Background information and comments by Panayiotis Ifestos

«A principled basis for a just and lasting Cyprus settlement in the light of International and European Law»
By the International Expert Panel convened by the Committee for a European Solution in Cyprus.

Panayiotis Ifestos
1. background information, 2. Political theory, power, causes of war and international rule of law. 3. The final report of the “International Expert Panel convened by the Committee for a European Solution in Cyprus”. 4. Call for endorsement of the report.
1. Background information.

The report entitled «A principled basis for a just and lasting Cyprus settlement in the light of International and European Law», attached herewith (two word files are attached, one in English and another in Greek), is the outcome of a collective endeavor which begun in 2004 after the rejection of the Anan plan by the majority of Cypriots and completed in early autumn 2005. This effort begun in the context of the deliberations of the “Scientific Committee for a European solution of the Cyprus question” created by the “Panhellenic Association for a European Solution of the Cyprus question”. The members of the “Scientific Committee” were Professor George Kassimatis who presided the deliberations, the professors of Panteion University Stelios Perrakis, Panayiotis Ifestos and Christodoulos Giallourides and Perikles Nearchou, former diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister. Members of the “International Association for the protection of Human Rights in Cyprus” also cooperated with the Committee.
Eventually, the “Panhellenic Association for a European Solution of the Cyprus question” convened the “International Expert Panel” comprised of experts in International law, constitutional law, European law, international relations and political science. Their report was finalized in August 2005 and handed over to the leadership of the two communities, to the President of the Republic of Cyprus and to the leaders of the political parties in Cyprus. The report was presented publicly in press conference in Nicosia on September 1st. It was also dispatched to the head of Governments of the EU, to the institutions of the EU and to many other potentially interested institutions in Europe.
At the outset, a primary objective was to confine the debates on the Cyprus question in scientific boundaries, thus excluding inputs of ideological, political, partisan and national or other value laden criteria. This could only be achieved if the Cyprus question is considered in terms of international and European rule of law, that is, in terms of mandatory-obligatory legal terms which if duly respected and fully implemented the Cyprus problem, it is believed, could be solved immediately and in the interests of all parties involved.

2. Political theory, power, causes of war and international rule of law

Given that elementary criteria of scientific objectivity are respected, a political scientist could easily define and delimit international and European rule of law. International and European rule of law is explicitly if not precisely recorded, inter alia, in international conventions, in the charters of the international institutions and in internal legal order of states. [«The rule of law in international law provides that all official activities must be undertaken in a way that is consistent with legal principles. It further means that legal processes must be established and respected in order for legal principles to operate effectively, so that, for example, the principle of due process is critical. As previously noted (paragraph 15), both the Council of Europe and the European Union are founded upon inter alia the principle of the rule of law. 26. There can be no international rule of law in a territory illegally occupied by a foreign power. Indeed, the fact that a member state of the European Union is prevented from exercising its sovereignty over part of its internationally recognised territory challenges the reality of the European rule of law itself». See para. 25,26 of the attached report]
Shortly stated, to the extend that almost all states entangled in the Cyprus question participate in numerous international organizations and signed various conventions whose clauses are incorporated as mandatory law in their internal judicial system, their governments are legally bounded in their behavior and decisions.
At this point, it is important to draw the borderline –unfortunately not always obvious for many– between the issues of international politics which are conditioned by the aforementioned mandatory-(strictly obligatory) international legal agreements and other issues which are directly influenced by power and the many causes of war so well described and explained by authors of the analysts of the traditional Paradigm such as Thucydides, Gilpin, Aron and Waltz. In fact, the former, that is, the obligatory-mandatory legal commitments of states at the international level constitute what one may define as “the acquisitions of humans’ political civilization at the international level” whilst the latter are –unfortunately– conditioned by power and the cause of war and are by and large the principal source of great human hardships. Some additional points as regards this important distinction are necessary.
Firstly, epistemologically speaking, it is a fact that many thinkers trained to be international politics “specialists” –and a great number of “invaders” of adjacent scientific fields– in the anarchically developing “scientific” field of “international relations”, often create a chaos of irrational political assessments springing from the overflowing of value laden “judgments” (pseudo-)scientifically disguised. In fact, the field could progress considerably if its specialists do not confuse what is obligatory in the involved states’ internal normative structures with other issues which are by and large influenced by interstate disagreements, by power politics and by the broader causes of war at the international level. Unless IR analysts comprehend fully the ontologically founded fundamental characteristics of the interstate system based on the principle of state sovereignty (and its corollary international anarchy) and the real nature of the causes of war, they are condemned to oscillate shakily and inconsistently between cosmopolitan nonsense, “idealistic” hegemonic rationalizations and sterile legalism. The publicly taken positions of many on the Anan plan reflect precisely this predominant pitiful state of affairs in the IR community of Greece (and certainly of the other scientific communities of Europe and elsewhere).
Secondly, though Cypriots themselves, mainland Greeks, mainland Turks and British leaders are all directly concerned by the Anan plan, its adventures during the period 2001-2005 are of broader significance. Its drafting and presentation exemplify the deficiencies of international organizations, highlight the fact that the causes of war are alive and actively undermining the foundations of the interstate system and explain the reasons of the difficulties to implement fully the rule of law in international relations.
Thirdly, the adventure of the Anan plan could prove the most appropriate case study as regards contemporary international relations, the state of the art of IR theory, the functioning of international institutions, the causes of war of the post-World War Two era and the “changes” in the post-Cold War era. It is certainly a severe testing ground of the state of affairs of contemporary political theory in Europe and elsewhere. Anan plan could prove the Waterloo of many political theorists if not of modern political theory itself, its proclaimed scientific ethics and its ability to explain the ontologically founded Paradigm of anarchy-sovereignty [Admirably described by Thucydides but still deprived of “political philosophy of international relations” and clear thinking as regards the dilemmas owing to the challenges of modern times, especially of the challenges of the societies’ ever deepening claim for political sovereignty (that is, the claim for national independence of those societies whose representatives respect rule of law in international relations)]. Lets be straight regarding this point: To the extend their writings were corrupted by value laden criteria resulting to an unacceptable bias in favor of the –legally and politically speaking–, monstrous Anan plan, the overwhelming majority of political scientists in Europe did not honor basic and elementary epistemic premises which could secure political theory’s compatibility with the acquisitions of human civilization at the international level. Many applauded the violation of international and European rule of law and co-advocated claims of some western powers which tend to reverse political civilization back to the colonial age. At the same time, many normatively –to my view owing to scientific-logical errors or political hypocrisy– “idealistically” claim to serve “Europe”, “human rights”, “international law”, “peace” etc. As Edward H. Carr substantiated long ago, the one or the other way they are in the service of disguised hegemonic claims.

