|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
8th & 9th Meetings (AM & PM)
Progress in Adherence to ‘Rule of Law’ Standards Reported to Assembly’s
Legal Committee, but Inadequacies Are Noted in Some Areas
Deputy Secretary-General Says Issue Is Central to Vision of Secure World
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met today to address the issue of the development of the rule of law at national and international levels. Although there were reports of progress in many areas, concerns of an inequality in adherence to desired standards were also expressed.
The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General said the complex field of rule of law was central to achieving the vision of the United Nations of a just, secure, peaceful world. The Secretary-General’s first annual report, presented to the Committee today, offered not only an opportunity to review and strengthen rule of law at all levels, but also place activities in the context of strategic, coherent approaches that yielded results.
Challenges remained, she said, including the need to engage early in conflict and post-conflict societies. Legal protection, safety and access to justice also needed to be strengthened, as well as responses to sexual and gender‑based violence. In light of all these issues, she stated that rule of law efforts needed to be firmly grounded in the development agenda.
Speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the representative of Viet Nam said that the recently adopted Charter of ASEAN would transform an association of 10 nations in that region into a truly rules-based, people-centred and closely integrated community by 2015.
On a national level, Serbia’s representative said his Government had advanced the rule of law through comprehensive cooperation and collaboration with relevant programmes of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). His country was also demonstrating its belief in international law and international judicial institutions by opting for a legal resolution of “the future status of its southern province of Kosovo and Metohija.”
However, the delegate of Zambia said the “culture of impunity” was unacceptable, and that people responsible for violations of international laws needed to be tried accordingly. “We believe that for justice to prevail, it must be seen to be blind to all,” she said.
The representative of Liechtenstein stated that strengthening the rule of law within the United Nations was important. The application of international humanitarian law to United Nations forces was an example of the relevance of such an exercise.
Syria’s delegate spoke of the Security Council’s “progressive encroachment” on the General Assembly’s jurisdiction, and said it undermined the rule of law at an international level. Because each country had its own idiosyncratic nature, he said, the rule of law would need to be expressed differently on national levels.
The representative of the United States noted that that progressive development of international law was a matter of refinement or filling gaps and she urged flexibility. A global multilateral treaty was not always the answer, and sometimes regional, bilateral or even non-binding understandings could best address particular needs. She referred to the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and said this reflected the reinvigorated commitment of the United States to the rule of law at the international level.
Among the speakers this morning were the representatives of Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand), Mexico (for the Rio Group), Tunisia (for the African Group), Sweden (for the European Union) and Iran (for the Non-Aligned Movement).
Also speaking in their national capacity were the delegates of Switzerland, Cuba, Belarus, Brazil, Norway, Costa Rica, China, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malaysia, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Myanmar.
Continuing in the afternoon were speakers for Senegal, Lao People’s Republic, Mexico, Nigeria, Chile, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Kuwait, United Republic of Tanzania, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Kenya, Albania, Russian Federation and Venezuela.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., tomorrow, Thursday, 15 October to resume its debate on the report on the United Nations activities on rule of law, and to consider requests for observer status.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met today to take up its agenda item on the rule of law at the national and international levels, and also to consider requests for observer status in the work of the General Assembly.
The Secretary-General’s report on strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities (document A/64/298) is his first annual report on United Nations efforts to strengthen the rule of law on national and international levels. It also illustrates key achievements and support to Member States.
In a section on fostering the rule of law at the international level, the report states that the Organization’s rule of law programming has participants in more than 120 Member States in every region. In at least 50 countries, a minimum of three United Nations entities are so engaged in rule of law activities. Five or more United Nations entities are so engaged in more than 30 countries, in 22 of which United Nations peace operations are present. The use of treaty-based mechanisms is also expanding. The cases before the International Court of Justice, for instance, are increasing and cover a wide rage of issues of international law including maritime delimitation, international criminal law, and jurisdictional immunities, among others.
Constitution-making processes remain a critical component in the section on the Organization’s activities to the rule of law on a national level, the report continues. These activities focus on national ownership and inclusive, participatory and transparent processes, as well as incorporating international norms and standards. Some examples are the significant legislation on children’s rights adopted in Egypt, Nigeria, Uruguay and South Africa. Juvenile justice legislation has also been passed or revised in Albania, Angola, Montenegro, Mozambique and Thailand.
The report notes the Organization’s assistance in incorporating constitutional guarantees and laws, with a focus on strengthening institutions involved with structuring, financing, and implementing law. A three-year justice programme supported by the United Nations has been established in Occupied Palestinian Territory to develop institutional capacity of the Ministry of Justice. Similar support has also been provided in Colombia, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. In addition, capacity building in the area of prison personnel and infrastructure reform is being implemented in the Sudan. A programme on victim and offender mediation as part of the criminal justice process is being supported in Turkey. Training curricula for police, judiciary and lawyers now include children components in Armenia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal, among others.
According to the Secretary-General’s report, overall coordination and coherence fall under the responsibility of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, which is supported by the Rule of Law Unit under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General. In order to ensure quality, policy coherence and coordination, the Group acts as a focal point for system-wide attention on the rule of law. Early results have been encouraging. In one example, the United Nations Children’s Fund tracked impact on a country level, and found that United Nations entities in 49 countries had incorporated children’s issues in their rule of law efforts.
Further, the report notes that another function of the Group is as a resource on the rule of law for the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office. In October 2008, a session on rule of law assistance was held for the Working Group on Lessons Learned and focused on the rule of law aspect of peacebuilding strategies and technical assistance, among others.
To develop a more results-oriented approach, the report continues, the Group has adopted and begun implementing a Joint Strategic Plan for 2009-2011 which targets three principal outcomes. This initial collective road map -– the first of its kind in the rule of law field –- includes implementation of United Nations common approaches to rule of law assistance; the strengthening of coherence, quality and coordination of rule of law policy and guidance, and reinforced global action on both national and international levels.
