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Journal of International Law an International Relations
 

Belarusian Journal of International Law and International Relations 2000 — N 2

Summaries 


International Law

Human Rights

International Ideology of Human Rights: Towards the Issue of the Right to Development — Leonid Yevmenov

From the 'Reflections... About Peaceful Coexistence...' to the Struggle for Human Rights — Tamara Keita-Stankevich

Towards the Interpretation of 'the Child' Concept in International Law — Oleg Starovoitov

Refugee Law

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees: International Protection of Refugees — Yury Morgun

International Private Law

Legal Nature of Treaty on Commercial Representation — Elena Babkina

International Relations

Belarus in the Geopolitics and Diplomacy of the Period of World War II — Vladimir Snapkovsky

The Republic of Belarus Interaction with the Leading European organizations in the late 1990s — Tatiana Alexeyeva, Alexandr Gordeichik, Elena Dostanko

Belarusian Aspects of Poland’s Eastern Policy in 1996—1999 — Mechislav Chesnovsky

The Issues of Developing a New International Relations Paradigm — Alexandr Chelyadinsky

Political Parties and Organizations of Northern Ireland and their Evolution During Conflict Escalation (1969—1996) and at the Current Stage (1997—2000) — Pavel Potapeyko

Integration of Refugees in Belarus: International Perspectives — Andrey Selivanov, Andrey Goiko

International Economic Relations

Main Directions of Customs Tariff Policy of the Republic of Belarus — Elena Davydenko

Corporation Effect in the Foreign Economic Policy of Belarus — Vladislav Konovalov

The Issue of Dynamics of Exchange Rate During the Transition to the Market — Olga Kirvell

Women’s Participation in the System of Small Entrepreneurship Management in the Countries with Transitional Economy — Ludmila Shukailo


English Summaries


"International Ideology of Human Rights: Towards the Issue of the Right to Development" (Leonid Yevmenov)

The realization of the right to life as an ontological, philosophical and legal category is necessarily associated with the problem of either degenerative or progressive development of a human being and humankind.

Degenerative development inevitably results in the death of human civilization. Progressive development means realization of all the fundamental human rights of an individual and humankind, the right to life being the primary one.

Adherence to such an approach assumes that the concept of sustainable development, introduced by the UN theorists into academic and international legal circulation, is not quite correct today. It is not clear which variant of sustainable development is recommended and advocated by the UNO.

Is it a backward movement? Or does this development mean a movement forward and upward in all the spheres of human life, of different large and small social groups and humankind in general?

Having analyzed the structure and essence of present human civilization development, basic international legal acts of the UN dealing with the right to development, the author concludes that today the international community of nations should speak not about the sustainable development and the right to it as one of the primary goals, but about the necessary implementation of the human right to sustainable progressive development of an individual, social groups, nations, ethnoses i.e. the necessary implementation of the right to further sustainable progressive development of the humankind in general.

To achieve this goal it is necessary to assert in the society an essentially different paradigm of development and to set up a new energy basis.


"From the 'Reflections... About Peaceful Coexistence...' to the Struggle for Human Rights" (Tamara Keita-Stankevich)

The article traces the life and activities of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, whose main purport was the struggle for human rights and spreading of the idea of human rights, in particular, of respect for human dignity.

In his very first article "Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", written as far back as 1968, Sakharov gives priority to the human rights idea and considers the main aim of international policy to be provision for general observance of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This idea underpins the Nobel Prize lecture "Peace. Progress. Human Rights" as well. Sakharov emphasised: "I defend the thesis of the primary crucial importance of civil and political human rights in shaping the fate of mankind".

Sakharov’s concern is a person. "Today we must fight for every particular person, against every case of injustice» and «Human rights protection is above all other values" — these two theses of his still remain relevant today.

Starting with 1970, human rights protection and the protection of the rights of the people who had fallen victims to political persecution, becomes priority with Sakharov and he begins his work in the Human Rights Committee. Andrei Dmitrievich addresses the issues of peace, disarmament, the freedom of contacts and information, the freedom of movement and freedom of conscience and opinion, environment protection and capital punishment, which he opposed. These speeches were followed by active steps for human rights protection.

And as a result of this human rights struggle and a tribute of international community recognition, the Sakharov readings were established in Copenhagen, an international seminar which deals with the human rights issues in the former USSR and Eastern European countries. In this connection Sakharov claimed that "human rights protection has become a world ideology, unifying people of all nationalities and various views on humanistic grounds …" and that "international human rights protection is closely connected with the problem of peace, with establishing trust and understanding between countries, and freedom of opinion, expression and information exchange and freedom of movement is the necessary condition of real accountability of authorities, preventing the abuse of power in domestic and international affairs".

