29 October 2010

General Assembly Weighs in on United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture, Adopts Text Recognizing Central Importance of Peacebuilding Commission

29 October 2010
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


40th & 41st Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly Weighs in on United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture,


Adopts Text Recognizing Central Importance of Peacebuilding Commission


During Debate, Delegates Back Commission’s Work in Assisting Post-Conflict

Countries, But Say Success Hinges On National Ownership, Sustained Resources

Five years after its establishment, the Peacebuilding Commission was today at a crossroads, and the United Nations must choose whether to place peacebuilding at the heart of its work, or allow the advisory body to settle into the limited role it had developed thus far, General Assembly delegates stressed today as they pledged to conduct their first in-depth review of the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture.

Against that backdrop, the Assembly and the Security Council — the Peacebuilding Commission’s parent bodies — adopted consensus resolutions today requesting all relevant United Nations actors to take forward, within their mandates and as appropriate, the recommendations of the Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture (document A/64/868), with the aim of further improving the Commission’s effectiveness. (Please See Press Release SC/10074.)

By the text, the Assembly recognized that the United Nations’ peacebuilding work required sustained support and adequate resources to meet today’s challenges.  It requested the Peacebuilding Commission to reflect in its annual reports progress made in taking forward the relevant recommendations of the current report.

Established as an outgrowth of the General Assembly’s 2005 World Summit, the Peacebuilding Commission is charged with helping post-conflict countries in their recovery, reconstruction and development efforts.  The countries on its agenda include Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.  At the time it was set up, the Commission — an intergovernmental body mandated to foster coordination among key actors on the ground and to bring together resources for post-conflict countries — was hailed as a milestone.  It was created as part of a broader United Nations peacebuilding architecture that includes the Peacebuilding Support Office and a multi-donor facility known as the Peacebuilding Fund.

Reflecting on the report’s findings, Anne Anderson, Ireland’s Ambassador to the United Nations, who along with Mexico’s Ambassador, Claude Heller, and South Africa’s Ambassador, Baso Sangqu, co-facilitated the review process, commended the way in which the membership engaged in the exercise, saying it represented “the United Nations at its most constructive”.  The report was intended as a “wake-up call” that needs remained great.  The report would add value in so far as it led to a more effective response.

Among other things, the report detailed the importance of the field perspective in peacebuilding work and emphasized that the New York-to-field connection simply must improve.  She said that also at issue was the relationship between the Commission’s 31-member Organizational Committee and the country-specific configurations, which, along with national Governments, owned the peacebuilding process and carried out related work.

Above all, the Commission’s relationship with the Security Council was critical to shaping its agenda and determining its relevance within the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, Ms. Anderson explained.  The emergence of the new dynamic envisaged — between a more forthcoming Council and a better performing Commission — was essential if peacebuilding was to assume its proper place in United Nations priorities.

During the half-day discussion, many delegates applauded the adoption of the resolution, saying it confirmed their willingness to develop the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, with the Peacebuilding Commission at its centre.  Others, while discouraged that the text and the report had not encompassed the variety of views on how to transform the Commission into a more effective body, said it would be “immoral” if those charged with laying the ground for peace failed in that duty.  Every relapse into conflict only brought more despair and deepened existing problems.  With that in mind, they offered suggestions on a way forward.

Bangladesh’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, suggested that, to strengthen the Commission’s role, joint funding from the Assembly and the Security Council should be provided, and clear, flexible rules of procedure negotiated.  Further, the Commission’s relationship with the Peacebuilding Fund must be redefined, and ways found to finance critical economic activities to consolidate peace.  Greater balance was needed between the roles of donor and non-donor countries in the Peacebuilding Commission activities.

Highlighting two widely accepted findings in the report, Croatia’s delegate said that without national ownership of the process, peacebuilding risked turning into an “artificial international self-centred exercise” with no hope for success.  Without sustainable resources, it would fade soon after its enthusiastic introduction and long before it produced its eagerly awaited results:  security, development, and lasting peace.

For its part, Sierra Leone had seen steady progress since its selection as one of the first two countries to appear on the Commission’s agenda, that country’s delegate said, pointing to the Commission’s recognition of Sierra Leone as an example of successful multilateral peacekeeping.  Equally important, however, were issues like youth unemployment and implementation of recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which required immediate attention.

Also today, the Assembly wrapped up its consideration of the annual report of the International Criminal Court, whose President yesterday told the Assembly about its work over the last year.  Speakers commended the outcome of the Court’s recent Review Conference, held in Kampala, Uganda, where participants, after several rounds of intense negotiations, agreed on an international definition for the crime of aggression — sixty-five years after the “crimes against peace” tried by the tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo.  That definition could now be integrated into the Court’s jurisdiction, they said, calling on State parties to the Rome Statute to ratify the amendment.

Taking a starkly different view, Sudan’s representative took the Court to task for what he called a “politicization” that contravened its mandate.  It had targeted African States — and their leaders — while its Chief Prosecutor had become an obstacle to peace in Darfur, making accusations each time Parties drew close to signing an agreement, which took the political process “back to square one”.  He questioned how the Sudanese President could have been accused of “genocide” against certain tribes when he had five ministers from those tribes in his Cabinet.  Sudan would continue its efforts to obtain a just settlement of the conflict in Darfur, regardless of the Court’s destructive role in the matter.

Also speaking today on peacebuilding were representatives from Belgium, Malawi, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Switzerland, Chile, Australia, Germany, India, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, United States, Canada, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Tanzania, China, Jamaica, Brazil and Pakistan.

Also speaking on the International Criminal Court were the representatives of Cuba, Colombia, Norway, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Jordan, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Senegal, Russian Federation, Lesotho, Brazil, China, Botswana, South Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Iran, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, and the United States.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 3 November, to consider the Report of the Human Rights Council.


The General Assembly met this morning today to continue and conclude its joint consideration of the annual reports of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court (For background, please see Press Release GA/11016).  It was also set to hold a discussion on the review of the United Nations peacekeeping architecture and to take action on a similarly titled draft resolution.

For their discussions on the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture, most Assembly delegations were expected to focus on the relevant report (document A/64/868-S/2010/393), presented earlier to the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council by the co-facilitators of the review process:  Anne Anderson, Permanent Representative of Ireland; Claude Heller, Permanent Representative of Mexico; and Baso Sangqu, Permanent Representative of South Africa.

According to the co-facilitators, the report seeks to reflect the views expressed to them by Member States, based on an extensive, open, transparent and inclusive process.  Over the course of the past six months, those officials held three open-ended informal consultations with the world body’s membership, wide-ranging discussions with key actors in the United Nations system and visits, and meetings aimed at consulting a wide range of stakeholders and partners.

The co-facilitators say that five years after the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, despite committed and dedicated efforts, the hopes that accompanied that body’s groundbreaking founding resolutions have yet to be realized.  “We are now at a crossroads:  either there is a conscious recommitment to peacebuilding at the very heart of the work of the United Nations, or the Peacebuilding Commission settles into the limited role that has developed so far,” say the co-facilitators, who stress that their  consultations suggest that the membership strongly favours the former path.

The report goes on to set out the issues that framed the exercise:  the complexity of peacebuilding; the imperative of national ownership; the illusion of sequencing; the urgency of resource mobilization; the importance of the contribution of women; and the need for connection with the field.  It also examines the “mixed experience” to date with the four countries on the agenda of the Commission — Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone — and notes the views of potential “agenda countries”.

Given the hope that greeted the adoption of the Peacebuilding Commission’s founding resolutions and the promise that the establishment of the body generated in the international community, the report says that one would have assumed a wider demand from countries to come on the Commission’s agenda; that there would be a clearer sense of how the engagement of the Commission had made a difference on the ground; that peacebuilding would have a higher place among United Nations priorities.

It might also have been assumed that stronger relationships would have been forged between the Commission and the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council; that the Peacebuilding Support Office would carry more weight within the Secretariat; and that the Commission would be perceived as a key actor by those outside, as well as inside, the United Nations system, including by the international financial institutions.

“It must be squarely acknowledged that this threshold of success has not been achieved,” the co-facilitators say in the report, though they add that this is not to understate what has been accomplished.  Still, something more is required if the vision and ambition of 2005 are to be restored.  The Organization is still not rising to the peacebuilding challenge.  A new level of attention and resolve on the part of Member States and the top echelons of the Secretariat are required, they add.

Summing up, they suggest some recalibration of the operation of the peacebuilding architecture in the light of the experience of the initial years.  However, they emphasize that the exercise will not succeed unless it is infused with a renewed commitment and a strengthened sense of engagement.  Change must be psychological as well as institutional.  “The Peacebuilding Commission needs to recognize and play to its distinctive strengths.  It currently lacks a sufficiently clear identity, and confusion as to its role has contributed to disappointment about its delivery.  Neither a technical nor an implementing body, it should view itself as a political actor and make full use of this privileged position.”

