Günter Grass und das Völkerrecht (Günter Grass and Public International Law)
Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No 3/2012
5 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 24, 2012
On 4, April 2012, German Nobel Laureate for Literature, Günter Grass published his controversial poem "What must be said" which deals with a possible attack by Israel on Iran in order to stop that country's nuclear (weapons) programme. Grass accuses Israel of endangering "the already fragile world peace" by claiming a "right to the first strike". Although, strictly speaking, Grass does not put forward a legal argument, he raises three interesting legal questions: First, the right of a State to anticipatory self-defense in cases where the threat in question is not imminent but still claimed to be real. For example, where a State tries to acquire nuclear weapons-making capability with allegedly hostile intent. Second, the international responsibility of a State (Germany) and the criminal responsibility of its officials for aiding and abetting another State (Israel) that might engage in premature acts of self-defense; and, third, the different treatment accorded by the international community to the nuclear (weapons) programmes of Israel and Iran.
Note: Downloadable document is in German.
Keywords: International law, anticipatory self-defense, international responsibility, criminal responsibility, Iran nuclear programme, Israel, law and literature
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