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Statement delivered by the Deputy Permanent Representative , Ms Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, on the Scope and Application of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction

Mr. Chairman,

 Let me start by congratulating you, as well as members of the bureau, for your election to spearhead the work of the 6th Committee.

I would also like to state, at the outset, that my delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by South Africa (on behalf of the African Group), and by the Islamic Republic of Iran (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement). I will only add a few comments on my national capacity.

Mr. Chairman,

Rwanda recognizes that universal jurisdiction is a principle of International Law whose purpose is to ensure that individuals who commit heinous crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity do not enjoy impunity anywhere in the World and are brought to justice.

In this respect, Rwanda commends UN member States that extradited or prosecuted people perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. However, we regret that a number of genocide fugitives are still enjoying safe haven in UN member States, including nine key genocide fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR).

We take this opportunity to remind the key provision of Security Council resolution 2150 which urges UN member States “to cooperate with the ICTR, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and the Government of Rwanda in the arrest and prosecution of the remaining nine ICTR-indicted fugitives, and further calls upon States to investigate, arrest, prosecute or extradite, in accordance with applicable international obligations, all other fugitives accused of genocide residing on their territories, including those who are FDLR leaders”.

Therefore, Rwanda supports the appropriate use of the principle of universal jurisdiction, in good faith. What we strongly reject is the abuse and misuse of indictments by non-African Judges against African leaders, which has a destabilizing effect that will adversely impact on the political, social and economic development of States and the ability of indicted leaders to conduct international relations.

Rwanda believes that such an abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction is a pure violation of key principles of international law, notably the principle of equality of States and the immunity of Heads of States and other high ranking State Officials.

Indictments issued by European judges against officials of African states have the effect of subjecting the latter to the jurisdiction of European states, contrary to the sovereign equality and independence of states. This brings back to the fore memories of colonialism that are still fresh in the minds.

Furthermore, Indictments issued against foreign state officials exercising representative functions on behalf of their states by low-level judges, often sitting alone, tend to undermine the dignity of the state officials concerned and put at risk friendly relations between sovereign states.

Rwanda is of the view that the abuse of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction is a development that could endanger International law, order and security. It could set a bad precedent if, all countries victims of abusive international warrants, resorted to the principle of reciprocity in order to defend themselves!

Rwanda strongly supports the request for withdrawal by the African Heads of States and Government of the warrants of arrest issued on the basis of abuse of universal jurisdiction.

Rwanda also supports ongoing discussions inside the General Assembly’s 6th Committee aiming at adopting a new framework that would prevent the application of universal jurisdiction in an arbitrary or politically motivated manner. Our wish is to see this process conducted effectively and objectively.

I thank you Mr. Chairman

Statement delivered by the Deputy Permanent Representative, Ms Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the opening Session of the Second Committee (8 October)

Mr. Chairman,

I wish at the outset to join others in congratulating you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the Second Committee and to commend you for the able way you are conducting these proceedings.  I also take this opportunity to extend the same to the members of the Bureau and to thank your predecessor, Ambassador Adbou Salam Diallo of Senegal for a job well done.

Rwanda aligns itself with the statements delivered by Bolivia, Malawi and Benin on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, the African Group and the LDCs respectively.

Mr. Chairman,

On the threshold of the resumed work of the 2nd Committee, we are meeting at a crossroads with an unfinished MDGs business overlapping in the post 2015 development agenda.  Nevertheless, the world should be determined more than ever to tackle the root causes of poverty as its eradication remains the overarching goal for the Post 2015 Development agenda.

Our efforts should be redoubled to confront new challenges that are emerging such as the outbreak of Ebola, food shortage, climate change, terrorism, etc as they can reverse our gains.  Therefore, Rwanda is committed to meet its MDGs targets and set its priorities to address the gaps and challenges towards achieving global sustained economic growth and financial stability for the post 2015 development agenda.

In our global quest for poverty eradication, every nation should strive to reduce inequality by making sure that no one is left behind; especially the most vulnerable. To tackle that in a more sustainable way, we need to invest in our people by putting in place a well-developed social protection system geared at improving their wellbeing in the following prioritized areas;

First, by empowering each of our citizens with equitable quality education and lifelong learning to improve employability and job creation; second, by ensuring healthy lives, food security and good nutrition; third, by empowering women and youth; fourth, by achieving universal access to water and sanitation and fifth, by providing the people with basic economic opportunities.

In so doing, the three pillars of sustainable development should remain at the core as we are more and more aware of the urgent action that needs to be taken to halt the alarming pace of climate change and environmental degradation, which pose unprecedented threats to humanity. In this regard, we call on developed countries to respect the principle of CBDR and play a special role in fostering new technologies and in reducing unsustainable consumption as well as in providing both technical and financial assistance to developing countries to allow them to transition accordingly.