The co-facilitators say that the goal of the review process will be to arrive at a more relevant Peacebuilding Commission, with genuine national ownership ensured through capacity-building and greater civil society involvement, simplification of procedures, more effective resource mobilization, deeper coordination with the international financial institutions and a stronger regional dimension.  The process should also lead to a more flexible, more empowered and better supported Peacebuilding Commission.

Further, the co-facilitators hope that the present review will serve as a wake-up call.  “We have not captured every point made by our interlocutors:  some went in competing directions, while others were pertinent, but too detailed to be included in the report.  The basic message is unmistakable:  peacebuilding is a litmus test of our Organization and much more needs to be done collectively, if that test is to be passed,” they conclude, underscoring that it is for the membership to decide how to take forward the outcome of the review.

Also before delegations is a draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly on review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture (document A/65/L.7), which would have the Assembly request all relevant United Nations actors to take forward, within their mandates and as appropriate, the recommendations of the report with the aim of further improving the effectiveness of the Peacebuilding Commission.

The resolution would also have the Assembly recognize that the peacebuilding work of the United Nations requires sustained support and adequate resources to meet the challenges.  It would also request the Peacebuilding Commission to reflect in its annual reports progress made in taking forward the relevant recommendations of the current report.

Statements on United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture

ANNE ANDERSON ( Ireland), speaking on behalf of the co-facilitators of the Review of the peacebuilding architecture, reflected on the findings contained in their report.  Focusing first on the process, she said that the way in which membership engaged the exercise represented the United Nations at its most constructive.  There was extensive participation at each of the open-ended consultative meetings, and throughout, interventions were thoughtful and detailed, with views cogently set out and opposing views listened to with respect.

The co-facilitators worked to encourage such an approach and reflect it in their work.  “Finding a consensual approach, without sacrifice of honesty or clarity, is not easy,” she pointed out.  Even if they fell short, she expressed hope that States would accept that such was the spirit which inspired their work.

Discussing the report, she said the importance of the field perspective could not be over-emphasized.  “The New York-to-field connection simply has to work better,” she said, underlining the imperative of national ownership in that process.  Another major focus was on the role and performance of the Peacebuilding Commission at Headquarters, and in that chapter, the co-facilitators tried to work systematically through the issues that arose, including the relationship between the Commission’s Organizational Committee and the country-specific configurations.  In that relationship, the challenge centred on combining innovation and vibrancy with weight and solidity.

Amid positive reactions to that chapter, she said, some delegations were disappointed not to see a fuller embrace of their positions.  There were countervailing views, she explained, which also had validity and deserved to be taken into account.  The third focus was on key relationships, she said, within the United Nations — with the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council — and other partnerships.  The Commission’s relationship with the Security Council was critical in shaping its agenda and determining its relevance within the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.

Conscious that some believed the report showed insufficient circumspection in treading on such sensitive ground, she said:  “in all honestly, we do not think we could have said less”.  There had been an opportunity for discussion in the Security Council.  The emergence of the new dynamic envisaged — between a more forthcoming Council and a better performing Commission — was essential if peacebuilding was to assume its proper place in United Nations priorities.  Also, the Assembly’s “co-parenting” responsibilities of the Commission had not been exercised as fully as possible, and the report suggested ways to achieve more interaction.  The report also looked at the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund, including the role and weight of the Support Office across the Secretariat.

With that, she thanked the Presidents of the Assembly and the Security Council for helping to frame a resolution that commanded consensus in both those bodies.  The report concluded with a sense of urgency, she said, and a hope that the review would serve as a “wake-up call”.  It would be easy to lose that sense of urgency — to feel that, with a report and a resolution, and with a new country, Liberia, on the Commission’s agenda — that all was “basically well”.  “There is no room for any such complacency,” she said.  The needs remained great and the report would have value in so far as it led to a more effective response.

AK ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the adoption of the draft resolution would show a commitment to take forward the final recommendations of the review process, and would confirm the willingness to develop the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, with the Peacebuilding Commission at its centre.  That could be accomplished by providing the opportunity for other countries to be involved in the peacebuilding process and strengthening relationships between the Commission, the United Nations system and a more enabled Peacebuilding Support Office.

Despite the welcome recommendations noted in the report, he said additional elements must be included in order to further strengthen the Commission’s role.  Among the Movement’s suggestions were:  providing joint funding from the Assembly and the Security Council; negotiating clear and flexible rules of procedure; redefining the relationship between the Commission and the Fund, where the Commission played a principle role in policymaking; identifying new ways to finance critical economic activities needed to consolidate peace; and creating greater balance between the roles of donor and non-donor countries in the Peacebuilding Commission activities.

Furthermore, he reiterated the central role expected of the Commission’s Organizational Committee in implementing the resolution and recommendations of the review process co-facilitators.  To that end, the Commission must focus on the implementation of those recommendations with the view to achieving the following:  ensuring that national ownership underpinned the entire peacebuilding process, most notably, strategy negotiation and planning; reaffirming the need for capacity-building and ensuring that all actors were able to engage in the peacebuilding process; developing the relationship between the Commission and the principle bodies of the United Nations system; and intensifying the nexus between development and peace, and ensuring its full integration into effort in countries emerging from conflict.

Continuing, he said that further recommendations included the strengthening the role of women in the peacebuilding process; developing multiple forms of engagement appropriate to the special needs of different countries; strengthening Commission’s role to provide political support to the Organization’s peacebuilding missions; capitalize on the varied expertise of the Organizational Committee; supporting national human resources capacity-building; and ensuring consistency of the priorities of funding mechanisms, including the Peacebuilding Fund, so that such resources would constitute a cornerstone of funding the strategies.

In closing, he said the Commission was uniquely positioned as the high-level platform for coordination between the needs on the ground and the United Nations system.  First and foremost, its responsibility was to assist countries in determining their own peacebuilding priorities, and must not hesitate to use its weight to urgently address issues of mutual accountability.  Through recognition and leveraging of its political role, the Commission could effectively deliver its responsibilities within its mandate.  In that regard, the Movement reiterated its support of the process for the next five years and stood ready to support the efforts of the Commission.

JAN GRAULS (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said from the outset, his delegation had been a strong supporter of the Organization’s Peacebuilding architecture.  As the largest donor to the five countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda, the European Union had cooperated with the country-specific configurations and the work of the Organizational Committee.  The European Union remained strongly committed to ensuring that the review of the peacebuilding architecture was a success, and its member States had actively taken part in the consultations chaired by the co-facilitators, whose tireless efforts he praised.

The report was a balanced document, based on extensive consultations with the United Nations Members and other stakeholders, and contained a thoughtful analysis of the challenges and useful recommendations for the future.  Turning to next steps, he said the European Union would support the draft resolution currently before the Assembly, and its timely adoption would allow all relevant Members and other actors to build on the momentum generated by the Review of the peacebuilding architecture.

To that end, he called on the Secretary-General to play a major role by uniting the United Nations system in order to further improve the effectiveness of the Peacebuilding Commission and the support that the Peacebuilding Support Office provided.  In closing, he said the Organization’s peacebuilding work required sustained support and adequate resources to meet the challenges.  The European Union would redouble its efforts to help implement the recommendations in the report and enable United Nations peacebuilding to live up to its expectations.

BRIAN BOWLER (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the African Group and aligning with the Non-Aligned Movement, said today’s resolution “will not take the Assembly to heaven, but may well save it from hell”.  The draft made a commitment towards implementing recommendations that would strengthen the peacebuilding process.  December would mark five years since the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission.  With its 2005 formation as an intergovernmental advisory body, expectations of recipients had been raised.  However, those expectations had not been adequately met.  The co-facilitators’ report and its recommendations carried the hopes of people in post-conflict situations whose fates depended on collective responsibility to save them from the devastating effects of war.

He pointed out that most of those people were Africans, who were urging delegates “to put our shoulders to the wheel and make peacebuilding work”.  It would be immoral, and further, seen as a crime, if those privileged enough to carry the responsibility of providing peace failed in that duty.  “Diluting the peacebuilding draft resolution any further would be a betrayal to our responsibilities,” he stressed.

