Alfred de Zayas: nazioarteko pentsalaria

 Aspaldian aipatu ditut Alfred de Zayas-en lanak UEU webgune eta blog honetan…

Izan ere, in Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (38), Zayas-en hainbat twitter oso interesgarriak azaltzen dira, NATO-ren aurka, aspaldiko mundu multipolarraz aipatzen dugunuean1: Ikus , halaber, NATO hasiberrientzat (NATO for beginners)

Era berean, hemen ere: Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (36) eta Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (37) badago zertxobait…

Gure hurrengo liburua aipatu eta gero, in Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (39),

eta haren lanak aipatzen segitzen ditudan bitartean, Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (40), Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (41), zehatzago, politika mailan, Zayas gidari gisa aurkeztu dut, Ukrainako operazio, inbasio, gatazka, gerla edo dena delakoa, jende ez arruntentzat:

Izan ere, zertxobait jakin nahi baduzu, hemen bi bide zehatz:

a) Ekonomian, ikasi MMT, Moneta Teoria Modernoa, bereziki Neil Wilson-en eskutik (, batez ere Errusia / Ukraina arteko gatazkari dagozkion lanak2.

b) Politikan, irakurri UEUko blog honetan, azken otsailetik aurrera, Alfred de Zayas-en artikulu eta twitter zenbait3.



The Proxy War with Russia Has No Exit Strategy

Sarah Abdallah@sahouraxo

The goal is to have an endless war, not a successful war.” — Julian Assange


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

Self-determination is another term for freedom, the freedom to shape our own futures, the freedom to fight those political and economic forces that deprive us of real choices.


Self-determination means democratic choice. But a real choice depends on access to reliable information.  That is why undemocratic governments censor news and skew the narrative.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

In most nominally democratic states the presidents and prime ministers are figureheads, at best managers in the service of the military-industrial-financial complex.


Cycling 400 km through Holland in July 2022 is revealing. The farmers are protesting the undemocratic policies of the Rutte government, that has betrayed the Dutch people to serve EU and NATO


The non-violent civil disobedience of the Dutch farmers are worthy of a Mahatma Gandhi or a Martin Luther King, Jr. They are exercising their right of peaceful expression and manifestation against unreasonable governmental policies.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

Europeans must sweep away the existing political parties that have lost every democratic legitimacy. Europeans need a reform-EU and abolish NATO party.  Only thus can they reclaim democracy — or remain serfs to Big Brother.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

CGTN: On human rights, the West not ‘good guys’ as self-claimed

CGTN: On human rights, the West not ‘good guys’ as self-claimed

By Alfred de Zayas Opinion 11:24, 18-Jul-2022 Link: Editor’s note: Alfred de Zayas is a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and was United Nations Indep…


Caitlin Johnstone: This Proxy War Has No Exit Strategy


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

Few in the West understand that Russia and China have come to the conclusion that the West is hopelessly caught in its own web, and that treaties with the West are not sustained by long-term commitments.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

The West decries negotiation as “appeasement”, and yet article 2(3) of the UN Charter commits all States to peaceful negotiations.  Western intransigence is incompatible with the UN Charter.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

When NATO talks about “peace” in Ukraine, it means Russian surrender, not any kind of compromise.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

The Ukraine war is a watershed in international relations, since it manifests that Russia and China are not going to continue playing by the rules established by the US and Europe.  A new international law is in the making.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

NATO does not want peace, but a very long war that will yield long-term profit for the military-industrial complex, even if it will destroy Ukraine — not Russia


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

Counterpunch: Prolonging war is a crime against peace – and a crime against humanity


Prolonging any war — including the Ukraine war — is a crime against peace which by the day grows into a crime against humanity.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

Democracy is dysfunctional when the government and the media systematically lie to the electorate.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

In a democracy questions of life and death south be subject to referenda — whether to go to war, except in cases of self-defence, whether to send weapons to countries in conflict.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

2 h

Victor Orban is not the favourite of Western media, but what he says is worth listening to e.g., he argues that the decision to impose sanctions on Moscow and supply Kiev with heavy weapons de facto turned the EU and NATO member states into participants in the conflict.


