The Article 2(3) of United Nations Charter states that “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered”. This principle is considered one of the main obligations of international law which every State must respect observe.
This essay shall be discussed in two separate parts, Firstly we will discuss the role of international law and its governing bodies in light of customary international law and the present UN Charter, in order to restrain the rising tensions in Westeros region due to the missiles fired by North as an act of aggression in order to establish its rightful claim on the Iron island which has been long disputed between North and Rock and in response to it the leader of Mountain has come forward to protect the Sovereignty of its ally and is planning to administer the use of force against North, however Professor James Crawford argues that “Interstate dispute will normally be addressed through diplomatic means, with another process very much at last (e.g countermeasure litigation)”.
In the Second part, we shall discuss the uprising of the ethnic group in the area of Storm which has demanded the right of self-determination, resulting in their unilateral independence which has led to the imposition of rule of law through military intervention by the governing body of Mountain which has further deteriorated the situation amounting to injuries and catastrophe which has alarmed humanitarian violation.
Conflict Between North and Rock and Resorting to the Use of Force
In this essay a lucrative fact whether the conflicting states of North, Rock, and Mountain are member of the United Nations remain unknown, Article 2(6) of the UN Charter states that the ‘UN shall ensure that states which are not member of the UN act in accordance with these principle so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security’, This notion is further reaffirmed by the Security Council resolution 757 (1992) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter, and therefore binding upon all the members states, imposed comprehensive sanction upon the the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Nevertheless, the invocation in that decision was to all states and not to member states. Therefore even if the states in question are not the member of the UN still they are bound by it and have to respect its obligations, tension has been emerging between the states of North and Rock over the Iron island has stark similarity with the Aegean dispute between Turkey and Greece over the islands and continental shelf of the Aegean sea, however, this dispute remains unresolved as either of the conflicting parties has reservations with the proposed resolution to this conflict. In the present scenario, the use and threat of force as demonstrated by North must be condemned by the International authorities and member states as per the Art. 2(4) of the UN Charter “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.” This provision is regarded now as the principle of customary international law and as such is binding upon all states in the world community. Fortunately, the missiles fired by North has not resulted in any substantial loss or damage to the population and property of Rock but it has increased the ongoing disturbance between the two states. ICJ in one of its reports provides that ‘If the projected use of weapons was intended as means of defence and there would be a consequential and necessary breach of the principles of necessity and proportionality, this would suggest that a threat contrary to article 2(4) existed. Furthermore the Art. 2(4) of the charter prohibits the use of force ‘against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the purposes of the UN’.
On the contrary, the Leader of Mountain has verbally accused and threatened the sovereignty of North which may cause hinderance in the way of any potential peaceful resolution of this matter, however the Article 51 of the UN charter explains the mechanism of self-defence as “Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.” and are allowed in special circumstances buts its validation requires to meet certain criteria.
Whereas The ICJ is another standing mechanism available for the peaceful settlement of disputes between States, to the extent that they wish to make use of it, no dispute can be the subject of the decision of the Court unless the States parties to it have consented to the Court’s jurisdiction over that specific dispute, or over a class of disputes of which the dispute is one, this principle could be observed in the case of Nicaragua v. United States, Nicaragua accused that the U.S was allegedly involved in carrying out military and paramilitary activities in the country from 1981-1984. Nicaragua pleaded to the ICJ to find the alleged activities of U.S violated the International Law. On the issue of nonintervention in the Nicaragua case, the Court in one of its judgment stated that “The principle forbids all states to intervene directly or indirectly in internal or external affairs of other states.
A prohibited intervention must accordingly be one bearing on matters on which state is permitted by the principles of sovereignty, to decide freely, one of these is a choice of a political, social, economic or cultural system and formulation of foreign policy”. In this case the court decided that the U.S was in clear violation of the customary international law vis-a-vis to question (1),(2),(4) and (5) brought before the court, whereas on question (3) the court found that the U.S could not simply rely on collective self-defence mechanism to justify its use of force in Nicaragua, however, the reliance of the court was based on the resolutions of the General Assembly and the source of ‘Opinio Juris’ was criticised by a number of legal commentators.Taking in view the Caroline and Nicaragua case it is very important that that anticipatory self-defence is only legally applicable when a state is facing imminent and overpowering attack.