The cultivation of a just, secure and peaceful world governed by rule of law shows progress through United Nations engagement, the report concludes. Joint actions between United Nations entities are increasing, with a focus of bridging the divide between international commitments and the rule of law’s full realization. The Coordination Group and the Rule of Law Unit will continue to support efforts to establish policy platforms that include civil experts and multilateral organizations. They will also continue to consult with regional stakeholders on strategic collaboration on rule of law issues, convene United Nations entities and agencies to develop rule of law activities, and work to enhance rule of law actions aimed at strengthening the capacities of Member States.
As background, this report was based on Millennium Declaration resolution (55/2); the Secretary-General’s 2004 report on the rule of law and transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies (S/2004/616); the 2005 World Summit Outcome (resolution 60/1); the 2006 report of the Secretary-General entitled “Uniting our strengths: Enhancing United Nations support for the rule of law” (A/61/636-S/2006/980 and Corr.1), the inventory of United Nations rule of law activities (A/63/64) and the 2008 report of the Secretary-General on strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities (A/63/226).
The Sixth Committee was expected to take action on a draft resolution relating to observer status for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (A/C.6/64/L.6) in the work of the General Assembly. An explanatory memorandum contained in a report on the Commission (A/64/142) describes the Commission as a permanent international body whose main purpose is to ensure that international humanitarian law is implemented and respected during times of armed conflict. Located in Berne, Switzerland, it is composed of 15 experts from different fields who carry a five-year term. In its goal to obtain a fact-finding mandate, the Commission seeks to create a visible presence in forums and bodies where solutions of conflicts are discussed.
Also before the Committee was a draft resolution relating to observer status for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (A/C.6/64/L.7) in the work of the General Assembly. A report on the Fund (A/64/144) contains an explanatory memorandum describing the Fund, located in Geneva, as a partnership of Governments, civil society, private sector corporations and foundations and communities of people affected by the disease. A total of 44 countries have contributed financially to the Fund, and in turn, the Fund has given $16 million to programmes in 137 countries in five continents. The Fund provides 23 per cent of the global financing for HIV/AIDS, 60 per cent of global financing for malaria interventions and 57 per cent of global funding for tuberculosis.
It seeks observer status to promote cooperation between the United Nations and the Fund, and allow for regular interaction and reporting at United Nations Headquarters. This would increase its effectiveness in achieving broad goals such as the Millennium Development Goals, and formalize and foster the strong link between the Organization and the Fund.
Action was also expected on a draft resolution relating to observer status for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region of Africa (A/C.6/64/L.4) in the work of the General Assembly. A report on the Commission (A/64/193), submitted by the Chair, the Permanent Representative of Kenya, contains an explanatory memorandum that gives an overview of the Conference’s work and goals. The eleven founding Member States and their co-opted partners focus on establishing peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, and humanitarian and social action in that region.
Located in Bujumbura, Burundi, the Conference currently holds observer status with the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. In its goal to promote participation in sessions and the work of the General Assembly, and strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the Conference, the Conference seeks observer status.
The Committee was also expected to take action on a draft resolution relating to observer status for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (A/C.6/64/L.5) in the work of the General Assembly. A report on the Committee (A/64/145) contains an explanatory memorandum that describes the 115-member Committee’s goal to place sport at the service of humanity and promote a peaceful global society.
Headquartered at Lausanne, Switzerland since 1915, all IOC members are volunteers and many have participated in the Olympic Games or been active athletes or sports officials. In May, 2006 the Secretary-General requested United Nations peacekeeping missions to incorporate sports in their efforts. The IOC has since worked in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Haiti, and is in the process of developing programmes in other Member States.
Report by the Deputy Secretary-General
ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, briefing the Committee on activities related to the rule of law, said the complex field was central to achieving the United Nations vision of a just, secure and peaceful world. She said the rule of law was linked to addressing critical goals such as poverty reduction and sustainable development, and also to peacebuilding, accountability and the combating of organized crime.
She said the Secretary-General’s report offered an opportunity to review and strengthen rule of law at all levels, and to place activities in the context of strategic, coherent approaches that yielded results. This first annual report demonstrated that the United Nations was conducting rule of law activities in 120 countries in all regions. It showed linkages with the aim of supporting Member States in complying with their international obligations. It highlighted key examples and achievements structured around the Secretary-General’s guidance note, and recorded progress in strengthening joint action.
Also covered in the report were measures undertaken to strengthen accountability and to encourage the trend towards greater use of treaty-based mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group had been asked to enhance strategies to strengthen the capacity of States to end impunity, including by consolidating efforts.
The report noted the challenges faced, including the need to engage early in conflict and post-conflict societies. Rapid deployment of rule of law assistance was a priority, especially through the Standing Police Capacity. Legal protection, safety and access to justice must also be strengthened, along with laying the foundations for long-term development and for building public confidence in justice and security institutions. More attention must be turned towards prisons and pre-trial detention, to ensure lawful and humane criminal justice systems. Sexual and gender-based violence must be addressed and rule of law efforts must be firmly grounded in the development agenda.
Progress in the area of protecting economic and social rights, she continued, was reflected in the report by initiatives undertaken to legally empower the poor. The Resource and Coordination Group had made progress in bringing together the Peacekeeping, Political, Humanitarian and Legal Departments, as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
A system of designated “lead” entities delivered assistance on the ground, by coordinating and facilitating sector-specific engagement. With the support of the Rule of Law Unit, the Group had begun to implement the Joint Strategic Plan, a results-oriented three-year road map of targeted initiatives and outcomes. She said a principle outcome of that plan was to strengthen policy and guidance on cross-cutting issues, such as in strengthening efforts on justice for children. Another was the implementation of a common approach, and in this connection a country was now being considered to “pilot” the development and implementation of joint programming.
KEITH MORRILL (Canada), speaking also for Australia and New Zealand, noted the increased utilization and engagement of international judicial bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, international tribunals, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice. He said that was a reflection of the international community seeking peaceful solutions in addressing international disputes and alleged violations of international laws.