To enhance post-conflict peacebuilding, he urged strengthening the Commission’s relationship with the Security Council, as well as the Peacebuilding Support Office itself.  Long-term development should be at the centre of post-conflict interventions, with a focus on comprehensive and nationally owned interventions supported by holistic, system-wide initiatives.  Peacebuilding also required more resources, and the United Nations should devise innovative ways to partner with international financial institutions and regional organizations to that end.  As for the Security Council, that body should focus on conflict prevention strategies, rather than expending already scarce resources resolving conflicts that could have been prevented.  Finally, women’s involvement as equal partners in all conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding activities, including governance, was needed.

CARSTEN STAUR ( Denmark), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries ( Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), said that group was firmly committed to advancing the work of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.  The review had provided a welcome occasion to take stock, reassess the efforts so far, and look to the challenges facing the wider peacebuilding agenda.  Now the moment had come to transform the ideas and recommendations generated by the review into tangible advances on the ground.  The recent establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission country-specific configuration for Liberia offered an opportunity to do just that, and he welcomed Liberia’s decision to seek the advice and support of the Peacebuilding Commission on its path towards consolidating peace.

He said the Nordic countries could support the brief resolution before the General Assembly today, and looked forward to contributing actively to its follow-up and implementation.  Noting that peacebuilding work required sustained support and adequate resources, he pledged that group’s support, and called for the Secretary-General to vigorously take the agenda forward with a view to a more coherent and effective United Nations delivery in fragile and post-conflict States.  He said close links existed between the review of the peacebuilding architecture and the Secretary-General’s progress report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict, as well as the report on women’s participation in peacebuilding.

He further said that successful and sustained peacebuilding required that a wide set of actors came together in highly complex circumstances and worked coherently towards nationally owned goals.  The Nordic countries were confident that the review, as well as the recent reports from the Secretary-General, had contributed positively towards this elusive, but worthwhile ambition.

HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia), commending the process of conduct of the 2010 Review of the Peacebuilding Commission, said his delegation strongly favoured a “conscious recommitment to peacebuilding at the very heart of the United Nations”.  The current resolution would determine the course of actions by the Commission in the future, and must thus contain elements that could strengthen its role and performance.  Indonesia was heartened to learn that the draft stipulated the request for all relevant United Nations actors to take forward the recommendations set forth in the report of the co-facilitators, and his delegation’s firm intention was to support the spirit of the text based on its experience serving as a member of the Organizational Committee from 2006 to 2008.

In its capacity as first Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Strategy Task Force on Private Sectors in April 2008, Indonesia submitted to the Organizational Committee an exhaustive set of observations and recommendations on the important role of the private sectors with regards to their contributions in the post-conflict peacebuilding.  To date, however, recommendations from the outcome document had never materialized, due in some ways to the “limited role of the Peacebuilding Commission”, he said.  Therefore, he pointed to the “urgency of resource mobilization” and for the current report to be a larger entry point for the Commission to consider its potential for a larger role, namely in engaging other stakeholders, such as the private sector.

He agreed that the report served as a “wake-up call” for the international community to strengthen its collective determination to deal with peacebuilding and peacekeeping in a more collective manner.  In addition, there was a strong connection between the review process of the Peacebuilding Commission and the ongoing review of civilian capacity currently being conducted by the Secretary-General.  The draft resolution now correlated with those two important review processes currently underway, he said.  Indonesia felt that the Commission should have a bigger role in the process of broadening and deepening the pool of experts in regards to civilian capacity, paying particular attention to mobilizing capacities from developing countries and from among women.

SHIGEKI SUMI ( Japan) welcomed the report of the co-facilitators and urged all related United Nations organs to undertake the recommendations with the aim to further improving the impact of the Peacebuilding Commission’s activities on the ground.  There was a need for a multi-tier approach for its engagement in post-conflict countries.  Moreover, sectoral, regional and “light footprint” engagements must look into a specific focus in a cross-country, cross-sectoral manner.

He went on to say that the Commission had a role to play in developing strategies based on such a perspective and that role required special attention.  Japan was of the view that the Commission should apply lessons from the discussion in the Working Group on Lessons Learned to actual activities on the ground.  It was also important to strengthen the Commission’s advisory role to the Security Council and to have enhanced consultations between the bodies.

He noted that his delegation wanted to consider the possibility of having an informal dialogue on Liberia before the end of the year.  Turning to the Peacebuilding Support Office, he said its function must be enhanced and it must clarify the division of roles and its comparative advantage in relation to other related United Nations departments.  Finally, he underscored the need to create synergy between the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, as well as the need to strengthen interaction between Chairs, the Peacebuilding Support Office, and the Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group.

HEIDI GRAU ( Switzerland) said the Peacebuilding Commission had proven its value, contributing to peacebuilding in all the countries on its agenda. But peacebuilding needed considerable political, institutional and financial investment.  The Organization’s peacebuilding architecture deserved to be improved and strengthened.  To ensure the implementation of the recommendations in the co-facilitators’ report, the Secretary-General’s leadership was essential.  Most of the recommendations could be implemented “verbatim” by the organs concerned, with the Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee following up on their application.

She detailed three lessons that Switzerland had learned as Chair of the Burundi Configuration.  First, a country on the Commission’s agenda held the key to its own success; progress would be determined by its commitment, political will and direct involvement in peacebuilding process.  Second, there had to be a shared definition of clear, realistic and tangible objectives.  Third, in New York, specific support is needed for the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as adequate support in the field where the country-specific configuration could rely on competent persons on the ground.  In addition, there existed a need for better interaction between the United Nations, international financial institutions, and Member States, regular dialogue between the Security Council and the Chair of the Commission, and more systematic involvement by the Security Council in the countries concerned.

OCTAVIO ERRAZURIZ ( Chile) said the inclusive process had led to a balanced report.  Stressing the work of developing countries in various configurations, he applauded Brazil’s work in the Guinea-Bissau configuration.  The draft resolution reflected the contents of the co-facilitators’ report and he expressed hope it would “begin a new stage in the Commission’s life” in which the relationship with other United Nations agencies — notably those involved with peacekeeping and peacebuilding — would be strengthened.

In that context, he highlighted the recommendation of holding informal, regular dialogue, in the Security Council, as well as in the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.  There was also a need for cooperation with the new United Nations women’s body.  A stronger Support Office would be able to meet the challenges ahead.  Chile looked forward to implementing the co-facilitators’ recommendations.  The principle of national ownership must be a cornerstone for consolidating peace.  With that in mind, he said Liberia’s recent inclusion on the agenda was a step in the right direction, in line with what had been requested by that Government, as it was the first country to implement that new principle.

RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia), aligning himself with the European Union, said it had become clear that wide, cross-regional support for stronger peacebuilding was increasing, among Governments, international organizations, and civil society.  In a quickly changing environment, which brought new challenges, gains must be maintained and efforts made not to reopen battles already won.  Every relapse into conflict only brought more despair, as it deepened existing problems and “annihilated” all national achievements.

It was time to establish a new balance within the peacebuilding architecture, he said, urging that the most must be made of new momentum.  In that light, he welcomed the report on the review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture and fully supported its recommendations, based on field experience to date with countries on the Commission’s agenda.  He underscored the importance of two main and widely accepted findings in the report.  First, without national ownership, peacebuilding would turn into an “artificial international self-centred exercise” with no roots or hope for success.  Second, without sustainable resources, peacebuilding would fade soon after its enthusiastic introduction, and long before producing its eagerly awaited results:  security; development; and lasting peace.

GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) stated that building the defences of peace was “the most difficult work that we can undertake”.  Yet, it was also the most essential.  Australia’s experiences in peacebuilding endeavours in Timor Leste, in Solomon Islands and in Papua New Guinea had taught it a number of lessons on the topic:  effective peacebuilding required long-term commitment in support of national ownership and national plans; it was a complex and challenging undertaking that demanded coordinated engagement from a range of actors; and it demanded a continual focus on the delivery of outcomes on the ground, on helping counties emerge from conflict and develop as stable and prosperous nations.

In that vein, the three threads Australia wished to highlight were:  the need for stronger partnerships and adequate resources to be allocated to address those critical activities that, if left unfunded, had the potential to threaten peace; the unique composition of the Peacebuilding Commission, bringing together Member States, United Nations partners, regional organizations and the international financial institutions, and, in turn, a closer and more organic relationship with the Security Council and an equally strong partnership with the international community and affected Member States; the need for greater flexibility in the Peacebuilding Commission; and a need for greater cohesiveness in the Commission.

On that matter, he stated that the report recommended the use of a single overall planning document, around which national authorities and the international community could coalesce.  The Peacebuilding Commission needed to encourage its collective peacebuilding efforts in support of the single national plan, and ensure that its own activities were equally aligned with the plan.   Australia supported the draft resolution which would be adopted at the end of the meeting, as well as its mechanism for keeping the process of implementation under annual review.  Australia also welcomed the intention of the Commission’s Chairman to convene an in-depth discussion on the way forward in implementing the report’s recommendations.