Sakharov himself was a prisoner of conscience. "In broad daylight of January 22, 1980 in Moscow I was seized and sent to exile to the city of Gorkiy without investigation and trial. In sight of the country, in sight of the whole world the law was violated openly and cynically. The law was violated not only by the fact of unjudicial reprisals itself. The people exiled by the court verdict have rights and conditions regulated by law. Andrei Dmitrievich, exiled by an arbitrary act of the authorities, not by the court verdict, was deprived of any rights. But Andrei Sakharov, in exile, too, did not betray his inner independence and stayed true to himself". Stripped of all decorations and awards by the USSR Supreme Soviet Decree from January 8, 1980, he continued his activities of a human rights champion and a scientist. He also fought for his human dignity. Three times diaries, manuscripts, academic articles and literary works were stolen. But this brave man continued on his thorny way, which is called the struggle for human rights. He re-created his diaries, manuscripts and articles, spread the idea of human rights and clarified the content and essence of human rights, explained the threat to the world today, suggested specific steps in eliminating the dangers and made efforts to save specific people — those he knew and those the didn’t — from prosecution. "He has become a person to whom people went from all parts of the country in search for his intercession as to the highest authority of Honour and Justice".

When he became a member of the Constitution committee in June 1989, A. Sakharov planned to write his own project of the constitution. His friend and teacher I. Ye. Tamm used to say: "To write a constitution, one has to have lived a full life, to have common sense, to respect those it is written for and to have self-respect". These words imply the personality of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, whose work was recognized by the international community, which gave him a number of awards: the Nobel Prize for Peace (1975), the Joseph International Prize (1977), the Antidiscrimination League Prize, the US Freedom House Award and Cino del Luca Award.

A. Sakharov’s last work was the Draft of the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia (14.12.1989) containing 46 articles, seven of which were devoted to human rights. The Draft presents "Sakharov’s concept of the indissoluble link between the human rights and peace in the world, between the mankind’s survival and the openness of every society… It is called 'new thinking' now".

The idea of human rights, carried by A. D. Sakharov through all his life, resulted in his constitution — his message to posterity. It will be read and studied by generations of people striving for the Truth. "His word lives on and new people with their unique destinies and hearts contribute new life to the idea, to the movement, to the struggle for human rights".


"Towards the Interpretation of 'the Child' Concept in International Law" (Oleg Starovoitov)

By the adoption of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community recognized the necessity to provide special protection to children by reason of their physical and mental immaturity, giving top priority to the issue of definition of "the child" concept in international law. Even though "the child" concept is considered in social context, it is very important to give definition or at least to mark its age boundaries because the child as a human being enjoys special rights only during a certain period. Definition difficulties in international law lie in the great differences existing between the states in cultural, religions, political and legal systems (in particular, various laws on abortions), which make unreal the development of an adequate definition of the term "the child" that could satisfy all parties concerned.

"The child" concept is traditionally connected with the age criterion in the legislation of different states, i. e. there is a certain period of time within which an individual is called a child. International law also uses time boundaries and tried to give definition to "the child" concept by the establishment of the moments when the legal protection of the children starts and ends.

During the discussion on the draft of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child the issue of definition of the initial period of a child’s life raised serious debate. The states divided on the issue of the moment, at which a human being is recognized as a child: from the time of conception or from the time of birth. Numerous variants of Article 1 (on the definition of "the child" concept) did not satisfy the parties. After long discussions a compromise settlement was worked out: to reproduce the 1959 Declaration text on the rights of "the child" in the Convention preamble "the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth" but not to mention the minimal age at which a child’s protection starts. Article 1 has the following text: "a child means every human being below the age of 18 years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier".

Thus, the Convention on the Rights of the Child does not contain regulations obliging the states to guarantee the life of the child yet unborn. Only the Commission preamble which does not have legal force mentions it.

The establishment of the period of time after which an individual attains maturity is also very complex. The Convention on the Rights of the Child fixed the upper boundary at 18 years with the stipulation "unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier".

The age of 18 is also set by other international instruments regarding children protection: Article 1 of the Additional Convention on eliminating slavery, slave trade, institutions and customs similar to slavery; Article 3 of the 1993 Convention on children protection and cooperation in international children adoption; Article 2 of the 1999 ILO Convention on prohibition and immediate actions on elimination of the worst forms of children’s labour; Article 1 of the 1996 European Convention on Implementation of the Rights of the Child. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits enforcement of capital punishment towards individuals below the age of 18 though it does not use here the word "the child"; Article 2 of the 1990 African Charter of the rights and well-being of the child defines the child as "any human being below the age of 18" with no exception, thus setting a higher standard than the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

However, some international instruments set a different age limit. First of all we should mention the international agreements concerning a certain aspect of a child’s life. The 1980 Hague Convention on civil aspects of kidhapping and the 1980 European Convention on recognition and coming into force of decisions on trusteeship over children and restoration of trusteeship over children recognize that they treat any individual below the age of 16 as a child (Articles 4 and 1 respectively). Article 2 of the 1962 Convention on marriage consent, minimal marital age and marriage registration gives a right to the member-states to define minimal marital age. In so doing, Principle II of the 1965 Recommendation of the General Assembly on marriage consent, minimal marital age and marriage registration suggests to the states to set the minimal marital age of 15 years. International humanitarian law sets the age of participation in military conflicts and the drafting age at 15 (Article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 77 of Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention, Article 4 of Additional Protocol II to the 1949 Geneva Convention). At present, an Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child regarding raising the age of participation in military conflicts and the drafting age up to 18 is being developed. The ILO 1972 Convention N 138 on the minimal employment age sets the minimal age at 15 (Article 2 (1)). However, the Convention allows the states with the low level of social and economic development to set the minimal age of employment at 14 (Article 2 (4)).

