LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 44, No.4 - Winter 1998
Editor of this issue: Dalia Kučėnas
Copyright © 1998 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
LITHUANIA AND THE ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE):
THE FIRST STEP TO NATO MEMBERSHIP
DePaul University, Chicago
The thesis of this article* is that Lithuanian membership in NATO is a vital but unsettling issue which merits dispassionate thinking and that the complex problems attendant to the issue can be articulated and managed in the context of an incremental approach first to EU and then to eventual NATO membership after Lithuania completes a transitional phase in the OSCE, developing an expertise and a reputation for Human rights endeavors.
Since the prerequisite or threshold membership period concerns the OSCE, it is (1) the organizational structure and (2) the political complexities of the OSCE which constitutes the focus of this article which examines the broader context of (a) expansion of NATO itself; and of (b) Lithuania's unique relationship to this explosive issue.
PART I. A Three Step Process to NATO Membership
A. NATO Expansion and Lithuania: The Pros and Cons Revisited
On January 15, 1998, the United States and the three Baltic nations signed a formal document, the Charter of Partnership, that explicitly supports the efforts by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to become members of NATO. Although the Charter does not guarantee membership - a commitment the U. S. could not make without agreement from the other 15 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - the document represents an important formal statement of shared interests and common goals. The seed is sown for rising expectations on the part of the Baltic countries for eventual membership in NATO.
The promulgation of this Charter, when coupled with the expected admission of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, clarifies two threshold issues: (1) that NATO will expand and (2) that the Baltic nations are formally eligible.
In context, the question is not whether Lithuania will be granted membership but when and under what conditions. Nonetheless, although the stage seems to be set for eventual Lithuanian membership in an expanded NATO, the issues attendant to second and third phase expansion and to Lithuanian membership specifically are still relevant and current.
1. NATO Expansion: The Pros and Cons and the Unspoken Prerequisites
Assuming the US. Senate and the parliaments of 15 other NATO members approve membership for the Poles, the Czechs and the Hungarians, the hotly debated issue of expansion per se seems settled. 1 But the conditions for expansion remain obstacles for future invitees. Thus it is important to re-visit some of these prerequisite conditions, with a particular focus on the anticipated Lithuanian application.
Pro-expansionists argue the following basic points: 2
* The precedent for expansion into former enemy zones was set as early as 1955 when even defeated formerly hostile Germany was included.
* The precedent for including non-Atlantic and non-Western nations was established with the membership of Italy and Turkey.
* Collective defense remains an imperative need of European and transatlantic security especially with the contingency that a wounded Russia will revert to its threatening ways.
* The prospect of joining NATO provides powerful incentives for ex-Soviet bloc countries to democratize their political and legal systems, to liberalize their economies and to strengthen human rights efforts, especially regarding national minorities.
* The hope of membership fosters a greater willingness to resolve cross-border disputes among the nations of Central Europe and with the former Soviet Union. Clearly, in this context, NATO is seen primarily as an imperative of collective defense, and in the foreseeable future an expanded NATO would emerge as a military alliance with, amusedly, a charter provision of mutual defense which includes the option of nuclear retaliation by the United States. It is this latter commitment and the military thrust of NATO which troubles the anti-enlargement school.
Anti-expansionists argue these points: 3
* That NATO expansion is simply a way of dragging America deeper into European problems thus allowing Europe to evade its own responsibilities and further reducing the incentive for European cooperation.
* By rubbing Russia's nose in its own dirt and by extending a latent policy of containment, aggressive NATO expansion will only "provoke the beast" and exacerbate threatening behavior patterns.
* Important obstacles of joint policy, technical integration of forces, and penalties for non-cooperation are not easily resolved in societies (East and West) which do not share similar traditions and domestic structures.
Against these basic positions there is perhaps a third option, emerging as a set of interim processes which often includes a focus on non-military or institution building measures. In this context expanded membership would be based on a "Democracy check list" and often presumes prior membership in the EU.
The Interim Policy focuses on the following points:
* Ultimate membership in the EU and in NATO requires the development of multi-ethnic institutions and minority rights safeguards including liberalization of immigration standards.
