote to have them removed. Unsurprisingly, the court consists predominantly of democratic states deeply committed to the values on which it is founded. Equally unsurprisingly, the world's worst violators of human rights have declined to join the court.
It is thus doubly distressing that the Bush administration, with Congress' backing, has announced that it will withhold military aid from most ICC member states unless they first sign formal agreements never to extradite any U.S. or allied citizens to the court's jurisdiction.
This policy punishes countries that have pledged to prevent human-rights atrocities and that stand by the worthy principle that their inhabitants deserve protection from these crimes. The policy rewards the world's most repressive regimes, which now become favored recipients of the United States' huge military assistance program.
By attacking the ICC, the United States undermines a promising international effort to secure the permanent protection of fundamental human rights. It diverts its support to countries that choose repression over reform. The anti-ICC campaign has become a runaway train that threatens peace, justice and democracy around the world.
There is still time to come to our senses. The United States should reverse course and give its support to the ICC.
Jamie Mayerfeld is an associate professor of political science at the University of Washington.
Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Co.
?President Obama is committed to building strong international partnerships to tackle global challenges?The International Criminal Court, which has started its first trial this week, looks to become an important and credible instrument for trying to hold accountable the senior leadership responsible for atrocities committed in the Congo, Uganda, and Darfur.