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Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Justice and the Rule of Law


I would like at the outset to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his briefing. On the question of justice and the rule of law, I should like to emphasize the following points.

First, the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles of international law enshrined therein should be upheld. The rule of law in international relations should be strengthened. The Charter and the principles of international law enshrined therein constitute the core of the rule of law in international relations and the bedrock for its development. In the conduct of international relations and international affairs, adherence to the Charter and to other fundamental principles of international law, such as respect for national sovereignty, noninterference in internal affairs and the fulfillment of international obligations in earnest, represents the essence of the promotion of the international rule of law.

Under the Charter, Security Council resolutions constitute an integral part of the international rule of law, whose promotion requires the strict implementation of Council resolutions by Member States. It does not allow for arbitrary distortions or extensive interpretations of the contents of resolutions, even less the option of action beyond the mandate provided in such resolutions.

Secondly, diversity has become the predominant fundamental reality in today’s world. Conflicts are inevitable when countries with different historical and cultural backgrounds, different political, economic and social regimes and varied levels of development endeavor to achieve their aspirations. The rule of law has therefore become a requirement in the achievement of peaceful settlements. Chapter VI of the Charter provides a number of modalities for the peaceful settlement of conflicts, and we support the legitimate right of countries to seek such a peaceful settlement.

Thirdly, the development of the rule of law in countries in conflict or post-conflict situations should be addressed in a comprehensive and holistic manner. The development of the rule of law is pivotal to the achievement of peace and to peace building in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations. However, that is not the only important aspect. In such countries, the effectiveness, sustainability and continuity of the rule of law must be ensured and efforts made to ensure coordination between the rule of law and political processes, economic development and national reconciliation. The sovereignty of those countries must be respected. Efforts must be devoted to their capacity-building, and the specific and unique situation of each country should be respected. Only in this way can efforts to develop the rule of law meet the requirements of such countries.

Fourthly, the relationship between the maintenance of peace and the pursuit of justice must be addressed in an appropriate manner, as there has been increased activity in the field of international criminal justice, and issues relating to peace and justice are receiving increased attention. We condemn all violations of human rights and humanitarian law. We support penalizing those who commit serious international crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. We believe also that peace and justice should facilitate and complement each other. Since peace is a universal value, it represents the fundamental aspiration of all nations. The pursuit of justice should promote rather than interfere with peace processes and facilitate rather than hinder national reconciliation. The problem of impunity can be resolved only in a situation of decreased tensions and political stability.

Fifthly, caution is called for in the meting out of sanctions. We support an improvement of the United Nations sanctions regime on the basis of extensive consultations so as to improve its credibility and procedures and to establish effective monitoring mechanisms, strict criteria and defined timelines.

Sanctions should be carried out only on the basis of facts and evidence. Double standards must be avoided. Impacts on civilian lives and on socio-economic development must be minimized.

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