Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations on Agenda Item 85: The Rule of Law at National and International Levels (New York, 9 October 2013)

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We thank the United Nations Secretary-General for his report on ‘strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities’.

In statement, I will focus our comments on “the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of international disputes” .

Mr. Chairman,

Last year was a watershed for the promotion of rule of law at the international level. A high level meeting of the General Assembly adopted a seminal Declaration on the rule of law.

Member states rightly declared that the rule of law was " an indispensable foundation for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world." There is an inextricable correlation between the rule of law and the United Nations' three pillars - peace and security, human rights and development.

Now the rule of law will become an intrinsic part of the post-2015 development agenda.

The United Nations is becoming the ultimate lawgiver and lawmaker for diverse international fields. We are grateful to the Secretary General for collating the laws adopted or upgraded in the past year covering economic, social and cultural rights, electronic communication in international contracts, arms trade, international trade.

There have been fresh accessions to the existing conventions which cover corruption, trafficking in persons, and stateless persons, among others.

Mr. Chairman,

The use of international judicial institutions should be supported for the pacific settlement of disputes as enshrined the United Nations Charter. The peaceful settlement of disputes should be promoted by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and other means as enshrined in Article 33 of the Charter. The international judicial institutions need to be strengthened for adherence to the principles of international law.

The Security Council should make the best possible use of the International Court of Justice. In so doing, we should utilize the full potential of the Court for settlement of disputes. The Security Council needs to request advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice whenever it is faced with issues of legal intricacy. The Council can make better use of Article 36 of the Charter by referring parties to a conflict to the ICJ.

Frequent recourse to international adjudicative mechanisms by Member States for peaceful settlement of disputes would promote the rule of law. We commend the work of the UN-established courts and tribunals for promoting accountability and fighting impunity in the relevant situations.

Situations posing a threat to international peace and security are dealt by the United Nations, especially by the Security Council, in line with the purposes and principles of the Charter.

Long-standing disputes and situations await just and durable solutions. Such solutions in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions will do more to uphold “Rule of Law” than rhetoric and posturing.

The United Nations should invest time and energy to address unresolved and festering disputes on its agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

The Charter, international law and justice, and a rule-based international system should underpin a just world order. In this regard, some fundamentals are sacrosanct; and some basic principles are cardinal. These include sovereign equality, settlement of disputes by peaceful means, the conduct of international relations without threat or use of force, the right to self-determination of peoples which remain under colonial domination and foreign occupation, and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.

The Security Council should lead by example in upholding and promoting the rule of law. The use of Article 39 of the Charter to determine the existence of any threat to peace or breach of peace must be made by the Security Council in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter as stipulated in paragraph 2 of Article 24.

And the use of force should be consistent with the Charter’s principles relating to collective security.

The resolutions and decisions of the Security Council must be implemented uniformly and without discrimination, irrespective of their adoption under Chapter VI or Chapter VII.

It is evident that selectivity in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions creates an environment that makes it difficult to resolve conflicts or strengthen rule of law.

The choice between invocation of Chapters VI, VII and VIII should be made very carefully and prudently.

Measures taken under all these chapters are enforceable. However, in most of the cases resort to Chapter VI may be more salutary and productive, especially for the full continuum of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building.

We agree that all provisions under Chapter VII are not about the use of force and therefore this Chapter should be invoked as a last resort and in a graduated manner to ensure compliance.

The rule of law, backed by the United Nations, erects barriers against the abhorrent war crimes, genocide, and crime against humanity. The rule of law attacks impunity and reinforces accountability. We underscore the importance of international criminal justice system as a whole, which must be built on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and respect for state sovereignty.

We also need to work harder to end impunity for financial crimes.

The international community should strengthen and improve cooperative mechanisms to ensure that plundered money or other assets and resources acquired through corruption and other unlawful means are repatriated to the countries of origin.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan supports the continuation of reform in procedures of the Security Council Committees to ensure due process and effective remedy in the implementation of sanctions regimes. In this context, we appreciate the work of the Ombudsperson relating to the work of the 1989 (Al-Qaida) Committee.

The UN peacekeeping has served as an important tool in restoring peace and normalcy and promoting rule of law in various conflict affected areas of the world.

Pakistan is proud of its contribution to this endeavor as one of the leading and most consistent contributors to UN peacekeeping over the decades. We are also playing our role in the UN’s efforts in post-conflict peace-building.

The need for consistency between national laws and international obligations makes rule of law at the international and national levels complementary to each other. All those nations which affirm the rule of law as a priority at national level must also respect it beyond their borders.

International Humanitarian Law is the guiding norm in all situations of armed conflict. The Security Council must continue to demand its full compliance by all parties to mitigate the appalling consequences of armed conflicts.

We condemn all instances of cross border recruitment of children by armed groups and terrorists, wherever and whenever they take place.

Thank you