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GA/L/3637
12 October 2021
Seventy-sixth Session, 6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)

Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials, Experts on Mission Crucial When Administering Justice, Combating Impunity, Sixth Committee Hears

Concluding Debate on Rule of Law, Delegates Argue over Interpretation, Describe National Events

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its debate on the rule of law and commenced its consideration of criminal accountability for United Nations officials and experts on mission, delegates stressed the importance of administering justice and combating impunity, whether at the international or domestic level, or within the Organization’s missions.

Before the Committee were the reports of the Secretary‑General, “Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission” (documents A/76/205 and A/76/208).

Norway’s delegate, also speaking for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, voiced alarm that almost a quarter of the 286 allegations of serious criminal offenses committed by United Nations officials or experts since 2007 were reported between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.  Accountability is crucial, she stressed, not only for the integrity of the United Nations, but also for the sake of victims.

Speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran’s delegate pointed out that his group’s countries are both contributors and recipients of peacekeeping missions.  Affirming commitment to the zero‑tolerance policy when addressing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by the peacekeeping personnel, he urged the United Nations to provide States with information and data required for criminal proceedings.

Delegates of several troop‑contributing countries pointed to the vital role played by their nationals and the efforts made to ensure that they abide by all laws while on missions.

Nepal’s delegate, while underscoring his country’s zero‑tolerance policy against sexual abuses by peacekeepers, cautioned against naming and shaming entire nations or peacekeeping missions for the criminal deeds of a few.  He also pointed out that his Government deploys more female peacekeepers because female participation helps to reduce the cases of abuse in the field.

Ethiopia is one of the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping missions, that country’s delegate noted.  Calling on the Organization to address favouritism, misappropriation of resources and misuse of conventional and social media, she highlighted the importance of strengthening protection for whistle‑blowers and witnesses against retaliation or intimidation.

The representative of the Republic of Korea highlighted his country’s intensive training and extremely rigorous selection for those to be deployed in the missions.  No crimes of a serious nature have been committed by its nationals while serving as United Nations personnel, he said, condemning sexual exploitation and abuse as particularly deplorable, as it victimizes the same vulnerable groups that those personnel are meant to serve and protect.

Brazil’s delegate, highlighting his country’s more than seven decades of service, voiced pride in the overall track record of its United Nations peacekeepers.  He also welcomed the appointment in several Secretariat units of a Conduct and Discipline Focal Point to provide support on matters related to conduct and discipline.

Also citing promising developments, the representative of the United States noted that several United Nations agencies are establishing new policies on criminal accountability and deploying personnel to facilitate the prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

The Sixth Committee also concluded its debate on rule of law, during which some delegates questioned the interpretation of the principle while others drew attention to conflicts in their country or region.  (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3636.)

The Russian Federation’s representative called the Secretary‑General’s report on rule of law “desperately lacking in balance” and offering hackneyed solutions for difficult problems.  Recalling his delegation’s warning against the experiment to remake Afghanistan in the Western image, he said:    “We said that wouldn’t stick.”

The representative of China underscored the importance of a people‑centred rule of law, stressing that his Government works for the well‑being of the Chinese people.  However, “a scant few countries” skirt the subject of international law, while preaching a rules‑based international order, he said, adding that those countries are aiming to interpret and apply international law as they wish.

Viet Nam’s delegate expressed concerns over complicated developments in the East Sea (also known as the South China Sea), which is the main maritime navigation and trade connection between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Such developments have eroded trust and may undermine peace in the region, he said, highlighting the role of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.

Lebanon’s representative emphasized:    “The rule of law is not an idea we debate and refine when all is going well; it is rather the very thing that protects people when all is not.”  Highlighting the aspiration of all Lebanese people for a country free of corruption, he reiterated his country’s commitment towards the completion of the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which will bring justice to the victims of terrorist acts.

Also speaking today during the debate on rule of law were the representatives of Rwanda, Ukraine, Cameroon, Maldives, Argentina, Algeria, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Austria, Thailand, Sudan, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Zambia, Haiti, Timor‑Leste, Brazil and Tunisia.  An observer for the Holy See spoke in that debate as did a representative of the International Development Law Organization.

The representative of the Russian Federation spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

Also speaking during the debate on criminal accountability were the representatives of Morocco (for the African Group), Australia (also for Canada and New Zealand), South Africa, Egypt, Iran (national capacity), Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Portugal, Pakistan, Israel, El Salvador, Mexico, India, Ghana, Slovenia, Cameroon, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Nigeria and Togo.  A representative of the European Union also spoke during that debate.

The Sixth Committee will next meet at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 October, to continue its debate on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission and to begin consideration of crimes against humanity.

Rule of Law at National and International Levels

SHUANG GENG (China) underscored the coherence between the concept of a people‑centered rule of law and China’s practice, where the Government works for the well‑being of the Chinese people and nation by practicing law‑based governance on all fronts that caters to the people’s interest.  Urging that democratization of international relations be based on the rule of law, he called on all States to abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and to practice true multilateralism.  He also noted that “a scant few countries” skirt the subject of international law, instead preaching a rules‑based international order.  When questioned on who writes these rules, those countries claim that they derive from international law and the Charter.  The reason for this, he stressed, is that such countries want to interpret and apply international law as they wish.

ROBERT KAYINAMURA (Rwanda), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, expressed his support for the Secretary‑General's vision of regaining public trust by building systems and institutions that deliver for people.  To this end, the Rwandan Government seeks to make public institutions more accountable and responsive to the needs of its people.  He condemned foreign interference in judicial and court processes of developing countries by some Western countries, underscoring that it was in contradiction to the rule of law principles.  Stressing that international behaviour must be based on respect for international law, rather than on “the whims of powerful States or groups”, he underscored that promoting rule of law is a core value of his Government.  Rwanda has been promoting a culture of accountability and zero tolerance for impunity, which are essential precursors of the rule of law and sustainable development, he said.