He said implementation of the Joint Strategic Plan of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group would further encourage rule of law activities by developing a common approach to rule of law assistance, strengthening rule of law policy and guidance, and supporting the reinforcement of global action in Member States.
The promotion of rule of law on an international level bolstered the rule of law at a national level, he added. Through common principles, a basis for national legislation would be written. This would impact in many areas, including children’s rights, trade law, access to information and access to justice in environmental matters. To all these ends, Canada, Australia and New Zealand remained committed to working with the United Nations for the promotion and greater adherence of the international rule of law; he encouraged Member States to comply with their international obligations.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam), speaking for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the organization had turned a new chapter with the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter last December. The Charter reaffirmed the commitment of all ASEAN States to internationally recognized principles, as contained in legal instruments. Among the 14 principles in the Charter were adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government, upholding the Charter and upholding international law. The ASEAN Charter also conferred a legal personality on the organization.
He said the ASEAN Charter would transform an association of ten South-East Asian nations into a truly rules-based, people-centred and closely integrated Community by 2015. It would be based on the three pillars of unity at the political and security level, and also the economic and the social-cultural levels. A dispute settlement mechanism for the region would be implemented, as would an ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. He said the terms of reference had been adopted by the meeting of the regional foreign ministers in Phuket, Thailand in July. It would be officially established at the next ASEAN Summit in Thailand later this month, and would be a first step in an evolving process to advance human rights in the region.
ALEJANDRO RODILES (Mexico), speaking for the Rio Group of countries, said the idea of an international order governed by the rule of law needed to be strictly related to the continuing pursuit of world peace; the commitment to resolve conflicts through peaceful means was one of the cornerstones of the rule of law on an international level. He noted the contribution of the International Court of Justice towards stabilization and promotion of peace and justice on a global platform. Recourse to judicial mechanism at the international level was a clear sign that in the international realm, “the rule of law, not man -- or individual Sates -- is not an empty formula”.
He said international law also needed to be multilateral, where agreed-upon values, principles and norms governed, rather than power or anarchy. It was only through mutual efforts and cooperation that global threats would be successfully addressed. Noting that the United Nations was the primary example of multilateral efforts, he said that it was urgent that the rule of law be consolidated and applied within the Organization for it to be credible in its worldwide efforts.
Domestic implementation of international obligations was still an important challenge to the efficacy of establishing the rule of law, and he said he commended the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols for their contribution towards making the world a “more human place for all peoples”.
ADEL BEN LAGHA (Tunisia), speaking for the African Group, said that, like the United Nations Charter, the African Union Constitutive Act had been founded on the principles of sovereign equality of States, peaceful settlement of disputes and respect for territorial integrity. Those important provisions of the Charter should be key elements in the endeavours to promote the rule of law at the international level. In accordance with the spirit of the Charter, States should act in good faith in the fulfilment of their obligations under various treaties.
In order to settle disputes peacefully, the Group called on States to use, whenever appropriate, the courts and tribunals established under international law, including the International Court of Justice. He said he was encouraged by the Assembly’s readiness in recent years to submit legal questions to that Court.
He said the sovereign equality of States was also an important element in the promotion of the rule of law at the international level. That was why African States had introduced an item to the United Nations agenda on the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction, a principle that had hitherto been selectively applied to African leaders in a way that suggested abuse. Africans believed in the principle of universal jurisdiction as part of international law, and were concerned only with how it was applied.
ERIK WENNERSTRÖM ( Sweden), speaking for the European Union, said strengthening the rule of law was a priority of the Union. After applauding the adoption of the resolution on “the rule of law at the national and international levels” at the last General Assembly session, he said the focus would now be on promoting the rule of law at the international level, and that next year it would be on the “laws and practices of Member States in implementing international law.”
All United Nations bodies and Member States had an interest in promoting the rule of law. The protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms was not just a responsibility of each Member State, but the responsibility of the international community as a whole. The rule of law on the international level needed to rest on sufficient and effective means of accountability to law and the settlement of disputes.
Citing examples of European Union programmes and activities promoting rule of law implementation, be referred to a number of peacebuilding programmes, among them the Palestine programme. This supported international mediation through the provision of operational and logistical support to the office of the Quartet representative based in Jerusalem. Another was the contribution of over £17 million towards global ratification campaigns after the Rome Statute came into force. Another initiative was that of “rule of law missions” the Union conducted in the aftermath of severe crises in order to help rebuild judicial structures and re-establish regional stability, as in Georgia, Iraq and Kosovo. It had integrated a rule of law component in civilian crisis management Operations, such as those in Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, set out the elements which he considered essential to realizing an international rule of law: the principle of sovereign equality of all State to participate equally in international law-making processes; the requirement that States comply with treaty obligations and customary international law; the prohibition of the threat or use of force in international disputes; respect for the legitimate rights of States under international law, and the use peaceful means to settle disputes.
He said members of the Non-Aligned Movement were concerned at the application of unilateral measures, and the negative impact of such measures on the rule of international law and international relations. “No State or group of States has the authority to deprive other States of their legal rights for political consideration,” he stated. At the same time, each State needed to respect the functions and powers of United Nations principal organs, whose coordinated efforts were indispensable in maintaining the Organization’s relevancy and efforts. In this area, he added, there were further concerns over the Security Council’s encroachment on the General Assembly and the Economic Social Council.
He said rule of law activities needed to be undertaken at the request of interested Governments and within the respective mandates of the United Nations funds and programmes. It was essential that the customs and national political and socio-economic realities be taken into account.
STEFAN BARRIGA ( Liechtenstein) said he fully supported the role of the International Court of Justice as the world’s prime judicial mechanism for peaceful settlement of disputes, and it was regrettable that so far, only 66 States were subject to the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction. Concrete efforts should be made to reach out to States and encourage them to actively consider accepting that jurisdiction. The General Assembly should mandate the Secretary-General to invite States to submit views on the possibility of accepting the jurisdiction for inclusion in next year’s report on the item.