3 This is the tone of the aggressive anti-expansionist positions as articulated by former Ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock (1988-1992) in The New York Review. See quote from Thomas L. Friedman, "Foreign Affairs, " New York Times, February 17, 1998, p. A23.
* Promotion of an independent judicial system and a free press with non-state control of radio and TV is a key indicator of willingness to democratize national institutions.
* Civilian control of all branches of the military with clear lines of parliamentary and executive authority is a prerequisite for ultimate NATO membership.
* Implementation of a Market Economy with both workable tax codes and entrepreneurial assistance including protection from extortionists is basic to EU and NATO common traditions.
* Protection of human rights and minority rights especially for women, ethnic, racial and religious minorities and foreigners is a litmus test which no applicant state can fail.
The subtext of this democratization - human rights agenda is that if NATO is to be an effective military alliance it must truly be based on core social and political values, traditions, and interests. The most important shared values would include safeguarding democratic processes and protecting human rights. In this sense the criteria for membership turn not on primary military conditions but on democratic and human rights conditions. Not incidentally, with the focus on non-military interests, or secondary military imperatives, the theoretical way would be open for (1) Russian inclusion and (2) modification of Article V obligating mutual and automatic (nuclear) retaliation in case of attack. 4
At any rate the third, non-military approach carries other positive and significant consequences. First it puts the focus on European based solutions (a European Army) and second it puts pressure on the European Union to expand its own "rich man's club. "
Clearly, this democratization focus is in America's self-interest as well as being consistent with the Western democratic principles grounding the NATO military allowance.
2. The EU and the Democracy Imperative
Accepting for a moment the non-military, pan-European logic of integration 5 the consequences for the Baltic countries and for other potential 2nd and 3rd tier invitees (Slovenia, Rumania, Slovakia) are significant in both a positive and a negative way. If membership in NATO is pre-conditioned on a non-military collective sharing of values (and of course only such a shared value system would make NATO membership effective and credible in a lethal atomic atmosphere), then the logical first step is EU membership. Indeed, some countries (notably the Czechs) are expressing preference for EU as opposed to NATO membership. The reasons are primarily economic. But these are far more stable incentives than simply having a common enemy. If EU membership is the driving force and economic benefit the reason, then this means adjustment to a free market system and the concomitant development of free society (democratic) institutions such as independent judicial systems and codes (the rule of law); a free press and open information and media processes; military and local police institutions free of corruption; and attention to human rights and minority issues. It is by meeting this criteria that new countries will be invited into the EU (thus Turkey was rejected).
Arguably EU is not only a more valued club but membership in the EU will henceforth be a prerequisite to membership in NATO assuming the non-military logic of alliance prevails.
B. The EU, the OSCE, and the Baltic Countries
If prior membership in the EU is a significant transitional stage for full membership in NATO, and as this is very likely the case for countries like Lithuania which has been offered only the most ambiguous promise of NATO inclusion (for fear of provoking Russia), then the question becomes: how to expedite membership in the EU? In this framework the OSCE becomes critically important because (1) this is an organization which Lithuania already belongs to, and (2) it represents a playing field where Lithuania can compete.
Historical factors point in this direction. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the three Baltic states that regained their sovereignty in 1990. The three republics that were in the Soviet Union for more than 50 years popularly are called the "Three Baltic Sisters. " After restoring independence, in the course of the creation of new state structures internationally accepted principles of the division of legislative, executive and judicial powers were applied. This, in turn, enabled the three countries to join international organizations. In 1992 the three republics became members of the OSCE.
The OSCE, presently a 55 nation organization (including both East and West Europe), was crated in the early 1970s under the name of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. The 1994 Budapest Summit recognizing that the CSCE was no longer simply a Conference, changed its name to the OSCE. This change gave the Organization a new political impetus and was also a reflection of its institutional development since the end of the Cold War. Today the OSCE is taking a leading role in fostering security through cooperation Europe. It works to achieve this goal by cooperating closely with other international and regional organizations and by maintaining close links with non-governmental organizations. In this article it is relevant that almost 17% of OSCE budget items are assigned for OSCE Missions that try to work out minority problems and secure the human rights in member countries.
