For Iran and
Invoke the Hague Convention
for Pacific Settlement now!
A Boyle, TFF Associate
March 29, 2007
tension between Iran and the United Kingdom over the sailors makes
it urgently relevant to invoke the 1899 Hague Convention for Pacific
Settlement of International Disputes! - says Francis A. Boyle, a world
authority on international law.
Both Iran and the United Kingdom are contracting parties to the 1899
Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes.
Title III of the 1899 Convention created a procedure
for the formation of international commissions of inquiry to investigate,
ascertain and report on international differences involving neither honor
nor vital interests, and arising from disputed points of fact that could
not be settled by means of diplomacy (article 9).
An International Commission of Inquiry is precisely
what is called for here to resolve their dispute over the Sailors.
Hence I would encourage everyone to pressure
the Governments of both Iran and the United Kingdom to publicly invoke
the 1899 Convention and request the immediate organization of such a Commission
to de-escalate this crisis that could readily precipitate World War III.
For more details on these Commissions with further
references, see my book Foundations
of World Order (Duke University Press:1999).
March 30, Revised and
Article 2 of the 1899 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International
Disputes provides that in case of serious disagreement or conflict, before
an appeal to arms, the contracting powers agree to have recourse, as far
as circumstances allow, to the good offices or mediation of one or more
friendly powers. In other words, the United Kingdom and Iran have already
agreed to have recourse to the good offices or mediation by one or more
of the contracting powers to the 1899 Hague Convention in order to settle
the Sailors dispute. See also the 1907
Hague Convention here.
In addition, Article 3 of the 1899 Hague Convention established the right
of states not parties to the dispute, on their own initiative, and as
far as circumstances may allow, to offer their good offices or mediation
to the States at variance. This right could be exercised by third parties
even during the course of ongoing hostilities, when the tide of battle
was turning against a belligerent, which is not yet the case here. Most
importantly, the exercise of this right by a third state could not be
regarded by one of the states in conflict (UK and Iran) as an unfriendly
act of intervention.
Therefore, what we need to do now is start a world-wide campaign to get
at least one State contracting party to the Hague Conventions for the
Pacific Settlement of International Disputes to exercise its "good
offices" by proposing to both the United Kingdom and Iran that
they invoke Article 9 of the Convention in order to organize an International
Commission of Inquiry to resolve their dispute over the Sailors.
I would encourage all of you
to pressure your respective governments to do the same. Otherwise, a major
regional war could erupt in the Gulf that could readily degenerate
into World War III. Remember the Guns of August!
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