Legal Committee Delegates Review Working Methods of Body Charged with Strengthening Implementation of United Nations Charter
Legal Committee Delegates Review Working Methods of Body Charged with Strengthening Implementation of United Nations Charter
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)
Legal Committee Delegates Review Working Methods of Body Charged
with Strengthening Implementation of United Nations Charter
Some Say Lack of Progress ‘Unacceptable’, Call
For Removal of ‘Moribund Items’ from Agenda, Less Frequent Meetings
After ending its debate on the rule of law, the Sixth Committee (Legal) today considered the reports of the Special Committee on the Charter and the Repertory and Repertoire, and continued to review the outstanding requests for Observer Status in the General Assembly, on both of which topics there were extensive discussions on efficient working methods.
The representative of Belarus said that, as the only full-fledged body tasked with improving the implementation of the Charter and the strengthening of the Organization, the Special Committee’s lack of progress was unacceptable. The Special Committee’s focus was to optimize the work of the United Nations and not to be a poor example of the Organization’s shortcomings.
Echoing that sentiment, the United Kingdom’s delegate pointed out that the seven days allotted for the Special Committee’s meetings went beyond the needs of the actual workload. He also said that rather than allow moribund items “to languish on the agenda”, they be removed, or to be allowed more time to consider before appearing on the agenda again. He supported the proposal by the delegate of Mexico that the Special Committee meet just every two years. China was also among those calling for new approaches towards more efficient working methods of the Special Committee.
In discussing requests for Observer Status, delegates reviewed the need for clearer methods in deciding the criteria of what constituted an Observer, and when exception should be made.
Introducing the Special Committee’s report was Ismael Baghaei, Vice-Chairperson of the 2011 session of the Special Committee on the Charter and on strengthening the Organization’s role. Vaklav Mikulka, Secretary of the Legal Committee and Director of the Codification Division, introduced the report on the status of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs. A report on the status of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council was given by Gregor Boventer, Chief of the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch of the Security Council Affairs Division within the Department of Political Affairs.
In the debate today on the rule of law at the international and national levels, statements were made by the Permanent Observers for the International Development Law Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The delegate of Israel and the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission for Palestine spoke in right of reply on the matter of the rule of law.
Speaking today on the topic of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, and the report on third States affected by the application of sanctions Special Committee of the Charter, statements on behalf of regional groups were made by Iran for the Non-Aligned Movement, and Chile for the Rio Group.
Also speaking were representatives of Egypt, El Salvador, India, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Malaysia, Nicaragua, United States, Venezuela, Ghana, Sudan, and Iran.
Speaking in right of reply were the representatives of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Committee will meet again tomorrow, Friday, 7 October, at 10 a.m., when discussion centres on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met today to end its consideration of the rule of law at the international and national levels, and to consider the remaining requests for observer status in the work of the General Assembly. (See also Press Releases GA/L/3409 and GA/L/3410) The Committee also had before it the reports on the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (document A/66/33), the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council (document A/66/201), and the Implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions (document A/66/213).
The report on the Special Committee and the report related to assistance to third States both address the issue of third States affected by the application of sanctions, indicating that the issue merited continued consideration since the economic effects still remained a possibility for the future. The report specifically on assistance to third States says, with regard to Libya, that the Committee had answered, or was in the process of answering, a total of 15 requests for guidance concerning the scope and implementation of the assets freeze. The Committee’s advice was being sought on how to minimize the potential unintended consequences of that measure in third States.
In the reports on the Special Committee and the report related to the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council, the Committee was pleased that efforts were continuing to make both publications, as research tools for the international community, available on the Internet. The two trust funds established for both publications had facilitated progress in eliminating some of the backlog. The Secretariat also briefed the Working Group on the status of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, of which five volumes were ready for translation and publication, and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, the website of which had been overhauled to allow for quicker access to information on the practice of the Council.
Finally, the report on the Special Committee on the Charter addressed the Special Committee’s working methods. The report states that discussions were held on ways and means to improve its working methods by reviewing all its agenda items, evaluating their relevance, the need for further discussion, and the likelihood of reaching a consensus before examining proposals for new items. Several delegates suggested the Special Committee meet biennially, which would allow more time to study various proposals, while shortening its sessions to a maximum of five working days.
