Open letter to the President of Switzerland, Ms Viola Amherd

Photograph Source: Federal Chancellery of Switzerland / Sina Guntern

Dear Madame President of the Swiss Confederation, Ms Viola Amherd

Dear Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ignazio Cassis

The proposal to house a liaison office of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Geneva is ill-advised.  Switzerland is a neutral country since the Congress of Vienna of 1815[1].  Its well-earned reputation as a responsible State and honest broker is at stake. The idea of installing this liaison office at the Maison de la Paix (House of Peace) constitutes an insult to all Swiss citizens and to all UN officials who truly labour for world peace[2].

Such a proposal must be seen as Orwellian, an oxymoron, a parody of the concept of peace. The Swiss population have never voted in favour of such a rapprochement with NATO. Personally, as a “new Swiss” since 2017, I am distressed. My concern and that of many other new Swiss citizens is that Switzerland is gravely compromising its neutral status, as already happened during the unwise “Summit for Peace in Ukraine”[3] held at the Bürgenstock on 15-16 June 2024, which was not a serious attempt at a peace negotiation that would craft viable solutions to real problems, but sadly a propaganda spectacle on behalf of NATO and its vassals[4].  It was less than useless – it was counterproductive.

Since the dismantlement of the Warsaw Pact in 1991[5], NATO can no longer pretend to be a legitimate defensive alliance.  It is an organization for war and war-mongering.  The fact is that NATO has been trying to usurp the functions of the United Nations in the field of the maintenance of international peace and security, which remains the exclusive domain of the UN pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

As a regional organisation, NATO does not qualify under article 52 of the UN Charter, because far from pursuing the Purposes and Principles of the UN as laid down in articles 1 and 2 of the Charter, it acts in a manner that contravenes the objectives of the UN. Since 1997, it has been an organisation that systematically provokes other states and thus blatantly violates Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits not only the “use of force” but also the threat of the use of force. Without any doubt, every NATO expansion constitutes a threat to the security of other states.  Over the past 30 years we have observed with growing concern the implementation of NATO’s strategy to encircle other states.  This constitutes a deliberate provocation and a menace to international peace and security for purposes of article 39 of the UN Charter. More recently, the megalomanic idea of expanding NATO into the Asia-Pacific region exacerbates the already tense situation in that region.

In a very real sense, since 1999 NATO has morphed into a “criminal organisation” within the meaning of Articles 9 and 10 of the Statute of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (London Agreement of 8 August 1945)[6] and the Nuremberg Judgement of 1946.  There are solid reports and scholarly studies that reliably document the sad fact that NATO forces have committed crimes against peace (Art. 6a, Nuremberg Statute), war crimes (Art. 6b) and crimes against humanity (Art. 6c).  NATO has committed these crimes inter alia in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. – hitherto with complete impunity. For this reason, the International Criminal Court should initiate investigations against the responsible NATO politicians and military in accordance with Articles 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute.

As a former senior official of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary of the Human Rights Committee and Head of the Petitions Division, and as a former independent expert of the Human Rights Council on the international order, I am astonished by the slippery slope that Switzerland has chosen in “cuddling up” with NATO.  This is nothing less than an ethical and legal aberration.

Dear President Viola Amherd, please do your utmost to defend Swiss neutrality and to reestablish Swiss authority and credibility as a peace mediator.

For more information on the legal and historical issues, please consult my trilogy on human rights:


Prof Dr. phil. Alfred de Zayas, Geneva School of Diplomacy
Member of the advisory board of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute








Alfred de Zayas is a law professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and served as a UN Independent Expert on International Order 2012-18. He is the author of twelve books including “Building a Just World Order” (2021) “Countering Mainstream Narratives” 2022, and “The Human Rights Industry” (Clarity Press, 2021).