The Great Syrian Debate: Roundabout Diplomacy in Geneva. (5)

In international diplomacy, much haste less speed. In an organized international society, the rule of international law is paramount, not opinion.

Ignorance of international law is no excuse. There has been shocking display of ignorance about the regime of international law, which the Syrian crisis has thrown up.

There has been too much volunteerism, guess-work, subjectivity and propagation of views as the international community should run world affairs and not as the world is.
The resolutions adopted during the Geneva Meeting represent powerful notions about seeking a pin in a hay stack.

Syria is asked to join the Chemical Weapons Treaty regime and hand over all chemical weapons to an international control authority, yet to be constituted.

There is a principle of international law, which unequivocally states that “pacta sunt servanda”, meaning that agreements must be respected. But there is the overriding principle of “pacta tertiis nec nocent nec prossunt sunt”, meaning that treaties do not bind third parties that did not subscribe to the treaties”.

Syria is not a signatory to the relevant Chemical Weapons treaty and so it is wrong to use the word “join”. The correct word is “accede”.

Under international treaty law, a state that accedes to an existing treaty must only do so of its sovereign will. It cannot be imposed , unless under a regime of capitulation or under consular jurisdiction, as was imposed on Japan in 1945.

America and Russia are no belligerents but mediators. This legal status does not confer on them any imperium over Syria except under debellatio, which does not apply in the Geneva accord.

There is an international principle,” Par in parem non habet imperium,”meaning that between sovereign states, non can impose imperial authority.

Only power politics permits imposition. In power politics, international legal rules are brushed aside in a grotesque manner, but that cannot be the standard in an organized international society.

When annoyance, arrogance play roles in framing the synthesis of international relations, the rule of law gets submerged. Threats of the use of force, override objective criteria for assessing rational judgment.
Some provisions of the Bustamante Code and the Brian-Kellogg Pact of 1928 outline rational regulations for international law. The latter stipulates that war should not be used as an instrument of national policy.

In power politics, international legal rules are denigrated, to the detriment of powerless states.
Where leading debaters are of a partisan mien, their logic, though flawed, is given the attention, which it does not deserve.

If such a person represents a powerful entity, the press and gullible public opinion, re-echo the illogicality, bully it, until it becomes a norm.
For the Syrian government to accede to the Chemical Weapons treaty, it must present the treaty to its parliament, debate the provisions of the treaty, pass it into Syrian law by the process of domestication into the body of Syrian law and deposit a copy of the instrument of ACCESSION with the United Nations as required by the relevant provision of the United Nation’s Charter.
Those, who are insisting on a “quick fix”, must be told that in international diplomacy, much haste results in less speed, so states must make haste slowly.

If it took the Creator of the UNIVERSE, seven days to complete his work of creation, Syria is faced with a mission impossible.

In a civil a war situation, moving volatile nuclear, biological, bacteriology and chemical weapons around is a yeoman’s job. More haste less speed!
Americans and Russians are acting in loco parentis to Syrian combatants, who are peddling injurious falsehoods against each other.

The case of vicarious liability can result if a dangerous blow out occurs. If the UN had not been such a disaster, matters could have perhaps been nipped in the bud two years ago.

Written by
Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
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