EU and NATO are clearly at war with Russia, even if there is no formal declaration of war.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

2 h

In spite of billions upon billions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine, there is no indication that Ukraine can possibly score “victory”.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

2 h

And if we pretend that the “international community is with the West, Orban comments: “The world is not only not with us, but it is demonstratively not with us.


Alfred de Zayas@Alfreddezayas

2 h

Orban –and many others like Prof. John Mearsheimer and Henry Kissinger suggest — that, instead of thinking about gaining the upper hand on the battlefield in Ukraine, the West should now focus on achieving peace through negotiations.


CGTN: Time to stop politicizing UN institutions and weaponizing human rights


Opinion , 16-Jun-2022

The Human Rights Council during the address of Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, June 13, 2022. /Xinhua

Editor’s note: Alfred de Zayas is a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and was United Nations Independent Expert on Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order 2012-18. He is the author of ten books, including “Building a Just World Order.” The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

From May 22 to 26, High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet conducted a mission to China in order to strengthen cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), human rights experts and mechanisms. As stipulated in her mandate, she offered advisory services and technical assistance with a view to advance the transparent implementation of China’s human rights obligations.

Bachelet was guided by “the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, in the spirit of constructive international dialogue and cooperation.” On May 28 at Guangzhou, she issued a comprehensive and nuanced end-of-mission statement, “to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States.”

Bachelet thanked Chinese authorities for their cooperation and acknowledged the progress achieved by Beijing in bringing millions of Chinese out of poverty and improving the enjoyment of human rights nationwide and supporting implementation of the right to development in the world. She also expressed concern over a number of outstanding issues and established a working group to follow up. 

On June 10, 2022, a number of UN rapporteurs issued an unprecedented press release indirectly criticizing the High Commissioner for not acting more forthcoming on allegations of genocide in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and urging Beijing “to address specific and systematic human rights violations,” enable a “credible” international investigation and “grant unhindered access to independent experts.” Such a statement is highly unusual and raises the question whether the rapporteurs were acting in conformity with their code of conduct that commits them to “impartiality and even-handedness.”  

In past sessions, UN rapporteurs have been called to order for exceeding their mandates and failing to observe Article 6 of the code, which requires them to “seek to establish the facts, based on objective, reliable information emanating from relevant credible sources and to take into account in a comprehensive and timely manner, in particular information provided by the State concerned.” China has provided such information, which some rapporteurs evidently ignored when drafting their statement of May 10.

As a former Independent Expert on International Order (from the year 2012 to 2018), I do not recall any comparable statement being issued concerning gross and systematic violations of human rights in countries such as the United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, etc. Such blatant double-standards undermine the authority and credibility of the rapporteurs.

On June 13, the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) opened with Bachelet’s unexpected announcement that she would not seek a second term. In the Council room and in the internet, some non-governmental organizations (NGO) engaged in a mobbing action against Bachelet, which is contrary to the conduct required of NGOs in order to enjoy consultative status. It is time for the HR Council to formalize a code of conduct for NGOs and ensure that it is enforced. Indeed, some NGOs have issued defamatory statements that would justify stripping them of their status.

On June14, 69 States joined in a statement to the Council opposing interference in China’s internal affairs. The statement was read by the representative from Cuba, recalling the language of Article 2(7) of the UN Charter, stipulating that “nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters, which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State.”

Also on the same day, China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Chen Xu stated that multilateral human rights mechanisms should serve as a platform for cooperation and dialogue, rather than a venue for division and confrontation. He regretted that in recent years “the Human Rights Council has become increasingly politicized and confrontational, and disinformation has become rampant.”

Discussions at the Council once again demonstrate that some States, NGOs and even some UN rapporteurs do not understand the mandate of the Council or the High Commissioner’s functions under General Assembly Resolution 48/141.