ILNYTSKYI OLEKSIY (Ukraine), aligning himself with the European Union, said that the devastating effects of the pandemic exaggerated existing gaps in access to justice, led to violations of human rights and disrupted the delivery of basic services.  This has created serious security concerns – especially in conflict situations; confidence in the rule of law and the principles of accountability and justice is diminishing.  Stressing that the rule of law is an effective tool at the international level to defend sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights, he detailed several legal cases initiated against the Russian Federation in international courts since 2015 and noted that this country continues to ignore orders concerning its conduct within the occupied Ukrainian territory despite their binding nature.  For its part, Ukraine works to strengthen the rule of law domestically – including through anti‑corruption architecture – and has made progress in this area despite ongoing armed aggression by the Russian Federation, he said.

ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon), noting that while domestically, rule of law is the manifestation of civil society, at the international level, it is a pillar for the emergence of a fairer world as stipulated by the Charter.  His country is ensuring that each and every Cameroonian man and woman can participate in nation‑building, and has access to justice on a daily basis, including through the legal assistance mechanism.  The Constitutional Council ensures the integrity of elections and promotes the domestication of international conventions, he said, adding that his Government has restored the State authority in certain hotspots.  Further, the country’s “merciless combat against corruption is bearing fruit,” he stated, adding that that rule of law should not serve as a pretext for exacerbating the clash of civilizations.

DINH QUY DANG (Viet Nam), reaffirming the importance of the International Court of Justice and other international judicial institutions, added that during his country’s Presidency of the Security Council in January 2020, the Council convened an open debate on upholding the United Nations Charter in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Viet Nam, together with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is promoting peace, stability and prosperity in its region.  Noting the role of East Sea (also known as the South China Sea) as the main maritime navigation and trade connection between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, he voiced concerns over recent complicated developments in the East Sea that have eroded trust and confidence.  Cautioning that increased tensions may undermine peace in the region, he called on all parties to fully respect international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.

LAUZA ALI (Maldives) outlined reforms to the national judicial system, including the adoption of a policy to advocate transparency and give equal opportunity for new candidates to compete for court appointments.  Implementing legal sector reform, in parallel with judicial reform, is crucial to address the incompleteness of the legislative framework, she said.  As such, the 2019 Legal Professions Act was established.  In addition, work is under way to create a National Legal Aid Commission.  Turning to the COVID‑19 response, she warned that, in times of emergency, there is a risk of abuses of power.  To that end, she expressed gratitude for the support of the United Nations in working to ensure that policing activities, necessitated by the pandemic, did not lead to a decline of human rights standards.

MARTÍN JUAN MAINERO (Argentina), reaffirming that while the Sustainable Development Goals are committed to leaving no one behind, unfortunately, 1.5 billion people around the world do not have any recourse for their civil and judicial needs.  Stressing the importance of eliminating financial and administrative barriers, he said that the pandemic has laid bare how systems of justice work.  Commending the work of the International Law Commission, he said that peaceful dispute resolution is a pillar of international peace and security.  Highlighting the role of specialized tribunals such as the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, he underscored the need for parties to any dispute to comply in good faith with calls for mediation, including from the General Assembly.

MOHAMED FAIZ BOUCHEDOUB (Algeria), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels under the exceptional circumstances of a global health crisis is necessary for security, stability and respect for human rights.  Promoting the rule of law can only succeed if States fully respect their international commitments pursuant to national law, including the principles of sovereign equality, non‑interference in the internal affairs of States, the right to self‑determination and the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Underscoring the importance of global cooperation and coordination in this area, which facilitates international law’s ability to respond to international crises, he reaffirmed Algeria’s commitment to the rule of law.

MELINA LITO (United Kingdom) said that the COVID‑19 pandemic has challenged all legal systems to find new ways to ensure that access to justice and dispute resolution continues under unprecedented circumstances.  In many countries, however, the pandemic has been used as a pretext to increase pressure on those defending the rule of law, including human rights defenders, journalists and legal practitioners.  It has also disproportionately impacted women and girls – violence against whom intensified globally during 2020 – and exacerbated conflict‑related sexual violence.  For its part, the United Kingdom has responded with greater funding for safe accommodation and support for victims of the former and continues to support access to survivor‑centered justice for victims of the latter, she said.

ALEXANDER S. PROSKURYAKOV (Russian Federation), stressing that the Secretary‑General’s report on rule of law is “desperately lacking in balance”, said the Secretariat must work in compliance with the mandate conferred by Member States.  The report’s simplified approach offers hackneyed solutions for difficult problems.  Further, despite assistance from the Organization, the experiment to reform and remake Afghanistan in the Western image has failed.  Noting that his delegation had warned against the implantation of alien values, he said:  “We said that wouldn’t stick.”  He also expressed outrage at the promotion of the sexual minorities agenda, which is not supported by States promoting traditional values.  The Secretariat should move away from its excessive focus on gender and sexual‑based violence since there are better United Nations platforms for those issues.  In addition, he voiced his opposition to ranking States in how successful they are in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, stressing that it turns the Goals from an instrument of assistance to an instrument of control.  Emphasizing that the Ukrainian delegate’s statement is an abuse of the Sixth Committee’s platform, he said such politicized opinions did not have a place in the current discussion.

LEMLEM FISEHA MINALE (Ethiopia) noted that, due to COVID‑19, fundamental democratic and constitutional processes such as elections had to be postponed, including in Ethiopia.  Nonetheless, because of its national institutions and constitutional mechanisms, which had been invested in prior to the pandemic, a free, fair, credible and democratic national election was held.  A record voter turnout was testimony of the popular ownership and franchise of the national process.  However, the past year has been a time of unprecedented trials for Ethiopia, including attacks against federal institutions by a lawless criminal group.  Rule of law and competent and independent institutions built at times of peace rescued the nation during this national crisis.  That incident highlighted the need to enhance equal representation and diversity.  She further pointed out that the existing international system is rife with unilateral coercive measures, the privatization of politics and foreign policy, and agenda‑driven interpretation, among others, which might prevail instead of justice.