He said strengthening the rule of law within the United Nations was equally important; it was time to unequivocally clarify the extent to which the United Nations and its organs were bound by the human rights standards the Organization had established for Members. The application of international humanitarian law to United Nations forces was an example of the relevance of such an exercise.
He said advent of international criminal law was the most important element of an effective rules-based system, in particular through establishment of the International Criminal Court. The increasing number of States Parties to the Rome Statute underlined the principle that no individual must enjoy impunity. Next year’s Review Conference would provide an opportunity to further extend the principle of accountability. On the promotion of respect for the purposes and principles of the United Nations, the most important point was that rules must apply to everyone equally, based on a level playing field and in accordance with the notion of sovereign equality.
PIERRE-YVES MORIER ( Switzerland) said that, given the great diversity of the United Nations Members States, it was essential that they should be able to develop in harmony and to coexist peacefully and equally. The philosophy that “might is right” should not be allowed to prevail in any circumstance. Whenever the stronger party imposed its will, the entire multilateral edifice began to shake, and trust that had patiently been built up between nations could be eroded. To prevent this, he said, strengthening of the rule of law at the international level was important in achieving full implementation and development of existing mechanisms.
It was necessary at the international level, to resort systematically to peaceful means of settling disputes, he said. Specific mechanisms should come into play before conflicts or disputes broke out. It was now the task of Member States to ensure that the mechanisms were endowed with sufficient funds and resources.
ANET PINO RIVERO ( Cuba) said the Charter and the principles of international law were essential for preserving and promoting international peace and security, economic development, social progress, human rights and rule of law. The sovereign equality of States and the good-faith fulfilment of obligations were among the basis principles that would govern relations between States if the rule of law at the international level were to be properly fulfilled. Further, States should fulfil obligations under treaties to which they were party and refrain from violating the letter and spirit of such treaties.
She said the unilateral exercise of extraterritorial criminal and civil jurisdiction by national courts was of concern when it did not emanate from international treaties or obligations under international law, including humanitarian law. The promulgation of national laws against other States was condemnable and undermined the rule of law at the international level. Further, while international assistance and cooperation played an important role in establishing and improving the rule of law, that assistance must emanate from a State request and must take the State into account rather than impose a pre-established model that could hinder the solution to problems. The functions and powers of main bodies within the United Nations system must be fully respected. The Security Council’s encroachment into areas beyond its mandate was dangerous.
VIKTAR SHAUTSOU ( Belarus) said he hoped next year’s report would focus on the international rule of law. In such difficult economic and societal-challenging circumstances, the respect for law was a major factor of stability. The progress of development of international law was therefore very relevant to ensuring international peace and security.
The reason for the lack of an effective rule of law was not the absence of standards, but the lack of political will and the presence of double standards. “We can work on these,” he stated, urging that actions be taken not by individual States but by a collective effort between Member States. For this to be successful, all States, regardless of power or status, needed to be respected and part of the process.
GUILHERME PATRIOTA ( Brazil) recalled that treaties, customary norms and general principles were at the heart of the international legal system, and said the mechanisms and institutions established in connection with those norms played a central role in relation to them. The many structures created to deal with international law in general, and with the Law of the Sea, trade law, human rights law, integration law and humanitarian law, had all made outstanding contributions towards peace, security and better relations between States. The International Court of Justice contributed to maintaining international peace and security, as did regional institutions. The International Criminal Court not only put an end to impunity but also played a central role in deterrence.
ÅSMUND ERIKSEN (Norway), stating that “the rule of law is both an aim and a means to achieving an aim”, recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document where Member States agreed that actions be rooted, among other factors, in respect for the Charter and international law, the sovereign equality of States, and a need to resolve disputes by peaceful means. In the promotion and implementation of the rule of law, he said, a key factor was strengthening the “sense of ownership” of international law and ensuring that treaties be developed within a framework where all States had the opportunity to present their views and needs.
He called for effective mechanisms for peaceful conflict resolutions, noting that the International Court of Justice provided an “underused opportunity” for this. Norway had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court and he invited all States who had not done so to do the same. It was vital that international organizations also respected the rule of law and that the Security Council should set an example in this regard by adhering to the Charter and international law.
JAIRO HERNÁNDEZ ( Costa Rica) said his country had consolidated the rule of law over 100 years ago, and it was a guiding principle in his country’s national life and relations with other States. Abolishing its military in 1949, Costa Rica had entrusted its peace and security to dialogue and peaceful resolution for 60 years. “ Costa Rica has made rule of law our life,” he said, noting that it was a constant element in establishing sustainable peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
However, despite progress, fully ensuring the rule of law still was an aspiration. The establishment of clear rules and guarantees for sharing responsibility and the enforcement of obligations was necessary among other factors, and he noted that the current environmental crisis was an example of this as a crisis where all countries around the world were responsible. The rule of law, he concluded, was the bedrock of better governance, economic growth and development.
GUO XIAOMEI ( China) said the rule of law at the international level consisted of two core elements: full and faithful implementation of its rules; and the preservation of the overall interests of the international community. Advancement in the rule of international law should make those elements mutually reinforcing. Parties should fulfil their treaty obligations in good faith and refrain from selective application of treaty provisions or unilateral interpretations of those treaties. Further, parties must not abuse their treaty rights or compromise treaty objectives by any act; any State that violated its treaty obligations must face consequences.
She cited the requirements for safeguarding the overall interests of humankind. The international community should: safeguard the authority of the United Nations Charter; and abide by its purposes and principles. The relationship between the common interests of mankind and individual State interests should be properly handled, to uphold the values of cooperation and benefit-sharing. Universal and equal participation of States in international legislative processes should be promoted to ensure that international legal instruments reflected the interests and concerns of all States in a balanced manner. Finally, the democratization of international relations should be promoted and the settlement of international issues through equal consultations on the basis of international law should be encouraged.
CRISTIANO DOS SANTOS ( Mozambique) said nations must respect the principles of the international rule of law as enshrined in the United Nations Charter and use its mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Although use of those mechanisms, particularly the International Court of Justice, had increased, some States lacked the political will to ensure compliance with international law and violations were still frequent in many areas.
