Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
9 November 2011
I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Portugal for its presidency at the Security Council and thank Portugal for holding this Open Debate on ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’. I also thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and the Director for International Law and Cooperation of the ICRC for their briefings.
At the previous Open Debate, the Government of Japan welcomed the effective and timely role played by the Security Council in response to the situations in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire at the time. However, the difficulties surrounding the protection of civilians in conflicts have been further complicated as we have seen in the recent unrest in Syria and Yemen, which have witnessed an increasing number of civilian casualties.
Though the Government of Japan regrets that the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on Syria; it nevertheless welcomes the end of conflict in Libya and stresses that the verification of actions taken during the conflict will be crucial to ensure accountability. The Government of Japan also hopes that the Government of Libya will steadily implement a process to build a democratic state governed by law in cooperation with the United Nations. With regard to Yemen, the Government of Japan welcomes the resolution adopted by the Security Council requesting that attacks against civilians be suspended and human rights and humanitarian law be respected, and looks forward to the close monitoring of the implementation of the resolution
The Security Council is responsible for international peace and security, and its role in the protection of civilians is important. Nonetheless, the Security Council needs to address the issue in a comprehensive manner, and in this regard a collaboration with a wide range of partners, such as the ICC, the Human Rights Council, OHCHR, and other humanitarian agencies and regional organizations, is indispensable. Côte d’Ivoire and Libya are good examples of such a collaboration between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council.
Securing the rule of law and bringing about justice can pave a way for the prevention and expansion of conflict, and it is important for the Security Council to respond promptly and continue to fight against impunity by, for example, referring cases to ICC as appropriate. However, I would like to stress that in order for referrals to ICC to be viable, genuine cooperation from all member states, including the parties to the Rome Statute, is indispensable.
In addition, we should note that there exist other measures to ensure accountability when cooperating with the countries in question, such as dispatching the International Commission of Inquiry through the Human Rights Council as well as the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission based on the First Additional Protocol on the Geneva Conventions.
There exist various mechanisms within the United Nations which contribute to the protection of civilians. The challenge remains to ensure their effectiveness, and the Government of Japan is resolved to continue to make genuine efforts in order for the United Nations to address the issue of the protection of civilians in armed conflict in a comprehensive and effective manner.
Thank you, Mr. President.