Statement by Ambassador J. Enkhsaikhan,
Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the
United Nations on agenda item 145:
United Nations Decade of International Law
Sixth Committee of the 51st UNGA
New York, 19 November 1996
The Mongolian delegation welcomes the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Decade of International Law, contained in document A/51/278. It is both informative and comprehensive and is, thus, highly valuable for the purposes of dissemination and broader appreciation of international law-one of the major objectives of the Decade.
We were pleased to learn that another objective of the Decade-progressive development and codification of international law-has been a focus of a number of international conferences and bodies, including of the International Conference on Hazardous and Noxious Substances and Limitation of Liability and of the International Labour Organization. Moreover, the important work being carried out by the International Law Commission, the UNCITRAL, by the ICC Prepcom and others are also valuable assets in this regard.
In the new post-cold war period the progressive development and codification of international law require, as never before, a comprehensive approach encompassing political and economic, disarmament and environmental, humanitarian and cultural fields. In this respect my delegation would like to emphasize the importance of the ILC's contribution in producing a draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, the draft articles on State responsibility and on International Liability for Injurious Consequences arising out of Acts not Prohibited by International Law. They could play an important role in codifying specific areas of international law or filling the existing legal lacuna and thus contributing to its progressive codification. I would like to specifically underline the importance of building the framework for a global environmental regime which is rapidly emerging as a new major field of international law. More intensive international cooperation is needed, in our view, for ensuring the return of stolen or illegally exported objects of cultural heritage. We believe that a tangible progress will be recorded in these fields due to the resolve of States and contribution of concerned international agencies.
The Mongolian delegation is gratified with the progress made in having the States accede to multilateral agreements and treaties, making them more universal. Mongolia, for its part, has acceded to 14 multilateral treaties and conventions since the International Law Decade has been launched. They include, inter alia, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction. To them can soon be added the CTBT, which my Government has signed in October and intends to ratify soon. Mongolia is fully aware of the challenges of the next step-their scrupulous implementation-and is fully committed to it.
My country is a party to most of the major international human rights instruments since it is committed to protecting and promoting human rights. It should be noted that the end of the cold war has created favourable conditions for Mongolia to ensure fuller enjoyment of human rights in all sectors of the society. Thus the Mongolian people were able to hold three genuinely free general elections and one presidential election since 1990. The parliamentary elections, which were held last June, saw the State power peacefully transfer to the democratic political forces, ending thus the 75 year one party rule.
As to encouraging the teaching, study, dissemination, and greater appreciation of international law, my delegation notes with satisfaction the multi-faceted activities carried out by the United Nations organs and agencies. Mongolia highly commends the efforts of the Secretariat and, in particular, of the Treaty Section of the of Legal Affairs, for making directly available to Member States in an electronic format the United Nations collection of treaties deposited with the Secretary-General. We also take note with appreciation the report's conclusion that special emphasis needs to be laid on supporting academic and professional institutions already carrying out research and education in international law, as well as on encouraging the establishment of such institutions where they might not exist, particularly in the developing countries.
The Government of Mongolia is undertaking a number of measures aimed at attaining the objectives of the Decade. It has been encouraging state and public institutions to take specific measures in this regard. As a result, teaching of international law is becoming more wide-spread. A number of colleges and universities have either updated their curricula to reflect rapid developments in international law or, in case there were no teaching of the subject, have included specific programmes in their curricula. Moreover, since 1990 a number of books have been published by national lawyers or translated into Mongolian on subjects pertaining to international law. They include publishing of compilations of multilateral human rights treaties and agreements, and of documents in the field of criminal justice. An international law textbook has been written based on Mongolia's own unique history and experience.
The efforts of my Government to disseminate and ensure broader appreciation of international law in this transition period are, however, constrained by the lack of resources and shortage of international law experts. Most of the Mongolian lawyers need re-training and re-orientation in international law theory and practice, for they had been exposed during the past 7 decades to highly politicized legal education, which was far from the mainstream legal requirements. My Government is, therefore, highly interested in receiving fellowships and scholarships for the country's lawyers to deepen their knowledge and experience of modern international law. We take a special interest in this regard in the programmes relating to the teaching, study, dissemination and greater appreciation of international law organized within the framework of the United Nations Decade of International Law by various United Nations bodies, including the UNCITRAL, UNITAR as well as by non-governmental organizations such as the International Bar Association. I would like to take this occasion to make a special mention of one of the national measures planned on the occasion of the Decade, namely the efforts of the Ministry of External Relations to help establish a national library of international law. My delegation will welcome and highly appreciate any assistance by United Nations institutions, member States and NGOs in implementing the project, including donation of international law books, studies, research papers as well as advices on the methodology for its development.
