Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Rule of Law: Statement by Ambassador Herman Schaper at informal consultations in preparation for High Level Meeting


Statement by the Netherlands

on Rule of Law at the national and international levels

New York, 18 April 2012



Mr. Chairman,

The Netherlands warmly welcomes the Secretary-General’s report which sets out a programme of action to strengthen the Rule of Law at the national and international levels, and aligns itself with the EU statement.

We commend the comprehensive, crosscutting approach of the report and consider the HLM an important starting point to enhance the quality, coordination and coherence of the collective efforts of the UN, its Members and other stakeholders. In this respect, we welcome the ideas set out by the SG to ensure swift and concrete follow-up to the commitments made at the HLM.

Mr. Chairman,

The promotion and protection of the Rule of Law is a key priority of Dutch foreign policy. Promoting the international legal order is even part of our Constitution. We believe that international law and, in a wider sense, the Rule of Law are the foundations of the international system with the United Nations at its core, and the Netherlands therefore remains a staunch supporter of the UN's activities in this field.

Respect for the Rule of Law is an essential condition for peace and stability and serves to consolidate and support good governance and democracy, and the fight against impunity. Respect for the Rule of Law is inextricably linked to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and needs to be pursued both at the national and at the international level, in a coherent manner. This is a fundamental responsibility of every state towards everyone within its jurisdiction.

Mr Chairman,

I’d like to highlight 3 specific elements which are of particular importance to us: first; the role of International Courts and Tribunals, second; Rule of Law in post-conflict situations and third; the importance of strengthening the nexus between Rule of Law at the national and at the international level.

The Netherlands is proud to host many important international institutions dealing with peace and justice, including the International Court of Justice. We strongly support the proposal by the SG to launch a campaign to increase the number of Member States that accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. This comes at a timely moment as we will celebrate next year, in August 2013, the 100th Anniversary of the Peace Palace in The Hague, home to the ICJ and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. We stress the important role they play with regard to the peaceful settlement of disputes between States.

The Netherlands is also a strong supporter of the International Criminal Court. As the effective functioning of the ICC relies fully on the cooperation of States with the Court, we call upon all States to continue to cooperate with and provide support to the ICC, including with regard to outstanding arrest warrants, the protection and relocation of victims, the provision of evidence and the enforcement of sentences. The Rome Statute of the ICC is based on the principle of complementarity and this underlines the importance of strengthening the nexus between support for the Rule of Law at the national, and at the international level, in order to establish an age of accountability.

A second important priority for my country is to improve international support for the Rule of Law at the national level, particularly in the context of post-conflict situations. We consider the promotion of the Rule of Law key to conflict management, its prevention and resolution. The UN has an important role to play in peace and security, and has gained a lot of experience in the field in recent years. We believe that specific goals and criteria could enhance this process, but underline the need to ensure a harmonized approach bringing together existing efforts by the UN, World Bank and other international organizations. We would like to stress the need for a more integrated approach, sufficient capacity in the field, and increased South-South cooperation in supporting Rule of Law in post-conflict-situations.

Finally, we can build our efforts on the Civilian Capacity review and the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, agreed upon in Busan, to promote and protect the strengthening of the Rule of Law.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman