Born lucky ? (was Re: [extropy-chat] urban sprawl as defense)

Brett Paatsch bpaatsch at
Tue Aug 31 15:27:58 UTC 2004

Mike Lorrey wrote:

> --- Brett Paatsch <bpaatsch at> wrote:
> > "KPJ" wrote:
> >
> > > Which court would prosecute the United Nations for not following
> > its
> > charter?
> >
> > That sentence doesn't parse for me.  The United Nations is not a
> > single sentience or a single consciousness its an organisation made
> > up of member nations.

> It is also made up of a Court of International Law at the Hague.

Sure  - Article 92

"The International Court of Justice shall be the principle judicial organ of
the United Nations....."

  But check this (below).... the 'appeals process' from the ICJ goes to the
  Security Council. This is because only the SC can authorise force.

Article 94 (2)

"If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it
under a judgement rendered by the Court, the other party may have
recourse to the Security Council, which MAY, [note MAY not must]
if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures
to be taken to give effect to the judgement."

So say that the US was taken to the ICJ and a ruling was made against
it, then the only way to enforce the ruling is by recourse to the Security
Council that could only authorise enforcement by a resolution - and the
US would have power to veto any such resolution.

So in practice an ICJ ruling against the US amounts to only a rebuff for
the US in the 'court of international public opinion' the SC won't enforce
the ICJ's ruling (against any veto it can't).

> Furthermore, the Hague Convention on Internation Service of Process
> also seeks to apply US interstate principles of 'full faith and credit'
> to serving process internationally, at least to some extent.

Mike the court cannot seek to apply its jurisdiction to the US willy nilly,
the US has to accept the jurisdiction of the court on some matter ahead
of time. If the US for instance refuses to let its nationals be tried for
crimes then it is NOT revoking a treaty it is exercising its right not to
sign on to it.

Now that might make a few countries grumble and talk of double standards
and they may or may not be right but if they say that the US revoked the
treaty when the US didn't sign onto that treaty then they are just plain

> Even there, nations like Britain put up as many roadblocks to simple
> discovery process as muslim countries put up roadblocks to single
> American mothers getting their kids back from their kidnapping muslim
> husbands.

> >
> > I welcome criticisms of the UN.  To criticise it effectively will
> > require understanding it and understanding it could be a very
> > healthy thing.
> >
> > I don't claim to understand it completely - I just claim that it is
> > worth
> > understanding - that it makes sense to understand it if one wants to
> > pursue what I understand to be extropic and transhumanist agendas
> > effectively globally.
> Understand that the Charter is only ONE document.

I DO understand. But SOME single document HAS to have PRIMACY
in international law as a simple matter of logic. Just like the Constitution
is the single document into which all the laws of the US must hook.

The Charter is that one document because all the member nations
agreed that it would be when they signed it. See Articles 102 and 103

Chapter XVI  Miscellaneous Provisions of the UN Charter

Article 102

 entered into by any Member of the United Nations after the present
Charter comes into force [ie. after 24 October 1945] shall as soon as
possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it.

2. No party to any such treaty or international agreement which has not
been registered in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this
Article may invoke that treaty or any agreement before any organ of the
United Nations. (ie that would include the International Court of Justice].

Article 103

IN THE EVENT OF A CONFLICT betwen the obligations of the
Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their
obligations under any other international agreement, their

> Any UN Convention treaty agreed to by the General Assembly and
> passed by the Security Council effectively amends that Charter as much
> as it amends the Constitution and laws of every member nation bound
> by said treaty.

Mike the Charter CANNOT be amended willy nilly against the US without
US approval. It says so in the Charter.

Chapter XVIII


Amendments to the present Charter shall come into force for all Members
of the United Nations when they have been adopted by two thirds of the
members of the General Assembly and ratified in accordance with their
respective constitutional process by two thirds of the Members of the UN,
is one) of the Security Council.

>  The  Land Mine Convention is one such treaty. The Small Arms
> Convention is  another possibility which will come into force if a Kerry
> administration takes office.

I don't know about those treaties Mike but I can read the Charter as above
and so I do know that those treaties are only legally binding on the US if
the US agreed to sign them. The US could not have been legally compelled
to sign them or have been shanghied into signing a bunch of stuff down
the road just because it signed the Charter.  Smaller countries perhaps
but not the US.

There is a difference between people applying political pressure and
legal pressure. Although in the case of the US as sole superpower legal
pressure in the form of pressure to uphold its word of honor on the
charter is pretty hard to enforce by the other member countries as

Say it was France as another Permanent SC member that did not
want to sign a treaty against land mines. As a permanent SC member
if might choose not to and it could not be legally compelled to even
by the US as France would still have a SC veto.

> If we in the US refuse to ratify said treaty to begin with, the
> radicals all say that we 'broke' the treaty, when we never agreed to it
> in the first place.

If the US never agreed to a particular treaty then it cannot be said
to have broken it - it is that simple.

Brett Paatsch

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