Aside form the fact that the OSCE is the only significant European organization open to the Baltic countries and considering the fact that the OSCE is already active in two of the Baltic countries and in Belarus, it is clear that the OSCE's focus on human rights kinds of issues offers an extraordinary opportunity for a member state like Lithuania to seize the initiative and "score points" on an agenda dear to the political hearts and public relations needs of EU members and of NATO participants. This is in short Lithuania's golden opportunity.
PART II. The OSCE: Structures, Processes and Lithuania's
As noted, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a pan-European security organization whose 55 participating States span the geographical map from Vancouver to Vladivostok, and the political arena from Alta Vista to Zagreb. The OSCE takes a comprehensive view of security and its bodies and institutions take a cooperative approach to a wide range of security-related issues including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, election monitoring and economic security. All States participating in OSCE activities have equal status and decisions are made on the basis of consensus.
The following provides a brief overview of the OSCE's institutions and processes and a summary as to Lithuania's unique opportunities to gain prestige in the field of civil and human rights.
A. OSCE Institutions and Processes:
1. Basic Structures
Created in the 1970s under the name of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) the OSCE originally served as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. The Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE, signed in 1975, established the organization's basic principles governing the behavior of States towards their citizens and toward each other. 6
From that date until 1990, the CSCE functioned as a series of meetings and conferences setting norms and commitments and periodically reviewing their implementation. In 1990 the Paris Summit set the CSCE on a new course. In the Charter of Paris for a New Europe the CSCE was called upon to contribute to managing the historic change in Europe and respond to the new challenges of the post-cold war period.
To facilitate the implementation of these tasks, several offices and institutions were created, meetings became more regular and the Conference's work became more structured. For example, in 1990 an important arms control agreement, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), was negotiated in the framework of the CSCE process. Further non-military developments emerged through a series of regular meetings between 1990 and 1994 which established new mechanisms, offices and principles for addressing the political challenges of post-cold war Europe. As noted, activities culminated in the 1994 Budapest Summit, and led to the change of name to the OSCE.
The CSCE's greatest advantage during the unstable political climate of the 1970s and 1980s was its ability to approach issues in a comprehensive way. And, for this study, of particular; importance was the linkage of human rights to general security and cooperation. For example, the CSCE established early on that a country systematically violating the fundamental liberties of its own citizens could not be internationally trusted and should even be considered as a potential threat to other countries. Arguably achievements were not dramatic. But in 1994 the Helsinki Final Act was used to develop freer access to information, to limit jamming of radio broadcasts in Eastern Europe and to restrict state control over speech and print.
A complicated network of linkage and quid-pro-quo resulted in a balancing of interests, which created the basis for continuing CSCE acceptance. Through meetings, political dialogue, negotiations of new commitments and pressure to implement them, the CSCE became a catalyst of peaceful change in Europe. The CSCE was widely associated with the democratic revolution which came to Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990's. 7
Further possibilities for action within the CSCE framework were promoted by the new Helsinki Document of July 1992. This charter established a number of practical tools to strengthen the CSCE's protection of human rights. Additionally, it called for a role for the CSCE in early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management. The newly created High Commissioner on National Minorities was directed to respond to ethnic tensions which might lead to conflict within the region. In December 1992, the CSCE Council established a new post of the Secretary General, and in 1993, a strengthened Secretariat in Vienna.
In December 1993, a new body, the Permanent Committee (since December 1994 the Permanent Council), was established in Vienna, significantly expanding the possibilities for political consultation, dialogue and decision-making on a weekly basis.
The new operational profile of the OSCE expanded with the dispatch of several conflict prevention and crisis management missions to areas of potential or actual conflicts. Unlike some international organizations which enter danger zones only reluctantly, the OSCE has dispatched missions to the Baltics, to the Balkans and recently to Belorussia. 8
2. Offices and Political Processes
a. Official Structures9
Until the Paris Summit of 1990, the CSCE was a process (a conference) which had no permanent institutions. Today the OSCE has a Secretariat in Vienna, an office in Prague, an office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities in the Hague and an Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights in Warsaw. It also has missions in nine OSCE participating states and maintains several other field operations.