The facts above mean that international law gives no definite age of transformation at which an individual is regarded to attain maturity. However, the adoption of the special Convention on the Rights of the Child (also the adoption of the African Charter of the rights and well-being of the child at the regional level), reconsideration of the age criteria in some agreements (including international humanitarian law) demonstrate the tendency to recognize by international law the age of 18 as the most accepted norm for establishing the time of the end of the child’s legal protection. As for the beginning, it is granted from the child’s birth, though the states in their national legislation may extend protection up to the moment of conception.


"The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees: International Protection of Refugees" (Yury Morgun)

The article is devoted to the fiftieth anniversary of the noble activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), twice awarded by the Nobel Prize for Peace. It is to take place on the first of January 2001.

The article sums up in brief the system of the international protection of refugees and is aimed at the readers, who have to settle the problems of various aspects of refugee protection due to their professional or social involvement and also at students and researchers. It does not present a collection of recipes but rather aims to fill a certain gap in this particular and rather new for the Belarusian reader area. It is also an appeal for the collaboration of scholars and practitioners, for promoting the activities of various administrative bodies (beginning with the parliament and ministries and offices to a rank-and-file judge, border guard and militiaman, experts, specialists, NGO’s) and all people and organisations concerned with the refugee problems to settle these problems successfully.

The article consists of 10 sections: the Refugee problem, the Background of the problem, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Refugees, the 1967 Protocol pertaining to Refugees, International Protection, the term "refugee", the rights of refugees, UNHCR in Belarus, NGOs — the UNHCR partners in Belarus.

Section 1 stresses that the problem of refugees is one of the global problems facing mankind. There were 21.4 million refugees in the world in 1998. This problem is comparatively new for the Republic of Belarus. But it has been getting more acute in recent years. Since it is new and raises a lot of questions, the optimal decision is not always  guaranteed.

Section 2 enumerates the cases of the most massive exodus of refugees, beginning with 695 BC to our times.

The article describes the emergence of the model and the mechanism of international actions on refugee protection. In 1949 the UN General Assembly defined the main principles of actions relating to refugees. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established by the decision of the General Assembly in December, 1950. It has the mandate to provide international aid to refugees and to promote durable solutions of the refugee problem.

The main documents, determining procedures and criteria in defining the status of the refugee, are the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Section 3) and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (Section 4) adopted with regard to the necessity of providing legal definition of the refugee in new post-war conditions. The Convention gives the definition of the term "Refugee", defines the legal status of refugees, in particular, the personal status. Article 35 of the Convention and Article 2 of the Protocol contain the commitments of the states to collaborate with the UNHCR in implementing their functions and to promote the provisions of these documents.

Section 5 throws light to the issues of international protection of refugees.

International protections is, first and foremost, the responsibility of states for the protection of their citizens. When the states are unwilling or unable to protect their citizens, individuals may suffer so much from the violation of their personal rights that they would seek security in another country. Since, by definition, the main rights of refugees are not protected by the authorities of their native countries, the responsibility for the guarantee of respect and observance of the abovementioned main rights is assumed by international community. The word-combination embraces the whole range of activities by which the rights of refugees are guaranteed.

International protection of refugees is the actions of states or the UNHCR in the name of individuals seeking asylum or in the name of refugees with the objective of attaining a guarantee of observance of their rights, security and well-being in accordance with the recognized international standards. The UNHCR is the only agency of the UN with the mandate for the protection of refugees. The UNHCR has been working for refugees protection for 50 years.

The evolution of the term "the refugee" since the time of the League of Nations till now is summarized in Section 6. The objective of the search for precise definition of "the refugee" is to ground and facilitate rendering aid and protection. In case of the person’s situation meeting the established criteria this proves, that the given individual can claim the corresponding rights and benefits. At present the term "the refugee" is the international legal term of a universal character, defined by the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. The term "the refugee" is an exact term, that is, its content is defined in accordance with the principles of custom international law. As a rule, states insist of restricting criteria in establishing the individuals entitled to the refugee status and asylum. Only 10—12 % of the asylum-seekers outside their country are qualified as refugees in accordance with the 1951 Convention.

Section 7 of the article is devoted to setting out the rights of refugees. In 1988 the Executive Committee of the UNHCR in its Conclusions N 52 (XXXIX) on the issues of international solidarity and protection of refugees expressed deep concern over serious violations of human rights, causing mass movements of refugees and also over relocations and suffering of millions of people. There are inalienable human rights which pertain to refugees as well, without regard to the place where they are, since the host country should respect the rights of all individuals on its territory, including aliens and refugees. The protection of the rights of refugees is part of the universal culture of human rights.

