Ex-UN Expert: If US & NATO Observed UN Charter, Ukraine Crisis Would Have Been Solved Long Ago
20:06 GMT 22.09.2022 (Updated: 20:09 GMT 22.09.2022)
US President Joe Biden used his speech at the UN General Assembly to castigate a single nation, Russia, and a single leader, President Vladimir Putin, by claiming that they "shamelessly violated the core tenets" of the UN charter. Alfred de Zayas, a former UN independent expert, has weighed up Biden's allegations.
"The US has applied double standards in all fora of the United Nations," says Alfred de Zayas, professor of international law in Geneva, former UN Independent Expert on International Order (2012-18), and a retired senior lawyer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. "It is too obvious that the aggressions by the US and other NATO countries in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria entailed grave violations of the UN Charter."
"All peace-loving peoples want to see the UN Charter observed worldwide. Indeed, if article 2(3) of the Charter had been respected by Biden and NATO countries, the Ukraine crisis would have been solved by peaceful negotiation. If the OSCE and the Normandy Format had insisted on the implementation of the Minsk Accords by Ukraine, the crisis could have been solved," the former UN expert continues.
The US president delivered his speech on the heels of Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization in Russia
and Moscow's decision to respond to the request of the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to hold referendums on joining the Russian Federation. In his announcement of the partial mobilization, the Russian president explained that Moscow must shield the roughly five million civilians of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye from atrocities, terror attacks and indiscriminate shelling conducted by the Ukrainian military and neo-Nazi forces. "We cannot, we have no moral right to let our kin and kith be torn to pieces by butchers; we cannot but respond to their sincere striving to decide their destiny on their own," Putin underscored.
However, Biden used the General Assembly podium to denounce the self-determination referendums as a "sham" and urged world leaders to hold Russia accountable for the Ukraine crisis. Still, the unfolding crisis must be put in the proper historical context, which saw the US playing a prominent role in it, de Zayas notes.
Ukraine Crisis Was Provoked by US, Started in February 2014
"[T]he armed conflict did not start on 24 February 2022, but already in February 2014, when the US and EU countries co-financed the undemocratic coup d’état against the democratically elected President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych, only to install in Kiev pawns of the US and of the European Union," the lawyer notes. '"Euromaidan' had nothing to do with democracy or self-determination of peoples, and everything to do with hegemonic expansionism. This clearly constituted a threat to international peace and security for purposes of article 39 of the UN Charter."
To make matters worse, neither President Petro Poroshenko nor Volodymyr Zelensky implemented their treaty obligations under the Minsk accords, brokered by the Normandy Four: Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine. The agreements created a roadmap for reconciliation between Kiev and the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, with Berlin, Moscow and Paris serving as the guarantors of the deal.
As Kiev sabotaged the Minsk accords, resorted to militarization and flirted with the idea of NATO membership, Russia came up with another initiative in December 2021. Moscow proposed draft security agreements to diffuse tensions sparked by the transatlantic alliance's decades-long eastward expansion and Washington's efforts to arm Ukraine and create new military installations on Russia's doorstep.
"Putin proposed two treaties in December 2021 – both of them moderate, seeking assurances about Russia’s national security and entirely compatible with the UN Charter," says de Zayas. "The arrogant rejection of negotiation over those two treaties by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and by Joe Biden led directly to the outbreak of hostilities, as had been foreseen by prominent American diplomats including George F. Kennan, Jack Matlock and Henry Kissinger. The refusal to grant such assurances was a provocation contrary to article 2(4) of the UN Charter – and more generally contrary to the letter and spirit of the Charter."
Having launched the special military operation in response to the requests by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, which were subjected to heavy shelling by the Ukrainian military, Russia once again urged Kiev to come to the negotiating table in March. The Russo-Ukrainian Istanbul talks opened the door to preliminary peace agreements, with Moscow withdrawing its forces from the Kiev region as a gesture of goodwill. However, the Ukrainian leadership abruptly halted the talks. Simultaneously, Western leaders stepped up weapons supplies to Kiev while calling for solving the conflict on the battlefield and bleeding Russia white
"Far from doing anything to avert the [conflict] in Ukraine, the US has been provoking it since even before Maidan," says de Zayas. "It is disconcerting that a US President could lie to the entire world when saying 'no one threatened Russia and no one other than Russia sought conflict … we worked to try to avert it.' In short, President Biden’s speech is surrealistic and does not allow a mature understanding of the world situation today. It is sheer propaganda."
US and NATO Violate Charter, Instrumentalized UN Agencies
De Zayas describes the UN Charter, "which should be considered as a world constitution," as already "a strong and implementable rules-based international order."
"The problem is that the US has systematically violated core principles of the Charter since its adoption on 24 October 1945," says the former UN expert. "The US only gives lip service to the Charter and at the same time tries to invoke a different 'rules-based order' which is nothing other than a set of rules unilaterally imposed on the rest of the world by the US and its allies."
In addition to that, Washington has de facto instrumentalized UN agencies to advance US and NATO geopolitical interests which "have destroyed the trust that many had in the United Nations," the ex-UN expert says. According to de Zayas, "it has become quite evident that the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council are largely in the service of Washington and Brussels."
"Indeed, when organizations such as the Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical betray the fundamental principle of objectivity and impartiality, they lose their authority and credibility," the scholar highlights. "When they apply double standards and betray their mandates, they justify cynicism and cause considerable harm to the universal right to truth, the need to promote peace and reconciliation. It is a fact that a human rights industry has emerged, largely financed by neo-liberal countries, which advance a fake narrative on human rights. The mainstream media is complicit in the systematic disinformation and brainwashing prevalent in many countries and even among members of the UN secretariat."