The High Commissioner’s vocation is not “naming and shaming,” nor does she undertake country visits for propaganda purposes or to advance the geopolitical agendas of certain countries and sovereign governments. Bachelet has taken a results-oriented approach in order to ensure progress where it matters – not in the media, but in the actual enjoyment of human rights by real people, including in China.

As a former UN Independent Expert, I decry the growing politicization of United Nations institutions and the “weaponization” of human rights to demonize geopolitical rivals and pursue agendas incompatible with the letter and spirit of the UN Charter.

Notwithstanding the vulgar instrumentalization of human rights by some States, NGOs and rapporteurs, it is important to reaffirm that Bachelet’s mission to China was an exercise in the best traditions of the United Nations, consistent with the guiding principles and purposes of the UN – notably peace, human rights and development.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

Ikusi gehiago hemen: Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (36)


CGTN: On human rights, the West not ‘good guys’ as self-claimed


By Alfred de Zayas

Opinion, 18-Jul-2022

Editor’s note: Alfred de Zayas is a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and was United Nations Independent Expert on Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order 2012-18. He is the author of ten books, including “Building a Just World Order.” The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Promoting human rights worldwide entails a joint commitment to cooperation, based on the principles of the sovereign equality of states and the self-determination of peoples. This is the vocation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which offers advisory services and technical assistance to states that request it, in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with its holistic approach to civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

The confrontational practice of “naming and shaming” has become a favorite tool of Western states and media, not only in the Human Rights Council but also in the General Assembly, Security Council, World Health Organization and International Labor Office. Rather than serving human rights, this aggressive policy negates international solidarity.

The latest onslaught concerns poorly documented allegations against China concerning “forced labor” and even “genocide” in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The vehemence with which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others have doubled down on their accusations is troubling but not surprising. Indeed, the U.S. is following the old playbook employed when demonizing their geopolitical enemies in an orchestrated hybrid war.

Most Western countries and a number of UN rapporteurs, acting in a manner incompatible with their code of conduct, joined in criticizing High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s mission to China, which was a significant breakthrough in establishing the facts in a professional manner and making constructive proposals thereon, including formalizing a mechanism for future cooperation and monitoring.

Essentially, critics have no interest in the truth but only want a blanket condemnation of China. Why is this Western intransigence, so dutifully supported by the corporate media? It just serves as a smokescreen to deflect attention from multiple deficiencies in the West, including xenophobic policies, police brutality in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia, subhuman prison conditions, particularly in the U.S., where a disproportionate percentage of inmates are minorities, who are also subjected to “forced labor” about which we read practically nothing in the press.

Few know that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Indeed about 25 percent of the world’s total prison population is in the U.S., which holds about 2.2 million inmates. There is also widespread abuse of migrant workers, who can easily be described as modern-day slaves. Why is this? U.S. economic interests always take precedence over human rights.

Accusing China of “genocide” is intended to distract from the crimes committed by Europeans in North and South America during the “discovery” of the already inhabited continents. Martin Luther King Jr. denounced it in his book Why We Can’t Wait, where he wrote “Our nation was born in genocide,” meaning the massacres of the First Nations – the Cherokees, Crees, Iroquois, Navajo, Pequots, Sioux, Navajo, etc.

Accusing China takes the focus away from the crimes of the West, including the imperialism and colonialism, the Opium Wars, the massacres during centuries of British rule in India.

Accusing China is also an attempt to erase egregious war crimes committed by the U.S. and other NATO countries in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. It aims at making us forget the proven instances of torture committed in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram; the “extraordinary rendition” program; and the targeted killings carried out routinely by Western intelligence services.

Self-criticism is a faculty that we Americans have scarcely developed and seldom practice. Perhaps that is a reason why America never ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on Migrant Workers or the Convention on the Rights of the Child,  or the Statute of Rome, nor give the declaration under Article 36 of the statute of the International Court of Justice, recognizing its automatic jurisdiction.

