|Statement by Ms. Guo Xiaomei, Counsellor and Legal Adviser of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, at the Sixth Committee of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly|
Statement by Ms. Guo Xiaomei
Counsellor and Legal Adviser of the Chinese Mission
to the United Nations
At the Sixth Committee
of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly
On Item 83
The rule of law at the national and international levels
New York, 14 October 2009
The 63rd session of the GA decided to invite member states to focus their comments at the debate of Sixth Committee this year on the following sub-topic: “promoting the rule of law at the international level”. This reflects the great importance attached by GA to the issue of the rule of law at the international level. Such a debate is of positive significance for strengthening exchanges of views, expanding consensus and enhancing cooperation among countries on this issue.
Rule of law at the international level is an important symbol of human civilization and progress. Advancing rule of law at the international level is conducive to safeguarding world peace, promoting common development, and building a harmonious world. In our view, the rule of law at the international level consists of two core elements, the first being full and faithful implementation of the rules of international law, which is a requirement in terms of form; the second being the preservation of the overall interests of the international community, which represents the value orientation. Advancement of the rule of law at the international level entails work involving both elements, so efforts in these two aspects will be mutually reinforcing.
Full and faithful implementation of the rules of international law calls for the respect for and implementation of the principle of “pacta sunt servanta” (treaties must be obeyed) by all states. This principle stems from customary international law and has been confirmed by numerous international treaties and legal precedents. The UN Charter in its preamble solemnly declares that “We the peoples of the United Nations determined ... to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. Under the principle of “pacta sunt servanta”, parties should fulfill their treaty obligations in good faith and refrain from selective application of treaty provisions or unilateral interpretation of the treaty in their own favor. By the same token, parties must not abuse their treaty rights, or by any act compromise the purposes and objectives of the treaty. The principle of “pacta sunt servanta” is binding and any state that violates its treaty obligations must face consequent international responsibilities. No state should acquiesce in or allow acts that violate treaty obligations.
In order to safeguard the overall interests of humankind, the international community should give priority attention to and properly address the following issues:
(1) safeguard the authority of the UN Charter and abide by its purposes and principles;
(2) properly handle the relationship between the common interests of mankind and the interests of individual state, uphold the values of cooperation and benefit-sharing;
(3) promote universal participation by states on an equal footing in international legislative processes, and ensure that international legal instruments reflect the interests and concerns of all states in a balanced manner;
(4) promote the democratization of international relations, and encourage the settlement of international issues through equal consultations on the basis of international law.
The promotion of the rule of law at the international level is the common responsibility of the international community. China firmly believes that a sound rule of law at the international level is in line with the common aspiration of the people of all states for peace, development, and cooperation. My government stands ready to work together with others to make unremitting efforts to promote the rule of law at the international level and build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.