The Korean Lawyers Committee released a white paper on Thursday 16 March on the above question. We reproduce immediately below the parts of the white paper which relate to the resolutions which impose sanctions on the DPRK
In recent years, the United States and its followers continue to manipulate ‘resolutions on sanctions’ against the DPRK at the UN Security Council, abusing the self-defensive measures of strengthening national defence power of the DPRK as a threat to world peace and security.
In this regard, the Permanent Representative of the DPRK to the UN sent letters twice to the UN Secretary General in May and December 2016 requesting him to explain the legal grounds on which the UN Security Council stipulated our nuclear test and satellite and ballistic missile launches to be a "threat to international peace and security." The UN Under-Secretary General for political affairs sent us a reply letter on December 22, 2016, stating that the legal ground was article 39 of the UN Charter…
The History of Sanctions of the UN Is a History of Crimes Tainted with High-handedness and Arbitrariness.
The rights to self-defence and self-determination cannot be violated by anyone as they are sacred rights officially recognised by international laws including the UN Charter. …
The ‘Sanctions Resolutions’ of the United Nations against the DPRK are criminal documents devoid of legality, morality and impartiality.
The UN Security Council started its scandalous path taking sides with the United States’ hostile policy towards the DPRK by fabricating its ‘Resolution 82’, ‘Resolution 83’, and ‘Resolution 84’ that ‘legalised’ the US war of aggression against the DPRK and the participation of the ‘UN forces’ therein.
The rackets of the UN Security Council adopting ‘sanctions resolutions’ against the DPRK are reaching an extreme today with a starting point of ‘Resolution 825’ railroaded to withhold our decision to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in May 1993 and force us to return to cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Last year also the UN Security Council under instigation of the United States again committed acts of arrogation and violation of our sovereign rights by manipulating ‘sanctions resolutions’ 2270 and 2321 while reviling our H-bomb test and explosion test of a nuclear warhead to safeguard our sovereignty as a ‘threat’ to international peace and security.
In this regard, the Permanent Representative of the DPRK to the UN sent letters twice to the UN Secretary General in May and December 2016 requesting him to explain the legal grounds upon which the UN Security Council claimed our nuclear test and satellite and ballistic missile launches were a "threat to international peace and security."
In response, the UN Under-Secretary General for political affairs sent us a reply letter on December 22, 2016, stating that the UN Security Council in accordance with Article 39 of the UN Charter could rule whether any particular act, situation or conflict constituted a threat or encroachment to peace or act of aggression.
In other words, the legal grounding for the ‘sanctions resolution’ of the UN Security Council against the DPRK is the Article 39 of the UN Charter.
Article 39 of the UN Charter quoted by the UN Secretariat as the legal grounds for the sanctions resolution; against the DPRK is a provision on the general authority of the UN Security Council. Its content stipulates that the UN Security Council may determine the existence of any threat to peace, breach of peace or act of aggression and make recommendations to maintain or restore international peace and security.
If the interpretation of the UN Secretariat is followed, it means that the UN Security Council can decide not by the norms of any international law but by its own discretion whether a nuclear test or satellite launch and ballistic missile launch constitutes a threat to international peace and security and pass ‘sanctions resolutions.’
Then one cannot but ask why the UN Security Council judges that only the nuclear test and satellite and ballistic missile launches of the DPRK pose a ‘threat to international peace and security’ while many countries conduct nuclear tests and satellite and ballistic missile launches?
The UN Security Council is not a legislative organ creating new laws. Neither has it the authority to do so.
Not a single provision of any international laws, including the UN Charter, UNGA resolutions, CTBT, NPT, Outer Space Treaty, stipulates that nuclear tests or satellite and ballistic missile launches of themselves constitute a threat to international peace and security.
Mexican lawyer Monica made a statement to the following effect; The UN Security Council can never enact a new law because the UN Charter does not expressly give the Security Council this legislative authority. The UN Security Council should not allow discrimination in the interpretation of the Article 39 of the UN Charter and adopt any resolution applied selectively to a particular country. In the past, however, the UN Security Council did not apply resolutions adopted on the basis of Article 39 of the Charter equally. Rather, it selectively applied them to a particular country. Consequently these resolutions are not binding (pp. 155, ‘Interpretation of Article 39 of the UN Charter. Is the Security Council a legislator for the Entire International Community?’ from the Mexican yearbook on legislation published in 2011).
If nuclear tests or satellite and ballistic missile launches in themselves constitute a threat to international peace and security, the permanent member states of the UN Security Council should become the targets of sanctions one after another and corresponding sanctions resolutions should be adopted since they have conducted nuclear tests more than 2,000 times, launched over 7,000 satellites and still undertake intercontinental ballistic missile launch tests almost every day.
But the UN Security Council manipulated ‘sanctions resolutions’ without any legal grounds, alleging that only the nuclear tests and satellite and ballistic missile launches of the DPRK constituted a threat to international peace and security. In the meantime, the United States put political and economic pressure on other countries to side with its hostile policy towards the DPRK to implement the anti-DPRK ‘sanctions resolutions.’
If the ‘resolutions’ of the UN Security Council are ‘fair’ and ‘reasonable’ they will be implemented naturally without the coercion and pressure of the United States on other countries.
However, the United States mobilises all its vassal forces to put political, economic and military pressure on other countries in order to force them to implement the illegally-manipulated ‘sanctions resolutions" against the DPRK.
In September last year, the US administration gave a directive to all its missions overseas to make other countries cut off all relations with the DPRK and minimise travel there (Joongang Ilbo of south Korea, September 30, 2016).