Indeed, we Americans like to play judge over others, but we cannot see ourselves on the dock. That is why we flout General Assembly Resolution 76/161 of December 2021 and Human Rights Council Resolution 46/5 of March 2021 condemning U.S. sanctions, and General Assembly Resolution 75/289, ordering the U.S. to lift the illegal embargo of Cuba for the 29th time.

All countries can improve their human rights performance, but this requires intellectual honesty, a commitment to truth and a readiness to help each other. Alas, the Human Rights Council has become a gladiator arena where governments accuse each other instead of trying to identify root causes of problems and formulate viable solutions.

We in the West still have a binary mentality, neatly dividing the world into good and bad guys, assuming that we are by definition the “good guys” and justified in moralizing over others. This attitude negates the universality of human rights and constitutes retrogression.

It is high time to strengthen multilateralism and enhance the UN human rights mandate. “Si vis pacem, cole justitiam” – “If you desire peace, cultivate justice.” This is the motto of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which any visitor can read on a plaque in the great hall of the ILO building in Geneva, Switzerland. Yes, if we want peace, we must first cultivate justice, including social justice, ensuring fair labor standards and just treatment of refugees and migrants.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

Ikusi gehiago hemen: Ukraina/ Errusia/ AEB + EB + NATO/ Txina (36)


Counterpunch: Prolonging war is a crime against peace – and a crime against humanity

By: Alfred de Zayas

22 July, 2022

Prolonging War is a Crime against Peace – and a Crime Against Humanity

Counterpunch: Prolonging war is a crime against peace – and a crime against humanity – Alfred de Zayas’ Human Rights Corner (

The Nuremberg Trials and the Nuremberg Principles have not entirely lost their relevance.  Notwithstanding the multiple violations of the Nuremberg norms by many countries since 1946, they are even more crucial today in the light of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which endanger the survival of all of humanity.  The United Nations is called upon to develop preventative strategies and to ensure the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Article 6(a) of the London Agreement of 8 August 1945, the statute of the International Military Tribunal, defines crimes against peace as “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing”.

In his opening statement at the Nuremberg Tribunal in October 1945 the US Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson wisely observed that “while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment[1].”

The Tribunal’s 1946 judgment concluded that: “to initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”[2]

The “Nuremberg principles”, drafted by the International Law Commission and adopted by the General Assembly confirmed in Principle VI that crimes against peace encompass “(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or 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).[3]

In 1970 the UN General Assembly established principles of international order[4] in the famous “Friendly Relations Resolution” 2625, and in 1974 the Assembly further expanded and strengthened the definition of aggression in its Resolution 3314. In 1984 the Assembly adopted a resolution on the Right of Peoples to live in Peace (Res. 39/11), anchoring all of these resolutions on the object and purpose of the United Nations organization:  the maintenance of world peace, the promotion of economic development and the protection of human rights.

The 1998 Statute of Rome of the International Criminal Court included the “crime of aggression” among the offences under its jurisdiction.  However, in order to enter into force, this required agreement among the States parties to the Rome Statute, which was not reached until 2010 in Kampala and did not become operative until 17 July 2017[5] .

Pursuant to the Kampala definition the “crime of aggression” means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”[6]

Alas, there are ambiguities and potential loopholes in the Kampala definition, since there is no clarity on the actions, factors or elements that would constitute a “manifest violation” of the UN Charter for purposes of the ICC.

Notwithstanding the Nuremberg judgment, numerous UN resolutions, declarations and definitions, hundreds of aggressive wars have taken place since 1946. It is particularly troublesome that hitherto no politician or military officer has been held accountable for the crime against peace.

