STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TSUNEO NISHIDA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY INTERACTIVE THEMATIC DEBATE ON THE RULE OF LAW AND
11 APRIL 2011
At the outset, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, Her Excellency Ms. Christiana Tah, Minister of Justice of Liberia, and His Excellency Dr. Michael Spindelegger, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, as well as the distinguished panelists for their thoughtful and enlightening statements.
The rule of law is one of the most important norms for the peaceful coexistence of human beings. The rule of law, which provides a basis for the peaceful settlement of disputes, is essential for preventing further conflicts. Without the rule of law, sustainable peacebuilding cannot be achieved.
To establish the rule of law, first, the development of a legal system is necessary, as key soft infrastructure, similar to physical and hard infrastructure such as roads, electricity and other networks for socio-economic development. Second, capacity- building is also required, including the human resources development of practitioners who interpret and implement laws, rules and regulations. Once created, however, law is neither complete nor does it function autonomously, any more than other types of infrastructure. It is the responsibility of all of us to constantly re-examine how the law may best be disseminated among and understood and utilized by people. Furthermore, the raison d’etre of law lies in its implementation and in the achievement of compliance. In addition to dissemination and education, the will and the ability of both people and administrators to comply with the law are indispensable.
The rule of law is one of the top priorities of Japan’s foreign policy. Japan has been actively providing assistance to countries around the world toward the establishment of the rule of law. In Afghanistan, for instance, we have been extending assistance to enhance the country’s capability to maintain security through, among other means, police training in Japan and the UNDP Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which amounts to date to approximately 560 million dollars. We have also been implementing various types of projects to help countries, primarily in Asia, to establish and strengthen their legal systems.
Whether it is at the national or the international level, the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law is a global challenge we all are facing. To address this common challenge, we need to bridge any gaps and avoid any duplication in our efforts as well as to utilize the limited resources available effectively and efficiently. In this regard, Japan highly values the establishment of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group and its secretariat, the Rule of Law Unit, under the strong initiative by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as the Group’s coordinating efforts under the distinguished leadership by Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, so as to generate greater synergy effects in the assistances implemented by UN agencies.
In any discussion of the rule of law and conflict situations, “Peace and Justice” is an issue which cannot be sidestepped. Peace and justice are not antinomic, but rather are complementary in the manner of the wheels of a vehicle. On the one hand, without movement towards peace, it is difficult for legal decisions that are necessary in order to realize justice to be made. On the other hand, without the realization of justice, reconciliation cannot be attained, and hence it is difficult for real peace to be achieved. From that point of view, the role of the International Criminal Court, as well as the role of States, based upon the principle of complimentarity, to prosecute and punish crimes under the ICC Rome Statute is especially important. As the largest contributor to the ICC, Japan will continue to actively participate in the discussion on the issue of “Peace and Justice”, and support the Court and its fight against impunity.
Law is the creation of human beings. We can change it when we agree to do so. At the same time, we have committed ourselves to be bound by the law we created, that is to say, we have the responsibility to be ruled by law. Taking this opportunity of discussing the rule of law, we should recall once more that the rule of law is one of the most essential norms for the peaceful coexistence of human beings, and continue to be mindful of its importance every day and in every moment. My delegation wishes that today’s discussion will contribute to the further facilitation of our efforts for the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.