Professor James Crawford establishes the statement mentioned above by stating that the sovereignty and equality of states represents the ‘basic constitutional doctrine of the law of nations which governs a community consisting primarily of states having a uniform legal personality’. As observed in the Oil platform case that if a state resort to use of force in self-defence, then it has to be able to demonstrate that it has been the victim of an armed attack, a concept that is linked to but not identical with the use of force contrary to the Article 2(4), and bears the burden of proof. The facts of this essay are not akin to the situation in Oil platform case, as no direct armed attacks have been directly conducted against the state of Mountain, therefore it cannot resort to the use of force in defence of its ally Rock, and the article 51 will not be applicable as a justification, however Mountain could possibly use Retorsion against North as it is a legitimate method of showing displeasure in a way that hurts the opponent state while staying within the bounds of utmost legality.
The Right of Self-Determination in Storm
According to Professor Crawford “self-determination in its stabilising mode simply repackages the existing principles of sovereign equality and prohibition of intervention, but in destabilising mode it, requires the creation of a state to rest on something more than the establishment of order”, akin to the situation of Storm the right of self-determination could be best viewed as entitling the population to select its political allegiance to influence the political order under which they live and to pursue their cultural, historical and territorial identity, it is extremely important that a group which is making a claim must have some aspects in common such as ethnic, religious or cultural bonds, whereas in the case of Storm the majority of its population shares the same ethnic background and have made the referendum successful with a turn out of 60%. In the past Eastern European people that were merged together in states for more than 5 decades have re-merged as separate states along with the full recognition of the U.N ‘nowadays it is almost impossible to deny that the right of self-determination has attained its true legal status consistent with a realistic interpretation of the political organs of the U.N’.
It is meaningful to underline that the right of self-determination in the classic sense, is a right of secession and the formation of new and separate states, and this could not possibly be denied to any people meeting the criteria especially when they are predominant in a certain territory and do not violate the civil liberties of minorities, this is reaffirmed by Espiell ‘today no one can challenge the fact that in the light of contemporary international realities, the principle of self-determination necessarily possess the character of Jus Cogens’. For instance in the Aaland land matter, dealing with whether the Swedish speaking Aaland islanders have the right to separate from Finland and join Sweden, “an international commission of jurist presented self-determination not as a right in international law, but as a fundamental principle that only comes when organised sovereignty is disrupted”, however in the Quebec case the Canadian Supreme Court ascertained that there was no right to unilateral secession in international law except for colonies and oppressed people, which did not apply to the case of Quebec, The court in one of its judgment emphasised that a right to external self-determination (i.e. a claim to a right to unilateral secession) ‘arises in only the most extreme cases and even then under carefully defined circumstances’. Secession allows a state to break from its parent state without any agreement but where it doesn’t agree then self-determination is the legal right, It can only be observed in the most extreme case or could be used as a last resort and there is a remedial right to secession as happened in the case of Bangladesh in 1971,
in the context of storm the population has been subjected to military intervention and the s
Contrary to the claims of Mountain’s government which has declared the Referendum and unilateral declaration in storm illegal, ICJ in the Kosovo advisory opinion decided that the unilateral declaration was in accordance with the international law, the court further added that “the adoption of the declaration did not violate any applicable rule of international law.” However in this context court left aside the issues of Self-determination and remedial secession, and focused entirely on the violation of any rule of international law, contrary to the courts decision Kosovo has not been facilitated with further recognition, however Pakistan accepted the status of Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign state in the U.N in 1973 unlike the deadlock between Kosovo and Serbia, actual application of remedial secession is rare to find as it depends on parent state and other states on recognition.
The ICJ’s advisory opinion is often perceived to eliminate the uncertainty of Kosovo’s statehood and it may contribute a fair share in bringing harmony and stability in the Balkan region. A similar decision in the case of storm will be extremely helpful to maintain peaceful ties of the nation
Mountain has failed to observe the aggravating situation within its own territory and has come forward in support of North while suppressing the fundamental human rights of the people of Storm