1 March 2010
Statement by Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh
Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
“Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations
and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”
(New York, 1 March 2010)
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. My delegation would like to make the following statement in its 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 highly values 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 law in international relations of States. Just as recently as last year, the Special Committee succeeded to adopt the document on “Introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations” which was subsequently annexed to General Assembly resolution 64/115 (16 December 2009). It is an important document which addresses a series of issues concerning the introduction and implementation of sanctions by the Security Council and stresses, in its first operative paragraph, that sanctions should be in support of clear and legitimate objectives.
The ideal of the founders of the United Nations was to set up a just and peaceful international relations through prohibition of the use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes and by respecting the principles stipulated in the Charter. 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 principal obligation to settle their disputes by peaceful means. In fact, adherence to these principles by all States is a necessary condition for upholding rule of law at the international level. It is a matter of serious concern, however, that the excessive reliance on unlawful use or threat of force by some to advance their interests continues to endanger international peace and security and undermines the fundamental principles of the United Nations and international law.
The Special Committee has an important role to play in addressing this concern. My delegation supports continuing consideration of all items and proposals concerning the maintenance of international peace and security on the agenda of the Special Committee.
The issue of sanctions imposed by the United Nations is one of the main issues which have been on the agenda of the Special Committee for a long time. Sanctions, as a coercive measure, may be introduced only after the Security Council has determined a threat to the peace or breach of the peace -based on valid evidence and not mere speculations and misinformation- or an act of aggression, and only when peaceful measures have been exhausted or proven to be inadequate. In so doing, the Security Council shall act in strict conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter and avoid exceeding its authority or acting in breach of the principles of international law. As articulated in operative paragraph 1 of the document on “Introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations” annexed to General Assembly resolution 64/115 (16 December 2009), sanctions should be in support of legitimate objectives. As such, the Security Council can not deprive a member State of its rights recognized under international law, by imposing sanctions. Nor can it determine a lawful and legitimate conduct by a State as a threat to international peace and security, since the Council’s power in determining a situation or dispute as a threat to international peace and security, and subsequently imposing sanctions, “[…] has to remain, at the very least, within the limits of the purposes and principles of the Charter”, to quote the wording of the ICTY in one of its important judgments (Tadic Case). The Security Council should be held accountable for the consequences of such sanctions imposed for “not legitimate” objectives and/or introduced under political pressure or influence of certain permanent members. Those member States which take undue advantage of their membership in the Council for their political interests should be taken responsible.
In such cases the targeted States shall be entitled to be compensated for damages inflicted upon them. In this context my delegation reiterates that the International Law Commission should consider the legal consequences of arbitrarily imposed sanctions against member States by the Security Council, in its future work on the topic “Responsibility of international organizations”.
It is important to note that the Security Council, as a constituting organ of the United Nations established by treaty, is subject to legal obligations defined under the Charter, and is obliged to comply with the same international normative rules that member States are bound to. 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. And member States are required to comply with the Security Council’s 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 other words, while the Security Council is entrusted with the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, it can not exceed its authority (ultra vires) or act in breach of the principles and rules of international law, since “[…] neither the text nor the spirit of the Charter conceives the Security Council as legibus solutus (unbound by law).”, as the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) held in Tadic Case.
The arbitrary and unilateral economic sanctions against developing countries as an instrument of foreign policy remains a matter of serious concern, and which not only undermines the rule of law at the international level but also infringes upon the right to development. Such unilateral coercive measures clearly contravene international law and the Charter of the United Nations, especially where they are aimed at depriving nations of their legal rights under treaties.
The General Assembly, as the chief deliberative and representative organ of the United Nations, should be able to exercise its mandate in addressing issues relating to the maintenance of international peace and security without any interference. We echo the concerns expressed by the Non-Aligned Movement over the continuing encroachment by the Security Council on the functions and powers of the General Assembly. 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. 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.
In conclusion, my delegation would like to express its appreciation to the Secretariat for their effort to reduce backlog in the publication of both the Repertory and the Repertoire.
I thank you.