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Nordic Joint Statement Issued by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann on the occasion of the UNSC Open Debate on the Promotion and Strengthening of the Rule of Law

18.12.2020  19:03

I have the honour to submit this written statement on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Denmark.

The Nordic countries would like to thank the Security Council for this opportunity to address the Council on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations and the one hundredth anniversary of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice.

As the fourth Security Council Report concluded, strengthening the relationship between the Security Council and the International Court of Justice could further promote international peace and security. The United Nations Charter envisages a close relationship between the Council and the Court. The Charter thus provides the two bodies ample opportunities for intensive cooperation.

At a time when the rules-based order is increasingly under pressure, the Security Council and the Court should use their Charter prerogatives and play vital and mutually complementary roles in promoting the rule of law, including human rights and peace and security. 

Rule of law at the national and international levels is fundamental to peace and security. Rule of law is an important tool for preventing and resolving conflicts and is critical to building sustainable peace and protecting human rights in the aftermath of conflict. It is therefore not surprising that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Goal 16, sets out to promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Peaceful settlement of disputes form an integral part of the rule of law. Therefore, the Nordic countries would welcome intensified cooperation between the Security Council and the Court to uphold the rule of law.

The large volume of cases indicate the trust and confidence States place in the Court by referring disputes to it for resolution.   

The Court´s many contributions to the peaceful settlement of maritime and land boundary disputes have been decisive for maintaining international peace and security.

We would like to highlight the vital role of young people, especially young women, when it comes to promoting the rule of law, in developed and developing countries alike. We therefore welcome the efforts of the Court as well as the Council in engaging young people, e.g. by giving students from various backgrounds a chance to familiarize themselves with international law and judicial settlement of disputes.

Since its establishment in 2000, the Judicial Fellowship Programme of the Court has enabled 193 law graduates to enhance their knowledge of international law. We welcome the recent establishment of the Trust Fund to grant fellowship awards to selected candidates that are nationals of developing countries, thereby guaranteeing the geographic and linguistic diversity of the participants in the Programme.

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Together, they have the potential to be a powerful force for upholding the rule of law at the international level. In particular, the Nordics Countries would like to recall that, in accordance with respectively paragraph 2 of Article 33 and paragraph a of Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council may call upon States parties to any dispute, to settle such disputes by peaceful means as well as request advisory opinions from the Court on legal matters.

We urge all States to engage actively and constructively in international cooperation supporting the rules-based international order, of which peaceful settlement of disputes and international peace and security form integral and crucial parts, and call upon States that have not yet done so to consider accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with its Statute.

Thank you.