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International Law

World powers must abandon double standard policies

Dimitris Giannakopoulos

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Ms. Najiba Mustafayeva, PhD candidate in International Law, Expert at the Center for Strategic Studies (SAM) under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, speaks exclusively to Modern Diplomacy and Dimitris Giannakopoulos, for the international security system and United Nations role on the protection of the global peace.

Ms. Mustafayeva speaks for the reform of the UNSC and how the United Nations could become more effective in order to encounter the global security challenges. Additionally she explains the contribution of Azerbaijan in the regional and global security.

Do you believe that UN need reforms in order to encounter the modern global security challenges?

Modern international relations after World War II have been characterized by the increasing role of international institutions acting as regulating mechanisms of international affairs. Being the most representative forum for discussions among the states on the issues of international concerns the United Nations not only occupies a central place in the system of international organizations, but also plays a crucial role in the contemporary international development and its Charter is a foundation of modern international law, a kind of universally accepted code of conduct of states and their relationships.

The world is changing, and with this reality the UN has faced with additional challenges, which demand the improvement of old and creating new work mechanisms. As former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated, the UN does not exist as a static monument to the aspirations of a bygone era, and being changing mechanism, imperfect, like all human creations, but is able to rebuild and improve”. These words reflect the main thrust of the reform process of the Organization necessary to bring its activities into compliance with the requirements of the time. In this respect, the adaptation of the UN to a dramatic shift in the international political landscape becomes demand of the time. The conceptual questions such as what should be the priorities of the Organization in modern era, of which its functions can be delegated to regional organizations or coalitions of states, what are the conditions and limits of the UN intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states, as well as how to combine the principle of universality with a special status of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, etc. become relevant today. In other words, all these mean the need for dramatic reform of UN and its institutions.

373185bThe UNSC structure is outdated and a remnant of the Cold War. I would like your opinion.

International political commentators often use the word “relic” of the UN, laying in the use of this term has two main ideas: the first implies the absence of activity, the second – worship, despite the fact that the organization is more like a relic of the past. Although the UN’s role in a multipolar-world as the only global international organization capable of solving the problems of international security should be enhanced. The competence of the United Nations covers a wide range of problems. Moreover, currently, there is no real alternative to the UN, other organizations are only able to supplement its activities.

In light of recent events – aggravation of existing and the emergence of new international conflicts, the threat of international terrorism in the face of al-Qaeda and “Islamic state”, massive violations of human rights as a result of such activity update the necessity of the reform.

Obviously the main focus in the reforming process should be done on the reform of the UNSC, suggesting increase in membership of the board, the improvement of the working methods and the implementation of sanction mechanisms used by the Council in its activities. I think that one of the main reasons for the lack of effectiveness of the Council lies in its inability and unwillingness in some cases to ensure the implementation of its resolutions. A graphic example is the Armenian-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In 1993 the UN Security Council adopted 4 resolutions (NN 822, 853, 874, 884) in connection with the armed seizure of the Azerbaijani territories. In these resolutions the appurtenance of Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan was confirmed, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, integrity of its international borders and inadmissibility of using force for the acquisition of territories were reconfirmed. The resolutions demanded immediate termination of all hostile actions, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces from all occupied regions of Azerbaijan Republic, in this context – call for restoration of economic, transport and energy connections in the region, return of refugees and IDPs to the places of permanent residence. Considering the aforesaid, it is obvious that the actions of the Armenia should be regarded as a violation of the fundamental principles of international law.

   The resolutions of the UN Security Council are legally binding for all member states of the United Nations (articles 25, 48 of the UN Charter). They are final and cannot be appealed. However, until now the Armenian military forces has not adhered to the terms of these resolutions and continues occupying Azerbaijani territories.

  

Some analysts argue that the UN is a forum of dispute than a forum of cooperation due to the different national interests. Do you agree?

I believe that the main value of the UN for its activities is that it proves the importance of solving global problems through multilateral diplomacy. And this is quite natural, because the response to global challenges and threats can be joint. Only this approach, based on a solid foundation of international law can ensure the sustainability of the world development in the context of globalization. This implies strengthening the central role of the UN as a world organization in all spheres of international life.

But it must be took into account the fact that all proposals and projects for the expansion and improvement of UN mechanisms, including the use of veto by the permanent members of the UNSC, as well as discussions about possible models of “updated” the UN will not be effective until the world powers don`t show enough interest in this issue and abandon from the policy of double standards that prevail today in international relations. Otherwise, the significance of the UN would be reduced to the role of simple assistant, helplessly looking at how the leader-countries use the right of veto in the UNSC in order to promote their national interests and solve problems on a planetary scale based on their own benefits and considerations. In the case of such a scenario, the international community risks losing control over the levers of global governance, and the ability to confront new challenges and threats of XXI century.

Azerbaijan plays a vital role for the stability in Central Asia. How Azerbaijan contribute to the regional security and the global peace?

As you know, the past decade has seen significant development and changes in Azerbaijan, as well as the South Caucasus region as a whole. Until the mid 1990s, there was little global awareness about Azerbaijan or the surrounding region. It was mainly associated with oil, conflicts and collapse economies. However, starting with the presidency of the National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, this situation changed. Over the course of Heydar Aliyev`s presidency, thanks to his colossal efforts and skilful policy, Azerbaijan was transformed from an unknown post-Soviet country with a ruined economy to a reliable and desired partner for regional and global powers. The internal political situation was stabilized; the rule of law was restored; social, political and economic modernization process were launched and strong foundations for future economic development were laid. In current period under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, who continued the strategy initiated by Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan witnessed rapid development and modernization across all spheres of public policy. The key components of this strategy have been development of a democratic polity and social-economic progress to ensure the welfare of the people of Azerbaijan, a balanced foreign police based on mutually beneficial and commitment to restoring the country`s territorial integrity.

Today, Azerbaijan is a modern, successful, democratic and tolerant state with the highest international authority, growing foreign power and influence in the region. Despite the impressive socio-economic development and foreign policy performance of Azerbaijan, it`s tough geographic neighborhood has posed certain challenges on the country. The major challenge dominating the politics of Azerbaijan has been and continues to be restoration of its territorial integrity. Armenia`s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven adjacent regions – 20% of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan – has created about one million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs. The military occupation has continued during this period and Armenia constantly ignored all international documents, including abovementioned four UNSC resolutions, calling for withdrawal of occupation forces. Despite the military capability built in recent years in Azerbaijan that enables the country to unilaterally restore its territorial integrity, Azerbaijan still preserves its belief in a peaceful solution of the conflict and offers Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh the highest possible autonomy within the state borders of Azerbaijan.

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Over the course of Heydar Aliyev`s presidency, thanks to his colossal efforts and skilful policy, Azerbaijan was transformed from an unknown post-Soviet country with a ruined economy to a reliable and desired partner for regional and global powers

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So, Armenian aggression is the most serious threat to stability and safety in the South Caucasus, as the puppet regime generated by the self-proclaimed entity in Nagorno-Karabakh creates problems both for the further progressive development of Azerbaijan, the full realization of its economic, political and human potential, and fulfillment for Armenia, which has become a mono-ethnic state. In current conditions, Armenia remains a “trouble maker” for regional peace and security. Territorial claims by Armenians are not only limited to Azerbaijan, but also directed toward Turkey’s Anatolia and Georgia’s Javakheti areas. Although all three states would like to welcome Armenia to the integration processes within the region, the fact is that unless Yerevan is ready to a pursue constructive attitude toward relations with neighboring states, regional integration remains impossible. Armenia should recognize that it is impossible for any state to achieve prosperity while remaining in isolation.

There are some “frozen” conflicts in the world. Could the dispute of Nagorno-Karabakh be characterized “frozen” conflict?

Despite the fact that various international organizations referred Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as “a frozen one”, since the ceasefire agreement of 1994 from time to time this agreement has been brutally violated by Armenian occupation forces leading to casualties from both conflicting parties. In other words, although we do not observe active and regular military operations and occupation of new territories the conflict can hardly be characterized as “frozen”.

Journalist, specialized in Middle East, Russia & FSU, Terrorism and Security issues. Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Modern Diplomacy magazine. follow @DGiannakopoulos

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International Law

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

MD Staff

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The United Nations General Assembly held secret-ballot elections for the Human Rights Council (HRC) on Friday.  As of 1 January next year, the 18 newly-elected States will serve for three years on the UN’s highest inter-governmental body, mandated to protect and promote human rights worldwide.

While the institution has been the subject of controversy since its creation in 2006 – culminating in the withdrawal of the USA this past June – UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated that it plays “a very important role” in the UN’s human rights architecture.

1. First of all… how does it all work?

Elections to the Council happen annually, with countries serving for three years on a rotational basis, as some of the seats expire on 31 December every year. There are 47 seats, equitably distributed according to five regional divisions.

Countries need a minimum of 97 votes to get elected, and everything happens by secret ballot. This year, 18 seats were up for election:  five for Africa, five for Asia-Pacific, two for Eastern Europe, three for Latin America and the Caribbean, and three for Western Europe and other States.

2. So… who’s in and who’s out?

After Friday’s election, here’s how the Council will look from 1 January:

IN, elected this year: Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, Philippines, Somalia, Togo and Uruguay.

IN, continuing their terms: Angola, DRC, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Iceland, Spain, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

OUT, because they didn’t apply for a second consecutive term: Belgium, Burundi, Ecuador, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Panama, Slovenia and Switzerland.

OUT, because after two consecutive terms, they’re not eligible for re-election: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Germany.

3. What does the Council actually do?

In a nutshell, the HRC is a multilateral forum to discuss anything relating to human rights issues around the world.

In addition to launching fact-finding missions and establishing commissions of inquiry into specific situations, it meets three times a year to review the human rights records of all UN Member States, in a special process designed to give countries the chance to present the actions they have taken, and what they’ve done, to advance human rights. This is known as the Universal Periodic Review.

This video explains it all in a simple way:

4. How come some countries accused of human rights violations still serve?

The HRC was created in 2006, following a proposal by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In a report titled “In Larger Freedom”, he noted that the Commission on Human Rights, created in 1946, was suffering from “declining credibility and professionalism” and was “in need of major reform”. Subsequently, based on his recommendations, the Human Rights Council was established by the General Assembly to replace the Commission and several measures were put in place to try and avoid the same problems that eventually arose with the Commission.

For example, as it is understood that the Council can only be as effective as its Member States, the election process was placed directly in the hands of the General Assembly, the only UN organ where every one of the 193 countries has equal voting weight.

In addition, the geographical group divisions and seat allocations are meant to prevent disproportionate focus on just a handful of regions and countries, and ensure that every country has a chance of fair consideration.

Finally, during the elections for each regional group, the General Assembly allows extra blank slates: this should theoretically ensure there are more candidates than available seats, enabling a competitive process. However, if – as was the case this year with 18 candidacies for 18 available seats – no extra countries apply, then no competition occurs, and whichever Member State applies, is likely to get elected.

5. So does the HRC make a difference for human rights worldwide?

Although human rights have always been a very sensitive matter for Member States, the Human Rights Council remains an essential part of the UN’s human rights architecture.

The Council has the power to adopt resolutions, launch fact-finding missions and investigations, and establish commissions of inquiry. In particular, the HRC can appoint independent experts on specific issues. At the moment, there are 44 thematic experts and 11 country ones appointed to monitor and report on human rights issues as requested.

All these mechanisms allow for grave violations to be highlighted and brought up on the global stage for examination, discussion and, whenever feasible, action.

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International Law

Unilateralism Vs Multilateralism

David Ceasar Wani

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During the 73rd sessions of the general assembly at the UN, the crunch of unilateralism and multilateralism between US and China kicked off, in which Trump’s unilateral visualization of the world likely to hurt the US, but it might undermine his presidency. As the competitions between unilateralism and multilateralism are viewed inversely. According to the international relations scholars, unilateralism has defined an approach in international relations in which states act without regard to the interests of other states or without their support. Unilateralism is usually contrasted with its opposite approach, yet multilateralism is acting cooperatively with other states. Though unilateralism is often used in a negative way, experts agree that there are positive aspects to occasionally acting unilaterally, such as in issues of national self-defense.

