An international order based on the rule of law is a prerequisite for the peaceful coexistence and cooperation among states. Norway therefore warmly welcomes the initiative by the Mexican Presidency to organise today’s open debate and for preparing our discussion paper. The Security Council has indeed a particular role in promoting international law; both with regard to its own adherence to the rule of law in its daily work and to increasing the notion of adherence to the rule of law in general.
The promotion of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations
The many violations of international humanitarian law over the last few years are of grave concern to us. The lack of protection of civilians in conflict, increased targeting of civilians and the use of sexual violence as a method of warfare, are just a few examples of the serious challenges we face.
In order to provide adequate protection for civilians affected by armed conflicts, it is necessary to have an open and frank discussion on the practical application of international humanitarian law. This discussion should be based on the experiences drawn from the field in recent conflicts. It is Norway’s firm view that assumptions of gross violations of international humanitarian law should always be investigated in a thorough and independent manner to indicate whether there have been any grave breaches.
Norway welcomes the achievements made by the Security Council in developing an increasingly strong protection framework for Children in Armed Conflict, in particular its latest resolution on this issue 1882 (2009). Such a framework is key to the protection of civilians and the promotion and strengthening of rule of law in conflict situations. Still, the lack of decisive action against persistent perpetrators, as well as accountability measures to fight impunity, continues to limit the effectiveness of the work of the United Nations in this field.
Norway is encouraged by the Security Council statement expressing readiness to impose targeted measures against persistent violators of international law by recruiting, sexually abusing, or maiming and killing children in war. We are supportive of the proposals of the Secretary General to include child recruitment and its use in the mandate of all sanctions committees, to improve the flow of information between the working group on children and armed conflict and the sanctions committees, and to invite the SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict to regularly brief the sanctions committees.
Further to this, we would like to acknowledge the crucial contributions of the international criminal tribunals and courts, in upholding justice and the rule of law. Through these institutions, both the UN and the international community have proven their ability to rise to the occasion and prevent impunity in the face of mass atrocities. In that respect we would like to draw the attention to the International Criminal Court and the outstanding arrest warrants in Sudan. We encourage the Security Council to follow up on the recommendations by the Prosecutor in order to ensure compliance with Resolution 1593 (2005).
International criminal tribunals, courts and independent investigations do not substitute, but complement the building of well-functioning domestic justice systems. To prevent a fragile peace from relapsing into conflict, it is important to build and reconstruct the security sector in the aftermath of conflict. Therefore, the Security Council rightly emphasises rule of law mandates in country situations on its agenda, as does the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund in their engagement in post conflict societies.
Impunity is particularly prevalent when women’s rights are being violated in armed conflicts. During conflicts and in their aftermaths, we must ask the crucial questions: Security for whom? And justice for whom? Abuses against women tend to continue unchecked when they are not properly dealt with during peace negotiations and in post-conflict situations. We must continue to enhance women’s opportunities to participate actively in peace processes and in peacebuilding.
To enable the UN to support the re-establishment of national rule of law and accountable and effective security institutions, Norway, strongly supports the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions in DPKO and UNDP’s global Programme on the Rule of Law.
International justice and the peaceful settlement of disputes
We see an obvious need for effective mechanisms for peaceful conflict resolution between states. The International Court of Justice provides an underused opportunity in this regard. Norway has accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court, and we invite all states that have not yet done so to do the same. It is encouraging that the ICJ is now considering a larger number of cases on a broad range of aspects of public international law. The Security Council should strive to help the parties to a dispute to refer it to the ICJ, so that this trend towards greater utilisation of the Court continues.
The efficiency and credibility of sanctions regimes
It is vital that the Security Council itself sets an example by adhering to its own legal foundation; the Charter and international law. In particular it should respect and promote the rights of individuals and basic guarantees of due process. To this end, Norway welcomes the progress achieved in enhancing the transparency and fairness of listing and delisting procedures of the 1267 Committee (Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee). Resolution 1822 introduced the obligation to review all the names on the list and add narrative summaries of reasons for their listing by the end of this month and resolution 1904 that established the Office of the Ombudsperson.
While welcoming this progress, it is paramount that the procedures for listing and delisting are kept under constant review, and that the Council remains open for further procedural improvements in the regime, such as the establishment of an independent review panel.
Now, we first and foremost look forward to that the newly appointed Ombudsperson will take up her function and we will follow her work with great interest.
I thank you.