In addition the OSCE has several political bodies. The Heads of State or Government meet periodically at OSCE Summits to assess the situation in the OSCE area and provide new guidelines for its activities. The central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE is the Ministerial Council, which brings together the foreign ministers of participating States once a year. High-ranking officials form capitals meet periodically at Senior Council meetings to discuss policy guidelines. Day-to-day business is managed by the Permanent Council. 10
As a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, the OSCE has been established as a primary instrument in the OSCE region for early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management in Europe. It has deployed Missions in several countries in the OSCE area including: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. The OSCE has also deployed an Assistance Group to Albania, Belarus and Chechnya.
b. Decision Making and Governing Principles
The principle underlying OSCE decision-making is that of consensus. Consensus is understood to mean the absence of any objection expressed by a participating State to the taking of the decision in question. Nonetheless, at the Prague Council of Ministers in January 1992 it was decided that appropriate action could be taken without the consent of the State concerned in "cases of clear, gross and uncorrected violation of CSCE commitments. " This possibility was applied twice in 1992, bypassing the objections of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Other, OSCE mechanisms envisage the possibility of undertaking executive action (convening a meeting or dispatching a mission) without the requirement of consensus. The directed conciliation procedure, adopted in 1992, foresees future development of the peaceful settlement of disputes mechanism, involving consensus-minus-two, in order to direct the two countries in question to resolve a dispute.
When it comes to operational issues and cases requiring rapid reaction, the OSCE States turn to mechanisms at their disposal. At the present there are two mutually supporting forms of action by the OSCE: (1) joint political decisions taken in accordance with the consensus rule and (2) direct action through agreed processes activated by a limited number of participating States. Classified as mechanisms 11 these procedures are an OSCE innovation. They facilitate prompt and direct contact between the parties to conflicts and they help to mobilize concerted action by the OSCE.
Three or four to these mechanisms relate directly to the Lithuanian context and will be highlighted.
1. The Human Dimension Mechanism
Propelled by the Helsinki Act and other OSCE documents which underline respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms and human contacts the OSCE promulgates a process upon request of exchanging information regarding humanitarian concerns within 10 days and holding bilateral meetings within (wo weeks of the request.
In addition, the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) in Warsaw will establish a panel of experts drawn from lists provided by participating states. Once appointed the mission of experts works with the inviting state to facilitate resolution of "human dimension" questions or problems. The mission submits its findings (observations to the OSCE) whereupon mechanisms are in place to adjudicate or further investigate findings prior to possible further action by the Permanent Committee of the OSCE.
For a small country like Lithuania with academic experts and a legal tradition as well as a flourishing press and relations to Western media it would be possible to become an active and early player in humanitarian activities in the OSCE by (1) publishing and promulgating human rights positions, (2) hosting human rights conferences; (3) establishing a center for conflict resolution and human rights resources.
2. The Berlin Mechanism:
Articles 2-4 of OSCE Mechanisms call for utilizing early warning systems regarding unusual or threatening military activities. Once an emergency situation has been noted it can be referred to the Committee of Senior Officials with a request that an emergency meeting be held.
For Lithuania, this provision is exceedingly important as a trip wire for any threatening action especially along its Russian, Belarussian and Kalingrad borders. It is important to clearly understand the Berlin mechanism and to "prime the pump" for an anticipated emergency call - before action is actually required. Clearly this means actively getting involved with all OSCE activities (i. e., building coalitions, making friends) as a way of enhancing success should the "cry wolf" provision be activated.
3. Adjudication, Conciliation and Arbitration
Mechanisms 6 through 9 essentially establish a framework (the Valleta mechanism) for peacefully settling disputes by directing unresolved disputes to the CPC (Conflict Prevention Center) which after fact finding as a way of encouraging peaceful settlements. In accord with this purpose a Court of Conciliation and Arbitration with functioning Conciliation Commissions and Arbitration Tribunals may be established composed of individuals with backgrounds in law, diplomacy and dispute resolution.