3. The final report of the “International Expert Panel convened by the Committee for a European Solution in Cyprus”

The final report of the “International Expert Panel convened by the Committee for a European Solution in Cyprus” was indeed no easy task. I would like, however, to register the fact that my faith for scientific objectivity and the fundamentally ecumenical character of political science is strengthened. During the many scientific meetings that took place in 2004 and 2005 and to which I participated, it became clear that among political scientists engaged in the search of scientific truth, there is indeed a lot of common ground. Irrespective national, ideological, political or partisan criteria of the analysts when they attempt to describe interstate rule of law, it is indeed feasible to describe-define international normative structures as they were overtime agreed and established by the sovereign states. In fact, this was one more experience that strengthened my conviction that mandatory-obligatory normative structures at the international level could both provide a basis for productive international relations theory bridging the various branches of social sciences and a borderline of serious scientific as well as political debate on the problems owing to the cause of war. Certainly as it is stressed below, it could provide an ethical basis of IR analysis and political thinking.
The attached report of the International Experts panel, on purely objective grounds owing to the legal-political commitments the states themselves made in the past, provides a realistic orientation for a viable solution of the Cyprus question in a way that benefits all its inhabitants and serves peace and stability in the area.
[NB. In earlier writings this author, inter alia, attempted to establish i) that the Paradigm of Sovereignty-Anarchy is ontologically founded, ii) that the societies’ claim for collective political sovereignty is the nearest equivalent to “freedom” in international relations, iii) that –as it is defined with precision by the fundamental principles of international law which are by their nature anti-hegemonic– the claim for political sovereignty-collective freedom, is an overarching criterion of interstate relations, ontologically founded and for that reason morally irrebuttable, iv) that if international rule of law is respected for all “peace loving societies-states” –as defined in the aforementioned study– their statehood is their “collective freedom institution” («θεσμός ελευθερίας»-“thesmos eleftherias”) and v) that full respect of international rule of law and international peace and stability could only advance if the causes of war are eliminated or substantially moderated. Basically, value free IR studies of Traditionalist analysts differs from IL analysis only to the extend the former examine and consider appropriately the existence of the causes of war in contemporary international politics. Last but not least, as regards the debates on analytical ethics and international morality, all analysts and politicians could very well take into the account the existence of an ontologically founded overarching basis, that is, ”international rule of law” as previously defined. Political sovereignty of peace loving states and its corollary “socially defined” international institutions (whose principal “mission” is the safeguard of the collective freedom of the sovereign societies) are the basis of both value free analysis whish is compatible to scientific ethics founded on interstate ontology. They also provide the ethical and political basis of peaceful resolution of international conflicts and peaceful interstate cooperation. Political sovereignty defined as collective freedom, in other words, is a sound value free ethical orientation in both IR analysis and interstate politics.]

4. Call for endorsement of the report

Bilingual readers would notice that the English report and its Greek translation are identical. French and German language versions are under preparation. It is expected that many more specialists of international law, European law and international relations would add their names to the ones who finalized it and already signed it. Moreover, to the extend this report is the product of a collective effort and given that it is already published, it could be consider as an acquisition of political theory and as a reference text of everyone interested in the Cyprus question.
In fact a list of scholars is created for everyone wishing to publicly endorse its scientific content [endorsements could be sent electronically to the address (click) “I endorse the report A principled basis for a just and lasting Cyprus settlement in the light of International and European Law” and it would be promptly appropriately forwarded]. At this point, may I make it clear that an endorsement of this kind has nothing to do with politically and ideologically loaded lists of heterogeneous signatories. Simply, it is an endorsement of the report’s scientific content by all scholars who would agree with the validation and substantiation it provides.

Lastly, everyone agreeing with its content and disposing an electronic list, could circulate the report or forward it for publishing in web pages or in other available media.

September 2005

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