German statement in the United Nations Security Council Open Debate, “The Promotion and Strengthening of the Rule of Law in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”, 12 January 2023

12.01.2023 - Speech

Statement delivered by Ambassador Leendertse

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At the outset, allow me to commend Japan for convening this Open Debate on the critical role of the rule of law among nations in maintaining peace and security.

Germany believes that the rules-based international order and international law lie at the core of our national interest. But more importantly, we are convinced that they lie in the interest of all countries and in the interest of the international community as a whole.

International law is imperative for all countries to participate in international relations on an equal footing. In a world order based only on power and the exercise thereof, those who hold the most power and use it most ruthlessly will win. International law offers a fundamentally different approach: that of sovereign equality of states. International law places boundaries on arbitrary power politics. The prohibition of the use of force enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations is paramount in this regard. It embodies the aspiration and the promise that countries can, as a matter of principle, and will deal with one another without the use of violence.

Law creates peace. It provides countries with procedures for resolving conflicts in peaceful ways. The rise in the number of cases before, in particular, the International Court of Justice in recent decades shows that ever more countries are making use of the opportunities for peaceful settlement of conflicts that international law offers. Moreover, developments in the area of international criminal law are testament to the need for judicial proceedings in defence of international law.

Multilateralism only works if guided by the rule of law among nations, not by the rule of force. The recent rise of the rule of force brings new urgency to a reform of the Security Council as the main guarantor of international peace and security. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine points to the use of the veto as one of the main problems. The veto is being abused as an instrument to undermine the rule of law. This is why Germany fully supports the Liechtenstein veto initiative und strongly advocates for a restrictive use of the veto.

A new vision of the rule of law, as evoked in “Our Common Agenda”, is a critical element in our thrust to reenergize and renew the way multilateralism works. This is why the debate initiated today by Japan is a timely contribution also to focusing our minds in preparation for the Summit of the Future. Strengthening the rule of law is an objective, which cannot be separated from the different strands of the “Our Common Agenda” process. As one of the co-facilitators for the summit, I will therefore work towards tapping OCA’s full potential in order to strengthen the rule of law, internationally and within societies across the world.

Promoting the rule of law is a priority for Germany. We collaborate closely with our partners to identify and to address rule of law needs, as we believe that enjoying the rule of law within states will have an immediate impact on the prevalence of the rule of law among states.

The rule of law is a cornerstone for development and peace. Germany, therefore, pursues the promotion of rule of law and, in particular, a people-centred justice approach in our international cooperation as well as in our integrated engagement for peace. To this end, Germany has provided combined funding for programmes to promote the rule of law amounting to more than 50 million Euros in 2022 alone. We consider this a worthwhile investment into peace and security – on a national, regional and global level.

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