HYUN CHO (Republic of Korea) emphasized that the rule of law is not just a concept in isolation but should be put into practice and coordinated with other goals.  Describing his country’s response to the pandemic, he said that restrictive measures were debated, compared with less invasive alternatives and then made within the confines of law and through the legal process.  As a result of civic feedback, such measures were rectified, modified or even lifted as a result of human rights considerations.  He pointed out that the formal codification efforts for multilateral conventions has declined, while so‑called non‑binding norms have increased.  In addition, he stressed the importance to apply international law to cybersecurity and outer space, review how the current rules are applicable and consider if there are any loopholes or necessary adaptations.  He further stressed that peaceful settlement of disputes, as enshrined in the Charter, is another manifestation of the rule of law and he called on all States to comply with the duty.

REGINA KUMASHE AONDONA (Nigeria), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that all aspects of human development are linked to the rule of law.  Even during conflict and under serious attacks from terrorists, Nigerian officials prioritized the protection of the rights of all, she said.  Rule of law at the national level must be consistent with international laws.  At the international level, her country pursues a foreign policy anchored on the achievement of global security, as well as the protection of the dignity of all persons.  She noted her appreciation for various initiatives of the United Nations to promote the rule of law and transitional justice in conflict and post‑conflict societies.  Without strengthening the rule of law at the national level, there can be no platform upon which the rule of law can stand at the international level.

ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria), aligning himself with the European Union, pointed out that the world is facing a trust crisis, in which States do not trust each other and people do not trust their Governments.  The rule of law helps to build trust and the Secretary‑General’s report on this topic highlights the pivotal role that United Nations rule‑of‑law systems play in helping citizens regain trust in institutions.  Noting that questions have arisen regarding the nature of the rules‑based international order, he said that such a system comprises international law, treaties and customary law, as well as general principles of law as outlined in the Statute of the International Court of Justice.  Further, such a system requires ratification of international agreements – including those on human rights – and settlement of disputes through peaceful means, such as the International Court of Justice.  On this, he called on all States to accept the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction.

SUPARK PRONGTHURA (Thailand), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, noted that inclusivity and a sense of ownership are key elements of law and its compliance.  As the COVID‑19 pandemic created greater awareness of how multilateralism and international law are critical to collective response and recovery, it is important that people realize the relevance and significance of the rule of law in their daily lives.  For its part, Thailand is increasing public participation in the treaty‑making process through the Draft Act, which prescribes procedures for the public to participate in the conclusion of a treaty, he reported.

AMMAR MOHAMMED MAHMOUD MOHAMMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that ensuring the rule of law at the national level is an internal matter, pursued by States and Governments.  Sudan is committed to the rule of law and continuously reviews domestic legislation to ensure its consistency with international agreements and standards.  Further, he pointed out that, after the popular revolution, Sudan acceded to several international instruments and has taken steps to address human rights issues that occurred during the previous regime, including by protecting women, ensuring peaceful assembly and fighting impunity.  He also underscored the need for programs to build capacity and provide technical assistance for States’ rule‑of‑law activities.

MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica), highlighting her country’s efforts to promote rule of law by eliminating poverty and exclusion, said peace, development and human rights are key to this effort.  The pandemic is not an excuse for abandoning obligations to human rights, she pointed out.  As well, it should not result in a backslide in gender equality.  Underscoring the cross‑cutting nature of rule of law, she said that the administration of justice has been impacted by the health measures that were necessary during the pandemic.  Judicial and penitentiary systems have been doubly challenged, with direct consequences on human rights.  Stressing the role of the United Nations assistance in building trust in public institutions, she welcomed the Secretary‑General’s vision in Our Common Agenda.

LISELOT FRANCESCA EGMOND (Netherlands), aligning herself with the European Union, urged Member States to continue political, financial and logistical support to the International Criminal Court and, if they have not done so, to accede to the Rome Statute.  Noting that the Secretary‑General’s report contains information on strengthening the administration of justice, she said that the next report should contain information on the implementation by the Organization of decisions taken by its judicial institutions.  Information on established procedures, open to third parties filing a complaint or request for indemnification for damages caused to them by the Organization, and on the implementation of the related resolution must also be added.  She also requested the International Law Commission to move the topic “the settlement of international disputes to which international organizations are parties” to its programme of work.

ESTELA MERCEDES NZE MANSOGO (Equatorial Guinea), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that bolstering rule of law is fundamental for sustained economic growth.  Calling on States to focus on ending racial and gender injustice and securing the rights of future generations, she highlighted her Government’s commitment to tackling maritime crime and trafficking in persons.  Recognizing the value of the Organization’s assistance, she said that without bolstering rule of law nationally, the international community cannot bolster rule of law internationally either.  However, it is crucial to respect the rights of all States, she said, calling on countries to take recourse to dispute settlement mechanisms instead of resorting to force.

Ms. LBADAOUI (Morocco), reaffirming her country’s commitment to the rule of law, good governance and renewed multilateralism under the auspices of the United Nations, said that the Organization’s actions must be reinforced to harmonize the work of nations through a clear commitment to the values and responsibilities enshrined in the United Nations Charter.  This presupposes a global, multidimensional approach that respects the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non‑interference in domestic affairs.  She also detailed the Government’s efforts this year towards structural reform, including measures to protect people’s fundamental rights, reform and modernize the judicial system and effect digital transformation for open, accessible justice.

Mr. HITTI (Lebanon) emphasized:  “The rule of law is not an idea we debate and refine when all is going well; it is rather the very thing that protects people when all is not.” Promoting a people‑centred rule of law requires meeting the legitimate aspirations of the Lebanese people for a country free of corruption and where social justice becomes a daily reality, he said.  Women and youth have been a solid driving force for the reinforcement of the rule of law in Lebanon, as well as non‑governmental organizations and civil society organizations.  The International Court of Justice remains one of the main organs for the peaceful settlement of disputes between States.  Abiding by its judgements and advisory opinions can only reinforce the multilateral rules‑based order.  He reiterated his country’s commitment towards the completion of the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, granting long‑awaited justice to the victims and their families and ending impunity for terrorist acts.