Some politicians and international experts support unilateralism, at least for certain issues. An example of a unilateral action is the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in 2017. The Paris Climate Accord was actually negotiated and approved by nearly 200 nations around the world, and the issue of climate change is impossible to be handled significantly without united efforts of all the countries, particular the major ones. Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, saying that it hurt American jobs and American interests as well. Trump’s decision was opposed by many experts and average people around the world including the United States.

Nevertheless, it is believed that unilateralism is a policy of dealing with affairs that may be violent, regardless of the will of other countries or nationals. Given this, the most prominent feature of multilateralism is the negotiation since it can pay close attention to the shared interests of the majority and take practical and reasonable measures to deal with affairs in international affairs. The U.S. adopts unilateralism as a kind of closed rather than open behavior. Self-interest is the American priority mentality that Trump previously reiterated, and this approach seems to be a good way to safeguard the interests of the United States, but in fact, it is inconvenient for American nationals, and for the United States.  Conversely, politics, diplomacy, and trade all have disadvantages and this disadvantage can be a hindrance to domestic investment, risk from political changes negative influence on exchange rates, higher costs, economic non-viability, expropriation, negative impact on the country’s investment, modern-day economic colonialism and etc.

From this point of view, it can be said unfavorable to Americans. The reason why the United States has become strong from a dispersed federation compared with the confederation is mainly between states. Improvement of politics and other status has enabled the United States to develop and be strong because of a strong government. If the United States 1787 Constitution was originally formulated by the founding fathers’ generation, and then adopted unilateralism and did not negotiate, it is unimaginable that there would be a powerful United States today. So now Trump adopts unilateralism, which is contrary to the spirit and method adopted by the U.S. Constitution. The threat to his presidency is great because unilateralism is difficult to promote the cooperation and development of national economies. The interests generated by the United States are very short-lived, but they pose great threats to their long-term development and the long-term interests of their citizens. Therefore, when dealing with state affairs or international affairs, multilateralism should be adopted and negotiated. The problem is that we can better safeguard the interests of all parties, maximize the benefits, and promote the development of countries and their own economies.

In conclusion, it is important to understand the evolution of China’s concept of multilateralism, because one has to begin with China’s particularly humble experience with multilateral institutions e.g. it’s being kept out of the United Nations (UN) and its institutions during its preliminary decades as also for it is being the target of UN criticism and sanctions (for Korean War) during those years. The things were to begin to change following the Sino-US rapprochement and China’s entry into the UN and other multilateral institutions from the 1970s. Another crunch change to overlap with the late 1970s was the rise of Deng Xiaoping to power in China. Deng’s economic reforms and openness become the driving force behind China’s conclusive shift toward multilateral institutions.

According to Zhang Baijia, expert at the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central School, numerous internal and external developments during the first half of the 1980s were to expressively influence Deng’s strategic thinking in three major ways: (a) Deng aborted the long-held view that world war is inevitable’ and instead stresses on ‘peace and development’ as central theme for China; (b) Deng acknowledged that the contemporary world is heterogeneous in nature and that conflicts coexist with cooperation and competition with interdependence; and (c) Deng maintained that independence does not equal isolation and self-reliance does not mean rejecting all foreign things as had been the case during Mao’s times. Change in Deng’s worldview was to result in the change in China’s approach towards international institution and towards the whole idea about multilateralism.

As a result, the whole of the 1980s witnessed extraordinary qualitative and quantitative changes as China gradually involved itself in not only international organizations in the political domain but also expanded its participation in economic and security types of multilateral forums. As regards China’s future vision on multilateralism, it has been motivated primarily by China’s felt need (a) for undermining the basis of United States’ unilateralism and its global power profile and (b) for making efforts to become acceptable as the benign rising power amongst its immediate neighbors and amongst the world at large. By far these two remain China’s most important foreign policy challenges through its rise as a major power has already been accepted as a given reality in general. The conditions have also been facilitated by external dynamics, especially following the collapse of former Soviet Union which has shifted the focus of international relations and led to the widening of the whole understanding of security and strategic calculations amongst major players therefore moving the dynamic of international power politics beyond two superpowers to include new actors like China.