An annex in the report on the Special Committee contains a further revised working paper by Venezuela, focused on the proper implementation of the Charter and the appropriate discharge of the functions of each organ without detriment to the others, in order to guarantee the proper functioning of the Organization.
Statements on Rule of Law
PATRIZIO CIVILI, Permanent Observer for the International Development Law Organization, noted that that body was the only intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to advancing the rule of law. A concerted effort within their organization in the past 12 months focused on consolidating and reforming their internal processes, so as to better mobilize resources and respond swiftly and efficiently to emerging global priorities, such as the Arab Spring, and the growing demand for technical assistance.
A focus of the International Development Law Organization’s work, he continued, was ensuring and advancing national ownership of rule of law reform, in all its interventions. One tool the organization maintained was the Rule of Law Assistance Directory. Last year, the organization held an international conference on “Legal and Judicial Development Assistance”. Further, a series of books on advancing legal empowerment through customary law was available, offering case studies and a practice manual to guide development assistance programming. He praised the establishment of the pilot training programme for United Nations system staff on the rule of law, and he offered his organization’s support in that. He said he welcomed the high-level conference that would be convened in the next session on the rule of law.
ROBERT YOUNG, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that as a result of its daily work with populations affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence, ICRC could observe that the rule of law saved lives and reduced suffering. The implementation of international humanitarian law within national law provisions enabled prosecution of perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law and other international crimes. In that regard, he stressed that such prosecution needed to be accompanied with reparation for the victims of such crimes.
In addition, he said, the technical aid and capacity-building work of ICRC fostered the rule of law. Working with national authorities, his organization participated in prison reform, the strengthening of the judiciary, university courses and training for civil servants and security forces. On the international level, his organization took every opportunity to ensure that all agreements drafted and adopted were in full accordance with international humanitarian law. As well, its Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law provided States with direct technical support in drafting national legislation. He expressed hope that his organization’s efforts would continue, through its participation in the Sixth Committee, to contribute to a greater respect for international law, in particular for international humanitarian law.
Right of Reply
The representative of Israel said that in that forum, the “worst human rights violators” had made critical statements about Israel, the only democracy in its region. Those statements undermined the credibility of that forum. Turning specifically to the statement at a previous meeting by the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission for Palestine, she said countless Israelis had been victims of conflict. The Jewish people were also entitled to self-determination, a fact that the Palestinian Authority refused to acknowledge.
She said solid evidence could be provided showing crimes Palestinians had committed against Israelis and against their own people. Those in Gaza continued to live under fire from mortars, rockets and missiles — how could that situation be reconciled? Israel remained committed to the rule of law and to upholding international law. There was no alternative to direct negotiations, and it was regrettable that Palestinians had chosen to take a “unilateral path far from the negotiation table”. That undermined the prospect of peace negotiations in the future. She said Israel remained “your partner for peace”. There should be two States for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security.
The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission for Palestine called the response of the representative of Israel “typical and expected”, distorting the context of 44 years of occupation and ignoring Israel’s crimes. The Palestinian people had been denied their very basic rights, and in many cases, their right to life. He asked his Israeli colleague, “Can you address the reality on the ground?” Could it be said that Israel did not violate international law? If Israel could not acknowledge crimes in wrongdoing, how could it cease and amend them?
What was absurd, he said, was that Israel thought it could pursue peace while continuing grave violations of international law. It was truly unrealistic that here at the United Nations, it was not feasible to ask for respect for the rule of law. Why did Israel continue its settlement expansions? Why was it that the Israeli delegation needed to distort reality when 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank were transferred there illegally? He said Israel should cease to exploit the situation to its own advantage, as it had always done. If Israelis were really committed to peace, why did they continue violations of international law?
