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Cardinal warns law of force means international anarchy

Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has warned that when the law of force prevails over international law, all are "plunged into a condition of anarchy and profound illegality".

The Cardinal (pictured) was addressing a Congress of Catholic Jurists meeting in Trani, Italy, to consider the theme of peace and international law.

Referring to the main points in Pope John Paul II's message for the 2004 World Day of Peace, Cardinal Martino stressed the absolute need for international law to function effectively if peace is to be given a chance.

He said the growth of such law requires individual states to be willing to cede ever-larger shares of their sovereignty for the sake of security and the universal common good.

Cardinal Martino underlined the need for international law to avoid domination by the strongest or wealthiest nations.

The cardinal, who was the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations for 16 years, said the force of law must prevail over the law of force.

He said: "Democratic governments know very well that the use of force against terrorists cannot justify the giving up of the principles of the state of law and in no case imply the violation of the fundamental rights of the human person."

Violation of International Law Leads to Anarchy, Cardinal Martino Warns (Zenit 11/2/04)

Martino says UN's role needed now more than ever (CathNews 14/4/03)
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
An ever timely commitment: Teaching peace (Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace 2004)

13 Feb 2004