He said that to enhance the effectiveness of the multilateral system in addressing challenges, the United Nations should, inter alia, encourage further treaty ratification and adherence, and the wider promotion and knowledge of international law, reflecting the democratic values that were an essential element of the rule of law within its own system.
He said implementation of international law at the national level, where it should act as the bedrock for democracy and the promotion of respect for individual rights and freedoms enshrined in national constitutions, would create conditions for national social and economic development. Those rights and freedoms must be upheld by a strong and independent judicial system fully accessible to all citizens. He suggested enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in support of their initiatives related to the rule of law.
MOTLATSI RAMAFOLE ( Lesotho) said the United Nations had always worked to codify and progressively develop an important body of international law through efforts that were complemented by judgments and advisory opinions of international courts, tribunals and commissions. As a result, a broad set of legal norms covered such fundamental issues as human rights, the environment and trade. A strengthened legal regime at the international level was crucial to the course of peace and for important spheres of activity such as the development of trade and commerce.
At the national level, he said, the rule of law meant that citizens as well as States were subject to laws that were publicly promulgated, independently adjudicated and equally enforced. Respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, independence of the judiciary and separation of powers were among the rights and obligations enshrined in his country’s constitution. The United Nations must enhance its ability to deliver rule of law assistance to States, at their request and in accordance with national priorities and strategies.
SWANDRA RAMACHANDRAN ( Malaysia) described her country’s efforts to implement laws on counter-terrorism, transnational organized crime, disarmament and non-proliferation. She said Malaysia was undertaking legislative action to enable ratification and accession to relevant treaties and to fully implement its obligations under such instruments. Agreeing that failure of States to conform to their international obligations undermined the rule of law domestically and globally, she said Malaysia took its treaty obligations seriously. It welcomed continuous efforts by the United Nations to strengthen its institutions and to provide legislative guidance to Member States to encourage ratification of international treaties.
If the rule of law were to be promoted at the international level, she continued, justice must not only be done. Impunity must be addressed across the board, without preferential treatment for any party. Treaty and international law obligations should also be enforced; that was an area which merited further attention of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group. Malaysia steadfastly adhered to the rule of law in the administration of the criminal justice system, and as a member of ASEAN, it was also part of the regional efforts to promote the rule of law. The principle of the rule of law had been included in the ASEAN Charter as part of the purposes and principles of that organization.
DIRE TLADI ( South Africa) said too many unfulfilled international legal obligations and the varied interpretation by States of those obligations had negative impacts on the advancement of rule of law at the international level. The particular problems caused by “auto-interpretation” would be remedied or greatly reduced, he added, by regular recourse to international mechanisms for the pacific settlement of disputes, including the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In addition, he said, compliance with Court decisions was essential. The Security Council, as both a product and source of international law, should be reformed to address issues of representation and legitimacy.
Noting the contribution international criminal law had made to the promotion of the rule of law, he said that while there were still teething problems in this developing area of law, the international criminal justice system continued to make advances in efforts to end impunity. South Africa believed the equilibrium between peace and justice was not beyond reach. States and international organizations should contribute to the enhancement of the rule of law by complying with and implementing international obligations, relying on mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes.
GAUDENTIA SALASINI ( Zambia) said that in spite of the success of the United Nations promotion of rule of law activities in more than 120 Member States, challenges remained. These included a shortage of skilled manpower and adequate funding for capacity-building of local staff in Member States, including Zambia.
She said the “culture of impunity” could not be allowed to prevail, and that people responsible for violations of international laws need to be tried accordingly. “We believe that for justice to prevail, it must be seen to be blind to all,” she said. To this end, her country was a party to the statute of the International Court of Justice, and it intended to make a declaration recognizing as compulsory the jurisdiction of the Court.
BORIS HOLOVKA ( Serbia) said that on a national level, his country had made significant progress in advancing the rule of law; this was a result of comprehensive cooperation and collaboration with the relevant programmes of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). His Government had adopted 20 different laws and ratified that number of international conventions. Laws had been passed in a number of previously unregulated or under-regulated needs, such as anti-corruption activities, data protection and international legal assistance in criminal matters.
In addition, the infrastructure of judicial facilities had been modernized, and training programmes for judges, prosecutors and employees in the judiciary were being organized. Demonstrating its belief in international law and international judicial institutions, in particular the International Court of Justice, Serbia opted for a legal resolution of “the future status of its southern province of Kosovo and Metohija”.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said her country welcomed the important role accorded to the rule of law in international relations. It was currently implementing the early integration of the most advanced international regulations with its legal system. In preparation for the country’s 2010 chairmanship of OSCE, a “Pathway to Europe” State programme had established the basic development guidelines for a Kazakhstan model of a political and governance structure.
The country would spare no effort for the rule of law to prevail for human good both at the national and international levels.
TUN SHIN ( Myanmar) said the rule of law rested on commonly agreed international principles that were enshrined in the United Nations Charter to form the basis of modern international law. Challenges to the rule of law must be identified and addressed, without wavering on upholding the Charter and the principles of international law.
Promotion of the rule of law at the national level rested with national authorities. The international community should not only encourage but support activities to promote the rule of law while respecting the principles of sovereignty and domestic jurisdiction. The United Nations should play an active role in coordination and rationalizing activities, particularly in adapting national legislation to be in accordance with international obligations and standards.
MAZEN ADI ( Syria) said the rule of law was of great importance at this time, in relation to the principles of the United Nations. The Security Council’s progressive encroachment upon the General Assembly’s jurisdiction undermined the rule of law on an international level and created an imbalance of the Charter. The General Assembly had affirmed the need to adhere to the rule of law on both national and international platforms. Upsetting elements, such as pre-emptive war, challenged the rule of law, with a negative impact both on rule of law and international relations.
He called for the end of selective implementation of international law and for all States to abide by the rule of law. The sovereignty of States must be respected and the rights of people under foreign occupation to struggle for self-determination and liberation were rights enshrined by international law. Each country had its own idiosyncratic nature and thus the rule of law was expressed differently on national levels. Methods of assistance regarding the rule of law from the United Nations bodies and agencies therefore needed to respect political, historical and cultural backgrounds. The rule of law must not become a political tool to pressure States.