Introduction to Reports
ESMAEIL BAGHAEI HAMANEH ( Iran) introduced the report on the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization. He noted that the report consisted of six chapters and an annex, the first three of which were procedural. Responding to a request from the General Assembly, the Special Committee considered on a priority basis the question of the implementation of the provisions of the Charter relating to assistance to third States affected by the applications of sanctions. The report also contained two items submitted by Libya: a summary discussion on the strengthening of certain principles concerning the impact and the application of sanctions, and a revised proposal on strengthening the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. Several items were also included in the report: a working paper by Cuba on strengthening the role of the Organization and enhancing its effectiveness; a proposal by Belarus and the Russian Federation concerning a request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice; and a working paper from Venezuela entitled “Open-ended working group to study the proper implementation of the Charter of the United Nations with respect to the functional relationship of its organs”.
VACLAV MIKULKA, Director of the Codification Division on the Status of the Repertory of Practice Of United Nations Organs, introduced the report on the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs. He said significant progress had been made in the past year, commenting specifically on the studies regarding volume II of Supplements Nos. 7, 8, and 9 and volume VI of Supplements Nos. 8 and 9 which were completed. Turning to the backlog in volume III of the Repertory, he said that the Security Council Affairs Division had prepared studies on the relevant articles for inclusion in volume III and that those studies introduced and provided links to the relevant studies of the Repertoire. The links would then replace the elaboration of Repertory studies whenever there was an overlap with the studies of the Repertoire.
He said Repertory studies from 41 completed volumes were now available on the United Nations website for the Repertory. He spoke of the continuing cooperation with Columbia University Law School, and the eight students who contributed to the preparation of nine studies relating to four volumes of Supplement No. 10. In addition, the University of Ottawa produced six studies on Supplement No. 10. The University of Geneva was preparing a study on a volume in Supplement No. 9. Finally, he remarked on the call for funding made by the General Assembly and thanked Ireland for its contribution of almost $7,000 to the trust fund. He noted that the current balance of the trust fund was about $32,000, which would be used to hire further consultants for the preparation of studies of volumes near completion.
GREGORY BOVENTER, Chief of the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch/Security Council Affairs/Department of Political Affairs, introduced the report on the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. He said the Charter Research Branch had prepared several supplements to expedite its coverage of the contemporary practice and procedure of the Council. During the past year, the Branch had responded to communications and requests for information from Member States, United Nations staff, international and non-governmental organizations, students, scholars and researchers. New chapters and case studies were regularly posted on the overhauled Repertoire website, allowing quick access to a wealth of information on Security Council practices. The Branch had also addressed the backlog in the preparation of volume III of the Repertory. Much work still lay ahead for completing the update and translation of the Repertoire website, yet funds in the Trust Fund had diminished. That made it unlikely that the pace of past work could be sustained. The Branch was, more than ever, dependent on voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund and sponsorship of Associate Experts.
Statements on Charter Committee Report
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE (Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), said that it was important that the Special Committee continue to study the legal nature of implementing Chapter IV of the Charter, particularly its Articles 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 dealing with the functions and powers of the General Assembly. Further, the issue of sanctions of the Security Council was of great concern to the member States of the Movement, and he stressed that sanctions should not be imposed unless there existed a threat to international peace and security, or an act of aggression in terms of the Charter. To that end, he called for the objectives of sanctions regimes to be defined, based on tenable legal grounds.
Turning to the proposals before the Special Committee, he said that those documents urgently required debate and consideration. There were also new subjects that had been proposed to the Special Committee which required meaningful consideration, and he recalled the “fruitful discussions” that had been held on the new proposal made by the delegation of Venezuela in the past session. He then requested information on the backlog and progress of both the Repertory and Repertoire publications, noting that volume III was a significant issue for the Non-Aligned Movement.
[The Speaker was directed by the Director of the Codification Division on the Repertory to a chart showing the progress of each volume, and was given a brief explanation of how the chart was organized by colour.]
ALEJANDRA QUEZADA (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group of countries, said that realization of the Special Committee’s mandate depended on the political will of Member States and the full implementation of its methods of work. The General Assembly mandate required the Committee to address the peaceful settlement of disputes between States. Similarly, in accordance with Assembly resolution 65/31, priority must be given to analyzing Charter provisions on assistance to States affected by sanctions under Chapter VII and proposals submitted.
She regretted that the report of the Security Council informal working group on general issues of sanctions (S/2006/997) did not contain explicit recommendations on ways to assist third party States affected by the unintended impact of sanctions. On another matter, she noted the importance of the Secretariat’s efforts to update, and incorporate into the website, the Repertory of Practice of the United Nations and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council and the organs of the UN. Those efforts, so important to international law, should be increased. She said the work of the Special Committee, whose latest sessions had not borne concrete results, should take approaches that would enhance its efficiency.