RASHED JAMAL IBRAHIM IBRAHIM AZZAM (United Arab Emirates) detailed Government efforts to consolidate the rule of law at the constitutional and national levels to guarantee fundamental rights, strengthen the judiciary and reinforce domestic law pertaining to money‑laundering, corruption and transnational crime.  Noting that the pandemic has jeopardized social stability and the protection of individual rights, he underscored the importance of reviewing the way in which legislative authority and justice are applied during crises.  At the national level, the Government has adopted special procedures to guarantee uninterrupted access to justice during the pandemic and to provide services digitally.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) stressed:  “If the Charter of the United Nations and international law are to mean anything, double standards must have no place in international relations.”  All States must comply with their international obligations, particularly those relating to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity and to non‑interference in internal affairs.  Under international law, States are required to investigate reports of war crimes and other offences committed during armed conflicts, and to punish the perpetrators, he stressed.  The United Nations must continue mobilizing the world against racism and confronting hate speech.  The International Court of Justice plays an important role in promoting the rule of law and encouraging the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, he said.

MUKI MUKAFYA BENAS PHIRI (Zambia), recalling the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recent high‑level meeting between Zambia and the United States, underscored that the rule of law is the fulcrum of global and national prosperity.  Expressing welcome to the United Nations continued provision of rule of law assistance to countries, particularly to Zambia, he stressed that corruption is endemic, which greatly undermines democratic institutions.  Reiterating the pursuit of a zero‑tolerance policy on corruption in all forms by Zambia’s newly elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, he noted that his country has made efforts to strengthen the anti‑corruption institutions, including the Financial Intelligence Centre.  It also established the specialized Stolen Asset Recovery Mechanism and is continuing other legal and judicial reform initiatives.

WISNIQUE PANIER (Haiti), noting the negative impact of the pandemic on rule of law, highlighted the increase in prison populations.  Calling for increased United Nations assistance in capacity‑building, especially in strategic reform of judicial institutions, he welcomed the Organization’s assistance to his country in a variety of areas, from reducing sectarian violence to the protection of human rights.  He went on to say that as the first Black republic of the world, his country is committed to rule of law.  He also pointed out that “if there is one thing all Haitians agree upon”, it is that the current Constitution is a source of instability.  While discussions are under way on how to change this, stakeholders are not completely in agreement about the nature of this reform, he noted, adding that this is understandable in democratic societies.

KARLITO NUNES (Timor-Leste), reaffirming his country’s core commitment to a society based on social justice that can meet the basic needs of all its people in an equitable manner, emphasized the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 16. “It is even more crucial now than before,” he said, adding that Our Common Agenda promotes a new vision for rule of law which recognizes justice as an essential component of the social contract.  His Government has redoubled its efforts in that regard, including through mobile courts, he noted, adding that his country is also committed to the rights of indigenous peoples.  Welcoming the sharing of best practices, he called for assistance in harmonizing his country’s national and customary practices with international law.

VINÍCIUS FOX DRUMMOND CANÇADO TRINDADE (Brazil), encouraging the Organization to adopt innovative technologies to promote access to justice, stressed that access to justice is much more than access to Courts.  It involves universalizing birth registration, providing legal aid and strengthening alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and conciliation.  To this end, his country has developed innovative tools to accelerate judicial proceedings.  Calling on the Sixth Committee to make more progress across all topics of the agenda, he said it should not settle for technical rollovers when international law is continuously evolving.  Also cautioning against expanding the notion of the rule of law too far, he said that attempts to address issues that fall beyond the scope of this agenda item might be counterproductive and duplicate efforts.

RABII ZENATI (Tunisia), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, highlighted the need to strengthen national capacities in order to respond to complex challenges like climate change, terrorism, cybercrime and an increasing number of conflicts and skirmishes.  Further, national efforts must dovetail with multilateral ones; in this, the rule of law is crucial for promoting stability, security and the rights of marginalized people.  He voiced his support for efforts to better manage international relations under the principles of peace, law and sovereign equality.  To this end, the United Nations has a primary role to play through the International Law Commission.  He added that, in his country, true national dialogue will be held according to the established timeline.  The reform process is a national affair that stems from the desire of the Tunisian people.  “Democracy is not a choice; it is a need,” he emphasized.

GABRIELE CACCIA, an observer for the Holy See, said that, in considering the rule of law at the national and international level, the Committee must continue to remind the international community of the centrality of treaties.  To that end, he welcomed the entry into force of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol and of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  As well, the rule of law at the domestic level must be safeguarded at every stage in the criminal justice process.  He noted with regret that the report of the Secretary‑General ventures into issues that continue to adversely impact other United Nations fora, including in paragraph 27 of the report.  Being drawn into discussions on issues that are well known to be controversial and that continue to impede consensus‑based progress in other United Nations bodies does not serve the Sixth Committee’s important work.  The importance of respecting universal human rights and human dignity in the advancement of the rule of law cannot be overstated.  However, specific considerations on human rights and fundamental freedoms do not belong to this Committee, he said.

SARAH PAPINEAU, Permanent Observer for the International Development Law Organization, welcomed the new vision for the rule‑of‑law principle mentioned in Our Common Agenda.  Effective laws and institutions can address the multiple layers of discrimination faced by women and girls, and others living in conditions of exclusion.  The International Development Law Organization works through formal and informal pathways, including digital platforms, to promote a people‑centred approach to justice.  A rule of law approach to climate action, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 16, will help accelerate transformative, sustainable and low‑carbon development.  Under its new Strategic Plan, the International Development Law Organization is working to promote effective, fair, and transparent rules‑based policies and institutions, particularly in fragile and developing contexts, she said.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to Georgia’s statement made on 8 October, noting that he would not comment on the European Court of Human Rights’ decision.  He said that the blame for civilian deaths is wholly borne by the citizens of Georgia, along with former President Mikheil Saakashvili and his backers and the decision to “enter into that irresponsible war”.

