By Jerry Alatalo
olivian Sacha Sergio Llorenty gave perhaps the most powerful statement of all at the 7919th meeting of the United Nations Security Council, convened to discuss the situation in Syria after the United States unilaterally launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syrian territory.
Mr. Llorenty was the first U.N. representative to deliver their statement, and began by reminding fellow members of the Security Council of relevant articles in the U.N. Charter. He spoke about the U.S. missile attacks as being a serious threat to international peace and security:
“Why?… Because over the last 70 years mankind has been establishing, building a structure, not just an institutional structure, but also a legal structure. They have established an instrument of international law to precisely prevent a situation in which the most powerful attack the weakest with impunity, and to ensure a balance in the world. And of course, to avoid serious violations of international peace and security.”
At this point Mr. Llorenty held up a copy of the United Nations Charter, and said:
“We have agreed that this charter – the United Nations Charter – must be respected, and this charter prohibits unilateral actions. Any action must be authorized by the Security Council in accordance with the Charter. Allow me to read a couple of articles so we can remember this.”
“Article 24 says that in order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.”
“We (Security Council) represent the 193 member states of the organization, and through them we represent the people of the world. And, we have agreed that unilateral actions violate international law. Now, as we were discussing yesterday draft resolutions, while we were striving to come up with alternatives and come up with consensus in the Security Council, the United States not only unilaterally attacked, but, while we were just discussing here and demanding the need for an independent investigation, an impartial investigation, complete investigation into these attacks, the United States has become that investigator… Has become the prosecutor… Has become the judge, has become the jury.”
“So, where is the investigation which would allow us to establish in an objective manner who is responsible for the (chemical) attacks? This is an extremely, extremely serious violation of international law.”
Mr. Llorenty then reminded fellow members sitting at the meeting that such unilateral military action isn’t anything new, and has been undertaken by not just solely the United States but other U.N. member states in the past. He noted the 2003 presence of then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations shortly before the start of the Iraq War, and how Mr. Powell lied to the Security Council about Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Llorenty reminded the council that Latin Americans have been subject to U.S. Central Intelligence Agency financed overthrows of constitutional governments in that region, and described the training of torture methods to military soldiers associated with post-overthrow government officials.
“When we condemn unequivocally chemical attacks, we say that the Security Council must not be used as an echo chamber for interventionism. The Security Council should not be used as a pawn which can be sacrificed on a chessboard – the chessboard of war.”
“This Security Council of the United Nations is the final hope that we have to guarantee international peace and security, based upon principles, on norms and international rule of law.”
“Madame President, Also I’d like to point out that it’s absolutely vital, as you have convened this meeting in a very transparent way, that we demonstrate the concern that unfortunately there are first class members of the Security Council and second class members of the Security Council. The permanent members, which not only have the right to the veto, but they also control the procedures, they control the decision-making. And the other ten, we may be involved if we are consulted or if we are convened occasionally, not just to… not just to underwrite some positions of others. This is not multilateralism.”
“Bolivia would like to reiterate its robust, its robust condemnation of the use of chemical weapons or the use of chemical precursors in weapons to conduct criminal acts, irrespective of their motivation, whenever it may be, wherever it may be, and by whomsoever it may be committed. And we reiterate that we demand when these cases take place there should be independent, impartial, and conclusive investigations.”
“Unfortunately, the attacks yesterday have given a mortal attack on the Joint Investigative Mechanism, and, against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) so that they can undertake an investigation to find out exactly what did take place a couple of days ago in Syria.”
“The persons responsible must be prosecuted and punished under the law, and the same with any violations of international law, and which threaten international security.”
“Thank you, Madame President.”
Sacha Sergio Llorenty of Bolivia delivered a powerful statement at the 7919th meeting of the United Nations Security Council. What made it remarkable, and historic, was Mr. Llorenty’s fearlessness in speaking truths unfortunately rarely seen at the United Nations, and in the process raised the organization’s level of integrity and bar of excellence. Perhaps when situations become extraordinarily dangerous, some individuals respond with extraordinary truthfulness to reveal the root cause of the dangers, so to effectively neutralize any and all potential threats. May all such individuals on Earth step forward now.
(Thank you to Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations at YouTube)