IBRAHIM SALEM ( Egypt) said the Security Council needed to focus on its main role of maintaining international peace and security, and should cease encroaching on the competences of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council. He said he hoped negotiations on Security Council expansion would lead to increased membership that addressed the historical injustices to Africa and rebalanced the Security Council’s power structures. He also urged reform of the Security Council’s working methods to enhance transparency, accountability and participation.
He said application of sanctions should be a “last resort”, used only if there were “compelling evidences on the refusal of the concerned State to comply with international legitimacy resolutions”. The expiry dates of sanctions should be decided in advance, with sanctions lifted automatically if no resolution to extend them was adopted, and the Council should pay more attention to the humanitarian impact of sanctions before imposing them. He commended efforts to clear the backlog in the Security Council’s Repertoire, and reiterated the importance of the work of the Charter Committee in enhancing the role of the General Assembly.
YURY NIKOLAICHIK ( Belarus) said the Special Committee was the only full-fledged body aimed at the improvement of the Charter and the work of the Organization. However, the lack of progress was unacceptable, with issues on the agenda for years. That was due to States unwilling to take the necessary steps toward resolution. The Special Committee’s focus was to optimize the work of the United Nations and not to be a poor example of the Organization’s shortcomings. He called for a working discussion on the working methods of the Special Committee. It should not remain on the sidelines of the Organization’s reform.
Turning to the issue of sanctions, he underscored that those should be solely used to curb international illegal acts in accordance with international law, and he said he was prepared to discuss any initiatives to maintain peace and security in order to increase the effectiveness of the United Nations. Expressing support for the proposal from Venezuela for an open-ended working group, he said, the Special Committee should not be focusing on the Charter, but rather on analysis and proposals adjusting the practice of implementation of United Nations decisions. He expressed his support for the role that the Repertory and the Repertoire played in both research and ensuring the documentation of the history of the Organization.
JOAQUĺN A. MAZA MARTELLI ( El Salvador) acknowledged the significant role the Special Committee had played over the past four decades. The United Nations Charter was not simply any ordinary international agreement, but the instrument that formed, constituted and guided the Organization, establishing its internal bodies and maintaining international peace and security. It was imperative to continue to make improvements in the functioning of United Nations bodies. To accomplish that, the will and the active cooperation of all Member States were necessary. It was appropriate to keep on the agenda those matters for the maintenance of international peace and security and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
RAM GOPAL YADAV ( India) observed that, under Article 50, the Security Council had the responsibility for finding solutions to the problems of third States affected by sanctions. In the humanitarian context, it was necessary to ensure timely and adequate assistance to those affected third States. He welcomed the Security Council’s shift from general sanctions to targeted sanctions against individuals and entities, particularly in the global fight against terrorism. Proper implementation of those targeted sanctions, focused on arms embargoes and travel sanctions, would minimize the economic, social and humanitarian impact in both targeted and non-targeted States.
He said the Security Council could establish a mechanism for assessing and evaluating the impact of sanctions on third parties, which would further contribute to finding solutions to the problems of third States. It was worth noting that in the case of Libya the Security Council had made exceptions for authorizing access to frozen funds to help mitigate economic burdens arising from those asset freezes.
He said the 2005 World Summit had reiterated the obligation of all Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the United Nations Charter. In that regard, India supported the proposal for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the use of force by a State or group of States without the express sanction of the Security Council. He also welcomed, in principle, a study on the relationship between different United Nations organs, but said he was unclear about the rationale behind creating an open-ended working group to examine the matter.
LESTER DELGADO SÁNCHEZ ( Cuba) said Special Committee discussions should take place in working groups to ensure a “faithful record” of States doing the work. The standards of the Charter must be respected, especially because of “trampling” done by “imperialist forces”.
