Nobel Peace Prizes 'are being awarded illegally'
Norwegian author claims the committee behind the coveted award routinely violates the terms of Alfred Nobel's will
Sunday 25 July 2010
Can we have our Nobel Peace Prize back, please? We got most of our decisions wrong. We should have laid much more emphasis on abolishing the military and outlawing wars, but we didn't. Such is the message about to go out to the more undeserving winners of one of the world's most coveted awards.
More than half the Nobel Peace Prizes awarded since 1946 have been awarded illegally, says Fredrik Heffermehl, a Norwegian lawyer and peace activist, because they do not follow the expressed will of the millionaire inventor of dynamite. He says all but one of 10 prizes awarded since 1999 are illegitimate under Norwegian and Swedish law.
Mr Heffermehl's verdict, which caused controversy when it was set out in his book Nobels Vilje (Nobel's Will) published in Norwegian in 2008, is likely to stir up passionate discussion next month when Greenwood Press publishes Picking Up the Peaces: Why the Nobel Peace Prize Violates Alfred Nobel's Will and How to Fix It.
Mr Heffermehl's book emphasises that Nobel's will concentrated on rewarding the struggle to end wars through an international order based on law and abolition of military forces. Few of the recent winners can be seen to have engaged in that struggle. Among those awards he names as illegitimate are: Mother Teresa (1979); Lech Walesa (1983); Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin (1994); Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi (2003); Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai (2004); and Al Gore (2007).
The will, dated 27 November 1895, disbursed large sums to various relatives, friends and servants before leaving the bulk of the estate to establishing the awards that bear his name. The relevant sentence setting out the terms of what he called a prize for the "champions of peace" is: "One part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
Bruce Kent, a member of the Movement for the Abolition of War, said: "Nobel's Will is a revelation. It is quite clear that over many years the Nobel prize committee has frequently made the award on the basis of what it would have liked Nobel to intend, not on what he clearly did intend. If the executors of any ordinary will did this they would either be sued or prosecuted."
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
India-US row over escalates over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York
Peter O'Toole: Tales of the late film icon
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Facebook 'self-censorship': study records when you don't post to find more ways to share
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Vitamin pills are a waste of money, offer no health benefits and could be harmful - study
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Geography ...
£40000 - £60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Business Developme...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + Negotiable: Austen Lloyd: We have an exciting oppo...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a rare hi...