Provisions must be made for the refugees to enjoy all human rights and freedoms within the meaning of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights during the examination of their application. In addition to the rights provided by international protection within the meaning of the UNHCR Charter, the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, all refugees have the fundamental human rights provided by the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The right to asylum is especially complex and controversial. This right was not included into the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, probably due to the fact that the asylum issues like all immigration issues require direct regulation. States avoid restructuring their sovereignty through assuming commitments in this area, except for those which were adopted on the basis of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The very concept of "asylum" is threatened by denial under the pressure of economic migration. Formally, "the right to asylum" does not exist: this right is notprovided for by any legally valid international instrument. But the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that "everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution" (Article 14).

The most important right, given detailed provision in the Convention is the "non-refoulement" principle according to which the asylum-seeker is protected from forced return to the country of origin. De facto it means that the "non-refoulement" ban is a part of international common law. It means that all states must respect this principle, even if they are not parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (have not signed it).

Section 8 of the article presents information about the UNHCR, the office which was created specially by the UN to implement the international mandate to protect refugees and render them various assistance. The UNHCR started operating on January 1, 1951. The UNHCR plays the principal role in coordinating assistance to refugees.

The UNHCR is called upon to provide under the aegis of the UN, the care of those who come under its concern, through promoting adoption and ratification of the International Conventions relating to refugees, monitoring the implementation of the provisions of these conventions and suggesting the necessary amendments to them; by concluding various agreements with the governments helping to realize every measure relieving the refugees’ situation and reducing the member of refugees, who need assistance. Its other activities are assisting state and private efforts to promote voluntary repatriation of refugees or their integration in other countries’ territories, implementing the measures to obtain the permit to move the refugees’ property, necessary for their settlement; obtaining information from the states on their situation and also on the laws and roles pertaining to refugees; maintaining close contacts with the state and interstate bodies concerned; establishing the most purposeful and effective contact with the NGO’s concerned with refugees; facilitating coordination of the efforts of NGOs assisting refugees. Regional and inter-regional offices of the UNHCR operate in 120 countries of the world.

The UNHCR promotes spreading of knowledge and understanding of international standards for the treatment of refugees at the world and regional levels.

The High Commissioner, in accordance with the UNHCR Charter, is regarded as the authority which has the mandate for international protection of refugees, assistance in signing and ratification by states of international conventions relating to refugees and their monitoring.

The activities of the UNHCR on international protection of refugees include: providing the refugees’ access to conventions and legislation on refugees and the implementation of such laws; guaranteeing the treatment of refugees in accordance with the recognised international standards; guaranteeing granting asylum to refugees and ensuring the application of the "non-refoulement" principle, prohibiting forcible return of persons to a country they fled; establishing the corresponding procedures for recognition of a certain person as a refugee in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 Convention and the positions formulated as regional conventions; assisting the refugees in providing durable solutions of their problems through voluntary repatriation, local integration or their settlement in a third country; help in reintegration of the refugees in their country of origin; and also providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons in case of their application for it.

One of the functions of the UNHCR under its Charter is the search for durable solutions for the plight of refugees.

Section 9 of the article reflects the specific features of the activity of the UNHCR Office in the Republic of Belarus, which began operating in September 1995. By now its activities have embraced all six regions of Belarus. The Office is constantly undertaking actions aimed at strengthening organisational potential of those state bodies, which are called upon to implement in practice, in accordance with the internationally recognised norms and standards, the law on Refugees of the Republic of Belarus.

As of the end of February 2000 the status of a refugee was granted to 319 people in Belarus. The territorial migration agencies of the Republic have registered over 600 applications from the seekers of the status of a refugee. The status of the applicants must be determined by the Committee on Migration at the Ministry of Labour of the Republic of Belarus. The UNHCR in accordance with its mandate strives to provide all asylum-seekers with access to fair and effective procedure of determining the status of a refugee in all regional centres of the Republic.

The UNHCR assists two categories of refugees: the officially recognised as refugees with the corresponding status granted and those who are registered at the UNHCR as asylum-seekers. Since the UNHCR Office in Belarus opened it has registered over 2900 asylum-seekers.

The UNHCR Office is implementing 3 projects in Belarus: the annual programme "Care and Maintenance of Refugees" and two special programmes "Government Capacity Building" and "Technical and Financial Support to NGOs".

The programmes are aimed at promoting the concern of state and non-governmental organizations in the solution of the refugees’ problem.

The key role in providing protection for asylum-seekers and refugees who stay in the territory of Belarus is played by the legal help for refugees service. The principal objectives and functions of this service are: informing asylum-seekers on access to the asylum procedure, carried out by the government; assisting asylum-seekers in filing an appeal to a court of review in case of a negative decision; ensuring aid to asylum-seekers and refugees in case of arrest, detention, persecution or intimidation on the part of the authorities; registering refugees and asylum-seekers with the aim of compiling statistical data; assisting refugees and asylum-seekers in the search of solution of the problems they face.

