Stop JEFTA and its cohorts at the International Court of Justice!

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On 17 July 2018, JEFTA, the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement, was signed in Tokyo. JEFTA aims to create the world‘s largest free trade area. But there is, unfortunately, more to JEFTA than meets the eye. This agreement had been negotiated in secrecy, completely hidden from public view for years. It is only thanks to considerable public pressure that the EU has finally divulged the contents of the JEFTA agreement.

JEFTA is supposed to be ratified by the European Parliament later this year at all costs, meaning this agreement is to come into force deliberately bypassing appropriate democratic procedures, such as debate and voting in the national parliaments of the EU member states. You really can’t get more undemocratic than this!

JEFTA gives international corporations an alarming abundance of special rights and privileges, at the same time, freeing them from crucial obligations. Social and environmental standards play a token, insignificant role. A critical analysis conducted by the German NGO’s Lobbycontrol, PowerShift, and BUND (German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation) in addition to Greenpeace, come to the sobering conclusion that "...as with many other free trade agreements, JEFTA serves an unequivocal corporate agenda, at the same time falling behind even CETA (the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada) in lack of positive aspects." https://power-shift.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/JEFTA_20180717_02.pdf

The consequences of agreements such as JEFTA, CETA, TTIP etc. simply constitute a violation of labour rights, of the right to health and well-being, of the right to environmental protection, of the right to a life in dignity. It is often enough the case, that such grandiose projects as these, which are executed by international companies, lead to people losing everything they own and drive them to suicide or cause them
to die of hunger.

JEFTA can now, apparently, only be stopped by the European Parliament, but there is another point of leverage open to us. We are actually even in a position to put a stop to the continuous stream of agreements and treaties harmful to the common good, with the aid of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Prof, Alfred de Zayas, a US citizen appointed as the first United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order by the Human Rights Council in 2012, has shown us how, in an edifying interview he gave to a Swiss publication.

Here is the original interview in German given by Prof. de Zayas on 7 July 2015: http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/index.php?id=2184

Here is what can be done:

1. The foundational treaty of the United Nations, the UN Charter, made a fervent commitment to uphold the human rights of citizens and the common good. It stipulates that in the event of a conflict between the UN Charter and any other treaty or agreement in matters of the common good, the UN Charter always takes precedence with its principles of social and environmental justice. The UN Charter must simply be implemented properly and enabled to set humanitarian standards all over the world. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague could help do this. However, the ICJ cannot act under its own initiative to issue a judicial opinion on the matter of the free trade agreements or initiate the proceedings required to assert the UN Charter. A plaintiff has to bring the matter to court. Here is where the UN aid organisations come in. They can start such a legal action to force all agreements which are inimical to the common good to be amended accordingly.

2. So, let us ask such UN aid organisations as, e.g., the ILO (International Labor Organization), WHO (World Health Organization), UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) etc., to call upon the ICJ in The Hague to provide a judicial opinion concerning the compliance of agreements, such as the free trade treaties, with the humanitarian principles of the UN charter. Such a judicial opinion can only establish that no nation or state may enter into an agreement that contravenes the UN charter, which is unequivocal in this point.

3. All bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements such as, JEFTA, CETA etc. in addition to the 3000 other bilateral agreements which already exist, must then be examined. In every instance, the parts of the agreement which violate the UN Charter, and thus, the common good, shall have to be stricken out as they are actually null and void. That is anchored in the Law of Nations.

The objective of this petition is to move the aforementioned organisations to call upon the ICJ to issue an appropriate judicial opinion. Please help me in my endeavour. We must render harmless the free trade agreements with the help of the ICJ in The Hague!

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