The Special Committee, he continued, was the appropriate forum to discuss reforms of the Charter, and his country fully supported the efforts. However, the obstruction of work by some States should instead become productive, and consensus should not be a chance to veto progress. The rules of the General Assembly gave a broad margin of action to the Special Committee, and he would not “renounce this path” regardless of those blocking the work. Concluding, he noted with satisfaction all the efforts made with the Repertory and Repertoire. However, he expressed dismay at the poor progress made in volume III.
KIM YONG SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the authority of the General Assembly should be enhanced. At present, issues relating to peace and security were handled arbitrarily by certain countries for their own interests. Security Council resolutions regarding disputes, particularly those on sanctions and the use of force, had been adopted without regard to the will of Member States. Any reforms should empower the General Assembly to approve Security Council resolutions relating to international peace and security before they entered into force.
Strict adherence to the United Nations Charter should be followed in all such cases, he added. The application of double standards and inequality were becoming increasingly serious, and the United Nations was being abused for “high-handed and arbitrary acts”, such as sanctions and use of force. Without respect for State sovereignty and non-interference in others’ internal affairs, there could be no peace, development or fair settlement of international issues.
Turning to the situation on the Korean peninsula, he said the United Nations Command in South Korea constituted a major obstacle to ending the Korean “cold war” and converting the armistice into a durable peace. That force, which was the United States army, was not fulfilling its peacekeeping mission; rather, it fuelled tension and conflicts, posing itself as a party of confrontation and “levelling a gun at the other party”. He said his country had proposed to the parties to the armistice agreement to hold early talks on replacing the Command with a peace agreement. That agreement, if concluded, would undoubtedly promote peace and stability, which would in turn create an environment favourable to the peninsula’s economic context.
TARA TUKHINA ( Russian Federation) said the spring session of the Special Committee had demonstrated that in the long term, it had the potential to develop diverse legal aspects pertaining to the United Nations Charter. The joint Russian-Belarus proposal concerning a request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice was still on the agenda. When compiling the Repertoire the Secretariat should continue to uphold the rules in the Secretary-General’s report on the matter from 1952.
DOMINIQUE FERNANDES ( Malaysia) noted that the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization had considered several working papers concerning the impact and application of sanctions since 2002. With regard to the report of the Secretary-General on the matter, Malaysia positively noted the further improvement of the procedures and working methods of the Security Council relating to the sanctions framework. She said that while assistance should always be rendered to third States that had been inadvertently affected by sanctions, the rights of affected individuals should also be safeguarded.
In that regard, she noted that the European Court of Justice had underlined the importance of the respect of fundamental human rights in Security Council resolutions. While Malaysia respected the primacy of those resolutions, the “rules of natural justice” dictated that resolutions under Chapter VII powers should be mindful of the inherent rights of individuals and entities to the right to be heard and the right to be represented. While progress had been made on certain transparency procedures, she added, Malaysia was of the view that more could be done in that respect, with regards to the listing and de-listing processes.
LI LINLIN ( China) said that the Security Council should use caution in applying sanctions and try to minimize as much as possible their negative impact on civilians and third States. China acknowledged efforts made by the Council to improve the process with a more precise targeting. However, given the fact that the impact of sanctions was strong and extensive, the potential of negative impact on third States remained, and the sanctions-related items on the Special Committee’s agenda were still relevant. China also believed that an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would help to further clarify the relevant rules of international law on the use of force.
On other issues, he said he noted the proposal made by Ghana at the 2010 annual session to put on the Special Committee’s agenda an item focusing on practical measures for more effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, as well as a 2011 proposal by Venezuela to establish an open-ended working group to study the proper implementation of the Charter with respect to the functional relationship of its organs. China favoured exploring new approaches and ideas on the question of the working methods of the Special Committee and enhancing its efficiency
MARĺA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) said it was troubling that the Security Council had given itself the power to discuss issues not under its mandate, such as climate change. Voicing concern about violations occurring in Libya, she said the war in that country led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was the latest example of how the United Nations Charter was flouted and the sovereignty of a Member State was attacked.
On the issue of sanctions, she said they should be applied only in full compliance with the United Nations Charter. Sanctions should be assessed with regard to the harm they inflict. Unilateral sanctions were clear actions that defied the United Nations Charter and international law, and represented the selective enforcement and application of law. She said that not only did Nicaragua recognize the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes, but it had made use of available methods on many occasions and would continue to do so. The International Court of Justice, she said, was tantamount to promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes.
