The 2012 Peace Prize Is Unlawful and Cannot Be Paid to the EU


International Peace Bureau, 1910 Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

To: The Nobel Foundation
P.O. Box 5232,
SE-102 45 Stockholm,

The European Union, announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as the winner of the peace prize for 2012, clearly is not one of “the champions of peace” Alfred Nobel had in mind and described in his will as “the person who (Swedish original: “Den som…”) 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.” The International Peace Bureau (IPB) therefore demands the Board of the Foundation in accordance with the by-laws of the Foundation:

  • not to pay the prize from its funds, and
  • urge the Norwegian Nobel Committee in its future selection of prize winners to follow the will and testament of Alfred Nobel.

The International Peace Bureau, IPB, represents a global network of 320 peace organizations in 70 countries. By this, IPB is an interested party (sakägare) with legal standing.

We would like to refer to the decision by the Swedish Foundations Authority (Länsstyrelsen) of March 21, 2012, which underlined that all prizes must comply with the purpose Nobel described in his will and clarified that under the Swedish Foundations Act the Swedish Nobel Foundation has the supreme authority and responsibility also for decisions mad e by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Redefinition and reshaping of Nobel´s purpose with the peace prize

Instead of an unspecified prize for “peace”, Alfred Nobel in his 1895 testament described in precise terms the champions of peace (“fredsförfäktare”) whose work he wished to benefit. He intended to support the political work for a global fraternity of demilitarized nations.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has redefined and reshaped the prize in a way that is not in accordance with the law of foundations.

The choice of the EU for the 2012 prize fails on at least two counts:

  • the EU is not seeking to realize a demilitarization of international relations,
  • the EU and member states condone security based on military force and have waged wars rather than insisting on the need for alternative approaches.

The purpose of the peace prize has been clarified by recent research. In 2008 Fredrik S. Heffermehl, a Norwegian lawyer and author and a former IPB Vice President, published the first known legal study of the prize and its purpose. In 2010 he published The Nobel Peace Prize. What Nobel Really Wanted (Praeger, 2010) with latest updates in the Swedish edition (Leopard, 2011).

The case for declaring the 2012 prize unlawful further rests on facts widely known and mentioned in comments following the announcement. We refer also to the attached statement issued by the IPB on Oct. 12, 2012.

IPB has legal standing

The IPB was founded among others by the 1905 Nobel laureate Bertha von Suttner, a unique fundraiser who convinced among other tycoons like Andrew Carnegie and Alfred Nobel to support her ideas on demilitarized international relations. Nobel joined and funded her Austrian society of “champions of peace,” and also gave financial support to the IPB, and Suttner persuaded Nobel to include a prize for the realization of her vision of a peaceful world system in his will.

The IPB is an interested party with legal standing (sakägare), with its organizational origin from the same time and ideas that convinced Alfred Nobel to establish a prize for champions for peace. IPB considers disarmament as a cause of more pressing urgency than ever. Through its programs and publications the IPB remains seized of the global peace system that Nobel and Suttner had in mind. IPB’s main program “Disarmament for development” argues a transfer of world spending from military to social and human needs, in particular the Millennium Development Goals.

A number of laureates during the last decades have not met the specific purpose of the peace prize. Those laureates may have served good causes, but not with the ambition to create the global demilitarized world Nobel wished to support. The latest prize to EU may even be seen as directly contradicting the purpose to reach demilitarized international relations. The departure from the original will and testament of Nobel cannot be allowed to continue. There are numerous qualified candidates working for the true purpose of Alfred Nobel.

On this background we urge the Foundation to act in defense of the Nobel Peace Prize and its creator Alfred Nobel.

Since this matter is truly urgent, we expect a prompt response indicating what actions the Foundation will take.


Tomas Magnusson and Ingeborg Breines
International Peace Bureau


41 rue de Zurich
1201 Geneva
Tel: +41-22-731-6429, Fax: 738-9419

The IPB is a global network of 320 peace organizations in 70 countries. Headquarter in Geneva.

The IPB invokes recent research on Nobel and the peace prize by [TRANSCEND Member] Norwegian lawyer and author Fredrik S. Heffermehl. Materials on the Swedish Foundations Authority decision March 21, 2012, can be found at


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Nov 2012.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: The 2012 Peace Prize Is Unlawful and Cannot Be Paid to the EU, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Comments are closed.