Criminal Accountability

MOHAMMAD GHORBANPOUR NAJAFABADI (Iran), speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the Movement countries – which are among the major contributors and recipients of peacekeeping missions - attach great importance to the issue of criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission.  All peacekeeping personnel should continue to perform their duties in a manner that preserves credibility, impartiality, and integrity of the United Nations.

It was also of great importance to maintaining a zero‑tolerance policy when addressing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by the peacekeeping personnel, he emphasized.  Underlining the need to enhance international cooperation to ensure criminal accountability, he urged the United Nations to continue cooperating with States, which exercise jurisdiction.  These States should be provided with information and data required for criminal proceedings initiated within the framework of the international law and agreements governing the activities of the United Nations.

AAHDE LAHMIRI (Morocco), speaking for the African Group, affirmed commitment to a no-compromise approach towards criminal accountability.  Africa is resolved to call out crimes committed by United Nations officials and experts on missions which unjustly tarnish the positive image of the Organization, she said, adding that such acts overshadow the vital role performed on a daily basis by thousands of staff members on missions.  Noting that while some Member States have the legislative advantage and capacity to exercise jurisdiction while others have provisions for “at least some limited jurisdiction”, she encouraged States to exercise jurisdiction in applicable cases.

Voicing support for a system‑wide approach to combat sexual exploitation and abuse within the United Nations system, including the peacekeeping forces, she reiterated the importance of the relevant General Assembly resolutions.  Further, maintaining the matter as a new annual item on the agenda of the Assembly will keep the momentum achieved this far, she said.  Noting that jurisdictional gaps often lead to the inability of States to establish accountability, she said the remedial measures adopted under several Assembly resolutions on this matter could address the issue, if properly implemented.  However, she stressed, the ultimate responsibility for investigating and prosecuting such acts rests with the State of the national who committed the crime.

NATALIE TOLSTOI, representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, welcomed the efforts made by the United Nations to ensure criminal accountability.  Zero tolerance towards misconduct and criminal acts is equally a key guiding principle of the European Union’s civilian and military personnel, she said, stressing that cooperation at the domestic and intra‑State level is key when dealing with misconduct and crime.  She called upon Member States to provide the Secretary‑General with more updates on the status of their investigations or prosecutions.

To this end, she underlined readiness of the European Union and its Member States to consider a proposal for a comprehensive international legal framework in order to clarify the circumstances under which the Member States can exercise jurisdiction.  The exercise of jurisdiction by States should be without prejudice to the privileges and immunities and respect international human rights law, the right to a fair trial and due process.  Underscoring the importance of training on United Nations standards of conduct as an essential preventive tool, she detailed the measures outlined in the Code of Conduct and Discipline for European Union Civilian Common Security and Defence Policy.

MIRJAM BIERLING (Norway), also speaking for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, stressed that the United Nations and its Member States must exercise a zero‑tolerance policy towards crimes committed by Organization officials and experts on mission through preventative measures, legislation and action.  These crimes must be investigated and prosecuted for the sake of victims, as well as for the integrity of the United Nations and its missions.  Turning to the Secretary‑General’s report, she spotlighted the alarming, unacceptable development that almost a quarter of the 286 allegations of serious criminal offenses committed by United Nations officials or experts since 2007 were reported between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.  Allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are particularly concerning.

Too many Member States fail to respond adequately to cases referred to them, she said, encouraging States that have not provided required information regarding these cases to do so.  Member States bear the primary responsibility for ensuring the accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission.  All Member States should establish jurisdiction over crimes committed by their nationals while serving in such capacity.  To that end, she urged all Member States that have not yet done so to submit relevant information to the Secretary‑General regarding the status of their domestic legislation on this matter.

ALEXANDRA HUTCHISON (Australia), also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, said allegations of criminal activities, including sexual exploitation and abuse, fraud and corruption, as well as sexual harassment, committed by a few United Nations officials or experts, undermine the integrity, credibility and trust in the United Nations.  Allegations of deplorable conduct are compounded by a failure to hold perpetrators to account for their criminal conduct through meaningful mechanisms.  To close the impunity gap, Member States and the United Nations must continue to strengthen their mechanisms for preventing and responding to crimes, including by building a culture that is supportive to victims and individuals who report misconduct.  Stressing that prevention is key, she said appropriate screening and training for United Nations officials and experts prior to deployment is essential.

Referring to the recent World Health Organization (WHO) independent report, she said the incidences of harassment and abuse of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo are distressing and entirely unacceptable.  Expressing regret that a number of States have not yet established jurisdiction over crimes committed by United Nations officials and experts, she urged Member States and the United Nations to intensify its efforts to prevent, investigate and hold personnel into account for criminal conduct, including through continued cooperation and funding.  She also encouraged Member States who have not done so to establish jurisdiction over crimes committed by nationals while serving as United Nations officials or experts on mission and expressed readiness to provide assistance in that regard.

THABO MICHAEL MOLEFE (South Africa), applauding the courageous acts of United Nations officials for reporting and preventing criminal activities in missions at the risk of national prejudice, said that his country’s laws make it possible for it to prosecute any citizen who commits crimes outside the territories and who cannot be prosecuted in the country in which the crime is committed.  The measures provided are aimed at ensuring accountability where diplomatic status may be abused, he said, adding that South Africa’s domestic legislation allows it to cooperate with other countries on such matters to ensure that cross‑border criminals are held accountable.

AHMED ABDELAZIZ AHMED ELGHARIB (Egypt), associating with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that, while there is international consensus on strengthening accountability, there is some difference concerning the responsibility of States.  For his country, the exclusive responsibility to ensure criminal accountability of the official who committed the crime rests with the State of nationality of the person.  Calling on States to step up international cooperation to meet existing gaps, he said it is vital that States bolster criminal jurisdiction.  Egypt selects only the best people to work in the United Nations missions, he said, adding that they are properly trained and aware of the different rules and regulations.