The main objectives of the UNHCR Office in Belarus for 2000 are: perfecting the work of the national system of asylum procedure so that it might meet international standards; extending this system to the whole territory of Belarus; promoting Belarus becoming party to the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to Refugees; assisting the establishment and development of effective and coordinated sector of NGOs which would be able, in conjunction with the government, to implement effectively the programmes of assistance to refugees and their protection; providing legal help and social services to the most vulnerable groups of asylum-seekers: women, children and the aged; enchancing information service to promote understanding and respect for the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers among Belarusian population.

The total budget for the 2000 programmes amounts to over 500,000 US dollars.

Since the Republic of Belarus is not yet a party to the treaties relating to the Status of Refugees, special attention will be paid in the UNHCR Office activities in Belarus to promoting and stimulating Belarus to join these international documents. Besides the UNHCR will step up efforts in strengthening organisational and operational capacity of the governmental bodies of Belarus. In building up their capacity the UNHCR strives achieve a higher level of coordination of action and cooperatrion among the bodies concerned with the solution of refugees’ problems and to extend the asylum procedure to all regions of the Republic.

Section 10 describes some aspects of practical work in refugees’ protection of NGOs — the UNHCR’s partners in Belarus.

The conclusion emphasises the point that the protection of refugees is a joint responsibility. Only acting together, complementing the strong points of each other, can the NGOs, separate states and international organisations provide effective protection which refugees need and deserve.


"Legal Nature of Treaty on Commercial Representation" (Elena Babkina)

A definition of legal nature of treaty on commercial office is required by theoretical and practical necessity since the content of responsibilities of each party to the treaty depends on it. It is also due to the absence of special norms, regulating the commercial offices’ activities, in the legislation of certain states (e. g. the USA).

A commercial office has three functions according to Belarusian practice:

1) to take on responsibility to perform certain legal acts on behalf and on account of the represented subject;

2) to take on responsibility to perform certain legal acts in their own name but on the account of the represented subject;

3) to take on responsibility to perform certain factual acts (e. g. to assist the represented subject in search for counteragents and in holding negotiations with the aim of contract conclusion. However, these contracts are concluded directly between the represented subject and the third party).

In order to define the legal nature of relations of the parties from the agent contract, one should understand the legal nature of its types of applied to national law then summarize thereupon giving a single definition to all forms of these contracts.

Article 861 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus defines, that, according to the commission contract, one party (agent) is obliged to perform certain legal acts on behalf and on account of the other party (principal). Article 880 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus gives the following definition of the commission contract: "according to the commission contract, one party (agent) is obliged to perform one or several transactions in its own name, but on the account and premium of the other party (consignor)".

Since Belarusian legislation lacks special norms regulating the activities of the mediators who perform factual actions, and due to the similarity of other essential conditions of the treaty to the commission contract, common norms of contractual law and corresponding norms on the commission contract are applied to the relations with a common mediator when they do not come into collision with the essence of the abovementioned relations.

In contrast to Belarusian Civil Code, Russian civil law has norms devoted to an agency treaty, according to which one party (agent) is obliged to perform on behalf and for a fee of the other party (principal) certain legal and other acts on its own behalf but on the account or on behalf and account of the principal (Article 1005 of the Civil Code of Russia).

Taking into account the information above, international treaty on commercial representation can be considered as a bilateral, consensual and refundable treaty. It is an international trade treaty, according to which one party (agent) is obliged to perform legal and/or factual acts in the interests of the order party (principal) in either name.

The legal nature of the treaty on commercial office for the EU member-states can be understood from the study of Articles 1, 2 of the 1986 EU Directive on independent trade agents: a commercial agent is a subject who is entrusted to conduct negotiations on purchase and sale for the other party named as "consignor" of conduct negotiations and conclude transactions on behalf and on account of the consignor as an independent trade mediator. Thus, the Directive treats the treaty on commercial representation as the commission contract, i. e. is grounded on direct representation that is adopted in continental Europe.

The legal nature of the treaty on commercial representation in France is reflected in the decree from 23.11.1958 and the law from 25.06.1991 which implemented the regulations of the 1986 EU Directive into national law. The treaty on commercial office in French law is defined as bilateral, refundable and consensual existing in the form of the commission contract envisaging factual and/or legal actions performed by the agent on behalf of the principal.

British approach to the representation theory has specific features: there is no division into direct and indirect representation: agents can act both on behalf of the principal and in their own name.

An agency treaty in British law can be characterized as bilateral, consensual and refundable on the basis of which one party (agent) takes on responsibility to perform legal and/or factual actions on the account of the order party (principal).


"Belarus in the Geopolitics and Diplomacy of the Period of World War II" (Vladimir Snapkovsky)

The article considers the foreign policy planning and diplomatic activity of the USSR, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Great Britain and the USA, involving Belarus, in the years of World War II. The role and place of Belarus (the Belarusian card) in the Soviet-German relations of 1939—1941 is analysed. The issue of the transfer of Vilno region and other Belarusian territory to Lithuania by Soviet government is covered and the plans of the nazi Germany regarding Belarus and its occupation policy there are disclosed. The article examines the problem of fixing Soviet-Polish border at its Belarusian section. The results of World War II for Belarus from the angle of its international status and international relations are summed up.


