63th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sixth Committee Speech delivered by Mr. Hubert Renié, First Counsellor, Legal Advisor
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
At its meeting in February 2008, the work of the Special Committee focused largely on the matter of basic conditions and standard criteria for the introduction and implementation of sanctions, on the basis of a revised working paper submitted by the Russian Federation. We welcome the useful discussions in the study of this proposal. We believe that this text should be further improved and that its completion can not be included as such in the mandate of the Committee for the upcoming session.
In past years the EU has been actively engaged in this process of reflection with the aim of enhancing the design, implementation and effectiveness of sanctions.
The European Union remains convinced that sanctions, applied in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, are an important tool for the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security. This has been unequivocally recognized by the World Summit in 2005. To be credible and effective, they must be targeted carefully and take into account applicable rights of due process for the individuals concerned and the need to minimize their adverse consequences on third parties. They should also be implemented and monitored effectively and periodically reviewed in order not to be applied longer than necessary.
In this context, the European Union welcomes the important progress already achieved in the various United Nations fora.
In particular, we would like to welcome the final report of the Informal Working Group of the Security Council on General Issues of Sanctions, under the chairmanship of Greece, which was endorsed by the Security Council in Resolution 1732 of 21 December 2006. The report led to the establishment of an impressive list of best practices and methods which in our view will undoubtedly contribute to making sanctions better targeted and more effective.
Important progress has been made by the Security Council, in particular regarding the listing and de-listing process on the sanctions list and the granting of exemptions. By resolution 1730, adopted on 19 December 2006, a focal point and a de-listing procedure, valid for all sanctions Committees, have been established. Further significant procedural improvements in the process of listing and delisting were included in resolution 1822 of 30 June 2008, including a requirement for mandatory provision of statements of case for new listings, a review of the entire list over the next two years and the posting on the Sanctions Committee’s website of narrative summaries of reasons for listing of all names on the list. In addition, the EU would like to recall that the system for the granting of exemptions for basic and extraordinary expenses under resolutions 1452 (2002) and 1735 (2006) is designed to enable humanitarian payments to those on the list.
The discussions of the Special Committee’s should continue on the development of sanctions regimes,
while taking these progress into account. It is particularly important that the procedures for listing and de-listing are fair and clear.
The question of assistance to third States affected by sanctions was also studied by the Special Committee. As confirmed by the Secretary General report concerning this matter (A/63/224), for the past six years, no sanction Committee has been approached by any member State concerning special economic problems arising from the imposition of sanctions by the Security Council to another State. This is so mainly because these sanctions are no longer comprehensive economic sanctions, thus minimizing their adverse effects on civilian populations and third States. Therefore, we believe that studying the question of assistance to third States affected by sanctions by the Special Committee is no longer relevant and could be removed from its agenda.
We also welcome the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to clear the delay in publication of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations organs and the Repertory of Practice of the Security Council. In this regard, we welcome the strengthening of cooperation with academic institutions and the progress achieved to make these publications, including drafts, accessible on the Internet. Both repertories are important as research tools for the international community, particularly the diplomatic community and universities, and as a mean to preserve the institutional memory of the Organization. We are grateful to the States having made contributions to special trust funds established for each of the two repertories and encourage other member states to do likewise.
We strongly advocate for the implementation of the decision adopted in 2006 on reforming the working methods of the Special Committee. In this regard, we support reducing the duration of the Special Committee’s session to one week in order to focus on the key points of the debate. Thus, the issues discussed for several years and which do not appear likely to lead to consensus in the near future may not be included in the agenda or may only be reviewed every two or three years. Similarly, for the sake of efficiency, we have reservations regarding the inclusion in the Committee’s agenda of any new topic, given the already high number of items with which it is charge. As such, the proposal made by the Rio Group, to introduce in the agenda of the Special Committee an item entitled "Study of legal aspects of the United Nations reform" should be detailed about its content before it can be studied further.