Statement at the UNSC Open Debate on the Rule of Law
Statement13 January 2023
Thank you very much, President.
As this is my first time returning to the Council, I wish to congratulate Japan on your Presidency and to thank you for organising today’s open debate.
Ireland aligns itself with the EU statement already delivered.
Ireland is committed and dedicated to the rule of law. The rule of law lies at the very heart of international peace and security and at the heart of the United Nations. In 1945, in our Charter, ‘We the peoples… determined… to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained’.
Our Charter underlines that this organisation is based on the sovereign equality of all states. Our Charter underlines that we shall settle our disputes by peaceful means. Our Charter underlines that we shall refrain from the threat or use of force.
And yet, the lines set out in the Charter have been crossed repeatedly. As we consider the many crises on this Council’s agenda, it is clear that promoting the international rule of law remains an urgent duty and a moral imperative.
Mr President, all States are equal under international law. And every sovereign State has the right to co-exist in peace, free from outside interference.
We all understand that rules developed through negotiation are far more effective in the settlement of disputes than rules imposed by the powerful. This is a central feature of the international rule of law because rules developed through negotiation and agreement are accepted as legitimate, and they are based on consent.
Ireland’s engagement in, and support of, a rules-based international order founded on the rule of law is illustrated by our active support for the institutions that safeguard it.
We are therefore a strong supporter of the International Court of Justice. That Court is strengthened when States accept its compulsory jurisdiction, as Ireland has done.
Ireland is firmly committed to accountability, and to the role of the rule of law in building an effective international criminal justice system.
And Ireland is firmly committed to the International Criminal Court and its role in seeking to ensure that those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern cannot do so with impunity.
Ireland also firmly supports all efforts aimed at the elaboration of a Convention on Crimes against Humanity.
As we reflect here today on the Security Council and the rule of law, we cannot ignore the veto. At a minimum, all permanent members of the Council should commit to refrain from using the veto when dealing with atrocity crimes. This should be an absolute minimum.
Mr President, as we gather here, Ireland encourages the Council and all States to defend a rules-based international order. It is a truly vital component, an indispensable component if we are to effectively address the grave international security challenges faced by our world today.