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New York, 17 October 2012

President of the General Assembly addresses the members of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly

The President of the General Assembly Mr. Vuk Jeremić addressed today the meeting of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly. He underlined the crucial role of the Committee as guardian of the UN Charter and the entire corpus of international law.

The President stressed that international law must not be seen as a utopian aspiration that has little relevance to the conduct of world affairs. The principles and rules codified by centuries of treaties and agreements between nations should serve legitimate state interests he said, rather than trying to override them. He emphasized that by strictly adhering to the rule of law, the international community discourages the recourse to war.

He drew attention to three issues on the agenda of the Committee: the rule of law, the system of international courts and universal jurisdiction, and terrorism.

In particular, the President highlighted the importance of the High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law and noted that the Sixth Committee was tasked to follow up on the Concluding Document to the Meeting. In his view, the essential elements of this follow-up process include the promotion of national ownership, which is linked with the sovereign equality of Member States, the fight against corruption, and engagement in the process of strengthening the rule of law led by the UN Secretariat.

The President noted that in order to be effective, international courts and the corpus of law it interprets must be observed objectively. He said the respect for accepted norms cannot be ambiguous or selective. He urged Member States eliminate impunity and ensure accountability, noting that it is particularly important in post-conflict countries. He noted the United Nations’ role in furthering this process in a number of countries, through the activities of the Peacebuilding Commission, and the efforts to strengthen the rule of law and state institutions.

The President stressed that the fight against all forms of terrorism has to remain a global priority. He underlined the importance of the Secretary-General’s latest report on terrorism and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He also highlighted the growing need to make tangible progress towards narrowing the gap on some elements of the draft Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism. In this regard, he commended the work of Sri-Lanka as the Chair of the Working Group with a view to finalizing the draft, as well as the tasks accomplished by the Friends of the Chair.

He expressed the hope that by the end of the 67th Session of the General Assembly the draft would be presented before the plenary.


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