STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. SHINICHI KITAOKA
DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
AT THE OPEN DEBATE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
ON "STRENGTHENING INTERNATIONAL LAW: RULE OF LAW AND THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY"
22 June 2006
International law is the basis for the Security Council to maintain international peace and security. We welcome today's open debate to discuss the role of the Security Council in strengthening this foundation. I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Per Stig Møller, the Foreign Minister of Denmark, for convening and presiding over this important meeting, and to Judge Rosalyn Higgins, the President of the International Court of Justice, and Mr. Nicholas Michel, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, for their thoughtful and enlightening statements.
You have focused our debate on four aspects of the role of the Security Council, namely, the promotion of rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations, ending impunity for international crimes, enhancing the efficiency and credibility of United Nations sanctions regimes, and peaceful settlement of conflicts. These are important issues in which the Security Council has been directly involved and which have seen major development over the past decade. We agree that the Security Council needs to address the way forward on these issues.
Promoting justice and the rule of law means enabling a fragile post-conflict society to avoid further damage from the conflict, and to reconstruct its society and build sustainable peace. In considering assistance to promote the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations, it is essential to secure the support and participation of the people in those situations. To that end, it is necessary that laws be applied in an impartial manner with regard to the socially vulnerable, especially minority groups, women and children. Nor should we overlook the importance of public relations and educational activities.
There is more than one prescription for promoting the rule of law. We believe that compiling a collection of best practices by the United Nations will be of great use in helping the new leaders and their supporters concerned make their judgments regarding the best path to establishing the rule of law.
Ending impunity for international crimes is an indispensable step for constructing a new nation and society. It is particularly crucial that perpetrators of serious crimes be punished and respect for law and order be strengthened. Bearing in mind that the International Criminal Court is conducting full-scale activities, it will be necessary for the Security Council to consider seriously the exit strategies for the tribunals for whose establishment the Security Council has taken decisions, such as the ICTY and the ICTR.
In determining assistance to post-conflict societies, and in the discussions of the newly established Peacebuilding Commission, we hope that the rule of law issues, including ways to end impunity, will be given due regard.
The efficiency of sanctions has increased since the Security Council has adopted targeted sanctions. However, with a greater focus on particular individuals and entities as the targets of sanctions, questions have been raised as to transparency, efficiency and credibility. Some of those targeted have been placed on the sanctions list by mistake and the names of some no longer eligible for sanctions have yet to be removed from the list. My government considers that sanctions can be an effective tool for the maintenance of international peace and security. From this standpoint, we regard that many of the concerns raised can be resolved through conscientious efforts to clarify further the procedures for sanctions, reduce the possibility of evasion of sanctions by those who are true targets and allow the voices of those who have concerns over their inclusion in the sanctions list to reach the relevant sanctions committees. By achieving these elements, we believe the credibility of sanctions regimes implemented by Member States can be improved.
Finally, as political, economic, cultural and other contacts between States and societies continue to grow, it is inevitable that the number of conflicts will increase. What is important, however, is to prevent the escalation of these conflicts and try insofar as possible to resolve conflicts following appropriate legal procedures. This is exactly what the United Nations and in particular the Security Council, in close cooperation with the ICJ and other judicial bodies, have to strive for. From that point of view, it is vital to ensure that law-abiding culture prevails and that international law is equitably applied, no matter what the size of the States concerned.
The Security Council has exerted efforts to establish the rule of law in societies wherein peace has been restored. The Security Council has a mission to continue to pursue that goal. The formulation and application of the international legal order must be strongly supported by the international community. It is important for the Security Council to move forward by making necessary improvements in this regard. My government will also exert its utmost efforts to this end.
Thank you very much.
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