Again, the point for Lithuania is that this mechanism provides many points of access for Lithuanians trained in International Law, international relations and dispute resolution. Poised literally on the cusp of east-west borders, Lithuania could provide a ready resource for experts and institutes able to take initiative in dispute resolution. Lithuania will not be the Switzerland (Banking Center) of Europe. Nor will it be the Israel (Military Power) of the Middle East. It can, however, given its unique history and relationship to powerful neighbors become a Center of Dispute Resolution. In this way Lithuania could become active in the OSCE on yet a third dimension.
B. Activating the Lithuanian Connection to the OSCE
Clearly, the above-noted processes afford an extraordinary opportunity for a neutral, objective member state, unencumbered by troubling internal minority problems (like Latvia) or by disturbing cross-border issues (like Estonia), and possessing a trained and ready core of conciliators, to engage OSCE processes and over time to impress the EU of its rightful place in the family of progressive nations and thereby gain a foothold on the step ladder to eventual membership.
The key, however, is to remain focused on human rights activities and upon peaceful resolution devices. Human Rights is the litmus test for membership in the exclusive EU and NATO clubs. A tradition of non-violent resolution is the mechanism to be displayed.
With this focus in mind the following five steps are critical to activating involvement in the OSCE. There are both internal and external activities.
1. Internal Steps:
a. Preparing for Engagement with the OSCE
Lithuania, located centrally in the heart of Europe, is uniquely positioned because of its roots in both Eastern Europe and in Western traditions to become a key player in evolving OSCE activities. Simply by building on preexisting structures and institutions the new Lithuanian government could seize the opportunity to engage OSCE mechanisms and priorities particularly in the fields of human rights and international diplomacy.
As a prerequisite the new Lithuanian government should send a clear signal that it is making human rights the centerpiece of its administration by establishing an East-West Institute for Human Rights programs, research and training. The Institute, organized as a traditional think-tank like the Brookings Institute, could be linked to major established University programs as a way of attracting students and should issue certificates and degrees to both Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian participants. Drawing on a rich resource of expatriate Lithuanian academics and practitioners as well as on native Lithuanian scholars and activists the Center should become a high quality, high profile practitioner policy center reflecting Lithuania's serious commitment to Human Rights activities. As with most high-powered "think tanks" the Institute with strong connections to official and non-official government bodies should issue position papers on key topics, hold conferences for visiting officials and generally influence public policy in the International arena. It should be noted that this "institute" is proposed as a separate freestanding unit apart from the University of Vilnius' accredited and already existing Institute of International Relations and Political Science. Here the focus is more directly limited to human rights activities.
Additionally, the Lithuanian government in coordination with the University of Vilnius should immediately plan for the establishment of a School for International Law, Human Rights and European Diplomacy as a way of creating a cadre of students who after three years of training in academic fields, and internships in various international bodies would begin to feed into and become influential in the Human Rights International arena. Clearly, the focus of this academic center should be in areas of language and law with concern in the latter field on both European codified law and in Anglo-American common law. Again, this "school" level unit (less than college, more than institute) should exist in addition to other programs and units thereby providing multiple points of access for diplomats (E-W institute); practitioners (school); and students (Institute of International Relations and Political Science).
b. Utilizing and Coordinating Existing Resources and Opportunities
Lithuania is richly endowed with one of Europe's oldest and strongest academic traditions. 12 As a way of minimizing pointless competition between the main academic centers the planning for Human Rights and International Law Centers Schools and Institutes should proceed under the sponsorship of a three-person commission composed of the Rectors of the three major universities (University of Vilnius; Vytautas Magnus and Kaunas Technological University).
The Planning Commission itself should set about utilizing and coordinating resources in existing academic programs and in extra university centers such as the Soros Foundation and Amnesty International. It would be envisioned that a Human Rights Directorate (or Board of Directors) composed of existing governmental and non-governmental bodies and agencies would eventually be established to develop funds and programs.
c. Informal Linkages to Western Decision Makers: The Public Relations Campaign
The thesis of this article is that the key to EU and eventually NATO membership is for Lithuania to prove itself in "issue areas" which are critical to influential decision makers in the member states of those bodies and particularly in the American system. It is further submitted that this means proving oneself on the litmus test issue of human rights and democratic institutions. Setting up institutes and centers and mobilizing existing resources to do that - while a critical first step - is only part of the process. Just as importantly the outside world of influential decision makers must become aware that Lithuania is making a concerted effort in this newly emerging field of international human rights.
