Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti,

Permanent Representative of Brazil

 to the United Nations




Security Council


"The promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the

 maintenance of international peace and security"


29 June 2010




Señor Presidente,


Me complace darle la bienvenida al Consejo de Seguridad y verlo presidir la sesión de hoy. Nos congratulamos con Mexico por la organización de este debate abierto, que trata de tema de gran importancia para la labor cotidiana del Consejo de Seguridad.


I thank the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, for her statement and for her leadership on this issue. I also thank Under-Secretary-General Patricia O’Brien for her very interesting presentation, which reminded us of the many important dimensions of the rule of law, the implications of the increasing trend toward an international rule of law.


Mr. President,


An international system based on legal principles and norms is simply indispensable to ensure lasting peace and security. Outside the boundaries of international law, there can be no justice and friendly relations among States, much less cooperation for the good of the billions of individuals we represent.


Today I will address the three main topics suggested in the concept paper prepared by your delegation for this debate, namely the promotion of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations; international justice and peaceful settlement of disputes; and the efficiency and credibility of sanctions regimes.


Mr. President,


The Security Council, as the organ of the United Nations entrusted with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, is expected to help ensure the effective implementation of international law.


This means first and foremost ensuring the compliance with its own resolutions. It also implies upholding the international law applicable to conflict situations. This is an obligation that the Security Council should strive to consistently fulfill on all issues on the agenda. Our challenge, therefore, is to reconcile the political nature of this body with the imperative to strengthen the rule of law. In fact, there is no opposition between the two goals: in the long-term, the observance of international law serves the interests of all of us.


The need to restore and sustain the rule of law is even more evident in post-conflict situations. In worn-torn societies, fragile national institutions usually hamper the consolidation of the rule of law. It is important that the international community is able to assist national efforts to reestablish state institutions. In the context of such an effort, my delegation greatly values the measures that have been taken to include the perspective of the rule of law in United Nations activities, including the creation of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group as well as the Rule of Law Unit.


Mr. President,


Numerous bodies have worked for the settlement of disputes, thus avoiding the occurrence of possible deadly conflicts. Among them, the International Court of Justice has a particular importance as it adjudicates very sensitive cases and thus contributes significantly to the maintenance of international peace and security.


The International Criminal Court also deserves special mention. It has become a powerful tool against impunity and, therefore, a means of prevention. The deterrent effect is a central part of the work of the Court and probably its most important contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. If leaders and persons vested with authority around the world understand that they are not above international law, they will probably use power in a manner less likely to cause instability and conflict and, therefore, violence.


Furthermore, as the jurisdiction of the Court is complementary to national criminal jurisdictions, States still have the primary responsibility of bringing to justice those responsible for the most serious crimes. This approach has led many States to enact appropriate legislation concerning those crimes, which in turn contributes significantly to the maintenance of international peace and security.


Another positive note on the Court is the important outcome of the first Review Conference of the Rome Statute, in Kampala. The Conference highlighted the strong commitment of the international community to the Court and resulted in a historic agreement on the definition of the crime of aggression and the trigger mechanisms for the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court over one of the most serious crimes. It is our expectation that in 2017 States Parties will agree to activate the agreed mechanisms.


Mr. President,


Sanctions may play a role in efforts to maintain international peace and security. But they should be used sparingly and wisely and never to the detriment of negotiated solutions to differences. As highlighted in the document annexed to Resolution 64/115 of the General Assembly, they should be carefully targeted in support of clear and legitimate objectives and be implemented in ways that balance effectiveness to achieve the desired results against possible adverse consequences, including socio-economic and humanitarian consequences. It is worth reminding that the purpose of sanctions should be to modify the behaviour of the target State, party, individual or entity threatening international peace and security. It must never be an indirect or undeclared means to cause regime change, punish or otherwise exact retribution. The furthest we depart from these concepts, the least legitimacy and effectiveness sanctions will have.


In devising and implementing sanctions regimes, the Security Council should avoid adverse effects for individuals and entities not targeted or third States. When sanctions include measures against certain individuals or entities, listing and delisting procedures need to be clear and fair, and to observe the due process of law. There have recently been important improvements in this regard, especially in the 1267 sanctions regime, related to Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Further efforts will have to be made to ensure the Security Council continues to fully respect fundamental freedoms and human rights.


Mr. President,


We believe the strict observance of international law is closely linked to long-lasting peace and security. Efforts made in that regard merit our unwavering support. We hope they will be sustained and expanded throughout the UN system.


Thank you.