Affected States Urge Consultation, Preliminary Assessment and Hardship Exceptions
The representative of the United States warned the Sixth Committee (Legal) that the power and effectiveness of economic sanctions as a crucial tool in dealing with acts of aggression must not be diluted -- either by the creation of unwise exceptions or by requirements for prior assessments.
A discussion of sanctions has taken in place in the course of the Committee's discussion of the report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, and the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions against a target State. The latter report reviews a number of proposals, which most speakers have supported, for measures to mitigate the impact of sanctions on neighbouring States. (For details, see Press Release GA/L/3108 of 13 October.)
The United States representative noted that the Charter's framers had not demanded that other avenues be exhausted before sanctions were imposed, because they wanted the Council to have the flexibility to act effectively. He stressed his Government's support for continuation of current efforts to make sanctions as “smart” as possible and to address hardship situations with respect to both target States and third States. However, the best way to address that issue was through practical realistic approaches rather than "wishful and unrealistic thinking".
The representative of Turkey said that, as a third State that had incurred considerable consequences from sanctions, it felt that commercial exemptions must be granted to neighbouring countries that had extensive commercial relations with the targeted State. He also urged that a third State's special needs due to natural disasters be taken into account, and that economic activities with a humanitarian purpose be allowed to continue.
Also drawing attention to the humanitarian aspects of the effects of sanctions, the representative of Iraq said that a million and a half Iraqis, mostly children, had died as a result of the sanctions imposed against his country. Sanctions should not be considered as a means to solve political problems.
Sixth Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/L/3110 7th Meeting (AM) 15 October 1999
The representative of Bulgaria called for the participation of concerned States in preliminary impact assessments of the effects of sanctions prior to their imposition, and for a permanent mechanism to monitor them. Affected countries should be given special trade preferences, tariff adjustments and greater access to markets for their goods, he said.
Yemen’s compliance with sanctions against Iraq had resulted in termination of development projects and financial transactions, that country’s representative said, adding that competent agencies in his country were compiling details of those adverse effects. He called for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, while urging that country to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. He also called for the lifting of sanctions against Libya, noting that it had handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case as demanded by the Security Council.
Also speaking in the debate were the representatives of Viet Nam, Malawi, Swaziland, Pakistan, Tunisia, Madagascar, Uganda, Iraq, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ukraine, Chile, Israel, Costa Rica, Haiti and Australia.
The Secretary of the Sixth Committee also made a statement on the use of conference services by the Charter Committee and on the publication of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council.
The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania thanked delegates for their expressions of condolence upon the death yesterday in London of the former President of his country, Julius Nyerere.
The Charter Committee, which was established in 1974, has the task of examining in detail observations from governments on suggestions and proposals regarding such issues as the Charter, the strengthening of the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and security, cooperation among nations and promotion of the rules of international law in relations between States.
The Committee will meet again Monday, 18 October, at 10 a.m. to conclude its discussion of the reports on the Charter Committee and of the Secretary-General’s reports on sanctions and on publication of the Repertory and Repertoire.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to conclude its examination of the report of The Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (document A/54/33).
The Committee also has before it a report from the Secretary-General on assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions (document A/54/383), and a progress report from the Secretary-General on the publication of supplements to the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council (document A/54/363).
The Charter Committee, which was established in 1974, has the task of examining in detail observations from governments on proposals regarding such issues as the Charter, the strengthening of the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and security, cooperation among nations and the promotion of the rule of international law in relations between States. The Committee held its latest session at Headquarters from 12 to 23 April.
For further details, see Press Release GA/L/3108 of 13 October.
PHAM TRUONG GIANG (Viet Nam) said sanctions should be imposed for a specific time-frame and on tenable legal grounds. As soon as their objectives were achieved, they should be removed. He favoured the establishment of a fund to help affected third States. Viet Nam supported the revised proposal of the Russian Federation on criteria for the use of sanctions and other coercive measures. Once adopted, it would spell out the objective criteria for imposition, implementation and lifting of sanctions. Further efforts should be made to deal effectively with the subject.
He said the Russian working paper on the legal basis for United Nations peacekeeping operations could lay the groundwork for the development of a legal framework for such operations. In face of recent developments, it was timely for a set of guidelines to be worked out for those operations based on the provisions of the Charter and principles of international law. The international community could not accept the use of force without prior Security Council authorization or outside the context of self-defence. Viet Nam saw merit in the proposal by Russia and Belarus to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice about the legal consequences of the use of force.
