2003 Statement


H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi

Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on "Justice

and Rule of Law: The United Nations Role"

30 September 2003

Mr. President,

Article one of the United Nations Charter provides that one of the purposes of the United Nations is to bring about settlement of international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law. After fifty-eight years, this purpose is still a very important one for this organization. Indeed, the role played by the United Nations is all the more important, now that there is an increasing need to address a variety of international problems that transcend national borders, as globalization advances.

In the international community, where there is as yet no integrated government, no legislative or judicial organ with compulsory authorities exists. Treaties require the consent of participating states to become binding. International courts also need general or specific agreement by the parties for disputes to be referred to them.

However, States tend to hesitate before making themselves subject to legally-binding agreements and decisions that restrict their latitude on many issues, including such issues as the environment, human rights, trade and investment, which are complex and of grave importance to their national interest.

In the present international community, establishing the rule of law, while important, is not an easy task. It is essential, therefore, to create first of all a framework for agreements in which as many states as possible would participate. Merely pursuing ideals will not produce effective results if the participating countries are limited in number. In this sense, the law-making function of the United Nations system, under which, with its most universal membership, extensive discussion is fully conducted in such a manner as to garner members' understanding, is extremely important. In addition, the Security Council is authorized by Article 25 of the UN Charter to make legally-binding decisions in the area of maintenance of international peace and security. Particularly in the post-Cold War era, the Council is making increasing numbers of critical decisions.

Mr. President,

The Government of Japan attaches great importance to the United Nations role in this area. In this context, we welcome the initiative of the British Presidency this month to place this issue on the agenda of the Security Council. I would like to take this opportunity to touch upon the views of my Government regarding some of the recent developments related to this subject.

Firstly, as regards developments in international criminal justice, it is unjust to allow those who have committed serious crimes to go unpunished, and such inaction renders the society and the state corrupt. When the society or state by itself cannot bring such criminals to justice, it is important for the international community to take on the responsibility and contribute to the creation of a post-conflict order and a base for economic and social development, as well as to the realization of universal justice. It is also in the interest of the international community, as it will serve to deter similar crimes in the future.

In the 90's, the Security Council established two international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, respectively. This represented a great advance in the development of international criminal justice. The Special Court for Sierra Leone was also established, based on a request by the Security Council. Japan supports such a role for the Security Council. We share, however, the concern expressed by Foreign Secretary Straw in the meeting last week that the ICTY and ICTR are proceeding slowly and at considerable financial cost. We request that the Security Council conduct rigorous monitoring, so that these courts will conduct the trials efficiently and complete their mandates expeditiously.

The United Nations should also make an important contribution to the Khmer Rouge trials. The Government of Japan has put forth initiatives, together with France, for the adoption of the relevant resolutions in the General Assembly. We would hope that the court will begin its activities without delay and thereby contribute to the realization of justice in Cambodia.

It may be said that the most important recent development in international criminal justice is the birth of the International Criminal Court. The Government of Japan has consistently supported establishment of the ICC, and welcomed it when the Rome Statute came into force. In order for the ICC to achieve effectiveness and universality, it is necessary that a large number of countries be able to regard the court as their own. We therefore consider it crucial that the ICC meet the expectations of as many countries as possible in conducting its activities.

Secondly, there is the task of combatting terrorism and ensuring the safety of United Nations and associated personnel. The eradication of terrorism is a challenge of the international community as a whole. The United Nations is playing an important role through its adoption of international conventions and protocols to ensure that terrorists are brought to justice and the measures it has taken to prevent terrorism.

The international community was shocked by the terrorist attack on UN Headquarters in Baghdad, which caused so many casualties. We welcome Resolution 1502, adopted by the Security Council after the attack, as an important step for the protection of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and its associated personnel. We consider it necessary to conduct further discussion on this matter, including in our deliberations the expansion of the scope of protection, under a clear definition, of the existing Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.

Third and lastly, placing importance on justice and the rule of law is an essential element in promoting human security and furthering economic and social development. Where no justice and no rule of law exist, frustration and bitterness will accumulate, and the society that is supposed to be united for development will instead become fragmented and divided, and descend into a vicious circle of conflict and poverty.

In this context, assistance from the international community for legal system-building in post-conflict periods is critically important, because it will contribute to the establishment of the rule of law and the prevention of future conflict as well as to the creation of a base upon which to promote nation-building and development. It is from this point of view that the Government of Japan has been extending assistance of various kinds to Cambodia, Timor-Leste and other countries in areas such as formulation of basic laws and development of human resources for judicial institutions. We are also encouraged to see that contributions in this area have been strengthened in the Peace Operations of the United Nations. Moreover, the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute (UNAFEI), which was established by agreement between the UN and Japan, has been contributing for 40 years to capacity building in crime prevention and criminal justice by conducting activities that include the training of experts in the Asia-Pacific countries. We would like to request that the report to be provided by the Secretary-General on today's discussion include an evaluation of the assistance provided to date by UN organs including the Security Council and by member states, respectively, and recommendations regarding the kinds of assistance that might be provided in the future.

Mr. President,

Justice and the rule of law are principles which constitute an important pillar in almost all United Nations activities, beginning with the maintenance of international peace and security. In this sense, justice and the rule of law are an essential element to keep in mind when we discuss the wide range of issues taken up at the UN. I hope that today's meeting and that held on the 24th of this month will provide guidance for the future work of the United Nations, and look forward to the report of the Secretary-General.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.