Folkrätten missbrukad

Mats Björkenfeldt

I den sevärda franska teveserien Baron Noir (kan ses på HBO Nordic) utspelar sig i säsong 2, 2018, en intressant diskussion mellan republikens president och hennes rådgivare. De båda söker hitta vägar att neutralisera ett terroristhot mot Frankrike och speciellt diskuteras en militär aktion i Syrien:

President: “Option C. I need you to tell me more about it.”

 Advisor: “Technically, the position is unchanged. The operation is still feasible.”

 President: “Legally, what authorizes us to execute a Daesh soldier in Syria?”

 Advisor: “In Syria, it’s a little complicated. Because we rely on an extensive approach to international law and the United Nations Charter. Unlike Russia, which is acting on an appeal for help from Assad, France is compelled to claim it is acting in either collective or individual self-defence. In the case in point, Iraq has asked for help from France. We consider that to be a mandate to act against Islamic State in Syria.”

 President: “Our operations in Syria are a direct extension of our operations in Iraq.”

 Advisor: “Exactly. The point has never been challenged at the UN.”

 President: “And the second possibility?”

 Advisor: “Individual self-defence. Being attacked in France by Islamic State fighters gives us the right to kill Islamic State fighters in Syria. But, be careful. Each operation must be thoroughly documented so we can prove the action out there is directly linked to an imminent threat back here.”

 President: “I’m afraid Jacques. I’m afraid of not having done everything I could. I’m afraid it will start over. Slaughter. Children. It gets harder every time. The country breaks further apart each time.”

Så inleds professor Olivier Cortens synnerligen angelägna artikel “Methodological Choices and Debates Concerning the Non-Use of Force från 2020”.

Artikeln ger en överblick över debatten om FN-stadgans våldsförbud, närmare bestämt den eviga frågan om våldsförbudet ska tolkas extensivt eller restriktivt.

Corten förklarar diskussionen mellan presidenten och rådgivaren: “What is depicted is what is referred to explicitly as an ‘extensive approach’ to the prohibition of the use of force. ‘Unlike Russia, which is acting on an appeal for help from Assad’, France ‘is compelled to’, as the advisor puts it, use an extensive interpretation of self-defence. More specifically, the terrorist threat supposedly justifies strikes on Syrian territory – with all the material and human loss which that implies – without having to prove that that state was responsible. This view of things, which the advisor concedes is ‘a little complicated’ can supposedly be justified only by reference, not to legal texts or case law, but to a sort of military necessity combined with humanitarian considerations: the purpose is to protect France and more specifically its citizens. What the President has to say is significant. Under certain circumstances, legal form must give way to the requirements of action: ‘I’m afraid of not having done everything I could’. Such a contrast between an extensive approach and another more restrictive one is to be found, too, this time in the very real statements of several heads of state. Statements by the last three presidents of the United States to hold office are significant.”

Corten citerar här USA:s senaste tre presidenter:

Bush den yngre: “[T]hose who plan, authorize, commit or aid terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests – including those who harbor terrorists – threaten the national security of the United States. It is, therefore, necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its right to defend itself and protect United States citizens both at home and abroad.”

Obama:  “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are […]. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Trump: “I will quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS, will rebuild our military and make it so strong no one – and I mean, no one – will mess with us”.

Å andra sidan refererar Corten till den alliansfria rörelsens uttalanden om restriktivitet: ”Non-Aligned Movement, 18th Mid-Term Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, Baku, 3-6 April 2018, para. 27.2. See also, among other similar statements, 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela, 16-18 September 2016, para. 25.2.”

Vad som är slående enligt Corten är att de som hänger sig åt en extensiv syn på till exempel självförsvarsrätten sällan refererar till FN-stadgans text eller till andra källor inom folkrätten (public international law).

“The contrast with this declaration by 120 UN Member States in April 2018 is striking: ‘The Movement stressed that the UN Charter contains sufficient provisions regarding the use of force to maintain and pre-serve international peace and security […]. In addition, and consistent with the practice of the UN and international law, as pronounced by the ICJ [Internationella domstolen i Haag, min anm.], Article 51 of the UN Charter is restrictive and should not be re-written or re-interpreted’”.

I artikeln gör Corten en noggrann genomgång av debatten och kritiserar bland annat den av Obama lanserade teorin om att den stat som är ”unwilling” att bekämpa terrorister inom landets gränser ger andra stater rätt att militärt intervenera där.

Vi har på sajten uppmärksammat en svensk expansionist som genom en frirättslig utsvävning söker rättfärdiga sin ståndpunkt.

Corten framhåller dock att FN-stadgan är en traktat som ska tolkas enligt den så kallade Wienkonventionen om traktaträtten från 1969:

“Let us return now to the opposition between extensive and restrictive approaches to interpretation to relate them with these principles, which are themselves applicable on a customary basis. Logically, the extensive approach will tend to favour the teleological approach over the wording of the text and the mere existence of the practice over the ‘agreement of the parties’ that such practice should reveal. This teleological approach will even be construed very broadly without citing or evoking Art. 31. Conversely, the restrictive approach will give precedence to the literal meaning of the text, at least to establish a presumed meaning, although that meaning might be overturned if it can be shown there is agreement among all the parties to do so. As for the object and purpose of the rule, the argument is used to emphasize its peace-making and stabilizing character. And the authors concerned will tend to refer to principles of interpretation set out in the Vienna Convention, which is a fairly logical approach from a more formalistic or restrictive perspective.” (Min kursiv.)

Efter en längre analys avslutar Corten:

”If we broaden the outlook, it can rapidly be seen that many other texts, signed by numerous international law scholars outside of any state initiative, may be evoked. These texts were first drawn up in the context of the 2003 War on Iraq, but more re-cent ones can be identified. Particularly emblematic in this regard is the ‘Plea against the Abusive Invocation of Self-Defence as a Response to Terrorism’. This text was initiated in May 2016 by the Centre de droit international at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and in conjunction with several colleagues. It was published in French, English, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic and quickly met with remarkable success: 306 signatures (205 men and 101 women), including 243 full or associate professors (and even an international judge) as well as 63 teaching assistants, researchers, and PhD students. The nationalities represented were very varied and included the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, Uruguay, and the US. The highly sensitive context was the aftermath of the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015 and the commitment of several European states in the war against ISIL in Syria. It was at this time too that the extensive conceptions of self-defence were developing based on the ‘unwilling or unable’ standard already referred to. The Plea Against the Abusive Conception of Self-Defence was therefore from the outset a reaction against an extensive approach to the use of force.”

Corten namnger även ett stort antal folkrättsexperter som förordar den restriktiva synen. Det måste tyvärr medges att svenska folkrättsexperter här lyser med sin frånvaro. Den enda trösten är att i den just utkomna boken Sverige och folkrätten, 2020, skriven av Ove Bring, Mark Klamberg, Said Mahmoudi och Pål Wrange, refereras till Olivier Cortens banbrytande bok The Law Against War (2010, Oxford: Hart Publ.), en bok som även varit en ledstjärna i vår bok Lagen mot krig, som finns för nedladdning från sajten.


Cortens senaste bok är anmäld här