19 October 2009
Statement By Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh
Delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran before the Sixth Committee
on Agenda item 82: “Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and
on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”
New York, 19 October 2009
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. I would like to make the following statement in my national capacity.
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to attach great importance to the “Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”. My delegation commends the Special Committee for the important contributions it has made to the promotion of purposes and principles of the United Nations, particularly the maintenance of international peace and security and peaceful settlement of disputes as well as developing friendly relations among nations and upholding the rule of international law in international relations.
The Charter of the United Nations provides a vision of just and peaceful order in international relations of States based on respect for the principles contained therein, particularly the sovereign equality of States, prohibition of the use or threat of force, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-intervention in internal affairs of other States. States have an obligation to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. This peremptory principle of international law is supplemented and reinforced by the States’ principal obligation to settle their disputes through peaceful means. The observance of these two key principles by all member States would guarantee a peaceful order based on rule of law as opposed to rule by power and save the world from war, aggression and bloodshed. Nonetheless, the excessive reliance by some powers on unlawful use or threat of force in their international relations has created serious concern and endangered the fundamental principles of the United Nations and international law.
My delegation supports continuing consideration of all items and proposals concerning the maintenance of international peace and security in the Special Committee on the Charter.
The United Nations in Introducing and ensuring to implement sanctions is limited to the relevant rules and principles defined in the Charter. The Security Council as an organ of the United Nations organization established by the member States is subject to legal obligations and is obliged to comply with the same international normative rules that the member States are bound to; while the Security Council is entrusted with the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, it could not exceed its authority (ultra vires) or act in breach of the principles and rules of international law. The Security Council shall act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, while discharging its primary responsibility regarding the maintenance of international peace and security. As the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) held in Tadic Case: “in any case, neither the text nor the spirit of the Charter conceives the Security Council as legibus solutus (unbound by law).” In other words, the Security Council is bound by international law, and shall act within the mandate delegated to it by the member States of the Organization under the Charter. The Member States are required to comply with Security Council decisions only if they are in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as the International Court of Justice held in its 1971 advisory opinion.
In the same vein, the Council’s power in determining a situation or dispute as a threat to international peace and security, and subsequently imposing sanctions, is limited to certain procedural and substantive rules stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations. As the ICTY has stated “the determination that there exists such a threat is not a totally unfettered discretion, as it has to remain, at the very least, within the limits of the Purposes and Principles of the Charter.” In this respect, the Security Council shall not determine a lawful and legitimate conduct by a State as a threat to international peace and security. Nor could it adopt a priori enforcement measures in such cases.
Hence, the Security can not stand excused from accountability for its decisions and actions. Nor does it enjoy unlimited power to invoke coercive measures, including economic sanctions, in an arbitrary manner and in defiance of the very principles on which the United Nations is founded. We continue to believe that the Security Council shall be responsible and accountable in case of imposing sanctions based on mere speculations and unreliable information or under political pressures by certain members. In such cases the targeted State shall be entitled to fully compensation for damages inflicted upon it by the unlawful sanctions. In this context my delegation reiterates its previous call that the International Law Commission should consider the legal consequences of unlawful sanctions against Member States by the Security Council, under the topic “Responsibility of international organizations”.
I would like to take this opportunity to echo the concern raised by previous speakers over the unilateral sanctions against developing countries as an instrument of foreign policy. Such unilateral coercive measures clearly contravene international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
Realization of the rule of Law in the United Nations System, as many delegations pointed out last week, requires that the mandate and role of other organs of the United Nations, particularly the General Assembly, as the chief representative organ and the main policy-making body of the Organization is respected. The General Assembly should be able to play its part and exercise its mandate in addressing issues related to the maintenance of international peace and security without any interference. The consideration of a situation or dispute before other organs of the United Nations, in particular in the Security Council, is not a legal impediment for the General Assembly to consider the same situation or dispute. The member States has conferred on the Security Council “primary”, not exclusive, responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”, under Article 24; the General Assembly, too, has an established role in maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the United Nations Charter. Furthermore, the General Assembly empowered by the aptly titled “Uniting for Peace” Resolution 377 (V) of 3 November 1950 could consider any situation where “the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”. This resolution also requires the Assembly to “consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations to members for collective measures”.
According to Article 12 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council and the General Assembly can deal in parallel with, and make recommendation on, the same matter concerning the maintenance of international peace and security. As the International Court of Justice noted in its last Advisory Opinion in the case concerningLegal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:“there has been an increasing tendency over time for the General Assembly and the Security Council to deal in parallel with the same matter concerning the maintenance of international peace and security. … It is often the case that, while the Security Council has tended to focus on the aspects of such matters related to international peace and security, the General Assembly has taken a broader view, considering also their humanitarian, social and economic aspects.” We share the view that paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Charter shall be read in a manner that only when “at the moment” the Security Council is exercising its duties in respect of any dispute or situation, the General Assembly cannot recommend with the same dispute or situation.
I should not conclude, Mr. Chairman, without expressing my delegation’s appreciation to the Secretariat for the preparation of the Repertory of the Practice of the United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. My delegation commends the Secretariat for their effort to reduce backlog in the publication of both the Repertory and the Repertoire.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.