"The Republic of Belarus Interaction with the Leading European organizations in the late 1990s" (Tatiana Alexeyeva, Alexandr Gordeichik, Elena Dostanko)

The article reviews the main directions of the collaboration and interaction of the Republic of Belarus with the leading European organizations in the late 1990s; with such bodies as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe (CE), regional European organizations, in particular, the Central European Initiative and international financial organizations. The authors emphasize the importance of realizing the European vector of the foreign policy of Belarus, which consists of providing active participation of the country in the common European process and creating the all-European security system. One of the ways of implementing that is participation of Belarus in the work of the leading European organisations.

The article considers Belarus participation in the OSCE which is one of the main all-European political institutions in collaboration in the field of preventive and post-conflict diplomacy, the human rights monitoring and creating the European security system. The OSCE position is analysed, which consists of the recognition of the necessity of a stage-by-stage constructive dialogue with Belarus, with the work with the OSCE Adviser and Monitoring Group acquiring special importance as an instrument of bringing the relations with the Western states to normal. The authors make a special point of the necessity to impart a balanced a dynamic character to the relations with the European Union, which intends to pursue further the implementation of the policy aimed at progressive and consistent development of the relations with Belarus. The article analyses the negotiation process between the EU and Belarus in which the EU attaches specialsignificance to the necessity of observance by the Belarusian side of the agreements regarding the developing democratic process, respect for the basic principles of democracy, maintaining a dialogue with the opposition and observance of human rights in the country. The article also stresses the importance of collaboration with the EU within the framework of the agreement on textile trade between the EU and Belarus, the TACIS programme, relaxation of the EU antidumping sanctions on a number of goods exported from Belarus, developing by the European Commission of a humanitarian programmes package for Belarus and so on. The main direction in the relations of Belarus with the Council of Europe is seen in restoring the status of "a special guest" for the National Assembly of Belarus. In this connection the top priority in 2000 will be given to achieving international recognition of the parliamentary elections in the country as free and democratic elections. In the relations with regional European associations great significance is attached to the activity of the Republic of Belarus within the framework of the Central European Initiative (CEI), where Belarus has been a member since 1996. The article emphasized the effectiveness of the CEI strategy aimed at fostering collaboration in Europe not to allow the emergence of new lines of separation. The necessity is also pointed out to enhance the collaboration of the Republic of Belarus with international financial and economic organisations — the IMF, the World Bank, the EBRD and others.


"Belarusian Aspects of Poland’s Eastern Policy in 1996—1999" (Mechislav Chesnovsky)

The article traces the complicated developments in the bilateral relations of Belarus and Poland within the context of eastern policy of Warsaw in 1996—1999. As is the case with the early 90s, they were characterized by the undeveloped treaty basis and the lack of strategic interest on the part of Belarusian authorities towards the rapprochement between the two countries. The establishment of Russia-Belarus Union has weakened the interest of Minsk to Poland still further. In its turn, Warsaw regarded joining NATO as a security guarantee for the country. Hence shifting to the background the role of Belarus as a buffer state, which had been counted upon to ward off the "imperial and unpredictable" Russia. This resulted in Belarusian-Polish bilateral dialogue losing importance. At the same time joint regional political priorities also lost their relevance. A new geopolitical reality was emerging in Central and Eastern Europe. In a sense, both Belarus and Poland come to be the advocates of their patron allies in the issues of European security.

New realities predetermined aggravation of regional alienation and disbalance of both bilateral and regional Belarusian and Polish interests. Their possible consequence could be both states becoming a testing ground for the confronting sides — NATO and the Belarus-Russia Union — including nuclear weapons being deployed on the territories of Belarusian and Poland.


"The Issues of Developing a New International Relations Paradigm" (Alexandr Chelyadinsky)

The article analyses the principles of developing a new system of contemporary international relations and points out that the main trend affecting this process is globalization. At the same time it states that the implementation of the foreign policy based on the principles of the former bipolar system leads the international relations into the impasse. The issue of critical consideration of those models of the contemporary world development, which are proposed by Western civilization, emerges today as well. Most of the subjects of international relations are not prepared for that physically, let alone economically, socially or legally. The lack of understanding of this state of things, especially, on the part of the USA, creates a situation of conflict. The gap between "the global city", representing 25 states and "the global village" of the rest of the world is widening. Nevertheless, the USA persist in their attempts to establish a monopolar system, serving primarily their national security interests. But it is the same old system of injustice which caused wars in the XIXth and the XXth centuries. It meets the resistance not only on the part of a number of major subjects of contemporary international relations, but is also criticized in the USA themselves. The article reviews certain modes of developing of a new system with their advantages and drawbacks. It argues the case with references to the sources introduced into the academic discussion for first time.