Turning to the Repertoire of the Security Council, she said delay in the issuance of volume III was unjustifiable.
JOHN ARBOGAST ( United States) said the Special Committee on the Charter was most useful when it took into account the appropriate role of the various organs of the United Nations. However, many of the issues considered by the Committee had been taken up and addressed elsewhere in the Organization. Although positive developments had occurred elsewhere in the United Nations that were designed to ensure that the system of targeted sanctions remained a robust tool for combating threats to international peace and security, the United States felt that the Charter Committee should not pursue activities in that area that would be duplicative or inconsistent with the roles of the main organs of the United Nations.
He said another crucial issue was the question of the Committee’s efficiency. He urged it to remain focused on ways to improve its productivity throughout its sessions, and to seriously consider steps towards making its meetings biennial as well as shortening its sessions.
DOUGLAS WILSON ( United Kingdom) said that having attended the meetings of the Special Committee, he noted that seven days had been allotted to the work, but that the workload required less time. It was not a good use of United Nations resources or of the time of delegations. Certain discussions had became moribund, with the subject having been discussed “over and over again for many years” without agreement. He urged that those items be taken off the agenda, or be allowed greater time between discussions so that some resolution could be had. In that regard, he supported the proposal by the Mexican delegation that the Special Committee meet every two years.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) recalled that during the work of the Special Committee in February of this year, there had been an exhaustive examination of his country’s working paper on setting up a working group to study the proper implementation of the Charter of the United Nations, with respect to the functional relationship of its organs. The purpose would be to ensure appropriate implementation of the Charter by each organ of the United Nations without detriment to the other organs.
Charter reform was an important matter for the consideration of that Committee, he said. The United Nations needed to be “re-established” so that it was truly democratic, particularly regarding the structure and scope of the Security Council. The General Assembly should recover the rights gradually usurped by the Council, and all countries should have a role in selecting the Secretary-General. It was from the Assembly that the main policies should be derived.
Turning to sanctions, he said they should be imposed only in extreme situations, after all other peaceful means had been exhausted. Mechanisms for lifting sanctions should be in place when they were applied, and should never be applied indefinitely. It was the responsibility of the United Nations to solve international conflicts through peaceful means, and countries had the freedom to make their own choices about how to solve controversies within their borders. In that regard, the United Nations should strengthen its contribution to conflict prevention.
JANE GASU ( Ghana) said that because her delegation attached “great importance” to the Special Committee, they had submitted a proposal addressing the principles and practical measures toward strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, based on Chapter VIII of the Charter. Noting the existing cooperation between the Organization and regional bodies toward the maintenance of international peace and security including, among others, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), she said strengthening the capacity for cooperation of regional organizations would be indispensable toward strengthening the capacity of the United Nations itself, in its promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.
Even in light of current cooperation, she said, there might be a need to further deepen such cooperation and develop principles and practical measures toward national ownership, while bearing in mind the role of the General Assembly and without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the Security Council. She hoped that proposal would be kept on the agenda of the Committee for its next session.
HASSAN ALI HASSAN ( Sudan) said the United Nations could promote its role through further consultations between its Members and its organs, and greater democratization of its bodies based on equality and sovereignty. The General Assembly should be activated so that it could play its rightful role in peace and security. The Security Council was “outdated”, and modification to its structure was long overdue to prevent it from becoming “a tool in service of a limited number of States”. The relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly was of concern and should also be studied.
He endorsed the concerns voiced by other delegates about the use of sanctions and the hasty use of Chapter VII of the Charter, particularly over the past two decades, without allotting enough time to the peaceful settlement of disputes. The use of sanctions must be limited, based on set timelines and as the last possible resort after all peaceful means had been exhausted.
ESMAEIL BAGHAEI HAMANEH (Iran), speaking in his national capacity, said the Special Committee provided a platform for Member States to review and renew their commitments to the principles of the Charter, and that political will was required to use that “valuable potential” toward that purpose. Further, the Special Committee had an important role in addressing the use or threat of use of force by some for their own advantages, thus undermining the fundamental principles of the United Nations and international law.
