Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, at the Security Council’s Open Debate on the Promotion and Strengthening of the Rule of Law in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Peace and Justice with a special focus on the role of the International Criminal Court (New York, 17 October 2012)

Mr. President,

We are grateful to the Guatemalan presidency for organizing this debate and you, Mr. Foreign Minister, for presiding over this session.

We thank the Secretary General for his important statement. We welcome Judge Song Sang-Hyun, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Mr. Mocho Choko from the Office of the Prosecutor.

The quest for justice and rule of law has been central to the march of civilization. The rule of law is critical for a just world and international peace and stability.

International law contributes directly to the world peace. The rule of law is strengthened if there are no exceptions or double standards in the application of international law. The Security Council promotes rule of law by greater use of the means for pacific settlement of disputes and more frequent recourse to the International Court of Justice.

Mr. President,

There should be no impunity for the most egregious crimes and mass atrocities. Peace and justice go hand in hand. In post-conflict situations, there is, however, a time for healing, a time for moving on, a time for closure, and a time for reconciliation – reconciliation that is not motivated by political expediencies but one which aims to unify hostile and disparate segments of population.

Every conflict situation has its own dynamics. Durable peace is best pursued through a comprehensive approach which is not restricted to retributive justice. In post-conflict societies, it should take into account long-term imperatives of national reconciliation, ethnic harmony and social stability. Rule of law needs to be integrated into post-conflict institution-building efforts. The United Nations Secretary-General has done seminal work in this regard.

Mr. President,

The tension between demands for justice and peace must be resolved in a balanced and sustainable manner. Threats of prosecutions can act as a deterrent; at the same time such things must not fuel conflicts or complicate peace building efforts. Other strategies such as truth and reconciliation commissions have also been used effectively in many situations. Views of the regional organizations should be given due weight in this regard.

Justice should not be reduced to punishment. It should recognize injury, establish truth, acknowledge victims’ dignity, and preserve their narrative in collective memory. From this perspective, restorative justice is preferable because it heals wounds and promotes societal reconciliation. Restorative justice is more effective when it is neither externally imposed nor culturally alien.

Mr. President,

The principle of complementarity and the need to strengthen domestic judicial systems are important. The ICC is a court of last resort. The primacy of national jurisdiction has to be respected. Where national criminal justice systems are not robust, reforms of judicial systems, prisons, and security apparatus may be undertaken. The objective of ending impunity must be attained by strengthening local courts, enhancing investigative capacity of national police, establishing forensic laboratories, supporting local prosecutors and improving conditions in prisons.

Mr. President,

Since its existence, only a few situations, mostly from one part of the world, have been referred to the ICC. The 2004 Agreement spells out the parameters of the relationship between the ICC and the UN. At this stage, more diligent scrutiny of empirical and accumulated evidence is required to assess the contribution of the ICC in relation to the work of the Security Council and the correlation between the two bodies.

Today’s discussion will deepen our understanding of the role of the ICC and its relationship with the United Nations, especially with the Security Council. We support the role of the Security Council and international judicial system to foster a culture of rule of law in order to promote international peace and security.

I thank you Mr. President.