MOHAMMAD GHORBANPOUR NAJAFABADI (Iran), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said United Nations officials and experts on mission in Iran are expected to fully adhere to the country’s rules and regulations.  Member States should take a multifaceted and comprehensive approach in upholding the accountability of perpetrators of crimes among United Nations officials or experts on mission, combined with preventive as well as punitive measures.  Predeployment and in‑mission induction training, vetting and awareness‑raising as well as supervision by the United Nations and contributing States are all effective tools in crime prevention.  The State of nationality is the appropriate forum for prosecution of alleged crimes.  While there exists no dispute among States concerning the need to ensure accountability, there exists no consensus on the future of work.  Therefore, it is necessary that the United Nations establish a systematic, coherent and coordinated platform with the participation of the United Nations, host countries and the contributor countries.

RABAB FATIMA (Bangladesh), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the troubling allegations in the Secretary‑General’s report must be addressed without delay to ensure that the perpetrators are punished.  As a top troop‑contributing country with nearly 7,000 personnel deployed in peacekeeping missions, she stressed that Bangladesh takes this issue seriously and maintains a zero‑tolerance policy in this regard.  Any allegations of misconduct are addressed immediately and stern action is taken if an individual is proven guilty.  Emphasizing, however, that “prevention is always better than a cure”, she spotlighted her country’s development of unique training models for its peacekeepers that account for the local circumstances of a particular deployment.  She called on the United Nations and its Member States to invest more in these types of customized measures for pre‑deployment and in‑mission training ‑ as well as refresher courses ‑ delivered in native languages.

ALHAJI FANDAY TURAY (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said the great majority of United Nations officials and experts on mission perform their duties with admiration, courage and integrity, often in challenging circumstances.  However, also noting the existence of criminal behaviour, he said accountability is critical for global confidence in the Organization.  This requires action on credible allegations revealing that a crime may have been committed by United Nations officials or experts on mission by States with jurisdiction and through the United Nations system.  Sexual and gender‑based violence, as well as standards of integrity and conduct, both in performance of official duties and in private lives must be sensitive to local customs, traditions and cultures.  Upholding these high standards requires the necessary capacity and sensitivity training.

LUCIA TERESA SOLANO RAMIREZ (Colombia) said that any event that could result in criminal prosecution must be duly investigated and resolved, and that those responsible must serve their respective sentences.  For its part, her Government acts quickly to ensure that these types of criminal acts are prevented or, if committed, do not go unresolved.  Inviting other States to do the same, she emphasized the importance of an alleged perpetrator’s State of nationality acting in a timely way to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes.  Collaboration and coordination between the United Nations and States of nationalities - or States where facts or investigation occurred ‑ is vital, so that, in all cases, it is possible to exchange information and facilitate investigation, she said.

SERGIO AMARAL ALVES DE CARVALHO (Portugal), aligning himself with the European Union, said occasional reproachable behaviour of United Nations officials or experts on mission can compromise the credibility of the Organization.  The sound administration of justice is key for the ability of the United Nations to fulfil its mandates.  It is important that States establish national frameworks suitable to ensure criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission, namely by allocating adequate and effective resources for States to exercise their jurisdiction.  Stressing that preventive measures adopted by Member States and the United Nations are of the highest importance, he said specific examples of preventive measures are predeployment training of armed forces and security forces personnel, including on good conduct and discipline.

QASIM AZIZ BUTT (Pakistan), stressing that United Nations officials and experts on missions bear the responsibility of upholding the Charter, said any allegation of wrongdoing must be investigated thoroughly.  Also noting that such allegations must be proved beyond doubt before disciplinary action is taken, he emphasized that it is the primary responsibility of Member States to investigate their nationals.  While there is no dispute that criminal acts should be held accountable, the international community’s collective efforts to that end have fallen short because of lack of cohesion and consistency across the system, he pointed out, adding that the functional independence of agencies must not prevent a more streamlined approach.  Sexual exploitation and abuse are the most heinous forms of abuse.  Nonetheless, criminal accountability has a much broader scope, he said, noting that the most reported cases relate to financial impropriety and fraud.

ELIZABETH GROSSO (United States) reiterated her country’s firm stance that United Nations officials and experts on mission who commit crimes should be held to account.  Citing the Secretary‑General’s two reports, she pointed out several promising developments, including several United Nations agencies’ new policies on criminal accountability and personnel being deployed to facilitate the prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse.  However, despite these efforts, various United Nations missions and specialized agencies, as well as United Nations personnel, continue to be accused of sexual exploitation and abuse with some regularity, she pointed out.  Continued vigilance must be kept to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse across the United Nations system, as it is critical to the Organization’s credibility.

YEELA CYTRIN (Israel) noted that the agenda item encompasses a broader scope of grave criminal activity, including involvement in terrorism, fraud and corruption, as well as other serious offenses.  Therefore, measures should be taken to ensure that the zero‑tolerance policy is also applied to all those criminal acts and that they be properly investigated and prosecuted.  She underlined the right and duty of the Secretary‑General to waive immunity in any case where such immunity would impede the course of justice.  When immunity is not waived, she emphasized the need for full transparency.  Moreover, the results of internal United Nations investigations of its personnel should be made public, or at least shared with the relevant member States, she stressed.

VINÍCIUS FOX DRUMMOND CANÇADO TRINDADE (Brazil), speaking on criminal accountability, said that the United Nations must be above any suspicion to maintain its credibility and effectiveness on the ground.  He welcomed the reports by several Secretariat units that they have appointed a Conduct and Discipline Focal Point to provide support on matters related to conduct and discipline.  Member States must strive to overcome remaining legal challenges to assert jurisdiction over crimes committed by their nationals when they serve as United Nations officials or experts on mission.  He expressed concern over the instances of sexual violence, exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations reported by the Secretary General.  With more than seven decades of service, his country is proud of the overall track record of its United Nations peacekeepers, he said, adding that strict protocols are in place to deal with any possible misconduct, including, if necessary, the criminal accountability of alleged perpetrators.