PETER WITTIG ( Germany) said, as Peacebuilding Commission Chair, he welcomed resolution before the Assembly, which spelled out the need to improve the effectiveness of the Commission.  Indeed, the Commission intended to take very seriously its responsibility to implement the relevant recommendations, and had already taken steps to respond to a number of issues raised in the report, he said, giving the example of recent engagement of Liberia as the fifth country to be placed on the body’s agenda.  Furthermore, the Commission intended to convene an in-depth discussion on the way to implement recommendations, and was looking forward to working closely with the Secretary-General and United Nations system. 

“The 2010 review process has generated political momentum and underscored the evolving prominence of post-conflict peacebuilding at the United Nations.  Let us all capitalize on this momentum and move forward with determination and conviction,” he said.  Germany fully aligned itself with the remarks made by Belgium on behalf of the European Union, he added, fully supporting recommendations of the co-facilitators of the review process.  Only with the support of the Security Council and the General Assembly could the Commission fruitfully continue its work and fully contribute to the Organization’s peacebuilding mechanisms, he added.

GOVINDRAO ADIK ( India) said peacebuilding required a holistic approach that took into account the economic, social and political milieu of post-conflict situations.  In addition to focusing on capacity building, it was equally important to concentrate on economic opportunity, particularly relating to youth and social stability.  In that regard, high unemployment rates among young people were chief among the underlying causes of conflict, he said, and therefore would require economic revitalization to achieve peace and security.

He went on to say that peacebuilding also required a high degree of coordination within the United Nations system.  Therefore, the international community must strive for two-way dialogue between the countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda and the Commission itself.  As a member of the Organizing Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission since its creation in 2005, India had remained engaged in the process and had contributed to the Peacebuilding Fund with the spirit that it achieved its task and acted as a catalyst of good governance.  The Fund, he added, should bridge the crucial gap between resources and implementation by financing peacebuilding projects through flexible financing.

In closing, he shared India’s unique nation-building enterprise “in a vast, varied and diverse setting”.  His country had strived towards better life for its people, and in that process, had gained the experience and knowledge needed for successful development and peacebuilding.  Further, he expressed that India had shared that knowledge with several countries that were making transition from conflict to post-conflict situations and had cooperated with the United Nations in its peacebuilding endeavours.

PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said the co-facilitators’ report gave recommendations that would sharpen the work of the Commission.  Focusing on bottlenecks to peace in a specific country, then establishing mutual commitments between its Government and the international community on how best to unblock them, would get better results.  So would the proposal to take a flexible approach to country work, as well as the potential of Commission’s work being chaired by a country rather than an individual, he said.  Those proposals would also help sharpen the Commission’s advice to the Security Council, the Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council.

But the recommendations had to be taken forward quickly to make sure the Commission made a real difference, and there were big challenges to be met in the coming months, he said.  That meant genuine progress needed to be demonstrated on issues like security sector reform in Guinea-Bissau, the elections and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the Central African Republic and strengthening the rule of law and security sector reform in Liberia.  “When we meet here again in five years time following the next review, these are the kind of issues that we need to be judging ourselves against,” he said.

ALEXANDER PANKIN ( Russian Federation) supported the Commission as a way to strengthen coordination in international peacebuilding, with the participation of international financial institutions and post-conflict States alike.  While complying with Security Council prerogatives, the Commission’s review would allow for improving its impact.  Indeed, the review had already increased attention on the United Nations’ peacebuilding efforts.

He said that the co-facilitators’ report had highlighted various problems, but what was important was that it confirmed the Commission’s advisory functions, the principle of national ownership and the strengthening of national capacities of countries in post-conflict situations.  The report’s recommendations must be supported and should be examined in specific bodies of the United Nations before implementation.  The Russian Federation was ready to adopt the report.

RICK BARTON ( United States) said the review had provided many recommendations, ranging from more coordination between New York and the field, to incorporating gender into peacebuilding activities.  The United States strongly supported the Commission’s work, especially because promoting sustainable peace was at the heart of the United Nations’ mission.  Citing former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who spoke of the “missing middle” between peacebuilding and sustainable development, he said the Commission was working to fill that gap through coordinating more with institutions, among other things.

Going forward, the Commission should support coherence in the field through, for example, facilitating more dialogue and ensuring better resource delivery.  He also urged the Commission to more readily engage women in peacebuilding activities and commit to implementing the action plan proposed in the Secretary-General’s report.  In the end, success depended on the country emerging from conflict — a goal the United Nations must make its top priority.  The review marked a milestone in assessing the United Nations’ role in helping post-conflict societies find their new footing.

JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) stated that the two resolutions before the General Assembly and the Security Council demonstrated the commitment in both bodies to strengthening the United Nations’ contribution to peacebuilding.  They represented an important reaffirmation of the role that the Peacebuilding Commission could and should play within the Organization.  Canada welcomed the report on the 2010 review of the peacebuilding architecture, in particular the detailed way forward provided.  While Canada commended the consensus the review had built, it noted that the real test lay with the implementation of its concrete recommendations.  In that vein, Canada endorsed the report’s assessment that the Peacebuilding Commission needed to maintain a flexible, multi-tiered approach.

He said Canada also stressed the importance of closer cooperation with field-level peacebuilding, and said that the Commission’s engagement must be in line with existing national strategies and complementary to the work of relevant peacebuilding actors on the ground.  He welcomed the proposals to more effectively draw on the national resources available within the full membership of the country configurations.  Canada further stressed that the proliferation of peacebuilding actors reinforced the need for a thematic focal point to bring coherence and impetus to broader peacebuilding efforts.

Finally, he said the Commission must continue to develop stronger partnerships with other peacebuilding actors, including regional organizations, international financial institutions, and civil society.  Enhanced cooperation between United Nations bodies, in particular between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, held particular promise.  A more effective working relationship between the two bodes based on a clearer mutual understanding of the Commission’s role and increased use of formal linkages should be explored.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said peacebuilding challenge was a constant one, and the global community must translate into concrete terms the principle of collective security.  He noted with interest the co-facilitators’ report, saying its recommendations deserved attention, especially those relating to coordination between local and international actors, and those for strengthening the connection between the Commission and the Security Council.  Indeed, peacebuilding was on the United Nations agenda, and activities would be enhanced by more civilian functions.  On the operational level, two main measures were particularly important:  strengthening link between the Organizational Committee and the country specific configurations; and improving the operation of those configurations.

On that latter point, he said a strong national dimension must be included in that work with a view to a smooth transition to national control.  Liaison committees in those configurations must also be established.  The Commission was having trouble finding its moors in United Nations architecture and he called for it to interact more with the Security Council, General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  A subregional perspective should be included in its work.  Similarly, Liberia’s inclusion meant that four West African countries were on the agenda, which argued for a regional perspective in the Commission, including through dialogue with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Cooperation between the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) should also be strengthened.  Peacebuilding was an important conflict preventive measure and its cost was insignificant compared to that of conflict.  The Commission could be improved and its interactions expanded.

KIM BONGHYUN ( Republic of Korea), noting the report’s reference to peacekeeping, said the task was to generate an effective organizational approach to enhance the roles of peacebuilding and peacekeeping.  Coherence among various United Nations bodies, especially between the Commission and the Security Council, was essential to peacebuilding.  Promoting more interaction with bodies like the World Bank was also crucial.  The Peacebuilding Support Office should be strengthened, especially because it had only 41 posts, 70 per cent of which were temporary or otherwise short-term.  He hoped the relevant United Nations actors would take forward the report’s recommendations, and that members would engage in productive discussions and, in turn, quickly implement the recommendations.

OMBENI SEFUE (United Republic of Tanzania) said his delegation would be pleased to witness the adoption of the report on the review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture and the related resolutions by both the General Assembly and the Security Council.  While still a relatively new addition to the United Nations family, the Peacebuilding Commission embodied the hopes of many and bore a unique legitimacy and authority at the Organization, said the representative.  The “dual blessing” gave the Commission a strong mandate, as well as strong expectations within the Organization.  India welcomed the co-facilitators’ report, as well as the draft text before the Assembly, which reaffirmed the importance of peacebuilding work as carried out by the United Nations and the role of the Commission in addressing the needs of countries emerging from conflict and nurturing them towards a sustainable and irreversible peace.