Recently (1998) the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights received an American AID/European Commission sponsored award for its outreach activities especially in areas of human rights education. Such awards might be parlayed into further efforts and funding campaigns which would allow the Centre to develop its limited library, expand its staff, and internationalize its proposals. 13
Toward this end the goal should be to activate resources and to begin to interact around human rights issues and democratic institution building with EU member states as well as with immediate OSCE member states. Cultural and academic exchanges of lawyers, diplomats and scholars is a time tested way of gaining access. Resident practitioners of institutes and resident scholars of academic centers should be supported in efforts to publish and present in a wide variety of external forums including academic centers and non-governmental bodies.
Naturally these endeavors are costly but arguably not as costly over a short-run five year period as risky and provocative expenditures on military equipment which will be obsolete by the time it is usable and with no guarantees of membership in NATO after it is developed. It is a matter of choices and the logical choice is to build on existing strengths such as education, geography and neutrality.
2. External Steps
d. Involvement in Current OSCE Conciliation Efforts and Mechanisms:
An emerging and important field in the world of business and diplomacy is arbitration and conciliation. As a neutral participant in OSCE conciliation and arbitration processes Lithuania could readily build the reputation of a proven resource in the fields of diplomacy and law especially where the problems focus on minorities issues and humanitarian concerns.
For example OSCE missions have been established in Estonia (in 1992 to promote communal understanding) and in Latvia (in 1993 to address citizenship issues). Although in many ways the Baltic countries share historical similarities, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have different cultural backgrounds and very different population structures. In Estonia and Latvia up to 40% of the population is non-native (mostly Russian). In Lithuania only 8% of the population is non-Lithuanian. The absence of an internal minority issue is precisely the quality which would give Lithuania an opportunity to become involved in reconciling these issues facing other countries in the interest of OSCE efforts.
In 1992 Lithuania was not positioned to enter this minefield of reconciliation. Today the path is clear for this neutral, cohesive country to become the expert in OSCE conciliation and arbitration mechanisms.
e. Linkages Between the OSCE and Other International Bodies
Never forgetting that the objective (in the short five year period) is to use the OSCE as a springboard to membership in the EU and then in NATO, participation in OSCE mechanisms (human rights and reconciliation) is a way of creating linkages and contacts with important international bodies, formal and informal. Here reference is made to the myriad agencies and commissions of the United Nations, particularly those based in Europe. Additionally, Lithuania could begin to activate sub-groups of the OSCE and begin to request advice and resources from international donor agencies such as the Soros Foundation or the MacArthur Foundation. Using OSCE mechanisms will encourage study and information gathering. Communications and connections could be established with a range of semi-official international bodies such as the IMF and the World Bank. 14
The central point of this article is that Lithuania enjoys a unique opportunity as a member of OSCE - itself a unique organization - to develop a skill and a resource in the field of International Human Rights which will serve to satisfy the "admissions committees" of the EU and of NATO that this significant country is worthy of membership.
This "non-military" approach to full membership in these bodies is a logical strategy given Lithuania's limitations (size, proximity to Russia) and given its advantages (neutral, homogenous, educated). With already existing ties to a western democratic expatriate community, Lithuania could capitalize on developing a reputation as a steady and skilled partner in human rights endeavors thereby getting first the attention and then the support of key Western decision makers.
The path to NATO is through the OSCE and the vehicle is Human Rights.
On 1 August 1975 in Helsinki, the Heads of State or Government of the 35 participating States signed the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Act established basic principles for behavior among the participating States and of governments toward their citizens:
1. Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty;
2. Refraining from the threat or use of force;
3. Inviolability of frontiers;
4. territorial integrity of States;
5. Peaceful settlement of disputes;
6. Non-intervention in internal affairs;
7. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief;
8. Equal rights and self-determination of peoples;
9. Cooperation among States;
10. Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law.
The Helsinki Final Act laid the basis for further development of the CSCE process. The document is the foundation for the Human Rights thrust of the OSCE and offers an extraordinary opportunity for a member State like Lithuania to seize the initiative and become the leading proponent of Human Rights thus gathering the attention and good will of an observing EU and NATO.
