SC: Rule of law

1/20/2012 // Norway's Permanent Representative to the UN Morten Wetland presented Norway’s statement in the Security Council on Thursday the 19th of January, 2012. The debate focused on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Security Council has a particular role to play in promoting international law, both by observing it, by adhering to it, and by promoting it.

I would like to make a few brief points in this timely debate on justice and the rule of law.

First, on the need to fight impunity

Norway remains a strong supporter of efforts to curb impunity for international crimes. Over the last few decades, one of the most significant developments in international law, and in international relations in general, is the establishment of the international criminal tribunals. The most prominent of these is, of course, the International Criminal Court. We are encouraged to note that the number of States Parties to the Rome Statute continues to grow. More and more states consider the Court to be an important tool in maintaining international peace and justice. However, we remain concerned over reports, as well as judicial findings of the Court itself, that give clear evidence of failures to deliver mandatory cooperation with the ICC in the Darfur situation. We therefore continue to encourage the Security Council to assess and adopt measures that help to ensure compliance with Resolution 1593 (2005), which referred the Darfur situation to the Court.

It goes without saying that international courts can only deal with a tiny fraction of all cases of serious crime. Efforts to fight impunity must therefore first and foremost be rooted at the national level. In an increasingly globalised world, the successful prosecution of a criminal case frequently requires the legal cooperation of several states. States should establish and exercise jurisdiction over transnational criminal acts so that those suspected of such crimes cannot evade legal proceedings.

It is contrary to the rule of law and creates a profound sense of injustice when a person suspected of a serious crime is perceived as being granted impunity – outside the reach of a competent criminal prosecution. All States must abide by their obligation either to carry out a prosecution themselves or extradite the accused to another jurisdiction that is willing to do so.

And this must apply irrespective of personal background or family connections or wealth. There are still countries which uphold the best criminal justice systems that money can buy. They have a name and they have shame.

Second, on the efficiency and credibility of sanctions regimes

Norway welcomes the progress made in enhancing the transparency and fairness of listing and delisting procedures. It is clear from the number of delisting requests she has received, and the number of persons and entities removed from the list, that there is a genuine need for the Ombudsperson’s mandate. In our view, the procedures for listing and delisting should be kept under constant review, and the Council should remain open to further procedural improvements in the regime, such as the establishment of an independent review panel.

Third, on promotion of women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict situations

There can be no democracy without the participation of all citizens, and there can be no rule of law unless the laws apply equally for all. The women in the Arab spring have impressed us. Across the region, women have been present and vocal in the protest movements.  Yet, they are now facing exclusion from political processes, from constitution building and legal reform. This is of course unacceptable.

The UN must uphold universal values and call for the inclusion of women in government in transition and constitution-making. Through the political mission in Libya, the UN is well placed to be proactive in implementing its responsibilities under the 1325 agenda. Modern constitutions that do not provide for equal rights and opportunities for men and women are not modern constitutions.


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