When the Sixth Committee met again this afternoon, PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said the challenges faced in the current global circumstances “persuades us of the need for a just and viable order”. Respect for the rule of law was the only guarantee for peaceful coexistence between nations and creating an environment of peace, security and sustainable development. Although the Secretary-General’s report heralded many achievements, it also admitted that much remained to be done. Rule of law was an essential principle in the United Nations Charter and the efforts needed to promote rule of law on an international platform needed to be firmly based on this.
Because respect for rule of law and international law were linked, he said, violations and the lack of political resolve to abide by rules of international law seriously impeded international relations, which were exclusively based on international law. As a result, the ensuing daunting challenges needed to be met in order to promote the rule of law. To this end, the United Nations was crucial in its breadth and diversity of actions. One such activity was that of the International Court of Justice which, by basing its actions on rule of law, rendered decisions resulting from legal reasoning, which helped enrich international law and an international legal system.
KANYA KHAMMOUNGKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said that this year his country had deposited instruments of ratification of three key United Nations treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. It was also among the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Taken together, those actions reflected the country’s commitment to the international rule of law.
At the national level, he said, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic had developed a legal sector master plan, with the long-term goal of becoming a rule of law State by the year 2020. Progress had already been made towards that end, with the adoption of more than 90 laws by the National Assembly. In addition to establishing and strengthening a legal framework and mechanisms to ensure the rule of law, efforts had also been made towards effective implementation. Legal sector institutions, including the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and the Lao Bar Association were being enhanced.
ALEJANDRO RODILES ( Mexico)—- speaking in his national capacity -- said more needed to be done on an international level. The international order needed to be based on the same law that the international community applied to itself. This task could not be accomplished without the function of States. Further, there needed to be a focus on peaceful settlements between States, so that the role of courts and tribunals could be strengthened.
Disputes between States arose from different interpretations of law. The acts of the Security Council were motivated by the rule of law and had developed mechanisms to address these issues. Sanctions regimes had been proven effective after many years. There still needed to be assurances that these were in line of due process.
He also noted that the rule of law existed not just on an international level, but also a transnational level, with an increase of global regulations that were non-binding norms covering materials on a global level.
ESTHER OTUKOYA ( Nigeria) said much remained to be done to ensure that United Nations leadership placed the rule of law at the country level at the centre of its initiatives in the field. This was particularly the case in Africa where there was an urgent need for capacity-building. International rule of law was linked to rule of law at the domestic level and was dependent on the commitment of all Member States to the principles of the United Nations Charter and other international instruments. Nigeria’s commitment was demonstrated by its choice to adopt the legal approach to dispute settlement that led to the International Court of Justice ruling on the Bakassi peninsula. She called on Member States to emulate that example.
She said Nigeria had partnered with other countries in addressing issues affecting the continent such as peace and security, governance and development, and had troops in a number of United Nations missions. Noting that the rule of law was linked to human rights, she called for “more incisive action” towards addressing the special needs of Africa, the least developed countries and small island developing States.
HERNÁN QUEZADA ( Chile) said the United Nations bodies should function in the same way as the rule of law at national and international levels, with those bodies carrying out their functions in line with their mandates. The work on the administration of justice and on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts was part of the larger fight against impunity. In devising instruments to act as tools in the settlement of disputes, the Charter was the guide. Work on consolidation should continue by including the work of the specialized and regional tribunals. The work and function of the International Criminal Court was of particular interest to his country in context of its recent experience and history. The interaction between the rule of law at the international and the national level should be kept in mind. Also, States had different mechanisms for implementing international legal norms at the domestic level and they were unique. Support for national efforts should take them into consideration.
SHRI KALYAN BANERJEE (India) said that promoting rule of law at the international level, a concept ingrained in the Charter of the United Nations, was supplemented by international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law, among others. There was a need, however, for strengthened rule of law components to address some issues, such as human rights violations. This could be done through establishing national tribunals, truth and reconciliation mechanisms, and victim reparation programmes, among others. Further, he said, training to lawyers and judges would build local expertise.
In the area of donor governments and non-governmental organizations, better coordination and coherence was necessary to avoid duplication of efforts and to minimize waste of resources. This could be accomplished through strengthening the Rule of Law Assistance Unit.
LAURA ROSS ( United States) said people often took for granted that the vast multitude of transactions on a daily level basically took place with seamless efficiency because people, businesses and countries complied with rules comprising the shared international legal framework. The world rightly relied on the tools of international dispute resolution but there was an invisible web of international law that allowed the modern global world to thrive, far more often than not, without needing dispute resolution as the wheels of commerce, diplomacy and interaction turned.
She said progressive development of international law was a matter of refinement or filling gaps. A flexible approach should be used, including by accepting the reality that a global multilateral treaty was not always the answer, that sometimes regional, bilateral or even non-binding understandings could best address particular needs. The complex and dynamic interaction between the rule of law at the international level, and at the national level, should also be kept in mind. Compliance with international law could lead to a culture of compliance domestically. The key to implementing treaties was robust domestic implementation.
The United States, she said, had reinvigorated its commitment to the rule of law at the international level, including in the areas if humanitarian and human rights laws, and through its participation in the work of multilateral institutions. The new Administration had signalled its commitment in those areas in its first week by mandating closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. In July, the United States had signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first human rights treaty the country had signed in more than 20 years. Similar examples in the environmental field included the start of negotiations on a global, legally binding instrument regarding the challenges posed by mercury. “Multilateral institutions matter,” she ended, stating that the United States was proud to resume its leadership role in them.
