Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan
to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security
19 January 2012
I would like first of all to congratulate H.E. Mr. Baso Sangqu on his assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council and to extend my appreciation for South Africa’s initiative to convene today’s open debate on justice and rule of law. I also take this occasion to wish the newly elected members from Azerbaijan, Morocco, Togo, Pakistan and Guatemala a successful year ahead.
Progress has been made in recent years within the United Nations system in the field of rule of law, including an enhanced focus on women and children, creating greater awareness of the subject. The planned holding of a high-level meeting on the rule of law at the national and international levels during the high-level segment of the General Assembly’s 67th session demonstrates this heightened awareness. In this regard, we welcome the submission of the report by the Secretary-General on the rule of law and transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies and express our hope that today’s debate will help to advance our efforts in strengthening the rule of law, preventing conflicts and building peace.
January marks the one-year anniversary of the historic change occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. Since then, we have witnessed efforts by many countries to reform. The events of 2011 have reminded us that the rule of law is one of the most critical norms in realizing peaceful coexistence.
In other words, this year will be especially important in ensuring that the rule of law, freedom and democracy take root in respective societies. Different countries stand at different phases of change: some are progressing towards the establishment of democratic government through constitutional and electoral processes; some are seeking to create a blueprint for their countries; while the actions of certain governments give rise to serious doubts as to their sincerity regarding reform. It is essential that the Security Council and the international community continue to be seized of the developments in each of these countries and provide necessary assistance.
Efforts to strengthen the rule of law have also been made in every part of the world, including Asia and Africa, and Japan has actively supported such endeavors. In Afghanistan, for example, Japan has contributed a total of 960 million US dollars to build capacity in the security sector since 2001. In Southeast Asia, we have allocated 70 million US dollars to the Khmer Rouge trial in Cambodia as well as dispatching Mr. Motoo Noguchi to serve as an International Judge. I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to the international community for further assistance in order to support this very important trial.
In the UN setting, Japan, as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Working Group on Lessons Learned, held a meeting on security sector reform and the rule of law last October, leading the discussion on linkages between security sector reform and the rule of law as well as the role of capacity-building in rule of law efforts. The need for better coordination on the policy level and among various actors is evident. Japan, working through the PBC, stands ready to continue to seek improvements in the methods of assistance as well as to explore a variety of means to mobilize funds.
The International Criminal Court is indispensable in putting an end to impunity for perpetrators committing most serious crimes. Japan will more actively engage in the work of the Court, and together with other States Parties, strongly support the newly elected President of the Assembly of States Parties, Her Excellency Ambassador Intelmann of Estonia.
It is our hope that these activities will lead to progress in our fight against impunity and to the realization of justice and the strengthening of the rule of law.
On 11 March we commemorate one year since the Great East Japan Earthquake. The fact that the people in the affected areas acted in such an orderly manner, despite the indescribable chaos and sorrow, illustrates that in addition to institution-building, nurturing a law-abiding spirit is also vital in making the rule of law take root in a society. Needless to say, the heartwarming support received from all over the world also played a large role in giving the affected people courage in the face of such adversity, and for that we would like to reiterate our deepest gratitude.
Japan stands ready to support those countries working to rebuild in the aftermath of conflicts and disasters and remains committed to providing assistance in this very important field of the rule of law.