The Special Committee could contribute to the process of restructuring the Organization, he said. It was important that the role of the General Assembly, as the most representative body, be enhanced and the membership of the Security Council expanded. He therefore welcomed the Cuban proposal on strengthening the role of the Organization and enhancing its effectiveness.
VACLAV NIKULKA, Secretary of the Sixth Committee, made a statement on the utilization of allocated resources by the Special Committee on the Charter at its last session. The Committee had utilized 65 per cent of its allocated conference services; there had been a loss of nine hours and 40 minutes due to the late starting and early adjournment of meetings. From the total number of 20 planned meetings, five had been cancelled and 13 hours and 50 minutes had beenly lost. He said that, on the basis of General Assembly resolution 53/208 A of 18 December 1998, the issue had been discussed by the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences and the Chairman of the Special Committee.
The Secretary explained that the posting of the Repertory of Practice on the Internet would have financial implications. It would deprive the Sales Section of the United Nations Publications Service of revenue as well as incurring costs for converting earlier volumes into electronic format. Those questions were currently under review. He said that the Repertory was published in English, French and Spanish. The Repertoire was published in English and French only. He said an attempt had been made, towards the end of the 1970s, to issue it also in Spanish and Russian but it had not been pursued for financial reasons, although Supplement 5 had been translated into Russian.
DAVID RUBADIRI (Malawi) said his country had been one of those that, in the late 1960s, had brought attention to the adverse impact that sanctions had on third States. Malawi wanted a system that was sufficiently automatic and predictable. Just as the costs of peacekeeping operations were shared, so should the costs of the consequences of economic sanctions for affected developing countries be borne by the international community on a more equitable basis. A trust fund for that purpose would go a long way towards meeting the concerns that Article 50 sought to address. However, the political will to act in that respect had yet to be manifested.
He said the success of the proposal on criteria for sanctions would depend upon whether it could be implemented on a basis of flexibility, avoidance of duplication and strict conformity with the Charter. “We must develop the Charter law.” However, he said, that must not entail fettering the powers and authority of the Security Council under the Charter.
Concerning the proposal on peacekeeping operations, he said the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations was the appropriate expert body to deal with the subject. He would support any recommendation that would have the proposal referred to the appropriate committee. He added that although there had been some good progress made on the work programme of the Charter Committee, there was still room to improve its working methods.
MOSES M. DLAMINI (Swaziland) said Security Council economic sanctions placed immense hardships on developing countries. Even the right of consultation with the Council, as laid down in Article 50 of the Charter, appeared inadequate to address that issue. The frequent application of sanctions had made it necessary for the development of a mechanism to deal with the suffering that sanctions caused to third States. The experience of Swaziland during the apartheid era bore testimony to that need. He therefore called for the establishment of an appropriate machinery to deal with the financial and economic difficulties likely to be experienced by third States due to sanctions. He trusted that the Special Committee would avail itself of the recommendations of the ad hoc group of experts on that subject.
On issues affecting the International Court of Justice, he said that with an improved working environment, the Court could play a significant role in the collective security system by contributing to the peaceful settlement of disputes. The rule of law in international relations could be promoted by greater recourse to the Court. The workload of the Court had increased with the considerable number of contentious cases being brought by developing countries. The Court should be provided all the financial resources it needed to be independent and efficient in discharging its duties.
JAMSHED HAMID (Pakistan), speaking on the issue of sanctions, said there was a need to go beyond Article 50, which merely provided for consultations with third States. There was merit to many of the ad hoc group’s recommendations, such as assessment and monitoring of those effects, the appointment of a special representative and special fact-finding or evaluation missions. The negative implications for expatriate labour working in third States also required in-depth study. That phenomenon was particularly harmful for low-income developing countries such as Pakistan whose economies were helped by remittances from overseas. A mechanism and a fund for emergency financial assistance should be established.
Referring to the proposal on criteria for sanctions, he said the United Nations must not become a punitive entity. The Security Council should not resort to sanctions without first objectively verifying the existence of a threat to international peace and security, and exhausting all other means of resolving the dispute.
Turning to the peacekeeping operations proposal, he said the United Nations should act before the outbreak of a conflict rather than intervening once a conflict had already erupted. Such preventive diplomacy and deployment should not be conditional upon the consent of the parties to a conflict nor subject to resource availability. He added that once a peacekeeping operation was established, there should be no restriction, or sunset clause, imposed on it. Finally, he said the Charter Committee should not waste time on topics that had been under consideration for a long time without concrete results or involved duplication with other United Nations bodies.