"Political Parties and Organizations of Northern Ireland and their Evolution During Conflict Escalation (1969—1996) and at the Current Stage (1997—2000)" (Pavel Potapeyko)

The Northern Ireland conflict, one of the longest, though nowadays slightly shadowed antagonisms, attracts special attention in the context of contemporary European processes. Such conflicts strike a too sharply dissonant chord against the «civilized», outwardly successful background of European integration and, at the same time, appear to be more than the internal problem of one state only but a challenge to the whole United Europe as well. The analysis of this conflict is important not only for projecting development prospects for Great Britain, Ireland and Ulster, situated on their border. It is also important for understanding the very nature of hard ethnic and confessional struggle between these European communities which are otherwise rather close. That is why, being careful enough about all possible attempts to extrapolate the analysis results from one problem to another, we might consider Ulster antagonism between the Protestant majority and the Catholic minority as a pattern for research into such a contemporary intercommunal conflict.

In its turn, the Northern Ireland conflict development cannot be understood without characterizing major political parties and forces on both sides of the communal divide. The analysis of the growth and decline of different parties and movements helps to understand the core trends of the conflict. It is also relevant to pay due attention to the role of terror in conflict development, as well as to review the aspects of terrorist tactics of several Northern Ireland’s paramilitary organizations, first of all, of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), in their change, and to point out the reasons for such change. The attempt of detailed analysis is one of the tasks of the present paper.

This work includes the review of Ulster political parties and paramilitary organizations during conflict escalation and at the current stage, though the period taken is only an episode of their long evolution which has began many decades (or sometimes even centuries) ago and is still going on. That is why this work provides a brief survey of main political parties of Ireland starting from the XIXth century.

As this paper has indicated, it was the extreme wing that has dominated in both communities for a long time. Catholic extremists, and first of all the IRA, considered both the Unionists and the British state as enemies and opted for violence as their principal tool in the struggle for united Ireland.

The consideration of the IRA campaign of the last decade leads to conclude that economic targeting in a modern urban-industrial state gives certain paramilitary groups an opportunity to discover all the vulnerability of such state. It isa rather significant feature of modern paramilitary activities, which has become the object of research only recently. In this view the IRA campaign has much in common with terrorist actions of radical groups in Italy, the USA and other developed states of the world. This makes it possible to speak about defining a pattern model with due attention to all the differences between such examples. Some researchers use the expression "asymmetric warfare against a state" in connection with such contemporary trends.

The end of British direct rule in Northern Ireland in December 1999 and formation — for the first time in Ulster’s history — of the coalition government with the representation of major political parties of the Catholic community (which would have been incredible just several years ago) will have an effect on situation development fully comparable to that of the Good Friday (Stormont) agreement of April 10, 1998. And it goes without saying that it would change the political map of Northern Ireland. But nevertheless, these undoubtedly positive tendencies still do not mean the real settlement of the Ulster conflict, A long and dramatic road with a lot of set-backs of antagonism is still ahead. And much on this road will depend on the future balance of political parties. That is why it is important to consider their evolution up to our time, which was the main aim of the present work.


"Integration of Refugees in Belarus: International Perspectives" (Andrey Selivanov, Andrey Goiko)

This article is devoted to the problems of integration of refugees in Belarus. It seems up the seminar which was held on May 23­—24, 2000 by the UNHCR and the European Council on Refugees & Exiles (ECRE) in Minsk. This problem was discussed by the representatives of state bodies and non-governmental organisations. UNHCR, ECRE, guests from Slovenia and Ukraine informed them about the experience of the Central and Eastern European countries in the field under discussion. The participants of the seminar worked in groups on the themes: "Employment/vocational training", "Community development and refugee participation", "Accommodation" and "Public awareness raising". They have developed some recommendations on the issues, discussed at the seminar, and have agreed to try to implement them.


"Main Directions of Customs Tariff Policy of the Republic of Belarus" (Elena Davydenko)

The article studies the evolution of basic legislative acts regulating the foreign economic policy of the Republic of Belarus. It notes that the rates of customs duties were increased on average by 5—10 % after the adoption of new laws. The introduction of the rates of customs duties identical to the Russian ones does not always represent the economic interests of the Republic of Belarus. Some of them are extremely high, others are too low which does not always positively affect Belarusian producers. Besides, one of the immediate tasks of the Belarusian foreign policy lies in joining the WTO, thus requiring the customs duties reduction and the and removing of non-tariff barriers to international trade.

Joining the WTO will provide legal protection of the country’s economic interests and give access to the mechanism of settlement of the disputes within the WTO framework since the corresponding body of this organization (Dispute Settlement Body) traditionally takes into consideration the conformity of the country’s actions to the WTO norms and principles, not focusing on the political and economic status of the country.

In its turn, Belarus should make certain concessions and take on responsibilities for admitting foreign goods and services to the Belarusian market. They will be "packaged" and introduced into the list to become an integral part of the WTO agreement.

The opening of the domestic market will trigger the competition rise connected with the activities of foreign producers. On the other side, this competition will be an additional incentive for the quality improvement of Belarusian goods, the staff retraining etc., thus facilitating the process of transition to market relations. What regards the reduction of import customs duties, one can distinguish between three groups of commodities and, consequently, three approaches. The most vulnerable to opening the borders is the group in the agricultural sphere, light and chemical industries. Owing to this fact, the rates of customs duties for the goods produced by these industries should be slightly increased. The second group consists of the commodities not produced in Belarus (raw materials, materials, semi-manufactured articles) that should have zero rates: coffee, sunflower-seeds, feeding stuffs, raw tobacco, a number of chemical materials and medicines. The third group consists of the commodities that require no protection, however, they are taxed rather heavily in comparison with the EU rate. These rates should become a matter of negotiation.

