What the U.S. and NATO Are Doing Violates International Law
The U.S. and NATO member countries justify sending armaments and specialist forces into the civil crisis in Ukraine and the expansion of NATO to the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe and now northern Europe as upholding "core principles" of international order such as Ukraine's sovereignty and "the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances."
This is a prime example of the U.S., at the head of its aggressive NATO military alliance, dictating rules of international order in utter disregard for international law. Their so-called "core principles" of "the right of states to choose" stand in utter violation of existing treaties whose overriding principle is that all member states to these agreements should "not strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other states."
There is international law on such matters. For example, Principle VI of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950 states:
"The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)."
There is plenty of evidence that the U.S. and NATO member states gave verbal and written assurances that NATO would never threaten Russian security by expanding into the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. Today the U.S. and NATO members deny any such assurances were given.
But the U.S. and NATO members, Canada included, cannot so easily escape their obligations under several treaties and agreements they have signed in the context of providing all the signatories security guarantees. With these phrases about "core principles" and "the right of states to choose their own security arrangements and alliances" the U.S. seeks to impose a rules-based order where the U.S. decides what the rules are, without regard to international law.
Expanding NATO membership into former Soviet bloc countries and now northern Europe and threatening the security of Russia are in violation of numerous treaties. The 1975 Helsinki Final Act; the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe; and the 1994 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)) Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security are three such treaties.
An article entitled "Equal Right to Security," published by German-Foreign-Policy.com on January 18 points out that while these treaties do "recognize the freedom of states to choose their own security arrangements," they also oblige European states to choose security arrangements, such as joining a military alliance, "not at the expense of the security of other states."
The article notes, "Over the past few days and weeks, it has, at times, been pointed out that in its paragraph 8, the Charter [for European Security] reaffirms 'the inherent right of each and every participating state to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance.' However, it was systematically ignored that the same paragraph stipulates that 'each participating state will respect the rights of all others in these regards,' and that 'each participating state has an equal right to security.' Thus, the Charter for European Security stipulates that the participating states shall 'not strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other states.' No one -- including the West -- shall claim pre-eminence: 'Within the OSCE no state, group of states or organization can have any pre-eminent responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in the OSCE area or can consider any part of the OSCE area as its sphere of influence.' Paragraph 9 states that 'the security of each participating state is inseparably linked to that of all others.'"
The OSCE is the world's largest regional security organization with 57 states from Europe, Central Asia and North America. Canada is a member and participates in formal and informal OSCE meetings, including the weekly meetings of the OSCE's Permanent Council and Forum for Security Co-operation.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov gave an interview on January 14 in which he said: "Conflict potential is building up, and our Western colleagues have largely shaped this trend. Their policy consists of undermining the architecture of international relations based on the UN Charter, as well as replacing international law with their own 'rules' and imposing them on others to build a new world order. [...] Those refusing to join these initiatives are labeled as reactionary countries seeking to impose a revisionist agenda in international affairs. However, it is the West that currently promotes a revisionist agenda. It is the West that seeks to revise the UN Charter. Russia and other nations who are our allies and strategic partners have been standing up for the UN Charter, its principles, purposes and structure to defend them from revisionist aspirations."
Lavrov said "the Western reaction has consisted primarily of a categorical rejection of ending NATO's open door policy. But Russia is not bound by any agreements within NATO. We, the Americans, Europeans, NATO members, and neutral states, are firmly bound by agreements and political commitments within the OSCE framework. In this context, OSCE provides us with a legal framework solely because in the 1990s, an agreement was reached to the effect that undermining indivisible European security and strengthening one's own security at the expense of others is unacceptable. [...] There is a special stipulation that no single state, group of countries or organization can be primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region and cannot view any part of it as a sphere of its influence." Everyone shared these agreements and signed off on them, he said.
Canada signed off on the OSCE accords too. All the war hysteria, creating of tensions, fanning civil conflict in Ukraine, military exercises, rapid deployment forces for military action which targets Russia, etc. are flagrant violations of the commitments of all OSCE member countries. It is also flagrant violation of international law, including Principle VI found in the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950.
Canada must stop, change direction and uphold its OSCE commitments and the rule of international law. Those responsible for the violations must be held to account!
This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 6 - June 5, 2022
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