HAJJAJI NEBIHA (Tunisia), speaking on dispute settlement, supported the proposal for the establishment of an early-warning system as a preventive mechanism. That could encourage the international community to settle disputes as early as possible.
Turning to the issue of assistance to third States affected by sanctions, she saw merit in the prior assessment of the potential impact of sanctions on third States. Such a measure would not run counter to the spirit of the Charter. It was very important to keep humanitarian aspects in mind when considering imposing sanctions. It was important that sanctions have an appropriate time limit and be lifted when their objectives were realized.
Finally, on the working methods of the Charter Committee, she suggested that perhaps it could contribute more effectively if it adopted a less global approach and focused instead on specific priorities.
JEAN DELACROIX BAKONIARIVO (Madagascar) was pleased to see that there had been an increase in the number of cases brought before the International Court of Justice. That was evidence of the confidence Member States placed in the Court. Given that increased workload, the resources allocated to the Court were insufficient; the shortfall affected the Court’s ability to function effectively. For that reason, Madagascar supported the draft resolution calling for additional funds for the Court. He congratulated the Court on its efforts to manage the situation and said it should be given the means to carry out its noble task.
Continuing, he stressed that the application of sanctions must be in strict compliance with the provisions of the Charter. In no case should sanctions be allowed to infringe upon the fundamental rights of people. Nor should they result in humiliation, because that inevitably inspired a desire for revenge. He supported the establishment of a trust fund to mitigate the impact of sanctions on third States. Concerning the proposal on dispute prevention, he supported its emphasis on regional organizations, which he said should be playing a role in the prevention and resolution of disputes.
Certain improvements could be made in the working methods of the Charter Committee, he said. It should avoid lengthy discussions of proposals that did not enjoy broad support, and it should make an effort to avoid overlap and duplication of work with respect to other United Nations bodies.
JULIET SEMAMBO KALEMA (Uganda) said sanctions should have a definite time- frame and be lifted as soon as their main objective was realized. They should not be used as punishment or retribution. Article 50 should be brought to bear to alleviate the economic and other hardships faced by third States. She noted the recommendations for the development of a consultative mechanism, and for preliminary assessments and evaluation of effects to enable the Security Council to maximize the impact of sanctions on targeted States while minimizing their collateral damage. The role to be played by international financial institutions, international organizations and donor countries should be coordinated by the United Nations.
While the recommendations were worthy of attention, they were not adequate. The establishment of a special mechanism with a financial base was fundamental to a lasting solution and should be seriously addressed. The proposal by Sierra Leone on dispute prevention merited further discussion.
She shared the concern expressed by other speakers over the need to allocate more financial resources to allow the International Court of Justice to carry out its responsibilities adequately. She expressed the hope that the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the Assembly's Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) would consider the matter, since budgetary issues lay within their competence alone. She noted with concern that efforts to publish the backlog of editions of the Repertory and the Repertoire had been hampered by a lack of resources. Uganda supported the provision of adequate resources for that purpose.
RIAYDH AL-ADHAMI (Iraq) said the Russian working paper on the criteria for application of sanctions was aimed at ensuring a legal regime based on the Charter. It was important that the humanitarian aspects of the effects of sanctions were highlighted. The sanctions against his country were in blatant violation of the Charter.
A million and a half Iraqis, mostly children, had died as a result of the sanctions imposed against Iraq, he said. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had indicated that the mortality rate of children under five had risen. The Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights had noted with great concern the suffering of the Iraqi people, particularly children and the elderly, and called for the sanctions to be lifted. The standard of living had fallen and malnutrition was on the rise; the health situation of Iraqi children was very serious, and 6,000 were dying each month. Sanctions should not be considered as a means to solve political problems. Sanctions should conform to international humanitarian and human rights law, based on principles enshrined in the Charter.
He said there was a need to reform the Security Council. The veto power of the permanent members should be limited, with the view to its eventual abolition. The role of the General Assembly, which was the most representative body of the Organization, should be strengthened to enable it to consider issues of international peace and security. Iraq supported having the International Court of Justice give an advisory opinion on the use of force outside the authority conferred by the United Nations Charter.