CARLOS EFRAIN SEGURA ARAGON (El Salvador), stressing the significant contribution of United Nations officials and experts in maintaining international peace and security, said that it is vital to preserve the integrity of the Organization.  Regretting the large number of cases noted in the report, he voiced support for policies and procedures to strengthen investigations of crimes allegedly committed by experts and officials.  Outlining various provisions in his country’s penal code allowing it to ensure accountability for its nationals, he highlighted the principle of universality as well as the clause on extradition, which is pursued in keeping with the principles of due process and reciprocity.  Further, the Government is also committed to the protection of victims, he said, emphasizing the importance of taking into account the gender perspective.

NATALIA JIMÉNEZ ALEGRÍA (Mexico) expressed concern over increased sexual harassment, abuse of authority, discrimination and fraud in cases referred to States since 2015.  She underscored that the Organization’s policies in this area will be insufficient until States are prepared to exercise jurisdiction over their nationals.  To this end, it is important to bolster the monitoring system for prosecutions carried out at the national level.  She also highlighted that primary responsibility lies with the States of nationality of those involved in criminal conduct, calling on such States to exercise extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction in such cases.  Since its creation, the United Nations “has flown the flag of seeking peace and security with justice,” she added, stressing that this mandate leaves no room for impunity.

KAJAL BHAT (India), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that while sensitizing United Nations personnel on mission, the international community must not be ignorant towards the plight of victims of exploitation and abuse, particularly sexual abuses.  India has regularly contributed to the Secretary‑General’s Trust Fund, which assist victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, and urged all State parties do the same.  The laws in India, and those relating to crimes committed abroad by its nationals, have provisions giving the courts power to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction and provide assistance in criminal matters.  The extradition of fugitive criminals is found within the Indian Extradition Act, in terms of any treaty‑in‑force with another State.  When there is no treaty‑in‑force, an international convention can be used as the basis for considering an extradition request.  This makes it more relevant to have capacity‑building measures between the United Nations and Member States, particularly for the extraterritorial jurisdiction of courts over crimes committed abroad by their nationals.

CAROLYN OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said her country is committed to the zero‑tolerance policy.  However, the effective exercise of jurisdiction through national legislation and mechanisms can be challenging, she said.  Delays in receiving complaints, lack of cooperation by complainants during investigations or trials and the loss or damage of evidence underscore the need for enhanced cooperation between Member States and the United Nations to bridge jurisdictional gaps that exist in practice.  She called for the strengthening of preventive measures such as comprehensive predeployment training, in‑mission sensitization on criminal offences and robust enforcement.  These actions must be taken to protect the Organization’s integrity and already vulnerable populations, especially those in conflict afflicted areas, from the wrongs of the very people who have the mandate to protect them and keep the peace.

ZALA CRČEK BEOVIĆ (Slovenia), aligning herself with the European Union, stated that Slovenia is striving to monitor various forms of crime and to strengthen preventive work at the national level.  The country improved its preventive measures by upgrading the resources needed to protect citizens, establishing the necessary information systems architecture and fortifying the research and fight against various forms of crime in general.  The Government aims to strengthen multidisciplinary cooperation with other States on justice, home affairs, and protection and rescue, she said.  She also urged the international community to strive to effectively detect and investigate crimes and to be one step ahead of them.  A genuine zero‑tolerance policy for misconduct and commission of crimes must be a prerogative to build up and nurture the credibility, integrity and impartiality of the United Nations and its missions.

AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, stated that the United Nations must pursue a zero‑tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuses by its officials and staff.  The COVID‑19 pandemic is not a pretext of excuse in investigation and prosecution for the crimes of the United Nations officials and experts, he said.  Noting that his country is one of the largest troop- and police‑contributing countries, he highlighted the importance of integrity of United Nations personnel to secure peace and stability.  He also underlined the zero‑tolerance policy against sexual abuses by peacekeepers, stressing that allegations must be dealt with on a case‑by‑case basis.  Naming and shaming the entire peacekeeping missions or nations for the criminal deeds of any individual official must be avoided.  He also pointed out that his Government deploys more female peacekeepers because female participation helps to reduce the cases of abuse in the field.

HANNA BETACHEW BIRHANU (Ethiopia), aligning herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said Ethiopia is one of the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping missions and has a seat on the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and other regional organizations and United Nations agencies.  Though the Secretary‑General’s report is encouraging, she stressed that the United Nations needs to strengthen its preventive and redress mechanisms against favouritism, misappropriation of resources, use of functions for political objectives, open violation of the duty to maintain neutrality and impartiality, unethical use and misuse of conventional and social media and interference in the internal affairs of States, to name a few.  Further, the United Nations must augment its internal investigation and accountability mechanisms.  It should also strengthen its protection for whistle‑blowers and witnesses against retaliation or intimidation.  Self‑initiated evaluation of conduct and accountability mechanisms are necessary if the United Nations is to build its body of staff with the requisite integrity and competence, as provided under the Charter.

ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon) said that, as a troop‑contributing country, Cameroon takes the matter of criminal accountability very seriously, adhering to a zero‑tolerance policy in this regard.  He urged the United Nations to provide Member States with the information necessary to carry out criminal prosecutions at the national level and called on States to act rapidly to investigate alleged violations of crimes committed by their nationals while on mission.  He also pointed out that the privileges and immunities granted to officials and experts on mission to carry out the United Nations mandates could be lifted by the Secretary‑General if, in his opinion, this immunity would prevent justice from being rendered or harm the Organization’s interests.  Urging an increased focus on preventing these crimes, he stressed the importance of providing appropriate training relating to standards of conduct.

JONATHAN SAMUEL HOLLIS (United Kingdom), said that since the responsibility for bringing perpetrators to justice rests with Member States, Member States should exercise their jurisdiction to ensure those crimes are investigated and, where appropriate, perpetrators prosecuted for offences.  Noting that many Member States already committed to doing so through the Voluntary Compact, he underscored the need to “turn words into action”.  His Government has implemented new domestic legislation which extends the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to further violent and sexual offences.  He encouraged other Member States to take similar steps.  Holding United Nations officials and experts on mission accountable for their actions is not only a task for the United Nations.  All Member States share the responsibility and must work together to ensure accountability across the United Nations system, he said.