If we were to establish a list of aggressive wars, the list would be very long indeed, and would necessarily include the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, the various wars by Israel against its neighbours, the US wars in Indo-China, NATO’s bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999, the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the “coalition of the willing”, the military interventions of the US in Afghanistan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, etc., the bombardment of Syria by Turkey, US, UK, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, the Saudi war against Yemen, the Azerbaijani Blitzkrieg against Nagorno Karabakh, the continued bombardment of Iraqi Kurdistan by Turkey, Russia’s war in the Ukraine, and numerous neo-colonial armed conflicts in Africa and Asia.  Empirical evidence of consistent impunity for waging aggressive wars has not abrogated article 2(4) of the UN Charter, but “precedents of permissibility” have been established that question the viability of the prohibition of the use of force.

From the above we understand that the Nuremberg Principles have had no deterrent effect on politicians.  Experience shows that geopolitical considerations and the “vital interests” of states take precedence over international legal principles. The threat of being brought to the dock at the ICC has not scared any aggressor. This unsatisfactory situation is not the result of inadequate definitions, but reflects the absence of effective enforcement mechanisms, which the major powers have thus far failed to establish.

Of course, the concepts of “crime against peace” or “crime of aggression” could be improved, because obviously it is not always the country that fires the first shot (or missile) who bears the heaviest responsibility for an armed conflict.  This responsibility is shared with the state or states that have created the conditions for the war, that have tried to militarily encircle a rival, imposed economic coercion, engaged in cyber warfare or expressed openly hostile intentions. The “crime against peace” must also include the deliberate crossing of red lines.

From my childhood I know a Spanish expression that is relevant here: “tira la piedra y esconde la mano” – throw the stone and hide your hand, i.e. provoke your rival and then play innocent. Without a doubt, the imposition of unilateral coercive measures intended to asphyxiate the economy of a rival constitutes massive “use of force” within the meaning of article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force against other states.  The overt and covert support of coups d’état against democratically elected governments, the training of the armies of puppet regimes, the massive arming of countries that may enter into conflict, all constitute a “threat” of the use of force, similarly prohibited in article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

The concept of a “crime against peace” should be understood as encompassing the provocation of a rival through a consistent pattern of unfriendly actions, through the demonization and defamation of its political institutions.  An important manifestation of the provocation can be the modern “information war”, a hybrid war of words accompanied by fake news and skewed narratives.

As we experienced in NATO’s wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, they were all preceded and supported by incendiary reporting, war propaganda and incitement to hatred, all prohibited by article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Moreover, the concept of “crime against peace” must include a positive obligation to observe article 2(3) of the UN Charter, which stipulates that States must settle their differences by peaceful means and diplomatic negotiation.  Surely the imposition of crippling economic sanctions cannot be understood as “peaceful” means.

The legal obligation to negotiate in good faith means that both parties must be prepared to make concessions, that both parties must understand that there must be a give and take, a quid pro quoIntransigence by either party contravenes the letter and spirit of article 2(3) of the Charter and should be treated as a factor in determining the commission of the crime against peace.  Moreover, when an armed conflict has begun, all parties are obliged to continue negotiations in good faith with a view to ending the bloodletting.  Refusal to negotiate in the expectation of “victory” on the battlefield, “unconditional surrender” by the enemy, and “winner takes all” is wholly incompatible with article 2(3) of the Charter.

In other words, the crime against peace encompasses the crime of continuing the war by rearmament and refusal to sit down with mediators and negotiate a cease fire. It includes the refusal to sign a negotiated agreement.

What can the international community do if it wants to prevent armed conflict and the danger of escalation to a nuclear confrontation?  Do we need more laws and regulations?  No.  What is urgently needed is a radical change in mindset.

We can take guidance from the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, whose preamble inspires us with the words:

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed…”  The preamble continues: “…a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind…”[7]

In this sense it becomes apparent that what the international community needs is a mental shift away from the military-first approach to a human-security culture that focuses on enhancing economic cooperation, cultural exchange and a new methodology of conflict-prevention.