No less important for the country is joining the General Agreement on the Service Trade (GATS) and the WTO agreement on the aspects of rights for intellectual property related to trade (TRIPs). Joining the GATS is important and relevant because the service industries have become the most dynamic sector of foreign economic activities, with a stable positive balance.


"Corporation Effect in the Foreign Economic Policy of Belarus" (Vladislav Konovalov)

The article analyses the reasons and trends of decline in Belarusian foreign economic policy efficiency in 1999 and in the beginning of 2000.

The most important factor determining the specific nature of the country’s economic policy is the leading role of the state in the system of means of production ownership and actual monopolistic realization of foreign economic policy by the state. Thus, Belarus acts as a single corporation towards other subjects of the world market. Such role of the state in the international economic activities benefits national economy during the short-term period only and leads to negative consequences in the long run: the corporation effect takes place.

The short-term positive corporation effect was expressed in overcoming the production slump and in the Belarus GDP growth in 1996—1998. This effect was not used for restructuring and real reforms in national economy. 1999 saw the emerging long-term negative corporation effect that led to export/import reduction, living standards decline and the unprofitability of many enterprises.

An important means of raising the international economic policy efficiency is liberalisation of international economic activities and limiting the state interference into economy. However, the main factors of the solution of this problem lie within Belarusian domestic economy and include: the establishment of conditions for perfect competition at the domestic market, introduction of an effective state programme of small entrepreneurship development, including the agricultural sphere, national economy restructuring on the basis of share privatization of state property, activization of domestic capital and attraction of foreign investments, etc.

In case no crucial changes in the economic policy occur, the efficiency of international activities on the whole will continue to decline.


"The Issue of Dynamics of Exchange Rate During the Transition to the Market" (Olga Kirvell)

The article is devoted to the study of the changes in the real exchange rate (RER) during the reformation of economic systems. The author substantiates the claim that the RER category emerged as a result of extending the purchasing power parity theory (PPPT) and received wide acceptance in modern western theories of the exchange rate. The author states that only the PPPT and consequently, the RER may serve as an estimation of competitiveness of the country only if the adjustment correction to the productivity margin is made.

The article studies the phenomenon of the RER increase during the transition from an administrative system to market relations on the example of such countries of Eastern Europe as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia within the period from 1989 to 1996. The economic literature lacks definite explanation and evaluation of such changes of the RER during the first stage of transformation. From the PPPT point of view, the RER increase, for example, by 10 % and 20 % per year can be treated as a threat to the economy competitiveness. On the contrary, the alternative approach states that the real increase of the exchange rate after the initial overproportional devaluation corresponds to the equilibrium dynamics at the first stage of transformation. There have been efforts undertaken to give theoretical grounds to this non-traditional hypothesis. Despite the absence of the exchange rate theory in the transition period, the author makes a conclusion that in this case the main reason of equilibrium increase lies in the increase of economy effectiveness owing to the market price control and distribution of resources.

The article studies the process of the existing RER dynamics in the countries of Eastern Europe and points out the reasons for rapid initial devaluation and the gradual RER increase during the next years. The empirical check of the equilibrium RER increase proves its applicability only in the countries that have already realized the full complex of economic reforms. On the basis of the given approach the author outlines important recommendations for the economic policy in the countries with economies in transition. The comparison the of sources of the RER dynamics in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Republic of Belarus is an indicator of fundamental differences of the given transition economies both in the degree of realization of the full complex of reforms and in the adaptation of the real sector of economy to the market conditions.


"Women’s Participation in the System of Small Entrepreneurship Management in the Countries with Transitional Economy" (Ludmila Shukailo)

Women are the owners of nearly 25 % of new enterprises in the countries with transitional economy. As a result, there appeared a new non-standard approach towards running business. Though businesswomen have much in common with businessmen, they also have a different view of the economic situation and they run their business using non-traditional approaches and methods. The world witnesses the trend towards the growth of small businesses with few employees and not very high profits, headed by women, since they are interested mostly in the stability and legitimacy of the income against its volume.

The very fact of women’s participation in business increases their chances to influence the authorities with the aim to provide many more decisions in economic and social spheres with regard to their interests.

However, some problems arise when businesswomen create good ideas which could be realized in practice, but they lack experience, professional training, capital and influential connections in other organizations.

Therefore, governments and international organizations in the countries with transitional economies try to assist women entrepreneurs, involving the experience of industrially advanced countries.

The basis for these activities is laid by a range of recommendations offered by the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The given recommendations fully correspond to the situation in the sphere of women’s entrepreneurship in the countries with transitional economy. Some of them have already found their practical use, others require additional conditions. Women’s participation in the economic life of the society at the decision-making level should become a rule in the countries that choose the way of democratic development.

 
 
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