MARCEL BIATO (Brazil) said that when it came to the maintenance of international peace and security, no issue was more relevant than the question of how to ensure that sanctions were used in a manner consistent with the international order. The sanctions regime had been ambiguous in the past, but the international community must strive to make them a force for peace and stability in the future. Brazil favoured multilateral efforts to address the problems of third States in coping with the special economic hardship and social dislocation associated with strict sanctions regimes. Sanctions must remain the exception, not the rule.
On the peaceful settlement of disputes, he said that recent events in Kosovo and East Timor had highlighted the urgent need for better preventive diplomacy. One crucial factor in fostering the early settlement of disputes would be to enhance the role of the International Court of Justice. Brazil was therefore open to suggestions aimed at adequately equipping the Court to deal with the significant increase in its workload in recent years.
Brazil also welcomed the proposals to streamline and rationalize the workings of the Charter Committee. Of special interest were the suggestions for a more focused and results-oriented approach, and for a review of the time allocated to specific topics.
ALLIEU KANU (Sierra Leone) said his country viewed the issue of third States affected by sanctions with the utmost concern. Those States should not have to suffer for the sins of other States. The solution envisaged in Article 50 could be the provision of a cushion to mitigate the effects of sanctions. The comments submitted so far by the international community were encouraging. However, he agreed with other speakers that it was a matter the Security Council must address.
He expressed sympathy for the Cuban proposal on reforming the Organization. He said that Chapter VIII authorized regional organizations or agencies to undertake peacekeeping operations. However. there was no prescription for a specific division of labour. The issue had been well articulated during the last session of the Charter Committee and yet there had been no mention of it in that Committee’s report. He expressed concern over that omission, especially as there was now developing in international law the so-called doctrine of humanitarian intervention.
He shared the concern of other delegations over the increasing workload of the International Court of Justice not being matched by adequate resources, and so supported the request for an increase in those resources. He also expressed concern over the delay in the publishing of the Repertory of Practice of the United Nations and the Repertoire of the Security Council. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s progress report on that subject and hoped his efforts would soon come to fruition.
CHOE MYONG NAM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said there had been in recent years an increasing tendency to resort to sanctions, with resultant adverse effects on both targeted and third States. It was necessary and urgent to resolve the issue. The Security Council should undertake a careful study on the potential negative effects that sanctions might have on the targeted as well as third States. The rights of all States to consult the Council should be respected, with a view to alleviating the economic losses they would face as a result of sanctions applied under Chapter 7 of the Charter. He also supported the proposal for the establishment of a trust fund and permanent consultative mechanism in order to alleviate the socio-economic difficulties of third States affected by sanctions.
Calling for further discussion of the proposal on criteria for sanctions, he said a clear distinction should be made between Charter-based and unilateral sanctions; the latter should be thoroughly rejected. Sanctions should not serve as a primary means of conflict resolution, but should be applied only as a last resort. Their duration, scope and content must be clearly defined and they must be immediately lifted once an objective was achieved. He also supported the proposal to re-examine the sanctions regime as a whole.
On the eve of the millenium, he said, there was a compelling need for the Charter Committee to direct attention to a rectification of the wrongful past of the United Nations. The United States military command in South Korea had been camouflaged as a “United Nations Command” and United States forces had abused the name of the United Nations. Ways to put an end to that anachronistic practice should be worked out in the Charter Committee.
VOLODYMYR KROKHMAL (Ukraine) said the proposal by the Russian Federation and Belarus to solicit an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal basis for sanctions deserved further careful consideration by the Charter Committee. That committee, as an expert legal body, should concentrate its efforts on legal issues and avoid, to the extent possible, the discussion of political matters that were clearly beyond its mandate.
He commended the approach taken in Sierra Leone’s initiative on dispute settlement. The elements for a resolution on dispute prevention and settlement, submitted to the Special Committee by the United Kingdom, also deserved full support. His delegation supported an increase in resources of the International Court of Justice in the light of its increased workload.
He said Ukraine, Bulgaria and the Russian Federation intended to present a draft resolution on the recommendations and conclusions of the ad hoc expert group that had considered methodologies for determining the effects of sanctions on third States.
ALEJANDRA QUEZADA (Chile), speaking on the effects of sanctions on third States, said that while sanctions represented an effective way for the Security Council to carry out its responsibilities for peace and security, those sanctions should have a time limit, and their application should take into account the humanitarian aspects. Sanctions must fall upon those who were responsible and not upon an innocent population.