As rapid urbanization is continuously becoming the world’s engine for business and innovation and recognizing the invaluable asset of human capital, especially the role played by youth and women in effecting a profound economic transformation to end extreme poverty and improve livelihoods, an urgent call to action is needed to create more value and drive sustainable and inclusive growth.  In order to create decent jobs, other value-added activities to enable competitive economies lie in harnessing innovation, science and technology (STI), and in the potential of private business, as well as in all enablers and tools of sustainable development such as ICTs.

Achieving sustainable development to enable people to lead a dignified life will also call for striving to insure peace and security. It is imperative that each state incorporates its own strategy of addressing challenges affecting the wellbeing of the people. In ensuring peace and security, regional involvement in the policy formulation and capacity building is needed to address the root causes of conflicts. Finally, the international Community has also a role to play in preventing and ending conflicts.

Sustainable gains can only be made if nations take ownership in shaping their destiny taking into account their national identity.  In Rwanda, we learned firsthand from our tragic encounters that peace prevailed when we managed to restore social cohesion, rebuild all institutions, reestablish rule of law and the justice system as well as when our people reaped the benefits of a more sustained economic growth.  More importantly, effecting good and inclusive governance as core elements of wellbeing was also essential in meeting the people’s expectations and in responding to their specific needs. Indeed, good accountable systems and the engagement of the civil society played a key role in ensuring good governance.

Finally, the post 2015 development agenda cannot be achieved without adequate means of implementation. In order to consolidate our gains and become resilient to external shocks, there ought to be an enhanced international cooperation based on a renewed global partnership for sustainable development that will require all countries to work and learn in tandem to achieve our shared prosperity. All the enabling environment and global governance needed to promote financing for sustainable development should therefore be strengthened. In addition, catalyzing public-private platforms and mobilizing domestic funds will be essential to meet the cost of sustainable development.

Mr. President,

In closing, we call on all member states to contribute to the final push in order to expedite the unfinished MDGs business before the 2015 deadline and enable us to tackle the new development agenda on an equal footing. Strong cooperation from all multi-stakeholders is also needed to help developing countries to launch big projects of infrastructure and sustainable energy for all that will boost up their economies and ensure sustained inclusive growth.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman!

Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN Security Council briefing on UN Peacekeeping operations

Madam President,

I would like to thank our Force Commanders; General Bosco Kazura of MINUSMA, General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz of MONUSCO, and General Iqbal Singha of UNDOF for their respective briefings. I also thank General Ahmed Maqsood, Military Adviser, for his remarks.

For the past five years, the Security Council has been organizing this annual meeting with Force Commanders, which we find very useful. Given the challenging peacekeeping environment that a number of our missions are currently operating under, these meetings provide an opportunity for us to gain a better understanding of the perspective from the field, particularly on operational issues. We, as the Council, have a huge responsibility in ensuring that the mandates we authorize set clear tasks for the missions and their leadership, including timing and design.

As H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, said two weeks ago at the High-level Summit on peacekeeping operations, Rwanda believes that “nothing matters more than saving innocent lives when they are at stake”. It is first and foremost a host country’s responsibility to protect its own civilians, but unfortunately that does not always happen. And this is where UN peacekeeping missions have to intervene, when required, to make difference on the ground. This is also part of our responsibility to protect.

As new threats emerge and peacekeeping tasks transform, peacekeepers should be trained, prepared and equipped to use force to protect the lives of innocent civilians and their own lives. Contingents that do not fulfil these requirements should not be deployed in peacekeeping missions, as they would put civilian lives at risk, as well as their own.  At the very least, we must be conducting proactive, long-range patrols; and Missions must be equipped to do this the moment boots are on the ground. When civilians are brutally attacked just kilometers away from a UN camp, UN peacekeeping operations rightfully lose credibility on the ground, undermining our work around the world.

This applies to what General Bosco Kazura briefed on as well – expectations from military contingents under a challenging security environment. In Mali, our peacekeepers are dealing with asymmetric threats that completely transcend traditional tasks and requirements. An increasing number of peacekeepers were killed in Mali over the past weeks, among which the Chadian contingent that paid the heaviest price. In fact, this past Tuesday, a Senegalese peacekeeper was killed, following nine peacekeepers from Niger who were killed last Friday in an ambush in Gao, which is one of the deadliest attacks against peacekeepers in Mali. I want to renew the deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers, and to their respective Governments. These brave souls paid the noblest sacrifice and it is a reminder that we are not adequately equipped or prepared to confront the challenges of transnational terrorism and the presence of jihadist groups in Mali.

On this, I have questions for General Maqsood and General Kazura. Peacekeeping involves risk taking and loss of human lives, but not to the extent we have been observing in Mali. We also know and acknowledge failures during the establishment and re-hatting of the Mission, but again this cannot continue to be an excuse after nearly sixteen (16) months. What, in concrete terms, can be done to address this alarming situation?