And on March 6 and 10 this year, the United States ambassador to Uganda took the lead in going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda with the ambassadors of the UK, France, Germany, Japan and south Korea to force implementation of the anti-DPRK ‘sanctions resolutions’ and openly threatened that, if Uganda did not sever political, economic, military and cultural relations with the DPRK, it would also face sanctions similar to those against the DPRK, including the freezing of assets of Ugandan officials, a ban on their travel and prohibition of Ugandan exports to the United States and EU (Ugandan Newspaper Sunday Vision, March 12, 2017).
The mean and vulgar appeasement and deception, pressure and blackmail of the United States has been applied not only to Uganda but also to all developing countries, amply showing that the ‘sanctions resolutions’ against the DPRK have been manipulated illegally as a product of the US hostile policy toward the DPRK.
The root-cause of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula lies in the United States and it is none other than the United States that pushed the DPRK to become a nuclear weapons state.
Our nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches are just and righteous self-defensive measures to safeguard our sovereignty and right to existence, to cope with the nuclear threat of the United States persisting for more than half a century, and they do not run counter to any international law including Article 51 (right to self-defence) of the UN Charter.
In this regard, American political commentator Stephen Gowans wrote in his Internet Homepage in April 2016, in an article entitled ‘Why are the UN “sanctions” against the DPRK unfair: what the United States wants is not denuclearization but Americanization of the Korean peninsula’, the following; ”The US is constantly threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons. The U.S. hostile policy toward North Korea and the constant nuclear threat that continued for more than half a century caused this country situated in Northeast Asia to decide to develop nuclear weapons for its self defense.”
And the Canadian Institute of Globalization introduced on January 11 2016 in its website ”GLOBALRESEARCH.CA”, the question in an article entitled ‘Why does the DPRK possess nuclear weapons? The war crime committed by the United States in Korea’ which demonstrates that the DPRK’s measures of increasing its national defence power including nuclear tests and ballistic rocket launches are self-defensive measures to cope with the war crimes of the United States.
As is generally known, the UN ‘sanctions resolutions’ against the DPRK have neither legal grounding nor justification, to say nothing of their morality.
The United Nations adopted the illegal and immoral ‘sanctions resolutions’ against the DPRK and applied blockade-type sanctions. Moreover, it clings to a mean and crude way of including recreational sports equipment and even pocket watches and porcelain tableware in the list of sanctions.
It seriously threatens our people’s right to existence and destroys modern civilisation. It is no more than an act against humanity and civilisation aimed at turning the world back to medieval darkness.
Therefore, the 17th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries held in Venezuela in September 2016 and the declaration of the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 and China held during the period of the 71st session of the UNGA strongly demanded withdrawal of the sanctions, noting that the sanctions measures taken by the UN Security Council draw serious concern in view of their questionable legal grounds, impartiality and justice.
The DPRK’s self-defensive measures of strengthening its national defence power are not an issue to be quarrelled over or debated by others.
The Korean Lawyers Committee once again resolutely denounces and rejects as a criminal document the sanctions resolutions of the United Nations devoid of legality, impartiality and morality.
A Forum of International Legal Experts to Clarify the Legal Grounding of the UN ‘Sanctions Resolutions’ against the DPRK should be organised Immediately.
The unusual phenomena in which justice and truth are trampled down and rights of sovereign states violated in the international arena including the United Nations should no longer be connived at or tolerated.
But after our proposal on organising the forum of legal experts, the United States employed government-patronised broadcasts financed by the Administration to spin out preposterous sophistries about the legal grounding of ‘sanctions resolutions’ against the DPRK quoting the non-expert opinions of people who are ignorant of international laws.
On January 18, Joseph De Thomas, a professor at the state university of Pennsylvania in the United States, said that, as our ballistic missile was capable of carrying nuclear weapons, it posed a threat to world peace and security and that, because of the similarity of launching technologies for satellites and ballistic missiles, the UN Security Council had authority to prohibit even satellite launches by the DPRK (Voice of America, January 18, 2017).
Gordon Chang, a self-styled lawyer claiming to be an expert on Korean affairs, used sophistries to the effect that the UN Security Council could apply sanctions to the nuclear tests of the DPRK on the basis of the NPT because other states did not recognise the DPRK’s insistence on successful withdrawal from the NT (Voice of America, January 18, 2017).
We would like to ask the American non-experts in legal affairs who are spinning out sophistries to the effect that the UN Security Council had authority to prohibit satellite launches by the DPRK and that the DPRK’s withdrawal from the NPT was not recognised by the other states: Where does the UN Charter stipulate that the UN Security Council has the authority to deprive any individual UN member state of the right to launch satellites in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty? Are they aware of the fact that the UN member states never entrusted such authority to the UN Security Council?
As for our withdrawal from the NPT, we withdrew from the treaty in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 10 of that Treaty which clearly stipulates that “Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardised the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance”.
As our withdrawal from the NPT followed the legitimate procedure, it is not an issue to be approved or disapproved of by anyone.
If the United States has anything to say, it should come out and speak at a forum of international legal experts, instead of disseminating unreasonable words by using those who do not even know international law.
The prevailing reality fully shows that organising the forum of legal experts to investigate the legal grounds for ‘sanctions resolutions’ is all the more pressing.
The forum of international legal experts is the place where the legality of ‘sanctions resolutions’ can be clarified fairly from an international law perspective.
On March 13, 2017, the permanent mission of the DPRK to the UN proposed to the UN Secretariat that the governmental and non-governmental experts from all states and international legal organisations attend the forum as they wish and the agenda of the forum be agreed upon reasonably in full reflection of the wishes and opinions of the attendees.
The UN Secretariat should, in accordance with its main mission of maintaining international peace and security fulfil its responsibility before the international community by positively responding to our proposal on organising a forum of international legal experts to clarify the legal grounding for the ‘sanctions resolutions’ taken against the DPRK.