Turning to the draft resolution on the International Court of Justice, she said that even though the Court’s workload had increased and would continue to do so, its budget had remained unchanged for years. She applauded its use of updated technology and the guidelines it was giving to parties; however, the issue of resources needed to be further analyzed.
Concerning suggestions to improve the working methods of the Charter Committee, she agreed that there was room for improvement, but felt that any proposals should be analysed within the Charter Committee itself.
ANDREY TEHOV (Bulgaria) said the application of sanctions should be accompanied by concerted efforts to prevent possible negative effects on third States. The recommendations and conclusions of the ad hoc expert group represented a good basis for the development of a methodology for assessing the consequences incurred by such States. Innovative and practical measures of assistance should be explored. He also called for the participation of concerned States in preliminary impact assessments of the effects of sanctions prior to their imposition. A permanent mechanism should be established to monitor the effects of sanctions.
International financial and trade institutions could play a pivotal role in assessing the adverse consequences of sanctions on third States, he went on. Bulgaria supported the establishment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank of a special mechanism to mobilize new and additional resources for those States. The affected countries should also be given special trade preferences, tariff adjustments and greater access to markets for their goods.
He said the report of the ad hoc expert group, together with views expressed in the Charter Committee and the Sixth Committee, as well as relevant General Assembly resolutions, constituted a sound basis for finalizing the work on the subject of assistance to third States affected by sanctions.
AHMED ALAKWAA (Yemen)said the international community should do everything possible to mitigate the suffering of people in third States affected by sanctions. His country was suffering from the effects of the sanctions against Iraq. Its compliance with those sanctions had resulted in termination of development projects and financial transactions. Competent agencies in his country were compiling details of those adverse effects. He called for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq and also urged that country to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
He also called for the lifting of sanctions against Libya, since it had handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case, as demanded by the Security Council.
He said sanctions or embargoes imposed on countries should be preceded by consultations, as provided for by Article 50, in order to alleviate their negative impacts on third States. Limits should be set on the application of sanctions once their objective was achieved. Their negative impact on third States should be monitored. Humanitarian needs of people in targeted and third States -- such as food, medicines, and agricultural products -- should be exempted from sanctions.
ESTHER EFRAT-SMILG (Israel) said Israel was still the only Member State that was not a member of any regional group. Since regional groups had through the years acquired recognition as the instrument through which geographic distribution was determined when elections and other matters were conducted, not being a member of a regional group prevented Israel from full participation in the work of the Organization. Redress of that unjust exclusion was long overdue.
The peaceful settlement of disputes was of particular importance to Israel, she said. The fundamental principle continued to be that States parties to a dispute were free to choose any peaceful means for settling their differences. She welcomed the United Kingdom’s informal paper supplementing the Sierra Leone proposal. Its enumeration of the wide variety of methods already available could help the deliberations on the subject. The solution to a dispute did not necessarily have to be found in submitting the decision to a third party or an external body. In some instances, the best way to achieve a peaceful settlement was through bilateral, face-to-face negotiations.
She said that entrusting the Trusteeship Council with new matters would be incompatible with the provisions of the Charter. Finally, she noted with appreciation Guatemala’s withdrawal of its proposal; she hoped that spirit of cooperation would continue to prevail in the Charter Committee.
TEOMAN UYKUR (Turkey) said that his country, as a third State, had incurred considerable consequences from sanctions. He expected a functional mechanism to be established with respect to assistance to third States in that situation. The report of the ad hoc expert group provided the basis for achieving concrete results. He further recommended that commercial exemptions or concessions be granted to neighbouring countries that had extensive commercial relations with a targetted State. Those third States could be permitted, on an exceptional basis, to continue trading in specific commodities and services. He favoured directly asking the views of third States on the actual impact of sanctions on their national economies, and on ways to reduce the adverse effects. Special circumstances in which the third State might be in need of certain items -- such as energy inputs as a result of a natural disaster or unforeseen event -- should also be considered in the sanctions context.
Furthermore, although sanctions regimes in most cases caused suspension of foreign trade with the targeted State, investment, construction, trade and other economic activities with a humanitarian purpose should be able to continue between the targetted State and third States. He cited gave as examples the delivery of medical equipment, reconstruction of medical premises and “oil for food” programmes.
