Feb 11, 2007

when the UN should be allowed to violate sovereignty

Regarding the most recent LD resolution, these recommendations come near the end of Ekaterina Kuznetsova's article in the October 2004 issue of International Affairs titled "Limit Sovereignty if the State Abuses It."
The introduction of the principle, according to which sovereignty not only brings rights but also impose obligations[,] should become the first step in constructing the system of limited sovereignty. A sovereign state should be obliged to comply with the rules of humanitarian law....

[I]n the majority of the peripheral states the state power is neither controlled nor curbed because of the absence of adequate mechanisms. Their leaders disguise themselves as democrats by copying the formal side of democracy. That makes them almost unassailable for international justice.

It seems that the UN Charter is not balanced: while Art 2 of Chapter I directly bans the great powers from breaking the territorial integrity of other sovereign countries, it is very lenient when it comes to human rights.

According to international agreements on human rights such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1966, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of 1987, and others, states must respect and protect human rights. Art 6 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide envisages punishments for the non-observance or violations of the norms of the Convention: "Persons charged with genocide [...] shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction."20 So far the UN has instituted only two [!] special tribunals related to specific war crimes - the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Tribunal for Rwanda. Meanwhile, the number of cases when criminals escape punishment is much greater.

Obviously, the fear of punishment for violations of the conventions (the punishments envisaged by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide are among the most severe) cannot keep the political leaders from trampling upon the rights of their own citizens.

This cannot but cause concern; one tends to agree that it has become clear now that "the international community of experts in constitutional law should subject itself to a careful analysis of the contemporary concept of sovereignty"21 to identify, within the international humanitarian law, the obligations imposed on the state by its sovereignty.

The second step, to follow the first one, implies recommendations on the limitation of sovereignty through strategies of "long-term involvement" into the affairs of collapsed states. Political stabilization and restoration of the rule of law start when military intervention ends.

As a rule, such states are unable to cope on their own with the difficulties of post-conflict political reconstruction. Having experienced social upheavals and violence, people no longer trust one another and have no confidence in the state. One cannot expect such societies to promptly overcome suspicion or even hatred to reach consensus needed for creating legitimate power. The responsibility for the failed states' political and economic development must be handed to the outside forces that both need stability in the unstable regions and know how to achieve it.
I'd see this working with a V/C structure of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, defined by Kuznetsova thusly:
The ICRC describes the international humanitarian law (IHL) as the body of rules, which, in wartime, protects people who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities. Its central purpose is to limit and prevent human suffering in times of armed conflict. The rules are to be observed not only by governments and their armed forces, but also by armed opposition groups and any other parties to a conflict. The four Geneva conventions of 1949 and their two additional protocols are the principal instruments of humanitarian law.
I'd couple it with a resolutional analysis that explains that "failed states" are the primary motives for historical violations of sovereignty by the UN. As Kuznetsova writes,
The absolute majority of states, the sovereignty of which was de facto limited in the course of UN peacekeeping or humanitarian operations - Somalia, Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti, Zaire (now the DRC), Angola, Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, etc. - could be described as "collapsed" 4 states by the time such interference was carried out. All of them were either torn apart by a civil war or had moved to the brink of it whether for religious (Sudan and Lebanon), ethnic (Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda) or political (in the vast majority of cases) reasons. Violence had become permanent; and the death-toll (140 thousand in Lebanon and over 1 million in Rwanda) forced the international community to interfere.
This might rebut Neg claims that the valuation of Human Rights above National Sovereignty will lead to a slippery slope of UN oppression.

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