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Statement by Ambassador Wu Haitao at the Security Council Open Debate on Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations

2020/02/13

Mr. President,

China welcomes you to New York presiding over this open debate. Thank you, Ms. Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. de Roux, and Ms. Sooka for their briefings.

Some conflict-affected countries and regions are currently faced with arduous tasks of post-war reconstruction. The conflict-ridden people eagerly look forward to an early restoration of their country's rule of law and justice so that they can embark on the road of sustainable development. The United Nations peacebuilding architecture is committed to coordinating the international community's support for the reconstruction of post-conflict countries and has played a positive role in consolidating the fruits of peace and achieving sustainable development in the affected countries. The issue of transitional justice is one of the major areas of peacebuilding and should be taken forward within the framework of peacebuilding and sustaining peace, and its relevant discussions must be strictly limited to in-conflict and post-conflict situations.

First, based on the UN Charter and universally recognized international law, it is imperative to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a given country. There is a need to respect the countries concerned for their effort to take forward transitional justice processes step by step in a manner consistent with their own national conditions, and no models should be imposed from outside, let alone interference in their internal affairs or intervention in their internal contentions. Only by adhering to the principle of sovereignty, can transitional justice efforts be justified, thereby winning the trust of the countries concerned, and playing the role of promoting peace and development.

Second, it is necessary to help the countries concerned enhance capacity building with a focus on the functions of their judicial systems. In the long run, no special measure, interim measure or external measure can substitute a functioning domestic judicial system. After an extended period of turmoil and conflict, the rule of law of a given country must have been seriously affected, and it is generally faced with shortages and challenges in financial, technological and human resources. The international community should reach out to the countries concerned and enhance their capacity building. The Peacebuilding Commission, as a body jointly established by the General Assembly and the Security Council with the advantage of straddling both political security and development areas, has an important role to play.

Third, the nexus between transitional justice and political process, economic development, and social integration should be viewed through the correct lens, and integrated measures should be taken to promote the rule of law and judicial justice. Transitional justice is not just a legal issue. It should serve the interests of achieving lasting peace and stability, economic development and social progress in the country concerned, and it should serve the long-term fundamental interests of local populations. In the process of taking forward transitional justice, security sector reform and DDR should be carried out, and economic and social measures be taken such as poverty eradication and job creation, to promote peace, achieve national reconciliation and eliminate latent threats of conflict.

Mr. President,

The rule of law and justice must be highlighted not only at the national level, but also at the international level. In today's world, many on-going conflicts have remained unresolved for decades, with ever-deepening rift between the parties. It is deplorable. These tough problems often represent the bitter consequences of breaching international consensus and disrupting the international order based on international law. The basic principles of international law, such as adhering to peaceful settlement of international disputes, prohibiting both the threat and the use of force, constitute the core of the UN Charter that underpins the contemporary international order, and as international law obligations that countries must abide by, they embody the authentic meaning of the rule of law at the international level.

At the core of the international collective security architecture, the Security Council must shoulder the lofty responsibility of upholding international law and the basic norms governing international relations. It needs to effectively take forward political settlement, support good offices and mediation, maintain unity and cooperation, and ensure the implementation of relevant resolutions. Only in so doing can we truly prevent and resolve conflicts and avoid creating more differences and divisions. Efforts should be made to enable the people of the world to enjoy the same vision of peace and prosperity, and to facilitate the building of a community with shared future for mankind.

As the late former UN Secretary-General, Mr. Annan, said at the General Assembly in September 2004: "Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it; and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it.”

Thank you, Mr. President.

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