ALEXANDER S. PROSKURYAKOV (Russian Federation) said that, while it is important for States to collaborate with the United Nations and with each other to bring perpetrators to justice, the effectiveness of investigation and prosecution depends significantly on how timely and fully the Secretariat notifies the State in which the crime allegedly occurred.  This cooperation is particularly important because information conveyed to national authorities must meet the procedural standards codified in national law in order to be used in criminal investigations.  Noting that most criminal acts committed by United Nations officials and experts on mission are done for financial gain – corruption and abuse of office, for example – he said that the international community should focus on prevention through careful training of these individuals.  He added that drafting a convention on this topic would only be necessary if a real legal loophole exists in the criminal prosecution of these individuals, which it does not.

NIDAA HUSSAIN ABU-ALI (Saudi Arabia) stressed the need to ensure that United Nations officials and experts on mission are held accountable for any criminal activity.  Adding that she promoted a zero‑tolerance policy, she called for staff members to respect national laws and for countries to have national laws against impunity for their nationals.  She also welcomed the Secretary‑General’s procedures regarding sexual harassment and abuse of authority.  At the national level, Saudi Arabia is committed to ensuring accountability for all perpetrators, as the country is aware of the damage caused by corruption and impunity, she said.  She also called for the protection of victims, witnesses and whistle‑blowers, as well as awareness‑raising through predeployment training for public officials.

AMMAR MOHAMMED MAHMOUD MOHAMMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, stressed the need to implement a zero‑tolerance policy for all criminal acts committed by officials and experts on mission.  The damage caused by these crimes is not limited to the victims; they also undermine the Organization’s image and effectiveness.  Member States must act to prevent impunity and promote accountability.  Justice must be visible when it is administered, he urged, and the immunity and privileges granted to these individuals on mission must not inhibit prosecution of the same if they commit a crime.  Further, United Nations officials and experts on mission must respect the national legislation of the host country, he added, along with the right of the host country to exercise jurisdiction when applicable under international law.

AZRIL ABD AZIZ (Malaysia) commended the efforts made to improve criminal accountability, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Clear Check database.  However, it was concerning that many States have failed to provide information on cases of alleged criminal conduct by United Nations officials and experts on mission.  Stressing that Member States have a primary responsibility for establishing jurisdiction for crimes committed by their nationals serving on United Nations missions, he noted that Malaysia upholds and adheres to the United Nations Charter and other related instruments.  Further, he noted that United Nations personnel on mission must respect and comply with Malaysian law and procedures when carrying out missions on its territory.  He stressed his country’s full supports for the zero‑tolerance policy concerning sexual exploitation and abuse committed by United Nations officials and experts while on mission, noting that his country has participated in 39 United Nations peacekeeping operations, involving nearly 40,000 military personnel and civilian police personnel since 1960.

WIDYA SADNOVIC (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that all United Nations personnel must perform their duties in a way that maintains the credibility of the Organization.  He called on States to provide the necessary logistical infrastructure to prosecute criminal offenders.  Indonesian courts apply their jurisdiction over Indonesian nationals wherever they commit their crimes, he noted.  He stressed the importance of strong cooperation between the Secretariat, host country and the troop- and police‑contributing country.  Similarly, it is crucial to prepare and train United Nations personnel, he stated, highlighting Indonesia’s establishment of a training centre for peacekeepers.  In addition, he called for enhancing the role of women peacekeepers, as they strengthen the effectiveness of the dialogue with the communities, he observed.

QUYEN THI HONG NGUYEN (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, underscored that peacekeepers and personnel, while enjoying immunity in accordance with international law and agreements governing the operations of United Nations missions, must respect the laws of the host State and those of their country of nationality.  To ensure accountability, jurisdictional gaps must be addressed, she said.  States of nationality must take the primary responsibility in exercising jurisdiction over serious crimes committed by their nationals while serving as United Nations officials.  She called upon all States to take necessary steps, including adoption of national legislation and enhancement of international cooperation, to ensure criminal accountability.  Viet Nam stands ready to cooperate with Member States and the United Nations in information‑sharing, investigation and prosecution, she said.

MAUREEN TAMUNO (Nigeria), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, welcomed the zero‑tolerance policy of the United Nations on criminal conduct, especially regarding sexual exploitation and abuse.  She noted her support for the referral of alleged criminal conduct cases to the States of nationality of the officials and experts on mission concerned for investigation and possible prosecution.  She also urged Member States to report their follow‑up steps to the Organization.  The primary responsibility rests with Member States to bring perpetrators to justice.  Adding her support for the Trust Fund to support victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, she stressed that it was important to create a conducive environment for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse through training, increased women’s participation and improvement of personal welfare.  As well, the conduct of timely investigations, prosecutions and training programmes will strengthen accountability processes globally.

MANZI TCHILABALO KARBOU (Togo), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that Member States who provide personnel for United Nations missions should certify that those deployed do not have a criminal record and are fully informed regarding what the Organization expects of them, including the need to respect the laws of host countries.  For its part, Togo deploys around 1,500 men and women under the flag of the United Nations and ensures that its forces attend the peacekeeping training centre in Lomé prior to deployment.  Further, he spotlighted domestic law that establishes national jurisdiction over certain military personnel and matters, resolving the thorny problem of ensuring criminal accountability for United Nations officials and experts on mission.

MOON YOUNG KIM (Republic of Korea) stressed that criminal activities by United Nations officials or experts abusing their privileges and immunities simply cannot be tolerated.  The State of nationality should take all appropriate measures, including establishing the relevant jurisdiction to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice; allegations are investigated and prosecuted in a timely manner; and cooperating with United Nations and local authorities to effectively address the problem.  Sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel is particularly deplorable, as it victimizes the same vulnerable groups that those personnel are meant to serve and protect, he continued, highlighting the significance of predeployment trainings and vetting measures as measures of prevention.  Noting that the Republic of Korea conducts an intensive training and extremely rigorous selection for those to be deployed in the missions, he pointed out that no crimes of a serious nature have been committed by his country’s nationals while serving on United Nations personnel.

For information media. Not an official record.