He emphasized three goals in implementing the resolution and the recommendations of the review process going forward:  preventing a relapse to conflict by working with the people in addressing the root or structural causes of a previous conflict, in collaboration with the United Nations system and other regional organs; achieving national ownership of the peacebuilding process; and achieving a clear relationship between the Peacebuilding Fund and the Commission as a non-operational entity.  Flexibility was also needed in the interpretation of the non-operational role of the Peacebuilding Commission, as situations vary from one country to another.  The United Republic of Tanzania “stands ready” to do its part and pledged its full support to the Peacebuilding Committee in New York and at the country level in the process of implementing those recommendations.

WANG MIN ( China) said the Commission’s five-year review was important for taking stock of progress and strengthening its work.  While the Commission had achieved much in the last five years, it was also facing challenges and the report’s recommendations merited thorough consideration.  In that context, he said the respective countries in question were mainly responsible for post-conflict peacebuilding and all stakeholders should respect such country ownership.  The international community, Peacebuilding Commission included, was tasked with providing recommendations for developing national peacebuilding strategies, in full respect of national priorities.

Relevant United Nations agencies and regional organizations should be involved in an enhanced approach to peacebuilding, he said.  As such, the Commission should set straight its relations with other agencies, while promoting a division of roles between itself, the World Bank and others.  Also, it should improve its working methods, as well as the efficiency of its Organizational Committee and country specific configurations.  Further, it should make more targeted recommendations.  It could play a better coordinating role by integrating bilateral and multilateral funding sources, among other things, and in that regard, he called on more countries to contribute to the Peacebuilding Fund.  China had always supported the United Nations’ role in peacebuilding and was confident that the review would provide a starting point for enhancing the Commission’s efficiency.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), discussing the importance of national ownership, said the peacebuilding process began with Governments making substantive inputs in the formulation of peacebuilding strategies.  National ownership meant that all segments of society must be allowed to shape the country’s future, and Jamaica would have wished to see more recommendations for inclusion of all segments of society.  The Commission’s exit strategy also had been given much treatment in the report, he said, which was an area in which national ownership was critical.  Countries must have significant say in determining benchmarks for success.  The distance between New York and countries on the Commission’s agenda would always pose a problem and with that in mind, Jamaica saw the potential in establishing a “PBC focused body” on the local level, though that should not substitute for more engagement between the Commission and the Governments on the ground.  He also encouraged more field visits to be undertaken, funded through the Peacebuilding Support Office.

On other matters, he said the Organizational Committee had been relegated to a peripheral role and it should hold quarterly meetings with the chairs of the country configurations to review benchmarks and progress achieved in all countries under consideration.  That was critical for a real-time understanding of the work being undertaken.  Recommendations to hold meetings on thematic issues also merited more consideration.  As more countries were placed on the agenda, the Commission’s ability to function effectively, with its 31-State membership, was a question to be addressed.

He agreed that the Commission and the Support Office should be considered as a resource centre for issues impacting peacebuilding.  To give more prominence to activities in the field, such work must be streamlined throughout the United Nations.  Delivering as a whole was critical to generating real change and peacebuilding must be viewed as a top priority.  He agreed on the need to strengthen the Organizational Committee’s role in interacting with the Security Council, General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council.  Jamaica also advocated for a greater focus on the development dimension of post-conflict peacebuilding.

REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) described the co-facilitators’ report reviewing the Peacebuilding Commission as rich and comprehensive, however, she had hoped it would have further addressed specific country configurations, for example, required visits to the countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda.  Despite its shortfalls, she said, the document brought valid and thoughtful recommendations and therefore, her delegation supported the draft resolution.  Still, it was regrettable that the process followed did not allow for a more open debate that included additional voices in the review decisions.  That way, the effort would have gained wide support and would not have caused any delay or disagreement among neighbours.  In closing, she hoped that would remain a “regrettable exception”.

HUSSAIN B. SIAL ( Pakistan) said his delegation attached great importance to the review of the Peacebuilding Commission.  It remained engaged in the review process and had also contributed a written proposal.  In the last five year, he added, the world had realized the importance of peacebuilding efforts.  Nonetheless, the report had rightly underscored the complexities of peacebuilding, which stemmed mainly from constructing a consensual narrative on the topic at the global level.  The concept of peacebuilding was relatively new, and the international community was still “creating templates” of successful peacebuilding strategies, he said.  Expectations of quick dividends, as well as finding the right balance between national ownership and donors’ agendas, further augmented the complexity.  The peacebuilding architecture could address such complexities by optimizing the interplay among various actors inside and outside the United Nations.

The report had also analysed the relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, where a “dynamic mix” could prevent the relapse of conflict, he continued.  The two must accompany each other from the inception of a peacekeeping mission.  Important milestones had already been reached in synergizing the two disciplines — 10 out of 16 peacekeeping missions already incorporated the peacebuilding component.  The Peacebuilding Commission was an ideal interface between the two disciplines, he said, and added that Pakistan supported the current draft resolution before the Assembly on the review of the Commission and would be happy to join the consensus on its adoption.

SHEKOU M. TOURAY ( Sierra Leone) said the path to sustainable peace after violent conflict was an immense challenge that required the collective and sustained efforts of the international community and local stakeholders.  Echoing the words in former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s Agenda for Peace, issued in 1972, he said peacebuilding largely involved “action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict”.  It was therefore imperative to obtain security and end hostilities, while at the same time, engage in the parallel longer-term process of peace consolidation by reconciling people, reforming institutions and economies in order to prevent a violent relapse.

The establishment of the Peacebuilding Support Office and Peacebuilding Fund, as well as the selection of Sierra Leone and Burundi as the first two countries together with Guinea Bissau, Central African Republic and Liberia, on the peacebuilding agenda, had raised high expectations for the effort. During its March 2010 visit to Sierra Leone, the Commission recognized the progress his country had made since the end of the war and cited its experience as an example of successful multilateral peacekeeping.  However, the Commission also reported that significant challenges remained and must be addressed before Sierra Leone could realize its aspirations for long-term sustainable development.  Overcoming the remaining obstacles, however, would require support from the international community, he said.

He went on to say that his delegation’s joint progress report to the Commission on the implementation of Sierra Leone’s Government’s “Agenda for Change” had acknowledged steady progress, but equally pointed to the serious gaps and challenges, most notably, the lack of funding and the need to address capacity constraints.  Key among the serious issues that required immediate attention were: youth unemployment, implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; drug trafficking and transnational organized crime; support to the electoral process; and advanced good governance reform. Further, the report was prepared, adopted and was being implemented through broad-based cooperation and received endorsement from the Commission in June 2009.  At that historic meeting, the Commission also called upon Member States and development partners to accept the Agenda for Change as the core strategy document for Sierra Leone.

Despite his delegation’s appreciation to the United Nations and development partners for their support of its Agenda, he said it was regrettable that the Multi-Donor Trust Fund had not yet received the level of support that was envisioned upon its launch. To date, only the Government of Canada had contributed to the Fund.  Finally, he said his delegation supported the draft resolution.

Action on Draft Resolution

The General Assembly then adopted by consensus the draft resolution on review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture (document A/65/L.7), calling for a further comprehensive review five years after the adoption of the present resolution following the procedure set out in paragraph 27 of General Assembly resolution 60/180, and deciding to include, under agenda item 30 at its sixty-fifth session, a review of progress made in taking forward the relevant recommendations of the report.

Statements on the International Criminal Court

ENRIQUE GONZÁLEZ SARASA (Cuba) said the establishment of an international criminal jurisdiction that was fair and impartial and generally independent continued to be an objective that people supported, but the way in which the Court’s relations had been defined within the Security Council — under Article 16 of the Rome Statute, the Council could suspend investigations or trials undertaken by the Court — had not been resolved at the review conference on the Statute, held in Kampala, Uganda, from 31 May to 11 June 2010.  Also at the Conference, the agreed definition of the crime of aggression had fallen short of Cuba’s expectations, he said.

Continuing, he said that crime needed a generic definition that was not just circumscribed to armed force, but also dealt with matters of State.  For over 50 years, Cuba had been subjected to different forms of aggression from its northern neighbour, causing thousands of deaths and economic loss.  Cuba maintained a constructive stance on establishment of an international judicial system and followed closely the evolution and developments of the court, he said, but would like to express concern about the serious precedent created regarding the way the Court could establish cases against non-party actors.  Indeed, the principle of relative law of the State must be respected, he said.

DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN ( Sudan) said his delegation had examined the report of the International Criminal Court, particularly chapter 3, regarding Sudan and which “included information that lacked objectivity or legal basis”.  The report had strengthened Sudan’s conviction about “the rightness and just nature” in the way it had been dealing with the Court, whose “politicization” was completely contradictory to the purpose of its mandate and the United Nations Charter.  He noted that Sudan had been a partner in all of the meetings that preceded the preparations of the draft Statute of the Court, which had ended with the adoption of the Rome Statute.

