Iraq, the UN and international law

The situation regarding Iraqs compliance with disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Security Council resolutions, and the nature of the international response to this situation, has been a key political issue recently.

The Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament website includes some information on the issue which may be of use to parliamentarians. Below is a summary of this, including links.

1. UN Charter and Use of Force.

The Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy has released a four-page statement explaining the UN Charter framework for use of force and its relation to US Law: The United Nations Charter and the Use of Force against Iraq <http://www.lcnp.org/global/Iraqstatemt.3.pdf> , and has also circulated to the UN Security Council a letter regarding the legal options available to the Council. Letter to Members of the UN Security Council. <http://www.lcnp.org/global/SCIraqletter.htm> (www.lcnp.org <http://www.lcnp.org>)

2. UN Security Council Open Debate on Iraq,

On October 16-17, 2002 the UN Security Council held an open debate on the situation regarding Iraqi compliance with disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and UN Security Council resolutions, and on the appropriate international response to this situation.

Summaries of statements to the Security Council <http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2002/scsummaries.doc.htm>
Security Council Debate Opens With Iraqi Charges Of U.S. Colonialism <http://www.pnnd.org/iraq_unwire.htm> , UN Wire, 16/10/2002.
(See also www.pnnd.org <http://www.pnnd.org> )

3. UN General Assembly and situation of multilateralism and compliance with international treaties

While States addressed the situation of Iraq head-on in the UN Security Council, in the UN General Assembly they preferred to discuss principles involved in the issues of compliance and use of force. Three draft resolutions have been introduced and will be voted on sometime between October 23 and November 1.

Promotion of Multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, (A/C.1/57/L.10). This resolution, submitted by South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, addresses both the importance of the negotiation and entry into force of multilateral disarmament treaties and the strong preference for the use of multilateral mechanisms, rather than unilateral actions, to ensure compliance with disarmament obligations.

Multilateral cooperation in disarmament and non-proliferation (A/C.1/57/L.26). This resolution stresses the urgent need for renewed efforts by all Member States to use the existing multilateral disarmament machinery to promote and to achieve the goals of disarmament and non-proliferation0 but, unlike the NAM draft resolution, does not condemn unilateral actions.

Compliance with arms limitation and disarmament and non-proliferation agreements A/C.1/57/L.54. This resolution, submitted by the United States of America, calls on all States to comply with arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and calls on States to support efforts to ensure such compliance.
(See also www.reavchingcriticalwill.org <http://www.reavchingcriticalwill.org> )

4. Parliamentary Statements <http://www.pnnd.org/iraq_wmd.htm#Parliamentaryquestions>

There have been a number of parliamentary statements and debates on the issue. Some of these are included at www.pnnd.org/iraq_wmd.htm#Parliamentaryquestions <http://www.pnnd.org/iraq_wmd.htm#Parliamentaryquestions>

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