Norway attaches great importance to the issue of criminal accountability of United Nations Officials and Experts on Mission, and I am therefore grateful for this opportunity to express the Norwegian delegation’s views on this matter.
Let me start off by making a blunt observation –serious crimes cannot go unpunished.
This phrase is much more than a slogan; it has been a guiding principle for the UN for a number of years. The principle of no impunity for grave crimes is general in nature and should apply to all serious crimes regardless of the circumstances. Experience shows that impunity can foster anger, suspicion and mistrust. We believe that the effectiveness of the UN’s functions and mandate depends precisely on people’s trust and belief in the Organisation. That is why it is vital to establish and safeguard faith in effective remedies to guarantee access to justice, including for victims of grave crimes. We therefore wholeheartedly support the UN zero-tolerance policy towards crimes committed by its officials.
The policy of zero-tolerance is an indispensable part of the Organisation’s management principles. In order to successfully combat impunity for serious crimes, we believe it is necessary to adopt and implement both short-term and long-term measures.
The previous discussions under this agenda item have proved that there is a need for member states to extend their criminal jurisdiction to serious crimes committed by their nationals serving as members of a UN mission. This was also confirmed in last year’s General Assembly resolution (GA/62/63). We note from the Secretary General’s report that there still might be room for improvements in this area, and we would urge all States to consider extending their criminal jurisdiction over their nationals who serve as UN officials abroad. We also urge all States that haven’t done so already to provide information in relation to their relevant legislation.
Moreover, Norway is convinced that in order to effectively respond to the challenges we face in relation to crimes committed by UN officials, we need to strengthen the cooperation both between member States and between member States and the Organisation. Our assessment at this point in time is that enhanced cooperation and information sharing can best be achieved through the establishment of an internationally binding legal framework.
Mr Chairman, Norway believes that last year’s General Assembly resolution was a significant contribution to reaching our common goal. We do believe, however, that there could be room for further strengthening of the resolution, including the development of more specific guidance to member States and to the Organisation. We look forward to the coming discussions and to hearing the other delegations’ views and positions so that we collectively can bring forward the work under this agenda item.