I would first of all like to thank you Madame Chair, the members of the bureau and the Secretariat for all their important work in relation to the 6th Committee’s consideration of the topic of Criminal Accountability. My delegation is extremely grateful for all the background information and statistical information which have been submitted to the member States.
There is a broad consensus in the room that serious crimes committed by UN officials and experts on mission cannot go unpunished. The effectiveness of the UN depends on peoples’ faith in the Organization. Peoples’ trust can only be maintained through an effective implementation of a zero tolerance policy in relation to crimes of a serious nature committed by UN officials. Norway continues to believe that there is a need for the adoption of clear and concrete long-term measures as a response to such crimes.
We are encouraged by the results of the recent work of the General Assembly in this field. First of all we pay tribute to those who participated in the negotiations which led to the adoption in December 2007 of the resolution and the Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.
Furthermore we are content with the resolution that was adopted in the General Assembly under this agenda item last December. Many important elements that are required to successfully combat impunity for UN officials are reflected in that resolution. I will mention a few key achievements in this regard, Madame Chair.
The resolution encourages States to establish their jurisdiction over crimes of a serious nature committed by their nationals while serving as UN officials or experts on mission. This is a fundamental aspect of this exercise – we must avoid a situation where investigations and prosecutions fail because of lack of jurisdiction over the criminal acts in question.
We would also like to echo the resolution’s emphasis on pre-deployment training and awareness raising. The need to combat impunity for crimes that are committed is of course of great importance. But measures taken before hand – which might successfully prevent that crimes are committed is of equal significance. All those who come in contact with the UN have the right to expect that those who serve as United Nations officials and experts on mission have the necessary qualifications and information about core UN values.
The resolution also calls for cooperation and exchange of information between States and between States and the UN. Only through cooperation and the sharing of information will it be possible to conduct effective investigations and, if appropriate, prosecutions for serious crimes. We would hope that the three days that we have at our disposal could be utilized for exchange of views and information, in order to gain a better perspective on what challenges we are faced with and what responses are needed in this area.
In finishing this brief statement Madame Chair, we would like to thank the secretariat for the invitation to member States to report on their implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/63. The invitation was sent out in a letter of 31 December 2007, with a deadline for States’ replies by 1 July 2008. We encourage all member States to respond to the invitation within the said timeframe. Numerous and detailed submissions from States will be of great assistance for the Secretary General when he prepares his report on the implementation of the resolution. And a detailed and accurate report will be extremely beneficial for member States during the General Assembly, when we again will come together to consider this important agenda item.
Thank you Madame Chair
(Check against delivery)