23 October 2014 - Security Council - Security Council working methods - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I would like to warmly thank Argentina for organizing this debate on an amibitious set of topics, and the two speakers — Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and Ms. Kimberly Prost, Ombudsperson of the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities — whose mandates and interaction with the Council are among those that best reflect recent developments within the Security Council in the direction of greater transparency, accountability and consideration of issues related to human rights.
We are of the view, in 2014, that the Prosecutor and the Ombudsperson have become integral parts of the institutional landscape of the Council, yet we must recall that this is a very recent development. I wish to touch on three points: the results of our work within the framework of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions; the need for the Council to drag itself into the twenty-first century, an era of accountability, by setting up a follow-up mechanism for its relations with the ICC; and updating the sanctions regimes.
First, concerning methods of work, I would like to begin by commending the assessment made by the Argentine chairmanship of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions regarding methods and substance. Those are not mere words. The Security Council is master of its procedures, yet it must not cease to work towards greater effectiveness in its tasks. From that point of view, the Working Group under the chairmanship of Argentina has fulfilled its role over the past two years.
In 2013, we welcomed the adoption of two presidential notes regarding dialogue with troop-contributing countries (S/2013/630), on the one hand, and interaction with Council non-member States (S/2013/515), on the other. This year, presidential notes S/2014/268, on the penholders of resolutions and other documents of the Council, and S/2014/393, on the chairmanship of subsidiary bodies, are steps in the right direction. I recall that all members of the Council are called upon to shoulder their responsibilities. We support opening up the Council to speakers who can inform us of mass crimes, such as Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.
We support the efforts of the Argentine presidency regarding multilingualism. Among the members of the Security Council, if I am counting correctly, there are at least eight of us expressing ourselves in a language other than English. That is a strong symbol of the diversity of the Council, which reflects the very diversity of the States Members of the United Nations. We count on the ongoing, sustained, strengthened and stepped-up commitment and the support of the Secretariat to take all the necessary measures to ensure that multilingualism, which is our common wealth, remains a reality. I recall that there are two working languages for the Secretariat and six official languages at the United Nations.
The importance we attach to the issue of working methods does not mean that we can sidestep bold reforms of the Council so as to ensure that it better reflects, in a fairer way, the realities of today’s world, while strengthening its ability to fully assume its responsibilities in terms of the maintenance of international peace and security.
Secondly, on issues of international criminal justice, I endorse all the observations made by Prosecutor Bensouda. We commend Argentina and the members of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group, who introduced this topic as one of method. They were right to do so. We have entered into what the Secretary-General has referred to as an era of accountability, in which the Council, with its role of maintaining peace, coexists alongside a system of international criminal justice, centred around the International Criminal Court — a permanent, universal body complementing national courts.
We interact on a daily basis. The Council, with its role in preventing crises, ensures the fight against impunity, which is one of the basic missions of the Court. At the level of conflict settlement, the Court must not wait for armed conflicts to end before opening investigations. At the post-conflict level, the Council seeks to strengthen national jurisdictions to enable them to take over from the ICC in prosecuting the most serious crimes, in keeping with the principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statue. That interaction between the Council and the ICC must of course lead us to revise our working methods and to strengthen the Council’s follow-up of decisions related to the ICC, including on essential issues, such as arrests. We support an effective follow-up mechanism, which could be a subsidiary body of the Council.
Thirdly, we must consider the timeliness and effectiveness of the sanctions regime. Sanctions, as we all know, are an essential tool for the Security Council in carrying out its responsibilities in terms of maintaining international peace and security, and we should welcome the improvements made in recent years with this tool. Sanctions are now targeted and procedural safeguards have been put in place. We attach great importance, in particular, to the use of sanctions within the framework of combating terrorism. We have seen that recently with the imposition of sanctions under Al-Qaida regime against two entities and more than a dozen individuals involved in supplying foreign fighters. If the fight against Al-Qaida, and now Daesh, is to progress, we must clearly remain vigilant in regard to the implementation of those sanctions.
It is also crucial to respect the fundamental freedoms of individuals inscribed on the sanctions list and to ensure that sanctions regimes include appropriate procedural safeguards. It behooves us to note that just as each crisis is unique, each sanctions regime is different, and the needs in terms of procedural safeguards are also different. In 2006, France launched the initiative of creating a focal point that would enable individuals and entities inscribed on the Committees’ lists to request delisting. The adoption of resolution 1904 (2009) allowed us to go further with the creation of the post of Ombudsperon to clarify all information provided by the petitioners, which is an essential aid to the Committee in the framework of its decision-making. The subsequent resolutions have improved procedural safeguards by strengthening the role of the Ombudsperson. I take this opportunity to commend the outstanding quality of work carried out by the Ombudsperson within the framework of the Al-Qaida Committee. She enjoys France’s full confidence.
In conclusion, I wish to return to a priority issue for French authorities. Three times, the Syrian crisis has highlighted an impasse in which the Security Council has found itself when faced with the excessive use of the right of veto. Two years ago, the President of Republic, Mr. François Hollande, spoke to the General Assembly (see A/67/PV.4) of the need to establish a code of conduct for permanent members of the Council to limit the right of veto. During the ministerial week of the General Assembly, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Laurent Fabius, and his Mexican counterpart convened their peers to discuss our project to persuade the five permanent members of the Security Council to collectively and voluntarily suspend their use of the veto when a situation of mass crimes was under consideration. We need to reflect together on the nature and content of that project, but we will not abandon it. The other permanent members need to commit themselves.
The Security Council must seize the opportunity to make an in-depth review of the way it functions to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The world is changing. Threats are evolving. We must be the willing actors of that change. We must demonstrate upon the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of our Organization that we are capable of innovation to be both more effective and more fair.