JEAN-CLAUDE OMBA OLENGA (Democratic Republic of Congo) said that to maintain a “synergy” between the rule of law at the national and international levels, it would be desirable for a country’s judges and lawyers to be more knowledgeable about international law, for it to “trickle down to ordinary men and women”. He noted that his country contributed to the promotion of the rule of law by actively taking part in the United Nations main legal instruments. It was proud to have contributed to a return to international law by resorting to the International Court of Justice, an important partner in re-establishing the rule of law. The country’s post-conflict condition made it even more vital for it to call for the primacy of the rule of law, which was unmatched in ensuring social cohesion, peace, security and stability.
That, he said, was why his country remained “somewhat attached to international justice”, including cooperating wholeheartedly with the international criminal court. Reforming the country’s legal system into a just, reliable and efficient one, in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, would require international support. He concluded by stressing that promoting the rule of law nationally and internationally was crucial for economic, growth, sustainable development, eradicating poverty and upholding all human rights and liberties.
PHOLOGO J. GAUMAKWE ( Botswana) said that sacrosanct respect for, and adherence to, the rule of law at the international level contributed to law and order, effective peace and security, social and economic progress and the full protection of human rights for all. Therefore, all States must fulfil international obligations and fortify multilateral cooperation based on international law. Such cooperation, guided by strict observance to international law and the principles of justice and fairness, would provide solutions to such global challenges as terrorism, armed conflict, human rights violations and violence against vulnerable groups including women and children.
There had been successes in promoting and applying the rule of law in such areas as dispute settlement and conflict management, he said, but more remained to be done, he said. United Nations conventions should be applied to safeguard mankind. For example, the Convention on the Law of the Sea could be brought to bear on the piracy and banditry along the Somali coast. Further, he said that those who govern as well as those who were governed must obey the law. Socio-economic development, basic freedoms and human rights could only be realized when governments and the general population acted within the law.
SAMIR SHARIFOV ( Azerbaijan) said the United Nations should increase its efforts in ensuring respect for the principles of international law, without distinction. In that regard, the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly needed to be implemented without any selective approach. Further, the territorial integrity of States was protected by international legal prohibition on threat or use of force. However, he noted, illegal use of force was still present in international relations. International dispute settlement mechanisms needed to be strengthened to facilitate the development of peaceful solutions and resolutions.
Multilateral cooperation, based on the rule of law, and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, was essential for effectively addressing current and future global challenges.
ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) said his country’s constitution stipulated that international relations be based on the principles of respect for national sovereignty and equality, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes and respect of the law and principles set forth in the Charter. On that basis, the country was committed to working towards the renunciation of the use of force and towards general and complete disarmament; upholding the right of people to freely determine and build their own social, economic and political system by ways and means freely chosen; and supporting oppressed peoples throughout the world in waging a just struggle against imperialism, colonialism or racialism.
The rule of law was deeply rooted in the Charter, he continued. The role of the United Nations would be critical for broadening areas of cooperation aimed at specific needs of States, particularly the building of capacities in developing countries. The ratification of treaties should also be encouraged. The work of the courts and tribunals were commendable. The inclusion of the rule of law and transitional justice initiatives in peacekeeping mandates was welcome to his country, the second largest troop contributor and largest police contributor to United Nations missions.
CLAUDIA VALENZUELA ( El Salvador) said today’s debate represented an achievement of the Committee by addressing one of the central elements, that of rule of law on the international level and its relationship to the national level. Acknowledging the recent changes in her country, she said they had deepened and strengthening democracy in El Salvador. Her Government’s foreign policy, including the promotion of human rights, was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Charter. On a national level, there were initiatives that deepened and strengthened the Constitution and national institutions, especially those which were the outcome of the peace agreement, which upheld rule of law.
DAKHEEL ALKHURAINEJ ( Kuwait) said that on a national level, his country engaged a constitutional democratic system, and had just transformed its Parliament with the election of four Kuwaiti women. This strengthened democracy and gender equality. On an international level, adhering to international conventions ensured peaceful settlements of conflicts. He stressed that continued violations of international law weakened political will and that his concerns were confirmed by the recent report issued by Judge Goldstone on violations of international humanitarian law, human rights and the Geneva Conventions. He called for further efforts to be fully exerted and all means applied towards the respect of the rule of law on the global level in an equal non-selective application.
RICHARD MARIDADI (United Republic of Tanzania) said his country had taken deliberate measures to comply with international obligations, including by honouring treaty obligations in respect of reporting. The fourth periodic report had been submitted this year on the major human rights Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Information about treaty law had been disseminated to sector ministries. States should cooperate in complying with implementation of international instruments. Assistance should be given to developing countries to meet their treaty obligations.
LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) emphasized the need for the United Nations to support Member States in promoting the rule of law at regional or continental levels. In this manner, coherence between United Nations system-wide efforts to strengthen the rule of law would be enhanced. He also called for a redoubling of efforts for ensuring universal participation in international treaty regimes aimed at strengthening rule of law at national and international levels.
Ghana’s Constitution provided a framework for strengthening the rule of law. There had been national legislation to promote accountability and good governance, human rights, free and fair elections, and the independence of the judiciary. On a regional level, Ghana continued to support the strengthening of the African Peer Review Mechanism which established standards and benchmarks in attaining rule of law at a national level. His country’s own experience showed that deliberate measures in creating an environment for independent and impartial civil society strengthened the rule of law in society.
EDEN CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago) said the Caribbean region had benefited from the implementation of the Joint Strategic Plan. The recent Caribbean Community (CARICOM) workshop in Saint Vincent and Grenadines was a good example of regional cooperation in training of officials responsible for implementing international treaty obligations at the domestic level. This was an important component in ensuring that all nations subscribed to a common set of rules and standards. The United Nations must continue focusing on promoting the principle of the interdependence and mutually reinforcing relationship between rule of law at the international and national levels.
Welcoming the work of the international tribunals and courts, he said the peaceful settlement of disputes was at the heart of maintaining the rule of law at the international level. The failure to conclude a comprehensive convention to combat terrorism affected the observance of the rule of law. Full support should also be given to efforts to conclude a legally binding arms trade treaty, to regulate the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons. That would help States and regions in confronting the proliferation of the illicit small-arms trade that had contributed to a rise in serious violent crimes in the Caribbean.
