New York

24 September 2012

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks to Ministerial Breakfast on Peaceful Settlement of Conflict : The Elegant Way Out, the Role of the ICJ and the Permanent Court of Arbitration [as prepared for delivery]

Let me thank the Dutch Government for bringing us together. The Netherlands has been a champion of international justice – as a host and as a contributor.

The peaceful settlement of conflicts is one of the key obligations for States under the Charter. That is why it is close to our hearts at the United Nations.

For me, this is true in every sense. I carry this copy of the United Nations Charter with me everywhere I go.

As you know, Chapter VI, Article 33 of the Charter states that parties to any dispute “shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”

The Charter also gave us the International Court of Justice. Over the years, a range of cases have been brought to the ICJ, from border disputes to environmental matters, from extradition cases to the use of force.

We are preparing to make a targeted appeal to Member States to consider withdrawing any reservations they may have to treaties’ compromissory clauses that allow for dispute resolution through the ICJ.

We are also calling on Member States that have not done so to accept the Court’s jurisdiction. The Swiss Government and the United Nations are cooperating on a publication on that will provide practical guidance for States on accepting jurisdiction bringing a dispute to the Court.

And we are asking States to contribute to the Secretary-General’s ICJ Trust Fund for countries that need financial assistance.

I count on governments to support these initiatives. I thank all the Member States that have used this High-Level Meeting to make voluntary pledges in support of the International Court of Justice. I hope others will follow their example.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration also plays an important role in helping countries peacefully resolve their disputes. We saw a strong example of this when the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the Government of Sudan resolved their border dispute through an arbitral tribunal under the auspices of the PCA.

In this room, we have leaders who represent different ways to resolve international conflicts.

The President of the ICJ personifies judicial settlement.

The Secretary-General of the PCA embodies arbitration.

I can represent the good offices and mediation of the Secretary-General.

We must join forces.

When I was President of the General Assembly, I had the honour of participating in the ICJ’s sixtieth anniversary celebrations.

On that occasion, the ICJ President said, “We must continue to provide that core predictability that distinguishes law from politics, but we have to do so in a way that is responsive to the legitimate needs and aspirations of the international community.”

I look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can reach this important goal.

Thank you.