As this is my first opportunity to speak this year in the Security Council, I would like to congratulate Lithuania for being elected and serving to this body and express our appreciations for organizing this important debate today, in a manner to which we all can contribute.
I also wish to thank the UN Secretary General for the today’s report and his strong commitment to strengthening and mainstreaming the United Nations support to the Rule of Law (RoL) in all areas of UN activities, and in this particular instance on the maintenance of international peace and security, including in the peacekeeping operations. I would also like to commend the amplified UN attention to the Rule of Law and Justice through High Level Meetings on this topic, and during the discussions in the General Assembly and Security Council, or consultations on the connection between RoL and Conflict Prevention, and Post-conflict Building in the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as various other activities in the United Nations system. Latest changes in many parts of the world, the new threats and challenges to international peace and security strengthen even more the idea that all the aspects of the rule of law, ranging from citizen's security, to the respect for rights and freedoms of the people, should be ever present on the UN agenda.
The Republic of Moldova aligns itself with the Statement of the European Union delivered earlier today.
During the open debates on the SDGs on the RoL and conflict prevention and post-conflict building, we already brought the attention to the fact that one aspect of this process is often overlooked - the need to promoting and strengthening the RoL in the areas affected by protracted conflicts that have not been addressed adequately during previous debates. Nevertheless they too require our full attention and we will refer to them further in my statement.
The security environment in our world is in a permanent change and the proliferation and diversification of the risks and threats are a constant cause of concern. Issues such as international terrorism, good governance, internal conflicts, and cyber security are being discussed by the international community more than before. Hence, the respect for the RoL on the international and national levels remains as important as ever.
From the international point of view, the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs of a state, remain valid and pertinent – and my country's experience is a clear proof of that. (possible addendum: As we already aligned ourselves to the statement of the European Union where current main hotspots on the international level were mentioned, the PM/Government of the Republic of Moldova also issued a press statement mentioning that it watches and continues to follow with deep concern the situation in Ukraine, as neighbours and from the perspective of the regional security as well. The PM/Government is extremely saddened by the loss of life. Sincere sympathies go to the relatives of the deceased along the wishes of speedy recovery to those injured. The PM/Government further urges the parties to refrain from violent action, to defuse the situation and to establish an open dialogue that would lead to reconciliation and identify ways to overcome the political crisis. All divergences in this neighboring and friendly country are crucial to the stability in the region as a whole, so we are watching for these differences to find a solution exclusively by peaceful means, in compliance with democratic norms, as violence is never a solution1.)
From our perspective the Rule of Law has several implications. One is that the RoL is a precondition for a better development. We believe that the security of the State starts from the security of the citizen - and in a RoL state people need to have the judicial system as a guarantor of their security. A state that genuinely strives for RoL creates more confidence for the population, even in conflict areas, as well as in the conflict resolution process.
Moreover, we can do more to uphold international law through our national systems by an effective implementation of international conventions.
We should also acknowledge a framework of institutions aiming at supporting the international law, peace and security - thus, peacekeeping remains an important mechanism to assist countries passing through a difficult transition from conflict to peace, and is a collective effort supported by all of us. In this regard Moldova is contributing to the UN and NATO peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo with a military contingent.
Let me refer also to the situation in my country, the Republic of Moldova, which continues to be affected by the unresolved Transnistrian conflict. A peacekeeping mechanism to deal inter alia with incidents in the conflict zone was created after the cessation of the military hostilities back in 1992. But today, the incidents we are dealing with in the former conflict zone are not related to the military security anymore – these are usually breaches of public order. In this context, we believe a civilian peacekeeping mission corresponding to the UN principles and standards, in line with the RoL concept for the purposes of durable and just peace and security would be much more relevant.
Without forgetting a more grass root level, one should mention that Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) are also very important, in particular in conflict prevention and often in peacekeeping efforts. (possible addend.: As an example) A number of CBMs are implemented in the Republic of Moldova as part of the Transnistrian conflict resolution process. CBM programs in case of Moldova cover matters related to rebuilding and reconnecting infrastructure, freedom of movement, education, ecology, social-economic activities. Such CBMs will also be essential for the post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction.
One more element linked to the RoL more and more is the Security sector reform (SSR), along with a potential post-conflict disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of military and para-military – whose successful reintegration may, in some cases, be closely linked to the sustainability of peace. These topics can and should be in the focus of both the Governments and UN or/and UN mandated organizations (possible addend.: thus regional cooperation is important for the purposes of our discussion).
We shall also refer to the important role of both national contributions to RoL efforts and to the Justice institutions we support. Thus, the Republic of Moldova has been present with our lawyers and judges at the highest level in Timor-Leste, Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo. At the same time we have indicated our clear support to the International Court of Justice in peaceful settlements of disputes, and, in our capacity of the state party to the Rome statute, the importance and increased role of the International Criminal Court, complementary to national jurisdictions in fighting impunity for the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in conflict and post-conflict situations.
As such examples show, we remain deeply committed to our general aim to uphold and develop an international order based on the RoL, where international law, including human rights is fully respected and implemented, and where accountability is important to maintain a sense of responsibility for all. Hence, either through national participation or international support, every state has the chances and possibilities to contribute to the RoL and international peace and security.
Speaking about the human rights, which we have mentioned earlier in the context of the conflict resolution efforts, we shall refer that among many factors, it is also important to have a free, independent, pluralistic and responsible media. In a globalized world, such a media could be a window for dialogue, peace and reconciliation, as well as a conduit for a correct or balanced understanding of the development and conflict resolution matters. Referring to the freedom of the media situation in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, we have to acknowledge that media outlets in this region fully controlled or experience significant pressure from the administration – and this is not a positive factor in the overall context of the conflict resolution.
We will probably sound similar to our EU colleagues, who spoke in October 2013, during the United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee on Agenda item 85, when we say that Rule of Law presumes a full respect for human rights – and we will add from our own experience - that this is particularly important for the societies in conflict areas.
During the recent Rights up Front launch at the UN, the violations of human rights have been marked as indictors of a potential conflict, while unfortunate ongoing violations of human rights in conflict areas have been highlighted as conflict aggravators – respectively the need for the UN to watch the human rights situation have been stressed, along with the idea that promoting the respect for human rights may reduce existing problems in conflicts.
We have brought in this context the example of my own country, where the UN expert, Thomas Hammamberg (former Human Rights Commissioner for Council of Europe) at the request of the Moldovan government conducted in 2012 a human rights survey in the conflict area, where unfortunately, the human rights situation, in particular the one related to children's rights to education, has aggravated. The need to respect human rights, from such a concrete experience in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, shows a valid point elsewhere - that the respect for human rights is essential from both humanitarian perspective and for the conflict resolution as a whole. This goes along with the idea already voiced in this Council that the promotion of the RoL and universal human rights constitute fundamental requirements for achieving sustainable peace, and, in this context, we commend the SC for its increasing attention to the promotion of justice and the RoL in the context of sustainability of peace and security.
While RoL presumes the respect for human rights and freedoms, for the purposes of conflict resolution it is also important to understand that the involvement of various state and non-state actors in the mediation, conflict resolution and development has to take into account the fact that a conflict in itself is an extremely sensitive situation – and hence needs a coordinated approach.
In conclusion I am referring once again to the High Level Dialogue on the Rule of Law and its Declaration, unanimously adopted by all Member States, strengthening the links between the RoL and the three pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, sustainable development and human rights. Republic of Moldova remains directly interested and committed to continue to actively participate in all efforts aimed at promoting and strengthening the RoL at the international and state levels for the purposes of ensuring peace and security.