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International Law

Strengthen UN, Implement UN Charterer in true spirit

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Humanity is suffering everywhere whether it is Syria or Yemen, Afghanistan or Libya, Iraq or Myanmar, Palestine or Kashmir. The one who are being killed are human beings, irrespective of his or her race, color, religion, nationality, its human lives which are being lost. Last couple of decade, around 2 million people have been killed, 6 million have been made refugees in their own country or forced to migrate to other countries. Threats and tension is felt in Iran, Turkey and North Korea, Ukraine, and many other parts of the world.  If one switches on TV or read or listen to News, it is all about War, Killings, Blasts, hate and suppressions. People are fed-up of bad news all the time. Everyone is suffering with mental torture. Geo-political situation is deteriorating rapidly. The world is less safe than few decades ago. Insecurity feelings are rising exponentially. What is new world order? On the name of World new order, we have made this world more hostile and fragile. Who is suffering, humanity! Who is the beneficiary, end of the day, no one will be winner.

United Nation General Assembly is busy in its 73rd session. Leaders from all over the world are meeting each other and making speeches one after another, but what will be the out-come or result?

United Nation was founded on 24 October 1945, just after the World War II, in replacement of League of Nations. Its head quarter is at New York, USA. The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order. The charter of UN was very well drafted and very comprehensive. Its charter was formulated on justice and equality. It was hard work of genius people.

But with the passage of time, it is losing its effectiveness and failed to maintain world order. Some nations became so strong that, they put aside the UN and act unilaterally. Some nations are so stubborn, that they violate UN charter openly and feel no guilt. Some countries are so feeling-less that the whole world condemned them but they keep criminal silence.

Should we stay calm and just became spectators and watch what so-ever will happen? Should we leave all the issues to our next generations to suffer? Should we close our eyes and do not acknowledge the issues? Can we escape? Can we be ignorant? Can be we so cruel to our kids and leave them to be humiliated?

I believe, it is time to think and raise our voice, and struggle for a better tomorrow, better tomorrow for everyone, better tomorrow for my kids, better tomorrow for your kids, better tomorrow for our next generation, better tomorrow for everyone. We should struggle to make our tomorrow better than our yesterday. Think positively, act smartly and be optimistic.

We demand, respect of the UN , we demand for implementation of UN charter, We demand for justice, We demand for equality, We demand for fair-practices, We demand respect for human kind, We demand for a stoppage of killing, we demand stoppage of violence, We demand for protection of weak, We demand for uniformity etc.

It is natural, when we live together, the differences may rise among us. It can be among individuals or nations. It is very much normal and was happening since ages. We quarrel with our kids, brothers and sisters, parents, spouse or friends, boss or subordinates or colleagues. It is understandable. But we live in a civilized world. There are mechanisms to resolve the differences. In our day to day life we are over-coming on many issues and resolve with each other. The same approach may be followed to resolve the differences or misunderstanding among nations. UN is the right platform, UN charter is the proper guidelines for resolving the issues. Diplomacy is the weapon of civilized world. We all must respect UN, and its charter and resolve all issue through peaceful manner and dialogue. No one should have the right to by-pass UN or impose its decisions unilaterally.

I suggest, the International Community may join hands and strengthen UN and implement its charter in true later and spirit. UN may investigate the history of almost 7 decades and point out all the violators and let them declare responsible for their wrong doings. Force them to rectify their mistakes, compensate their wrong doings. UN should strengthen to the extent that any country how strong it might be, should not dare to violate UN charter. Any sanctions without UN approval may be declared null and void. Any military action without UN approval may not be recognized and declared criminal acts. They must be punished for their heinous crimes and war like crimes.

Let us struggle to make this world a place of “Peace, Harmony, Justice, Equality and Prosper” place for our generations to come. We may sacrifice but our next generation may enjoy Peace, Harmony and Prosperity.

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