Since that that date, and before the Statute’s entry into force, however, Sudan had repeatedly warned of the risk of the judicial body’s politicizing and its deviation from the objectives from which it was established.  Sudan had also warned of the gravity of having certain States take advantage of relations between the Court and the Security Council, in order to transform the Court “into a purely political tool disguised as a legal entity”, and subsequently, the manipulation of which he had warned had come true.

He went on to say that Africa was paying the price of the Rome Statute’s ambiguity, and certain States were using the Court as a means to pursue their political interests.  The Court had targeted African States and their leaders as if it was only competent in dealing with Africa and not other continents, he declared, and such politicization of justice was not acceptable.  For that reason, major political groupings that represented more than two thirds of the group of United Nations, including the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, among others, were against the Court’s decisions on Sudan.  “What kind of justice is this that ignores hundreds of thousands of civilians that have been killed” with the latest weapons and tools in Africa, he asked.  “Where are the conditions of competence” and the limits of their competence according to the Rome Statute, he asked.

Moreover, he said Sudan had warned that the Council was a political body — which after two decades, Member States had been unable to reform — and that the Rome Statute’s Article 13 would be abused.  It was not strange then, that Article 1593 (2005) of the Security Council would be adopted in a flawed manner that contradicted the basic rules of justice with no objectivity, he said and added, could speak for a long time if “we start to dissect all the claims against Sudan”, the leadership and its people.  The law of jurisprudence was based on impartiality, not personal interests.

To that end, many countries had voiced reservations over unlimited authority of the Chief Prosecutor, and they were right, he said, noting the issue of Darfur as a clear example in which the Prosecutor had become an obstacle to peace in that country.  Every time the parties were close to signing an agreement, that official made an accusation, which sent wrong message to the armed movement and took the political process “back to square one”, he said.  He recalled that the Prosecutor accused Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, of “genocide”, and he questioned how it could be possible that such a President, accused of the genocide of certain tribes, would have five Ministers from those tribes in his Cabinet, and when thousands of those tribes were living in the heart of Khartoum?

Given that the accusation was false, he said, the prosecutor’s “irony and extreme excesses” had reached the limit with his description of “the Nazi elections in Sudan.”  Also contradictory, he said, was the report of International Court of Justice.  He commended the strong position take by the African Arab Summit in rejecting the Court’s decision.  In conclusion, he said the delegation of Sudan expressed its deep confidence that peace loving countries, which aimed at realizing real justice, freedom and equality, would not accept the politicization of the Court or the aim on which it was founded.  He remained confident that all organs of the Organization were fully aware of Sudan’s just position in not dealing with this Court, in any way, since it had deviated from the path of justice and law.

Sudan would continue its efforts to obtain a just settlement of the conflict in Darfur, regardless of the destructive role the Court was playing in the matter.  Justice must be served in all cases, and it was not an objective of the Court to replace the national system.  It was not possible that the International Criminal Court, in its current form or legal basis, could ever take the place of Sudanese judiciary, which had a brilliant record of integrity.  “They are in a much better position to realize justice in the Sudan and nobody else can do that,” he declared.

CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said her delegation wished to highlight the progress in international criminal law shown in the report of the Court’s report, including efforts to report to national jurisdictions their responsibility to prosecute crimes, as well as developing the principle of complementarity of the Court.  Colombia had made significant progress harmonizing its legal system with the norms of the Rome Statute, including the agreement on privileges and immunities.  She considered the work of the court decisive in the fight against impunity, and considered it important to highlight the report’s mention of Colombia.  Colombia had made its system of justice more effective:  its Attorney General’s Office was being strengthened and in general, through the consolidation of democratic security, Colombia had reaffirmed its dedication to human rights.

Cases of arbitrary executions were being considered and Colombia was also applying principles of justice for victims of violence from illegal armed groups, she said.  The State of Colombia had developed a system of reparations for victims, numbering over 111,000.  This showed Colombia had made it an utmost priority to combat impunity.  It was important that the States that had not yet ratified the Rome Statute do so, she said, calling continued support of the court in order to assure it could be an international entity to combat the most serious crimes.

TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) focused on three significant issues regarding the work of the International Criminal Court:  the cooperation of States parties and other States; the universality of the Rome Statute; and the June 2010 Review Conference held in Kampala, Uganda.  In recent years, Norway had increased its efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians, particularly women and children, against the atrocities of war, most notably, with a focus on the widespread sexual violence that was perpetrated in connection with the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Sexual violence, she stressed, was one of the most serious contemporary international crimes, noting that the arrest of Callixte Mbarushimana by French authorities earlier this month was a crucial step towards the efforts to prosecute the alleged perpetrators of sexual crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Still, the fact that nine of the Court’s cases remained outstanding, all pertaining to the situations in Darfur, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was of grave concern to Norway, she said.

To that end, she said the Court depended on the cooperation of the States parties, and cited the recent arrest of Mr. Mbarushimana as an excellent example of a joint effort by many parties, including France, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Germany.  She went on to say that Norway urged all State parties concerned to fulfil their responsibilities to make all of the outstanding arrest warrants effective.  Regarding the situation in Darfur, her country called on all States and the Sudanese authorities to cooperate with the Court and their legal obligations under Security Council resolution 1593 (2005).

Turning next to the issue of universality, she noted that the conference in Kampala reaffirmed the strong political and diplomatic commitment to strengthening international criminal justice.  For its part, Norway’s proposal on enforcement of sentences had resulted in a resolution that called on States to advise the Court of their willingness to accept sentenced persons in their prisons, and that a prison sentence could be served in facilities made available by an international or regional agency.  In closing, she reaffirmed Norway’s firm and long-standing commitment to the Rome Statute and to the effective and credible International Criminal Court, and called for broad support from all States.  She said, “We all share the universal values attached to the protection of human dignity.”

EDUARDO ULIBARRI ( Costa Rica) said the Court constituted a major step forward strengthening human rights and international law.  However, there remained much work to make it a key tool to combat impunity.  Costa Rica believed that justice was a keystone in achieving sustainable peace.  Indeed, peace and justice were natural partners, and one could not be sacrificed for another — international stability could only be achieved if they were both pursued jointly.  He went on to welcome the amendment made by States parties of the Rome Statute to include a series of war crimes when committed in an armed conflict not of an international nature, and also welcomed the addition of the crime of aggression.  He hoped progress would result in more nations showing commitment to the Court.

However he was concerned that nine arrest warrants had not yet been executed — the most pressing challenge of the Court.  Another challenge was that States had to harmonize their legislation with international law in keeping with understanding of the Court’s work.  It was also essential to cooperate with the Security Council, and he was gravely concerned that the report reflected Sudan’s failure to comply with the Court’s mandate.  The investigations and indictments on the situation in Darfur did not emanate from the Rome Statute, but rather Security Council and the United Nations Charter, and Sudan was therefore in grave breach of its commitments.

NIKOLAS STÜRCHLER ( Switzerland) said that 2010 marked a turning point for the International Criminal Court and for justice in the world.  The adoption of the definition of the “crime of aggression” at the recent Review Conference, held in Kampala, Uganda, was a historic event and the result of intensive negotiations in a spirit of compromise, he said.  Sixty-five years after the “crimes against peace” tried by the tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo, the crime of aggression had been given an international definition and integrated into the jurisdiction of the Court.  He called on the State parties of the Rome Statute to ratify the amendment, which would make it possible to activate the system of jurisdiction by 2017.

Another noteworthy success of the Kampala conference, he said, was the amendment of the utilization of three kinds of weapons in non-international conflicts, which would strengthen the protection of international humanitarian law and reduce the gap between the Statute’s treatment of crimes of both international and non-international conflicts.  Further, holding the conference in Kampala was also highly symbolic; it showed that once again, the Court, above all, met the needs of those States in which the most serious crimes had been committed.

On a personal note, he said it was edifying to meet the victims and come to a better understanding of their needs, noting “the desire to begin their lives again with dignity filled me with a feeling of great humility”.  In order for the International Criminal Court to realize the potential of its influence on the response to international crimes, it would require the unshakeable support of the States parties in the execution of arrest warrants, of which nine arrests were currently awaiting execution.  In closing, he said the system would only be fully operational it had achieved universal participation of States respecting their obligation.  Such was the wish of his delegation.

KHALID ABDULLAH KRAYYEM SHAWABKAH, on behalf of Jordan, welcomed the report of the International Criminal Court and called on all States, regional and international organizations to cooperate with the Court and assist it in all aspects, including collecting evidence, offering logistical support, and executing arrest warrants and sentences it handed down in order to put an end to the most serious crimes enjoying impunity.  Jordan reaffirmed its continued support to the Court, which he called a “main pillar” of ensuring the supremacy of the rule of law around the world.