The Mongolian delegation welcomes the initiative of the Russian Federation concerning the convening of a third international peace conference in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of the First International Peace Conference and the end of the present International Law Decade. We believe that the preparation process for the conference will further promote the aims of the Decade. It could contribute to the progressive development of international law, especially in the area where wide legal lacunas still exist. One such area is, as mentioned above, the field of environmental protection and liability for environmental damages caused.
At the last term for the Decade begins, it is important to invigorate international cooperation to implement the goals of the Decade. My Government supports the Programme for the Activities for the Final Term /1997-1999/ of the Decade. It is committed to participating actively in those activities in order to contribute to achieving the aims of the Decade. We believe that at the end of the Decade the world community should be able to conclude that an impressive contribution has been made during the Decade to the progressive development of international law and to the full respect for and observation by the world community of international norms and principles as well as to the universality of international law and to creating favourable legal conditions for justice which constitutes the basis for durable peace.
The end of the cold war is creating a favorable political condition for broadening international cooperation, including for developing and strengthening international cooperation mechanisms. The situation is, for one, becoming auspicious for further promoting the aims of Article 13 /1a/ of UN Charter, which calls on the General Assembly to initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of promoting international cooperation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification. Para 2 of the part III of the Programme for the Activities for the Final Term of the UN Decade of International Law also emphasizes the need to "identify areas of international law which might be ripe for progressive development or codification". In this connection I would like to share my delegation's views regarding an issue of major importance to us all. It relates specifically to the conduct of international negotiations.
International negotiations are the main peaceful instrument of managing inter-state relations. They are the most flexible and hence the most widely used means for promoting international cooperation and resolving inter-state problems. They are rightly considered as both an art and a science. While there are many important treaties and conventions regulating different aspects of diplomatic and consular relations, as well as treaty practices, the rules of conducting international negotiations have not been elaborated, even though everybody would agree that the fundamental principles of international law should form the basis of such rules, like it is the case with other fields. The reasons that principles or rules of conducting international negotiations have not been broadly defined have to do, inter alia , with the mechanism of power politics and, in most part of this century, with the confrontational mentality of the cold war period. With the end of the cold war and thus declining of its inherent zero-sum game mentality, the international community is now able to determine, if not define, the basic rules of conducting international negotiations.
The post World War II period has been witnessing an ever increasing number of participants in world affairs, while the post cold war period-certain democratization of international relations. We believe that international negotaitions have been left for far too long to the customary practice, which at times meant arbitrary interpretation of its principles by the parties, especially the strong and powerful. Negotiating from the position of strength should give way to negotiating to finding truly just and thus durable solutions. It seems that international conditions are now to opportune for defining the common denominator of understanding such rules.Defining such rules of conduct or interpretation of international negotiations will not per guarantee successful or effective negotiations, nor will they necessarily generate political will,which is so important in arriving at common understanding. Nevertheless, they would promote uniform understanding or interpretation of the accepted rules of negotiations, which are essential for arriving at mutual agreement.
Emerging new global challenges and many new problems in inter-state relations demand that the world community deal with them effectively and speedily. Reflecting this necessity, the President of Mongolia stated in his address to the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations: "It is imperative to make the mechanism of pacific settlement of disputes work. This could include, inter alia, the further development and implementation of ground rules that would help ensure that negotiations are conducted solely and exclusively on the basis of goodwill and respect for sovereign and equal rights of all participants, unimpeded by any actions designed to disrupt them or person their atmosphere or attain unilateral concession through pressure. We believe that this is an important issue that deserves due consideration by the General Assembly". This idea of President P. Ochirbat has been further developed when Mongolia's Prime Minister addressed last month the 51st UN General Assembly, stating that the international community should elaborate the guiding principles of conducting international negotiations -the main instrument of bilateral and international diplomacy.
Given the above considerations, my delegation is of the view that a set of ground rules for the conduct of international negotiations could be elaborated by the General Assembly for observance by member States, just as the case was with the Friendly relations declaration of 1970 which is considered as an interpretation of the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. In our view, these rules or guidelines could include , inter alia , the following principles and requirements:
This listing is, of course, not exhaustive. Such set of ground rules for the conduct of international negotiations could be further developed in detail by member States and adopted by recommendations or guidelines.
My delegation is prepared to work with other delegations and other interested parties to elaborate the draft guiding principles or rules of conducting international negotiations and have the General Assembly examine them within the framework of the Decade.