Use of Force, Democracy and International Law, EuroMeSCo Annual Conference, Istanbul, 7 October 2006


Text of the introductory remarks made by

Mr. Yaşar YAKIŞ

Chairman of the EU Commission in the Turkish Parliament,

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

 In the EuroMeSCo Annual Conference on “Paths to Democracy and Inclusion Within Diversity”

Istanbul, 7 October 2006

The law pertaining to the use of force is still at the stage of evolution. The rules and norms that were shaped and contained in the UN Charter, does not address the hard core of the question of the use of force that we are faced with at present. At the time when the UN Charter was being drafted, the threat to the peace came from Germany and Japan that are referred to as “enemy states” in the Article 53 of the UN Charter. The para. 2 of the said article described the enemy state as any state which, during the Second World War, has been an enemy of any signatory of the present Charter”.

            What we are going to talk is of course the use of force in cases other then self-defense, because there is no restriction to the use of force in case of self-defense.

            The main sources of the international law are international treaties, custom (precedents) and general norms of law. The Article 103 of the UN Charter provides that  “in the event of conflict between the obligations of the Member States of the UN .. and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the (UN) Charter will prevail”.

            This provision of the UN Charter does not leave room to justify the use of force under another international agreement if such use of force does not comply tkhe rules contained in the UN Charter.

            The most important article in the UN Charter that deals with this specific subject is the Article 2(4) which reads as follows:

                        “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

            The use of force in former Yugoslav republics and in Iraq are very interesting cases for study. In one case the force was not used in appropriate time when it was justified; in the other case, it was used while it is still debated whether it was justified or not.

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