OSCE Major Departments
The OSCE Secretariat was established in Vienna in 1993. The Secretariat is under the direction of the Secretary General and is divided into four main departments which include:
1) The Department for Chairman-in-Office Support (DCIOS): responsible for contracts with the international and non-governmental organizations, press and public information and the economic dimension.
2) The Conflict Prevention Centre: responsible for overall support of OSCE tasks in the field of early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management and operational support of OSCE missions.
3) The Department for Conference Services (DCS): responsible for conference services, language services, personnel policies and services, financial management and information systems.
The Prague Office, which falls under the Secretariat in Vienna services the Senior Council meetings (including the Economic Forum) and maintains the OSCE archives and distributes documents.
The Secretariat staff is made up of a multi-national staff of over 100 people. Most staff are hired directly by the Secretariat, although some are seconded by their government.
Political and Organizational Bodies
OSCE Political Structure
Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC):
Other Institutional Bodies
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly*
Court on Conciliation and Arbitration
Joint Consultative Group
Open Skies Consultative Commission
OSCE Mechanisms and Procedures
1. The Human Dimension Mechanism (Vienna and Moscow mechanisms)
2. Mechanism for Consultation and cooperation as regards unusual Military Activities
3. Cooperation as regards hazardous incidents of a Military Nature
4. Provisions relating to early warning and preventive action
5. Mechanism for consultation and cooperation with regard to emergency situations (Berlin mechanism)
6. Valletta mechanism
7. Convention on conciliation and Arbitration within the OSCE
8. Provisions for a OSCE Conciliation Commission
9. Provisions for a Directed Conciliation
* This article is based partly on interviews with officers and staff at (1) the Seimas (parliament) Office of Ombudsman (Lithuania); (2) the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights; (3) the University of Vilnius Institute for International Relations and Political Science; and (4) US. Agency for International Development (AID) officers stationed in Lithuania.
1 "Seemingly" because, as The New York Times reported, only 54% of the Czech voters surveyed in 1998 prefer membership. New York Times, February 9, 1998, p. A8.
2 As summarized in "Why NATO Should Grow, " Strobe Talbot, New York Review of Books, August 10, 1955, p. 27-29.
4 See "Instead of NATO, " by Ronald Steel, New York Review of Books, January 15, 1998, p. 21-23.
5 This logic at its core makes confrontation with Russia secondary thus removing (for some countries) the reason for NATO membership.
6 See Appendix A for the 10 Points of the Helsinki Act.
7 Visa permits for family visits and exit permits for mixed marriages are examples of modest humanitarian cooperative efforts. For assistance in preparing this overview the author acknowledges the help of Aušra Vaisunoraitė and Neringa Daniulaitienė and Jurgitė Adomaitė, students in a course on international law at Kaunas Technological University, Lithuania, 1997.
8 The willingness of the OSCE to take strong action is reflected in the case of Belarus which, the OSCE charged, was "constructing a system of totalitarian government" because of the severe criminal treatment of Belarus of two teenage graffiti pranksters. See New York Times, "Two Youths in Belarus Pay Dearly for Graffiti, " March 1, 1998, p. 9.
9 See Appendix B for OSCE Departments and Divisions.
10 See Appendix C for OSCE political organizations.
11 See Appendix C for OSCE Mechanisms and Procedures.
12 It is clear that Lithuania, only a few years after independence, enjoys one of highest rankings in education achievement. A study released by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (see New York Times, February 25, 12998, p. 20) places Lithuania in the top tier of countries surveyed for educational quality.
13 See Report of the Activities of the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights (Lietuvos žmogaus teisių centro) 1997. Available from Centre, Ministry of Justice, Vilnius, Lithuania, Elvyra Baltutytė (Legal Advisor).
14 The attendance at the most recent OSCE Human Rights Seminar in Warsaw (May 25-May 29, 1998) by a five-member Lithuanian delegation from the Seimas (parliament) Office of ombudsman is only one example of linkage to other international bodies. It might be suggested that participation not be limited to mere attendance but to presentation of programs (the Lithuanian Human Rights Centre), active involvement in organizing the Conference, etc.