Related to that, we all know that MINUSMA is a peacekeeping mission that is not mandated to carry out offensive operations although, just to make myself clear, this shouldn’t prevent the mission from protecting itself and defending the mandate. This Council has last year mandated the French Forces of the Opération Serval currently Barkhane to support peacekeepers whenever operations are beyond their mandate and capability, particularly in relation to counterterrorism activities. As stated by the Foreign Minister of Mali yesterday, unfortunately, as of now, armed groups continue to gain and occupy new territorial positions, setting up parallel administration, against the letter and the spirit of Security Council resolutions 2100 and 2164 and that of relevant political and ceasefire agreements in Mali.

The reaction of this Council to this blatant violation to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a secular Republic of Mali seems to be weak and ineffective. While the world’s eyes and efforts are turned to the necessary fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, we should not loose sight of the growing threat of terrorism on the African continent and of the serious risk of radical and terrorist groups within Mali linking with similar organizations such as Boko Haram and Al Shabaab; hence paralyzing the entire region. Gen Maqsood, is the situation I just described in Mali going beyond Operation Serval’s control considering the mandate given by this Council? What in your view, General Kazura, needs to be corrected or improved, before the situation gets out of hand?

In this context, there are additional assets such as All Sources Information Fusion Unit (ASIFU) and drones, which were deployed to help in intelligence gathering, and we would wish to hear from the MINUSMA Force Commander to what extent these assets are being utilized and if they are useful.

As Rwanda has said before, while the political dimension of this conflict should not be underplayed, a more robust mandate for a reconfigured mission is essential for the safety and security of our peacekeepers and for operational efficacy. This Council needs to have a serious discussion on what this reconfiguration would entail and would look like. We need to change how we do business because we are not doing business in the same markets any longer. We can’t avoid this debate and we believe that no national interest of any Council members could be pursued at the expense of the security and safety of the affected populations.

Before I conclude, I wonder if General Santos Cruz could speak on the recent reports that more than 100 demobilized fighters and their families, including women and children, died from starvation and disease in a military camp in DRC. Do you think that this could affect the planned operations of DDR and DDRRR? How can we prevent such inhumane treatment of those who surrender?

I thank you.

UN Security Council press statement on the killings of nine Nigeriens Peacekeepers in Mali

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the targeted ambush against a MINUSMA convoy on the road between Ansongo and Menaka, Mali, on 3 October 2014 that killed nine Nigerien peacekeepers of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers killed, as well as to the Government and people of Niger, and to MINUSMA. The members of the Security Council paid tribute to the Nigerien peacekeepers for their sacrifices and continued efforts in MINUSMA.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to MINUSMA and French forces that support it. The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice and stressed that those responsible for the attack shall be held accountable.

The members of the Security Council underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

The members of the Security Council reminded the armed groups operating in northern Mali of their commitment to cooperate with the United Nations to prevent attacks against peacekeepers in line with the declaration they signed on 16 September 2014 in Algiers.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for MINUSMA to assist the Malian authorities and the Malian people in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to their country, as mandated by the Security Council in resolution 2164 (2014).

UN Security Council Press statement on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The members of the Security Council noted that 2 October marks the half-way point of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) as set out by the joint International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July. They noted with deep concern that since that date no further voluntary surrenders of members of the FDLR have happened and the FDLR have failed to deliver on their public promise to voluntarily demobilize.

The members of the Security Council recalled that the swift neutralization of the FDLR is a top priority in bringing stability to and protecting the civilians of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region, in line with the wider commitments made in the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. They recalled that leaders and members of the FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and recalled that the FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions, operating in the DRC, and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC. 

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the regional commitments made by the ICGLR and SADC to end the threat of armed groups and undertake a three-month review of the FDLR disarmament process. They emphasised the importance of concluding this process swiftly, having a clearly defined end-state and supporting the process through credible military action by the DRC, with the support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). They stressed that only substantial progress toward the full demobilization called for by the region and committed to by the FDLR could justify any further reprieve from military action against the FDLR. They noted that the Security Council would assess the demobilization process on the basis of progress on the ground, including the number of surrenders, in particular from the leadership, the number of working weapons handed over, the agreement of those surrendering to be transferred to holding areas determined by the DRC government in coordination with MONUSCO, and the transfer of control over territory to the DRC authorities. They reiterated their call on the Government of the DRC, in coordination with MONUSCO, to undertake military action against those leaders and members of the FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. They rejected any call for political dialogue with the FDLR and reaffirmed the need to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The members of the Security Council stressed that the Government of the DRC must guarantee humane conditions in all Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration camps, paying a particular attention to women and children.

 

 

 

The members of the Security Council recalled their full support for MONUSCO and called on all parties to cooperate fully with the mission.