Statement by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus A.Sychev at the session of UN Security Council " Justice and the rule of Law: the United Nations Role"
The debate on the agenda item “Justice and the rule of Law: the United Nations Role” in the Security Council is important and timely.
The Security Council and the United Nations as a whole make a valuable contribution to the reestablishment of national legal systems in post-conflict societies, particularly, in the field of transitional justice.
The participation of the Security Council in the exercise of international justice with respect to the persons committed crimes at the time of conflicts substantially influenced on the development of system of international criminal tribunals and international humanitarian law. At the same time this participation provokes a lot of critical observations of members of international community. The critical observations mainly relate to the correlation between the Council activities and national efforts to restore justice in post-conflict societies and achieve national reconciliation.
The maintenance of the international system of justice in post-conflict societies entails the large financial spending for the UN Member States. This stresses the necessity for seeking new efficient ways to cover financial costs of the bodies of international criminal justice operating under the aegis of the Security Council.
The lessons of functioning international tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda confirm that the transitional justice system must be to a greater extent based on the national foundation. In this context, good examples give the activities of the mixed tribunal for Sierra Leone and truth commissions.
The UN peacekeeping missions are also a key aspect of the UN involvement in establishing the rule of law and rebuilding justice system in conflict and post-conflict societies. The Security Council should focus greater attention on the issues of safety of the personal engaged in these missions. The difficulties of ensuring the due safety of the UN personal prevent from the effective participation in restoring national legal systems and the rule of law in unstable parts of the planet, first of all, in Iraq.
The Republic of Belarus understands the proposed topic for consideration during today’s open meeting of the Security Council rather broader than only matters of justice and the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict societies. The Security Council plays a considerable role in strengthening the rule of law in international relations, mainly, in the area of its primary responsibility - the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Security Council is the principal UN system organ legitimatizing the use of force for settling situations posing a threat to international peace and security as well as the application of coercive measures against States within Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Belarus does not accept any “legal conceptual innovations” aimed at evading or limiting the power of the UN Security Council to authorise the use of military force. It should not be double standards in such an important realm of international law as the law of international security. Double standards lead to the sliding of international community from the heights of the UN Charter enshrining the rule of law in international relations to the positions of rule of force dominated over earlier centuries.
New global challenges appeared in the 21st century. There are among them: international terrorism, translational organized crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, new types of conflicts and others.
The life itself is urging the Security Council to be responsive to these new global challenges. A number of important resolutions on suppressing terrorism and preventing non-state actors from acquiring the weapons of mass destruction, in particular, resolutions 1373(2001) and 1540(2003), have been adopted. These resolutions show that the Security Council has been going beyond the functions of political enforcement body and making an actual impact on setting up norms of international law.
Belarus proceeds from the requirement that the involvement of the Security Council in forming rules of international law can be only justified by exceptional and extraordinary circumstances constituting a threat to international peace and security. It is imperative for the Security Council to become a more democratic and representative organ of the United Nations and ensure the general consent with respect to its norm-making.
We call upon Members of the Security Council for making a comprehensive examination of adopting decisions to define their compliance with provisions of universal treaties and other rules of international law. The inclusion of political elements contradicting international legal rules in force into resolutions is able to challenge the idea of supremacy of law.
The Security Council has broad powers in imposing sanctions according to articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter. These measures are legally binding upon all UN Member States. The history of application of sanctions brought to light some substantial shortcomings regarding their humanitarian aspects and consequences for third States. The elimination of shortcomings of the institution of sanctions on basis of legal approach could promote the better protection of civilians bearing main sufferings as a result of strict and long-time sanction regimes. It could also bring a greater legal certainty into the process of addressing to these coercive measures.
We emphasize the necessity to develop more constructive and detailed cooperation between the Security Council, General Assembly and ECOSOC on the issue of criteria for implementing and lifting sanctions.
To enhance the system of international justice and legal grounds of its own activities the Security Council should encourage States to recourse to the International Court of Justice as well as use the possibilities for requesting advisory opinions on legal aspects of matters under its consideration.
In conclusion, let me express a hope for the continuation of practice of deliberating on issues of the UN role in ensuring the rule of law and strengthening justice in the Security Council at open debates. We suppose that the major emphasis during the consideration of this issue is to be made on the problems of rule of law in international relations and the role of the Security Council in securing this rule.
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