In that regard, the issue of sanctions and the Security Council had been on the Special Committee’s agenda for some time. He called for the Security Council to be accountable for the consequences of sanctions imposed for so-called “unlawful” objectives; such targeted States should be entitled to compensation for damages inflicted on them, and he reiterated his stance that the International Law Commission should give due consideration to the legal consequences of those sanctions.
Continuing, he said that those “arbitrary unilateral” economic sanctions against developing countries as an instrument of foreign policy remained a serious matter. The General Assembly, as the chief deliberative and representative organ of the United Nations, should be able to exercise its mandate; along with the Security Council, it had an established role in maintaining international peace and security under the Charter.
Right of Reply
When the Committee met again this afternoon, the delegate of the Republic of Korea expressed his strong support of statements made by the United States and the United Kingdom representatives in regard to the working methods of the Special Committee. He also offered his deepest appreciation to the Secretary-General on his report on the Repertory and the Repertoire. However, the statement made by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had nothing to do with the work of the Committee.
Responding, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea representative said the Committee was the forum that dealt with all legal matters within the United Nations Charter. He reminded the representative of the Republic of Korea of the fact that the United Nations Command in South Korea had no legal ground, as it had been formed by Security Council resolution 84 in the absence of the representative of the former Soviet Union. That was in violation of the relevant article in the Charter. Thus, the formation was illegal. The relevant General Assembly resolution called for “dissolving” those troops in South Korea. Further, the former Secretary-General also recognized that the United Nations Command had no administrative and financial relations with the Organization. Also, in a 1975 letter, the United States Administration said it was ready to dissolve the United Nations Command.
The Republic of Korea delegate replied that, concerning the allegations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea representative, the United Nations flag had been authorized by the relevant resolution. The Command had been entrusted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 3390, which had been presented in two parts. The ‘A’ part urged all parties to enter negotiation toward peace and to reduce tension on the peninsula. The ‘B’ ran counter to ‘A’. He pointed out that it was misleading to imply there was only one resolution as it “paints a one‑sided” view of the issue. Further, the Secretary-General, in a 2006 letter on that matter, stated that the “United Nations Secretariat does not take a formal position” with regard to matters on the peninsula.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his statement this morning related to the illegal status of the United Nations Command, ”that is to say, the United States armed forces” in South Korea.
The representative of the Republic of Korea reiterated that the relevant resolutions of the Security Council had been adopted under all legal procedures, and that they officially recognized the United Nations Command to maintain peace on the peninsula. He called for a lasting peace to be negotiated outside the United Nations, and that that was not the appropriate forum to discuss that matter.
Statements on Requests for Observer Status
The Sixth Committee then turned to the three remaining requests for observer status in the work of the General Assembly that went unconsidered at the Committee’s meeting on 4 October 2011.
The Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission to Africa (ECA) introduced, and spoke in support of, the draft resolution requesting observer status for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in the Assembly. Also speaking in support of that request were the representatives of Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti.
The delegate from Azerbaijan introduced and spoke in support of the draft requesting observer status for the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking Countries in the Assembly. Speaking in support of that request was the representative of Turkey. Requesting more time, the representative of Venezuela declined to comment at this time.
The representative of the Republic of Korea presented and spoke in support of the draft requesting observer status for the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in the Assembly. Also speaking in support of that request were the representatives of Cambodia, Viet Nam, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Nepal and China. The representatives of Venezuela and Argentina expressed reservations about that request. Venezuela’s delegate said it was not clear that that Conference was composed of Governments, so it was questionable as to why it was seeking observer status in the Assembly. As it seemed to be a non-governmental organization, it may be more appropriate as an observer in the Economic and Social Council.
During informal discussions, the Committee then reviewed the matter of criteria for the granting of observer status, an issue brought up by several delegates at the Committee’s 4 October meeting. Focusing on the methodology for considering those requests, delegates expressed the need for more time, and for the inclusion of proper documentation, to make informed decisions. They particularly mentioned “constitutive” documents for organizations. In reference to the relevant General Assembly resolution, several representatives said that observer status must be reserved to States and intergovernmental organizations of interest to the Assembly, while others noted that exceptions could be made for organizations of a different nature when their work was of special interest to the General Assembly.
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