GLENNA CABELLO DE DABOIN ( Venezuela) said the work at the Review Conference to define the crime of aggression had been intended to amend the Rome Statute to a level thought unobtainable under the political circumstances at the international level when the treaty had been adopted in 1998.  Venezuela had hoped the Statute would also raise the voice for the United Nations to help the Organization weed out anti-democratic systems in the Security Council, but unfortunately the Conference in Kampala had not changed that — it delayed the date on which the Court could apply its jurisdiction regarding crimes of aggression.  However, the pledging ceremony in Kampala constituted an extremely important event, because it had included States parties, as well as non-State parties and organizations.  She reiterated Venezuela’s firm commitment to the system of the International Criminal Court — for real international criminal justice to exist, the Rome Statute must, as soon as possible, become universal to all countries.

ROBERTO RODRÍGUEZ ( Peru) said that over the past year, a number of important developments had taken place in regards to the International Criminal Court, including the entrance of four new State parties.  He encouraged all States to become party to the Rome Statute, but added that they must fully comply with the obligations emanating from that treaty, including assisting with the execution of arrest warrants, gathering of evidence, and other procedures.  Cooperation between the Court and the United Nations must also be encouraged, and the Delegation said it trusted that this would be duly strengthened.

The Court, he pointed out, was the only permanent international body trying the most serious crimes.  The international community, in particular victims, saw the Court as a “legitimate vehicle of justice”.  More than 500 communications had been received under Article 15 of the Rome Statute, reflecting a firm commitment to the work of the Court and to international criminal justice a whole.  It should be noted, that, in terms of the crime of aggression, the recent Review Conference expressed its determination to express the jurisdiction of the court to prosecute that crime as soon as possible.  Peru further restated its availability to cooperate fully with the Court on all matters.

FERNANDA MILLICAY ( Argentina) said that date, 114 States, including four new States, were Parties to the Statute.  The review period also saw a Review Conference of the Rome Statute, held in Uganda, which was strongly attended by States parties and civil society alike.  The Conference adopted the Kampala Declaration, through which States reaffirmed their commitment to the Rome Statute and its full appreciation, and to its universality and integrity, as well as renewing their determination to put an end to impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes.  Among other outcomes of the Conference, the States parties, including Argentina, took part in a ceremony of pledges.  They also carried out a stocktaking exercise on the basis of four topics: the impact of the Rome Statute system in victims and affected communities; complementarity; cooperation; and peace and justice.  Argentina was one of the focal points, alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo and Switzerland, on the topic of “peace and justice”.

In addition, one of the firm commitments reflected in the Kampala Declaration was to work actively towards a satisfactory outcome on the amendment proposals to be considered at the Conference.  She reviewed those other outcomes of the Conference, including, in particular, the “historic” amendment to include the crime of aggression as part of the jurisdiction of the Court.  The amendment included a definition for the crime of aggression, which had been drawn up during years of work of a working group open to the participation of States parties, non-Parties, and representatives of civil society.  The elements of crimes were also adopted, she said.

Recalling the “enormous” negotiation effort required by the inclusion of the amendment on the crime of aggression, the representative reflected on the “delicate compromise” that was achieved with a high degree of effort toward a common objective.  She further recalled that part IX of the Rome Statute established obligations for States parties, which were affirmed by the renewed commitment, through the Kampala Declaration, to continue and strengthen the efforts of States parties to ensure the full cooperation of the Court, in particular, in the enforcement of Court decisions and the execution of arrest warrants.

BASSIROU SENE (Senegal), aligning with the African States Parties, called the organization of the first Review Conference on the Rome Statute the “beacon” that would lead to the next phase of international criminal justice in the next decade.  In line with Senegal’s expectations, the Conference updated States on the Court’s major concerns, and he welcomed the laudable results achieved under the Statute.  It had not been easy to attain those results, as seen in sustained reticence, largely for political reasons, to become Parties to the Statute.  But the wager was within grasp, thanks to commitment, he said.

The results attained on the crime of aggression represented a compromise, he said, and though not perfect, they allowed for defining that crime and outlining the Court’s jurisdiction over it.  He urged, ensuring that that decision was correctly applied.  “Our credibility depends on it,” he stressed.  He also welcomed the Court’s broadening of competence to crimes committed in non-conflict situations, through use of toxins, hollow-tipped bullets, asphyxiating gases and bullets that flattened and spread throughout the body.  Concluding, he reaffirmed Senegal’s commitment to the ideals of peace and justice underpinning the Court’s establishment.  Such a commitment had been crystallized in regional campaigns and initiatives to create an apolitical Court, which met the legitimate aspirations for peace and justice.

KIRILL GEVORGIAN ( Russian Federation) noted the importance of the Court as the first full-time organ for international justice, general in nature — it had a powerful capability to prevent the most serious crimes, he said.  Its very existence asserted influence on national legislations, and the Russia Federation was for strengthening the authority of the Court.  

The Kampala Review Conference was an important milestone, and Russia had a generally positive assessment of its results; the definition of the crime of aggression was a compromise, but it was important that it was based on a broad consensus of both the Parties and the non-Parties of the Rome Statute.  But he noted there were still concerns for the Court’s prospects for exercising jurisdiction of aggression without the Security Council.  The crime was political in nature — an individual could not commit aggression without the aggression of a State.

MOTLATSI RAMAFOLE ( Lesotho) commended the Court for its comprehensive report.  As a State party to the Rome Statute, Lesotho had consistently expressed its support for the Court, which it saw as an important institution in the fight against impunity and the promotion of justice.  He started from the premise that the Court could not discharge its functions effectively without the cooperation of States parties and other States, in such areas as facilitating investigations, arresting and surrendering persons, protecting witnesses and enforcing sentences.  He was “acutely aware” of the necessity for States to have a consistent, clear and unambiguous cooperation framework under the Statute.  In that regard, he noted the Court’s efforts to engage in bilateral agreements with States parties for cooperation falling under the Rome Statute’s general obligation to cooperate.

Regarding the universality of the Rome Statute, he was pleased with the increase in the number of States parties to 114.  It was a genuine reflection of the international community’s increasing rejection of impunity for serious crimes, he said, and evidence that there was a rising tide in favour of the rule of law.  He encouraged all non-States parties to positively consider becoming States parties to the Rome Statute.  The recent successful Review Conference of the Statute, held in Kampala, Uganda, had tackled “critical questions”, such as the definition of the Crime of Aggression, as well as the conditions under which the Court might exercise its jurisdiction in respect of the crime, and took stock of the state of criminal justice, covering such areas as peace and justice, and complementarity.  Lesotho continued to believe that, in the final analysis, the success of international criminal justice founded on the Rome Statute must partly be determined by the capacity of domestic court systems to deal with those serious crimes.  He reiterated his country’s firm and long-standing support to the integrity of the Rome Statute and to an effective and credible International Criminal Court.

MARCELO BÖHLKE ( Brazil) thanked the President of the Court for presenting the Report.  He noted that one of the hallmarks of the work of the Court was giving special consideration to individuals.  Individuals were entitled to specific rights, and bore specific responsibilities, under international law.  The Court also allowed victims to take part in trials.  Universality was a permanent concern of those who created the Court, he said, adding that Brazil hoped that all States would become States parties, and applauded the four States who had done so over the course of the period under review, thereby strengthening the Court’s legitimacy and joining the fight to end impunity.

He went on to express satisfaction with the recent achievements at the Review Conference held in Kampala.  There, the Rome Statute was amended to include the crime of aggression.  Brazil had long advocated strongly for the need to define that crime.  Brazil was pleased with the “successful outcome” on the matter, which it saw as a “compromise”, and which had only been made possible through the flexibility of many States parties.  He further stressed the importance of further strengthening the relationship between the Court and the United Nations.

GUO XIAOMEI ( China) stated that her country was in favour of setting up an international criminal judicial institution that was independent, impartial, effective and universal to serve as a complement to national legal systems in punishing the gravest of international crimes.  At the same time, she noted that while the International Criminal Court had made solid progress in institutional building and in initiating investigation in a number of cases, some of the Court’s practices had affected the stability of and the harmony of countries concerned.  Those practices had also “given rise to broad controversy in the international community”.

With respect to the amendment to the Article of the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression, China realized that some countries still had concerns on that amendment and was prepared to further communicate in that regard.  She concluded her statement by expressing China’s hope that the Court would “exercise its functions more prudently in its future work, further establish its credibility, and win broader trust and support from the international community by its objective and impartial performance”.