YUKIHIRO WADA ( Japan) noted that Japan was the largest contributor of budget to the International Criminal Court, and it would continue contributing towards human resources. Within a regional framework, Japan actively supported the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, and provided technical assistance for establishing the rule of law in developing countries, mainly in South-East Asia. The dissemination and education of international law was a key component to strengthening the rule of law, and to this end he applauded the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law as a significant step towards promoting international law education.
ABDELRAZAG GOUIDER (Libya) said that implementation of the rule of law at the international level called for adhering to a system that guaranteed non-interference in the internal affairs of States and protected basic prerogatives of States, such as making decisions on how to protect and promote human rights, their right to development and their right to make decisions on their own behalf. National laws must reinforce international laws in areas of international concern, such as countering money-laundering and terrorism.
His second point, he went on, was to call for a review of the work methods of the United Nations system and for the development of mechanisms that recognized the equality of all organs. That was the way to ensure that the rights and equalities of all were respected under the rule of international law, and that “selectivity” did not enter into implementation. In a United Nations system in which all organs were respected by others, human rights would be truly respected and violations of rights would be confronted without prejudice.
FAISAL ALZAROONI (United Arab Emirate), affirming his country’s commitment to the international instruments it was party to, called for strengthening international cooperation in accordance with the Charter and international law. He also called for preventative diplomacy, good offices taken and peaceful settlement, among other factors, as well as respect for human rights and basic freedoms, and self-determination without discrimination.
He said there should be a strengthening of equality and transparency on the Security Council. Double standards undermined the credibility of the United Nations. A multilateral plan to raise awareness about international law and human rights would also promote the rights of people, especially those who were marginalized. It was his firm belief that there had been serious violations of security in the Palestinian territories, which was attested to in the Goldstone report.
PARK CHULL-JOO ( Republic of Korea) noted the role of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, supported by the Rule of Law Unit, as the convening mechanism for United Nations action in the area of the rule of law. He said the 2009-2011 Joint Strategic Plan would strengthen coherence and coordination and that he looked forward to the launching of the rule of law website. The United Nations continued to play the key role in promoting the rule of law at both international and national levels, a critical component of which was the peaceful resolution of disputes. The overarching aim of efforts was to find ways to better help States comply with international obligations.
ESMAEIL BAGHAEI HAMANEH ( Iran) said the rule of law was not merely a simple application of law in societies, but “the supremacy of law and equality of all before the law”. Any programme aimed at strengthening the rule of law at a national level needed to take account of the principles of international law, in particular the sovereign equality of States and non-interference in their internal affairs, as well as the right to self-determination of its people.
On the other hand, he continued, the increasing interdependence between national and international legal orders required that national law take note of fundamental principles of international law. Special attention was needed for the incorporation and implementation of international obligations of States in their domestic legal systems. Member States needed technical assistance with this, as well as with executing their international obligations in the national legal system.
MUHAMMAD RAFIUDDIN SHAH ( Pakistan) said the definition of international law and the implementation of justice and the rule of law moved in tandem with the evolution of human society. Respect for the rule of law at the international level was a prerequisite for promoting respect for the sovereign equality of States, and was also central to the concept of global peace and security and for the promotion of fair practices toward social and economic justice. National rule of law strategies must be complemented by the international. Inconsistencies in applying the rule of law at the two levels must be eliminated. Selective implementation created an unjust environment, deepened conflicts and compounded suffering. It eroded confidence in the rule of law system and undermined the credibility of the United Nations. Impunity must end for abhorrent practices and the international judicial institutions must be strengthened to promote adherence to the Charter principles and international law.
STELLA ORINA ( Kenya) said the United Nations needed to serve as a model if it wanted to be effective in promoting rule of law. With the entry into force of the new administration of justice at the United Nations, this was a significant development towards this end.
At the national level, she said her country underwent a complex process toward peace and reconciliation following the post-election violence in December 2007. The coalition Government was currently addressing the multifaceted issues facing Kenya. She concluded with thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the international community during this time and for the mediation efforts led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the African Union.
ANDRIS STASTOLI ( Albania) said that strengthening the rule of law at the national level was a guiding principle for the successful transition to democracy and the consolidation of democratic institutions. For his country and the region, with its difficult history, the rule of law was a direct reflection of relations with neighbours. While it was difficult sometimes to draw a clear separation line between rule of law at the national and international levels, since they were interlinked, they were a reflection of each other and deserved the same standard of respect. Towards his country’s objective to gain full membership in the European Union, the rule of law was a main channel of dialogue as well as a main pillar on which the Stabilization and Association Agreement was based. Constructive dialogues had been undertaken with similar-minded regional States.
GENNADY KUZMIN ( Russian Federation) said it was clear that an international framework was needed. It was not an issue of nations finding a balance between one another but the survival of the global community. In this regard, he stated that there was always room for common ground; there needed to be development of an interface with national systems and a working out of channels of communication. He expressed his support for the Joint Strategic Plan of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group. Implementing this road map would allow for the development of a common approach to the rule of law as well as establishing a foundation for statistics on the efforts of the road map.
The peaceful settlement of disputes was at the core of international law and he expressed his firm conviction that the International Court of Justice acted as a deterrent to violations. Because of its impartiality, countries were recognizing the high standards of the Court’s work in particular in applying the rule of law.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said the rule of law must respect such principles as non-interference in internal affairs of States, the legal equality of State sovereignty and the right of States to natural resources. When those principles were respected, the cornerstone of good relations between States was established. The Secretary-General’s report was imbalanced in its reporting of the rule of law at the international and national levels, with some incidents magnified and others ignored. The situation in the Middle East and the invasion of Iraq were two examples of how “the hegemonic interests of some States” in the Security Council had made it impossible to create a just environment. Only by democratizing the United Nations and the Security Council would it ever be possible to apply the rule of law, particularly in relation to the elaboration of norms when there was a possibility of bias in interpretation. In conclusion, the rule of law at the international level still needed to be discussed.
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