I thank you, Sir, for having organized this open debate on strengthening the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security. We would also like to convey our gratitude to Ms. Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General, and Ms. O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, for their contributions. Ms. O’Brien underscored the scope of the activities of the Organization in strengthening the rule of law. She mentioned in particular the administrative tribunals, which we sometimes forget.
I will address three issues: the strengthening of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations, international justice and the peaceful settlement of disputes, and the efficiency of the sanctions regime. In these three fields, without being too optimistic, the distance covered in the four years since the adoption of the 2006 presidential statement (S/PRST/2006/28) is substantial.
On the strengthening of the rule of law, the promotion of justice and the rule of law enables a weakened country emerging from conflict to rebuild and move towards a lasting peace. Notable progress has been achieved since our last debate, as I just mentioned. The Permanent Representative of Nigeria spoke of the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the fact that provisions regarding the promotion of the rule of law are now systematically included in the specific mandates of peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, such as the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.
The Rule of Law Assistance Unit approved in the 2005 World Summit Outcome (resolution 60/1) and which is backed by the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions is now operational, as was underscored by Ms. Migiro. It devotes special attention to the specific needs of each country and enables us to ensure better coordination of capacities on the ground. This is above all a matter of identifying real needs. At recent meetings in which we participated, we have noted that aid has often focused on fields such as training and the building of infrastructure to the detriment of more complex programmes that are just as essential aimed at ensuring, for example, in the judicial field, the independence and protection of magistrates whom we are training. France welcomes the role played by Ms. Migiro in this effort to identify priorities. We take note of her proposals to further strengthen the coherence of the system.
Turning now to international justice and the peaceful settlement of disputes, France also takes note of progress achieved.
The peaceful settlement of disputes is one of the pillars of the Charter of the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice, as the main judicial body of the United Nations, plays a central role in the maintenance of peace and security.The number of inter-State disputes and requests for opinions by bodies of the United Nations brought before the Court clearly demonstrate its vitality. To rule on matters of law is a vital responsibility that structures the international order; however, as other speakers have said before me, it is just as important to apply this law, and it is to that issue that we must devote our attention in years to come.
The international community has acquired new tools to assist it in its work in preventing and settling disputes. As underscored in the concept note submitted to us by the Mexican presidency (S/2010/322), the fight against the impunity of the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes is an essential aspect of our mission to promote peace and security. To fight against impunity, the international community and the Council can now count on the International Criminal Court, the first standing tribunal mandated to prosecute the perpetrators of the worst crimes when national authorities do not have the will or the capacity to bring such perpetrators to justice.
France has frequently reiterated that we unreservedly support the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and his work, in particular in his prosecutions of crimes committed in Darfur, a situation referred to him by the Security Council. The Security Council deemed that the intervention of an independent, impartial tribunal would contribute to prosecuting crimes in the Sudan. The Court has carried out its work. It is now incumbent upon the Security Council to ensure that its own decisions are respected. At stake is respect for the Charter and for the referring Rome Statute. It is also important that all representatives of the Secretary-General should, as Mr. Ban Ki-moon asked them to do, respect and support the international criminal justice actors within the framework of their missions on the ground, especially when the Court works within the framework of a Security Council resolution adopted on the basis of Chapter VII of the Charter.
As to sanctions and their efficiency, the Council has consistently improved this essential political instrument by specifically targeting individuals and entities that breach embargoes, impede peace processes or are linked to Al-Qaida, as well as individuals responsible for hate crimes or incitement of hatred.
The efficiency of this Council hinges in part on its ability to ensure that States vigorously implement its decisions. That is especially important in the field of the fight against terrorism.
We have noted a loss of trust by a number of States in the mechanisms for de-listing individuals by the sanctions committees. In order to ensure that the United Nations targeted sanctions system remain a transparent tool to effectively fight against threats to peace, France proposed in 2006 the creation of a focal point that would take requests for de-listing and exemptions directly from individuals on the list. A shared focal point was set up. Four years later, pursuant to resolution 1904 (2009), we have moved even further through the appointment of an Ombudsman for the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), responsible for considering de-listing requests made to the Committee and to put Member States’ questions to individuals requesting de-listing. France welcomes the appointment of Judge Kimberly Prost to that post. These developments enable us to better take into account respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism.
Exercising the responsibility to protect, combating impunity and strengthening the effectiveness of sanctions are the missions that France would like to see the Security Council work on more diligently. That is the way we interpret the draft presidential statement that has been circulated by the delegation Mexico, which we support.