IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Article nine: an interesting idea

I just came across the site of the Global Article9 Campaign .  What is “article 9” you wonder?  Well it refers to Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which states:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

In the Wikipedia article about this subject, I also learned that the Italian constitution has a similar article; in this case article 11:

“Italy repudiates war as an instrument offending the liberty of the peoples and as a means for settling international disputes; it agrees to limitations of sovereignty where they are necessary to allow for a legal system of peace and justice between nations, provided the principle of reciprocity is guaranteed; it promotes and encourages international organizations furthering such ends.”

There is, apparently, an important difference between the Japanese and Italian articles.  The Japanese constitution is usually interpreted to mean that Japan cannot send troops outside the country for peace keeping, whereas the Italian constitution does not.

However, beyond such questions, these articles are extremely important.  Many have argued that a major reduction in international warfare requires that countries make such solid commitments and “enshrine” them in domestic law–preferably their constitutions.  In fact, one might wonder how a country can be seen as “peace loving”, if it is not wiling to make such a commitment.  This would have the added benefit of seeming more immediate and “real” to citizens, who often are not well informed about international treaties (such as the U.N. Charter).  It should also be noted, that such constitutional commitments to peace do not prevent a country from having either a significant internal police force or, if deemed necessary, fully adequate means to protect itself from the aggression of others.

So, one wonders, why have more states not moved in this direction?

(usual caveat:  IGbarb is not, with this post, necessarliy endorsing the goals of the Article9 campaign)

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November 27, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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