CHARLES THEMBANI NTWAAGAE ( Botswana) said, as a State party of the Rome Statute, his country was committed to promoting its universality and independence.  Botswana was, however, alert to the fact that the role of the Court was intended to be complimentary to national judicial systems — the complimentary position of the Court should not be interpreted as an affront on countries, but rather “a closing of the impunity gap”.

Botswana fully subscribed to the notion that the objectives of peace and security may be jointly pursued with the court’s mandate and the political mandates of the systems of the United Nations, he said.  It was time to invest collective energy in consolidating and strengthening the Court to build bridges between it and situation countries, and to tackle misconceptions within them.  Botswana was also currently reviewing its legislation with view of giving full provisions to the Rome Statute, he said.

THEMBILE JOYINI (South Africa), aligning itself with Zambia on behalf of the African Group, said that he found the Review report of the International Criminal Court to be comprehensive, most notably, part 3 on its judicial proceedings.  In that regard, he remained hopeful that the five active situations currently pending in the Court would be decided upon in due course.  Taking note of the 2012 election of a Prosecutor of the Court, he remained confident the Assembly of States parties would elect a person of integrity to hold that office.

Turning to the highlights of the Review conference held in Kampala, Uganda, in June, he said his delegation took special note of the “stock taking” exercise, which allowed Members to look back and take stock of contributions made to the Court.  Regarding the Summit’s main agenda, Crimes of Aggression — in which the Rome Statute stipulates that the Court may not exercise its jurisdiction over such crimes until the States parties agreed on a definition of the crime and set out the conditions under which it may be prosecuted — he expressed serous concern about it being referred to the Security Council, but was pleased to have reached a consensus on that issue.  In closing, he said the International Criminal Court was an institution designed to create a better world, and South Africa would continue to support the Court in its goals.

ATOKI ILEKA ( Democratic Republic of the Congo) said his delegation fully concurred with the statement delivered yesterday on behalf of the African Group.  He noted that, in the matter regarding his country, the case mentioned in the report had been voluntarily referred to the Court as part of the matter “some lightly called the first African world war”.  Wars and all forms of violence had no nationality, he said, therefore the attitude of confining the matter to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was intolerable.  His country was the first State party to develop significant cooperation with the Court and was no doubt a model of cooperation with the judicial body — it did not wait for into entry of force of the Rome Statute before ratifying it.  It had also proactively referred its case to the Court on 3 March 2004 and correctly executed arrest warrants against its nationals three times, among other actions.  It was with the help of the Court’s justice that peace was brought to Katanga District and North Katanga, and it was with justice that peace would be achieved around the whole country.

He also welcomed the recent arrest in Paris of the executive secretary of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, Callixte Mbarushimana, under an International Criminal Court arrest warrant.  That person must answer for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and torture committed in 2009.  The Democratic Republic of Congo also supported the proposal to offer restitution to victims.  The Court must also put into place mechanisms to head off a campaign of aggression against it that could hinder its success.  It was also just as important that the Court took pains to ensure that its own operations were more professional and less political.  His delegation welcomed achievements and advances for human rights and the rule of law achieved through the adoption of the Kampala Declaration, where States reaffirmed their will to promote the Rome Statute, calling them “achievements to be staunchly respected by all”.  Lastly, he called on delegations who had not yet done so to join the Rome Statute so they could together fight impunity.

DUNCAN MUHUMUZA LAKI ( Uganda) associated with the statement delivered by Zambia on behalf of the African Group and reiterated his own delegation’s commitment to the Court and the fight against impunity.  He further stated that the adoption of the Kampala Declaration following the review Conference hosted by his Government reaffirmed commitment to the Rome Statute and its full implementation.  However, Uganda remained concerned that Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continued to cause untold suffering to defenceless women and children in spite of the indictment.

The Court was steadily marching the road towards universality, he said, calling on other States that had not yet done so to consider ratifying the Rome Statute.  Recognizing that the Court relied on State cooperation to carry out its functions, he further called on all States to offer the necessary cooperation to enable the Court to carry out its mandate without inhibitions.  Noting that the Rome Statute allowed victims to actively participate in proceedings, Uganda encouraged the Court, in recruiting staff, to take into account “the cultural peculiarities of victims and witnesses” that were required in The Hague to participate in Court proceedings.

ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran) said the agreement reached on the crimes of aggression at the recent Review Conference of the International Criminal Court had been a “breakthrough” that offered hope that this supreme crime of international concern would not be left to impunity.  While Iran rejoiced in its hope that the long overdue desire to criminalize aggression had come true, he said the outcome was far from its expectations, particularly since the implementation of the “most promising” clauses had been postponed for seven years.  Iran reiterated its position that any act of aggression was of a grave nature, irrespective of its consequences, and was an international crime. 

He went on to say that “as a victim of an all out act of aggression”, Iran had attached the utmost importance to defining the crime of aggression and including it in the Rome Statute.  That mission would not be accomplished, however, until the conditions for exercising such jurisdiction were met.  In that regard, Iran was looking forward to its implementation in 2017, and stood ready to cooperate with others in that effort.  Iran regretted that the Review Conference had not worked to criminalize the use of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, as the most destructive and inhumane weapon, and hoped that this key issue was kept high on the new agenda.

Further, his delegation had taken note of the section of the report concerning the possible exercise of jurisdiction by the Court over the international crimes committed in the Palestinian territory by the Israel.  While still under review, the technicalities should lead to the prosecution of perpetrators of the gravest crimes of international concern.  In closing, he said the court should remain faithful to its Statute and international law, but it could not ignore the rulings relating to the immunity of States’ officials as recognized under the Rome Statute.  Likewise, the referrals to the Court should not be based on political motivations or selectivity, he said, noting the concerns raised by the African Union, Non-Aligned Movement and other countries concerning the Court’s recent decision on the situation in Darfur.

SHEKOU TOURAY ( Sierra Leone) declared that the universality of the Rome Statute was critical in the fight against impunity and in that regard, welcomed the latest Member States to ratify it, and encouraged non-States parties to seriously consider becoming members of the Statute.  Like other international tribunals, such as those for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia, as well as the Special Court for Sierra Leone, cooperation continued to be the main challenge facing the International Criminal Court.  To that end, there was need for all States to do everything within their power to cooperate with and provide support for the court in the implementation of its mandate.

As for Sierra Leone, he said that though his country had been in a state of crisis just a decade ago, today, thanks to the Special Court, there was peace, justice and a functioning democratic system.  While many challenges still lay ahead, Sierra Leone was in a good position to meet those challenges, and one reason for that success would be that the country had taken the decision to face the need for accountability head-on.  However, he pointed out that the Special Court for Sierra Leone could not and did not claim sole responsibility for the change of fortune in the country.  That had been undertaken by the “good men and women” of Sierra Leone and the existing political will backed by the support and assistance of the international community.  The Court, however had, in its own way, made an important contribution to the restoration of the rule of law, which had helped the country move forward, he acknowledged.

DIEGO MOREJÓN-PAZMIÑO ( Ecuador) took note of the report of the Court, and was happy to cite the increase in the number of States parties to Rome Statute to 114, which showed a growing trend in the international community to work against impunity.  Ecuador was present and had actively taken part in the Kampala Review Conference, which had discussed topics of key importance for the Court.  Support for the objectives and outcomes of the Review Conference would ensure that progress was made in combating impunity, an issue which was addressed in Ecuador’s own national policy.

Impunity could not be accepted, he said, even in the interest of peace.  Ecuador also echoed the statement made earlier by Argentina regarding the fact that the Secretary-General must be encouraged to explain to Member States the amendments that had been made at the review conference.  Finally, he reaffirmed Ecuador’s support for the Court, and agreed that the United Nations was the only forum in which to carry these movements against impunity forward.

GREGORY NICKELS ( United States) said although his country was not a party to the Rome Statute it had an abiding interest in the work of the International Criminal Court to complete its prosecutions.  The United States remained steadfastly committed to the rule of law and would continue to play a leading role bringing violators of humanitarian law to justice.  The Court also played a key role bringing perpetrators of the worst atrocities to justice, he said, and the United States had sent a large observer delegation to the Kampala Review Conference on the Rome Statutes, taking part in discussions, co-sponsoring a side event and being the only non-party State to make pledges. 

He said his country recognized that the amendments adopted at Kampala were compromises that few considered perfect, and it was wise to subject the exercise of jurisdiction of crimes of aggression until after January 2017 to provide breathing space to consider issues.  The United States was also thankful to the State parties of the Rome Statutes for the gracious way its attendance had been received, and looked forward to continued engagement.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.