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International Law Not War

International Law Not War

Greenpeace is calling on the US, UK and Australia to return to the rule of international law and not to embark on other US-led wars in the Middle East or elsewhere.

Commentators, US think-tanks close to the American Administration and the former Director of the CIA, James Woolsey, have been suggesting Iraq may be just the first of a series of wars against states in the Middle East and beyond. Many observers are concerned the next targets are those identified by the US in the ‘axis of evil’ as Iran and North Korea.

US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfield yesterday again warned Syria, claiming it continues to supply Iraq with military equipment and that the US considers “…such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian Government accountable..." [1]

The Iraq war was waged despite failure to obtain Security Council authorisation for the use of force in violation of the UN Charter provisions, designed after WWII to prevent aggressive acts. Greenpeace believes the United States own defiance of international law [2] is sending a signal to states such as North Korea – that compliance with international conventions and international law are optional.

On the eve of North Korea's formal withdrawal from the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Greenpeace and 37 non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) called on all members of the UN Security Council to support a negotiated settlement over the conflict between North Korea and the United States [3].

The NPT, which includes the vast majority of the world's states and all nuclear weapons states except Israel, India and Pakistan, will next meet at the United Nations in Geneva from April 28 - May 9 to start planning a formal review of the NPT scheduled for 2005.

The NGOs said that the crisis in the non-proliferation regime must urgently be addressed at the meeting and that member states must commit to multilateral treaty-based non-proliferation mechanisms to prevent any repeat of unilateral action, such as that taken by the US and the UK against Iraq.

“The world has seen more then enough violence. It is time to make law, not war”, said Steve Abel, Greenpeace New Zealand campaigner.


[2] The US has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, failed to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, undermined and failed to sign the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions verification protocols, refused to ratify and ‘unsigned’ the Statute of the International Criminal Court and famously refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

[3] In a letter sent today to the UN Security Council, as they held a formal “consultation” on North Korea issues, NGOs called for a strengthened non-proliferation regime and on the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states to stop evading their disarmament obligations.

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