World Peace through World Law and the Abolition of War

This page is based on a lecture by the Swiss international lawyer Dr. Max Habicht (1899-1986) at the summer seminar of the Institute for Mondialist Studies 1981 in Chateau de la Lambertie / France.
World Peace through new World Law (german)
Dr. Habicht as a speaker before the first international assembly for a world constitution in 1968 in Interlaken / Switzerland   -   Photo: World Federalists

1. Despite unsuccessful attempts in the past, it is possible to create a construction for world peace - but not for nothing.

Humanity is still searching for a lasting peace. Let us not be discouraged. People know exactly how to build peace in a community. They have succeeded in resolving their conflicts in the clan, in the village, in the city, in the nation, without violence, with something called a legal order. The same is possible for the human community all over the world, if you only want it and are willing to pay a price for it: the acceptance of a binding decision by a third party, if negotiations do not lead to the goal.

2. A new legal order, a world right for mankind, is attainable even without a moral change of people being necessary.

Unfortunately, preaching that one must love one's enemies has not led to world peace on this earth. Peace can also be achieved without a change in man's attitude towards his neighbour, in a sense from the outside, through a legal apparatus: through state organs and jurisdiction, if necessary by isolating the lawbreaker from normal society.

Editorial note:
There is no doubt that the vast majority of people are positive social beings whose basic moral values are fully sufficient to live peacefully and in solidarity with one another in a global community. You don't necessarily have to love each other for that. In a world without wars and injustices the positive image of man will stabilize and exceptions will be a vanishing minority. Demagogues and despots will no longer have a chance.

3. Peace rarely comes through negotiations to which the parties concerned give their consent.

Unanimous decisions are not required. International law based on unanimity has never created lasting peace. Agreements between states, the League of Nations and the United Nations only postpone wars. In most cases they cannot resolve the conflicts, which is why sooner or later there will be an explosion.

4. Peace is the elimination of injustice without struggle, through the decision of an elected third instance, which enacts laws, which are then interpreted by courts and applied by an administration - if necessary with police measures.

If mankind wants peace, it must create the organs that can enact laws for the whole world: a world parliament; and be able to apply: a world executive; and be able to interpret: a world jurisdiction. Many people do not know that such bodies do not exist today: they believe that the United Nations is a world government, the Blue Helmets a world police force, and the International Court of Justice in The Hague a world court before which disputants can be summoned. No, the United Nations is a marketplace where national interests are sold and bought. Often there is no agreement and the case of injustice to be remedied cannot be settled. However, it must be acknowledged that this marketplace is desirable and that haggling over national interests has created a lot of useful things - but unfortunately not world peace.

5. Submission to the decision of a third party is only possible if one can trust that third party, i.e. if he is honest and clever.

To this end, almost all states have created parliaments, governments, police forces and courts to which conflicts are submitted for non-violent resolution if the parties cannot reach agreement through negotiations and treaties. Parliaments pass laws by majority vote which are binding on the citizens. Such a law is addressed to the individual and not to "peoples", as international law does. A world legal order that is to function must also address the individual and not just what is called a nation. The coming world law must bind every citizen directly.

To achieve this one does not need national armed forces, but only supranational peace protection in a disarmed community. Disarmament is the precondition for this, but real disarmament has never been achieved by treaty, but only by the laws of a parliament. If the League of Nations and the United Nations could not achieve disarmament, this only proves that disarmament cannot be achieved by unanimous decisions and treaties. Disarmament is only possible after the creation of a World Union that can guarantee the necessary legal order and security.

6. What might a new legal order at world level look like?

World law should be created by majority vote of a parliament as legislature. That is why the world needs a legislative assembly, perhaps of three chambers:
A People's Chamber, elected by all citizens in all countries.
A chamber of states, consisting of representatives of the nations.
A chamber of humanity with representatives elected by the two aforementioned chambers.

Editorial note:
A third chamber - here chamber of mankind - is hardly discussed today. Realistic is the parliamentary assembly demanded by the UNPA campaign - here the People's Chamber - whose members are directly elected by all world citizens. The Chamber of States already exists in the form of the United Nations General Assembly. This must include a world administration as executive and the necessary world jurisdiction as judiciary.

7. Legal systems can be built up federalistically.

The parliaments of the nation states and the world parliament would have to share the legislation federalistically. World laws should only exist for global concerns. Local and national competences remain autonomous. The world parliament would deal exclusively with world problems. Among the most important tasks are the abolition of war through general and complete disarmament and the safeguarding of world peace through supranational peace protection, the abolition of poverty and hunger through worldwide social justice and reconciliation, as well as the protection and safeguarding of the ability of our planets to live. The problems of the world cannot be solved by philanthropy, nor can they be solved at the national level. This requires social laws that can only be created by a democratic world parliament.

8. The establishment of a world federal state can be achieved by a constituent world assembly to which all nations must be invited.

In August 1968 in Interlaken 150 persons from 25 states from 5 continents had come together for a congress which was to prepare this World Constituent. This Congress had issued a call to all governments to establish an Institute for Documentation and Research for the establishment of a Federal World Authority. This preparatory work could one day lead to the creation of the World Constituent, which would draw up a Federal Constitution for the World, which would then be submitted to the national parliaments for ratification.
Editorial note:
Half a century since 1968 has shown that this is not the case. The history of the World Constitution and Parliament Associacion WCPA (article in German) bears witness to this.

9. The price that the nation states would have to pay for this would be the transfer of part of their sovereignty to the world federal state.

Of course certain people will lose something, but the majority will finally achieve what they have longed for so long: world peace. No more huge sums of money will be spent on arming the nation states, no more troops of soldiers trained to kill, but used for the good of mankind.


Max Habicht

The abolition of war - autobiograqphical notes of a world federalist and collected papers on peace and world federalism

Club Humaniste Paris 1987

Additional information:

The world federalist movement was founded in 1947 with the French name "Mouvement Universel pour une Federation Mondiale" in Montreux. The aim was described in article 1 of its statutes as follows: "The purpose of the association is to create a world federation, whose competences are to be defined in a constitution, to create a federation with a parliament for world law, judicial authorities to interpret it and an executive with the necessary power to enforce world law against individuals".

In the more than 70 years since the Montreux Congress, many different organizations have emerged and passed in the movement, most of which are little known. Today there is the World Federalist Movement based in New York and The Hague. World Citizen Organizations around the globe belong to it. The world political work of the world federalists is currently focused on reforming the UN.


The aim is to develop it into a federal and democratic World Union of truly united nations.