By Veronica Uy
Even after its invasion of Crimea and Ukraine, Russia does not the power to create a “new world order,” international studies expert Prof. Dr. Mario Pereira Garmendia said at the recent forum entitled “Crimea Global, Understanding Ukraine through the South.”
“A new world order? No. That’s Putin’s crazy dreams. Impossible. Russia, or even Russia and China, do not have the strength to change the status quo shaped by the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenants of 1975,” said the doctor of criminal law at the University of Navarra in Spain.
Garmendia said international criminal law protects the international legal system with its international security parameters. He admitted that these elements of the world order are not perfect, but are nevertheless expected to be enforced.
“Is it infallible? No. Like any other law system, it can be violated, but what matters is the legitimate expectations protected by the rule of law,” he told participants to the session entitled “Redefining the International Security and Development Orders: Ukraine’s Resistance and Reconstruction, and South-South Cooperation.”
The Spanish doctor of criminal law said the world order has been shaken from the conquest wars from the 19th Century to the imperial wars of the mid-20th Century. He said it subsequently banned these wars.
“We should fix [the world order] as much as possible, but little by little. We should be convincing, not imposing our own Weltanschauung or Cosmovisions,” he recommended.
Garmendia explained that central to the world order is human rights.
“Humanity as the referent object of international criminal law. [Human rights] belong to any human being and are prior to States. Thus, states just recognize those rights—they and do not create them,” he said.
“Every government must respect some minimal standards—the protection from any atrocity crime such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and especially crimes against peace or war of aggression as expressed in United Nations General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions,” he added.
Garmendia said the world order that gave rise to globalization has led to international trade, business, and communications.
“Globalization has [generally] been good to Humanity even though it has its dark side,” he said.
In this world order, states strive to improve their trade with other nations, as well as get access to a broader international financial system and to new technologies and production systems so that it raises the socio-economic status of their people, he said.
States do this by creating laws and institutions that regulate and redistribute the economic growth in a much equal manner.
But, Garmendia pointed out, “all the things mentioned require peace. And for peace, we require security. And there could not be security unless we protect the international system against perpetrators of atrocity crimes.”
That’s why, he said, the Global South, apart from the West, has the duty to help Ukraine against the invasion of Russia.
“Every nation must fight alongside Ukraine giving as much support as possible. Otherwise, we’ll be violating our international duties. The UK, USA, and EU are indeed the states that help Ukraine the most, but they are protecting humanity not just Ukraine,” he said.
Garmendia said “nations of the so-called Global South must not pretend to be mere bystanders. We have duties and obligations, not just with Ukraine, but with humanity, hence, with ourselves.”