Undoubtedly, war is contrary to democracy. People want peace. No one freely sends his child to the slaughter. Politicians lie to the people when they invoke patriotism to justify their geopolitical wars.  Admittedly self-defence is legitimate under article 51 of the UN Charter, but there is no right to pre-emptive self-defence, neither in Iraq nor in Ukraine. What is necessary are mechanisms for “early warning” and timely mediation.  Unfortunately, the United Nations has failed to show the necessary leadership in mediating grievances, particularly with regard to self-determination aspirations, before they developed into armed conflict.  Good faith negotiation and international mediation can certainly avert many wars.

I would like to propose a Global Compact on Education for Peace, to ensure that all members of the human family, whether children or adults, are educated on the necessity of peace and reconciliation, especially in the light of huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons, which were condemned already in a 1984 General Comment by the Human Rights Committee as the greatest danger to the right to life, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Through education we can learn to see our neighbours as potential collaborators, commercial partners, even friends, instead of fearing them as competitors or even enemies.  Hitherto our traditional education builds mental fences and suggests that “the other” is somehow to be excluded. This is not a good recipe for coexistence on this one planet, and we must agree to live together in peace. In order to achieve this result, we should be educated in empathy and international solidarity, as suggested by the 2017 UN draft declaration on the Right to International Solidarity[8].

We must also move away from demagogic views on “patriotism”, on the simplistic “my country right or wrong” mindset, on our focus on death, on persisting on the dangerous view that honour and glory are necessarily associated with war.  Even in the 21st century we continue to consider military leaders and despots as heroes, whether Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, the Vikings, William the Conqueror, the Crusaders, Tamerlane, Alexander Nevsky, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Elisabeth I of England, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, Oliver Cromwell, the “sun-king” Louis XIV, Napoleon I, even his hapless nephew Napoleon III, General William Tecumseh Sherman, George Custer, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, George Paton … One would think that to qualify as “great”, a politician must be a large-scale killer.  Why not take as our role models instead the peace-makers and humanitarians like Henri Dunant, Florence Nightingale, Bertha on Suttner, Albert Schweitzer?

Deep down many still believe that “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” – it is sweet and honourable to die for one’s homeland (Horace).  Would it not be far better to live for one’s homeland, to contribute to the commonweal, to be peace makers and peace keepers?  This is the message of Wilfred Owen in his immortal World War I poem “Anthem for Doomed Youth”.

Hence, we must finally recognize Peace as a fundamental human right and reject the state-centered idea that presidents and prime-ministers can decide to go to war when it suits them, and the rest of society must obediently follow and be their cannon fodder.

The war in Ukraine was eminently avoidableThe responsibility for its outbreak and consequences is shared between Putin, Zelinsky and NATO.  The solution is not calling upon the ICC to try anybody. This would be a band-aid, an ex post facto gesture to put all the blame on someone. The solution is not punishment, but reconciliation and reconstruction. The solution entails the recognition that many of us are in some way complicit in generating the conditions of the war, including media moguls, particularly in the Western press, that revelled in hyperbole and war propaganda.

The war can be ended tomorrow, but this requires good faith on all sides and intellectual honesty, not rhetoric and demagoguery.



[2] The International Military Tribunal for Germany (1946-09-30), Judgment of the International Military Tribunal, the Avalon Project, Yale University.


[4] See my 25 Principles of International Order in chapter 2 of my book “Building A Just World Order”, Clarity Press, Atlanta, 2021.

While the ICC can now prosecute crimes of aggression, making it the fourth crime (after war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide) to fall within the Court’s jurisdiction, the narrow definition of the crime, and the complementary nature of the ICC’s jurisdiction, it is unlikely that any indictments will follow anytime soon.  Yet, there is a declarative and symbolic force.




Alfred de Zayas is a law professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and served as a UN Independent Expert on International Order 2012-18. He is the author of ten books including “Building a Just World Order” Clarity Press, 2021.  

From 2012 until April 2018, de Zayas was the United Nations (UN) Independent Expert on the Promotion of

a Democratic and Equitable International Order (also known as Special Rapporteur), appointed by the United

Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.

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