Concerning the work of the Charter Committee, he said States should take pains to designate topics that were of common concern and avoid bringing up politically motivated topics that could cause unnecessary debate within the Committee, which was mandated to deal with legal issues. Rather than shortening the Committee’s sessions, there should be a search for ways to increase its efficiency.
BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said that recourse to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the legal basis for the use of force, as proposed by the Russian Federation and Belarus, was not appropriate at present. New resources should be provided the Court in the light of the growing number of cases before it. Although he respected the Court’s independence, certain areas of its work, including some of its procedures, could be improved. The Special Committee should continue to consider topics relating to the Court.
On the question of sanctions, he said their application should be carefully designed to achieve their main objective, which was to change the illegal actions of governments. They should be imposed as a temporary measure. Costa Rica was concerned about the effects of sanctions on the human rights of people in affected countries. He hoped the Charter Committee would allocate sufficient time to Russian proposals. The duration of the Special Committee’s sessions should not be shortened; rather, its agenda should be reviewed.
BOCCHIT EDMOND (Haiti) said recommendations of the ad hoc expert group should be carefully analysed. Application of sanctions should be limited. The Special Committee should continue to consider the thorny question of the use of force. Haiti supported the proposal for recourse to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.
Peacekeeping operations remained a dynamic mission of the Organization, he said. They had proved to be useful. Notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by the Charter, there could be direct involvement of States in internal matters on humanitarian grounds. Haiti supported the enlargement of the Security Council and the elimination of the use of the veto by its permanent members. He supported the calls for reform of the working methods of the Special Committee.
JOHN ARBOGAST (United States) said the decision to impose sanctions was a very weighty one. Nevertheless, the Charter did not state that all peaceful means of settlement had to be exhausted before the Security Council could impose such enforcement measures. The Charter did not provide such a limitation because the framers understood that the Council must have the flexibility to act effectively. By the same token, the imposition of sanctions should not and did not bar the further pursuit of appropriate peaceful means for settlement, which was what normally happened in the real world. Sanctions were a far less onerous alternative to the actions the Security Council could take that involved the use of force. He thanked the representative of Japan for reminding the Committee of the actual legal obligations of Member States vis-à-vis effects on third States.
Efforts should of course continue to make sanctions as “smart” as possible and to address hardship situations with respect to both target States and third States, he said. But the power and effectiveness of economic measures as a crucial tool must not be diluted either by the creation of unwise exceptions or requirements for prior assessments that caused damaging delay or placed undue emphasis on third country effects. The best way to address these issues was not through “sterile and wasteful theological debate and wishful and unrealistic thinking”, but through practical, realistic approaches. For example, the work of the ad hoc expert group had raised the consciousness of international institutions both within and outside the United Nations, and they had indicated their willingness to cooperate and coordinate on the issue. The report also drew attention to practical proposals that the Council had agreed on to improve the work of the sanctions committees.
He agreed with the suggestion to hold open-ended informal consultations on the working methods of the Charter Committee. Citing the heavy schedule of important law-related meetings in the spring, he said it seemed as though the work of the Charter Committee could be accomplished in five days. The proposals on criteria for sanctions and peacekeeping operations had become “make-work, filler exercises” that stood no chance of bearing fruit. Such proposals should be subject to new review procedures. The Trusteeship Council should be taken off the United Nations books through a straightforward, technical revision of the Charter. Finally, he hoped that the momentum to update the Repertory and the Repertoire would continue, either through creative use of existing resources or voluntary contributions. A new practice of restraint in asking the Secretary-General for reports on every subject under the sun might be of assistance in freeing up more resources for that purpose.
CATE STEAINS (Australia) supported recommendations that the Secretary- general provide relevant information on the work of the sanctions committees to facilitate the flow of information and consistency in the work being carried out on sanctions. She said it would aid the development of standards and rules aimed at minimizing the humanitarian impact of sanctions on vulnerable groups within the target State, as well as their economic impact on third States.
Australia shared the concerns expressed in respect of the increasing workload of the International Court of Justice, she said. It welcomed the Court’s response to the dual challenge posed by the increased workload and insufficient resources. It would not like the Court to be forced to implement measures that might impact adversely on its ability to discharge its mandate. Australia supported a draft resolution on practical ways and means to strengthen the Court.
She also expressed Australia’s support for streamlining of the Charter Committee’s work. Her Government agreed that it would be useful to give consideration to the idea of a cut-off mechanism to deal with the long list of items before the Committee, in order to make its work more focused and action- oriented.
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