62nd Session of the General Assembly
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE
ON THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS
AND ON THE STRENGTHENING OF THE ROLE OF THE ORGANIZATION
Statement by João Madureira, Counsellor (Legal Affairs)
Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations
on behalf of the European Union
New York, October 16th 2007
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
The Special Committee continued this year the consideration of the agenda item on international peace and security, notably the question of sanctions.
The EU considers sanctions, applied in accordance with the UN Charter, to be an important tool in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security. On this basis the EU has always participated actively in ongoing discussions relating to the development and review of sanctions regimes, in the UN system and in other fora.
The work of the Special Committee last February focused largely on the matter of basic conditions and standard criteria for the introduction and implementation of sanctions, on the basis of a revised working paper submitted on the issue. This is a long standing item in the agenda of the Special Committee. We recognize that these discussions may have been useful for enriching the sanctions debate within the UN. An issue which, due to its importance, gained in recent years a dynamic of its own in different fora, public and private, with the participation of the international community and academia. In previous statements on this item in the past years we have alluded to this process of reflection to enhance the design, implementation and effectiveness of sanctions, process in which EU Member States have been actively engaged and in some cases even leading important research initiatives aiming at enhancing the effectiveness of sanctions regimes.
Hence, we welcome last year’s accomplishments regarding the question of sanctions: the final report of the Informal Working Group of the SC on General Issues of Sanctions, under the chairmanship of Greece, was endorsed by the SC in Resolution 1732 of 21 December 2006. The SC Committee which had been tasked to develop general recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of UN sanctions concluded that – “for targeted sanctions to be effective, appropriate action must be taken at all decision-making levels: the SC, the sanctions committee, Member States and their administrative agencies. Proper design, implementation, ongoing evaluation and follow-up of sanctions regimes are key elements that contribute to the effectiveness of sanctions.” To achieve these goals, the Committee has listed an impressive range of best practices and methods which in our view will surely contribute to making sanctions better targeted and more effective than ever before.
In addition, the Council has made notable progress on the issue of procedures for listing and de-listing of individuals and entities facing sanctions measures. Pursuant to Resolution 1730, adopted on 19 December 2006, a Focal Point for De-listing has been established within the Secretariat to receive de-listing requests. The procedure detailed in the annex to that resolution is valid for all sanctions committees. Petitioners can now submit de-listing requests either through this focal point process or through their State of residence or citizenship.
With respect to the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, Resolution 1735, adopted on 22 December 2006, has introduced further important steps in the ongoing process of rendering these procedures more predictable, transparent and ultimately, fair. In particular, more guidance has been provided to States proposing names for inclusion on the Consolidated List, including on what details should be provided in the statement of case as well as on the standard cover sheet approved by the 1267 Committee in July 2006 and annexed to the resolution.
All these developments show that concerns about the conditions and criteria for the introduction and implementation of sanctions have been taken up and addressed by the SC. In our view the Special Committee should take all these developments into consideration when pondering on the orientation and usefulness of its future work on this issue.
Another matter pertaining to sanctions in the agenda of the Special Committee concerns the question of the assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions. In this context, we would note that, as confirmed by the SG report concerning this matter (A/62/206), for the past five years, no sanction committee has been approached by any member Sate concerning special economic problems arising from the imposition of sanctions by the SC to another State. This is so - we would agree with the SG in his report - mainly because all the existing Council’s sanctions regimes are now targeted by nature, and unintended consequences for civilian population and third Sates are thereby minimized. This matter seems therefore to become less and less relevant as the methods adopted by the SC and its committees to calibrate and target sanctions are increasingly being successful in avoiding unintended effects on third parties.
The EU welcomes the fact that the Special Committee concluded its work on the Fundamentals of the legal basis for the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the context of chapter VI of the UN Charter.
The European Union notes with appreciation the progress made by the SG in preparing the studies of the Repertory of Practice of the United Nations Organs, as well as updating the Repertoire of the practice of the Security Council. The EU encourages the efforts to further strengthen the use of the UN internship programme, and to expand the cooperation with academic institutions, which have proved to be useful to help the Secretariat in the preparation of the publications. The EU particularly supports the efforts towards making early available these publications in the website. The EU recalls the two trust funds established to facilitate the preparation of the publications and expresses appreciation to those Sates that have contributed to the Trust Funds or sponsored on a voluntary basis, and with no cost to the UN, of associate experts to assist in the updating of the publications. The EU encourages similar contributions by other Member States.
The EU has, as you will recall, always been in favor of improving the methods of work of the Committee, and has welcomed the adoption of the working paper at last year. The progress made therein, however, was limited, and the EU would have favored more vigorous steps. We on our part are certainly ready to continue on a priority basis that exercise and to carefully consider any new proposal in that regard.
The key for a meaningful work of the Committee, however, lies only in part in the rules and procedures it has agreed to follow. As some of the issues before us have been lingering on our agenda for quite some time now we think that we need to take a fresh look at the issues on the agenda. In our view we should continue to work in those areas where agreement is possible and results can be achieved, avoiding duplication vis a vis the work undertaken by other UN bodies and decide to reconsider or discontinue those questions where, over the years, no progress could be achieved or there is a risk of duplicating the work undertaken elsewhere.
At the moment we would therefore express some caution concerning the inclusion of new items on the Special Committee’s agenda.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.