H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of
the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
Agenda item 73:
Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials
and Experts on Mission
New York, 10 October 2008
First, I wish to express the appreciation of my delegation to the Secretary-General for his report on this very important issue as well as to legal counsel for his comprehensive briefing on the matter.
I would also like to acknowledge the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission contained in document A/63/54.
Before I continue, my delegation wishes to align with the statement delivered earlier by the distinguished representative of Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Indonesia reiterates its admiration of the selfless contribution of men and women in the service of the United Nations.
We have little doubt that, more than any other party, they would be the first to recognize the importance of best conduct in the carrying out of their responsibilities.
In the event that such trust is violated and an expert or official engages in criminal conduct, he or she must face justice.
Indeed, it is important that the offender not only face justice, but be seen to be facing justice. This is because of the implications of such criminal conduct for the work, image and effectiveness of the United Nations around the world.
To that extent, we are a strong supporter of General Assembly resolution 62/63. We believe that it is important that States establish jurisdiction over any crimes that may be committed by their nationals serving in United Nations missions as officials or experts.
We would like to pay tribute to all the peacekeepers who continue to make such a practical contribution to maintaining peace, sometimes, at the expense of their own lives. We owe them a lot, and we urge the host states and the UN to continue to take appropriate measures to protect them.
As a troop-contributor, Indonesia has always stressed the need to establish high standards of behavior on the part of the peacekeeper. We must uphold the law and bring to justice perpetrators of criminal acts of sexual exploitations and abuse-related crimes during their assignment.
Peacekeepers, it may be said, are the face of the United Nations, particularly in a conflict situation, and we cannot permit the contradiction where those who bring peace visit a different kind of assault on the people. To that extent, we emphasize the implementation of the “zero tolerance policy” in cases of criminal conduct as they affect peacekeepers as well as other United Nations experts and officials, particularly where it relates to sexual exploitation and abuse.
To make certain that this approach will work, it has always been our position that pre-deployment sensitivity training must be undertaken to raise awareness of United Nations officials and experts before they are deployed. This is important as a general rule, even when there is no conflict; it is of the greatest importance before deployment is undertaken in a conflict environment. We believe that the faithful application of this policy will assist the international community in their efforts to fill in any legal loopholes on the matter.
We appreciate the efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support in this direction. We believe that their training and awareness-raising activities in the past two years are making a difference. Together with the Conduct and Discipline Unit at both Headquarters and some missions, we believe that an important inroad has been made by the Secretariat in tackling this issue.
With regard to the issue of the draft Convention, Indonesia inter alia believes that there should be further discussion whether it would include also the category of UN personnel from national contingents which have been considered and regulated in other formats. Apart from that, it is our view that certain provisions of this draft should be amended in order not to give the impression of differentiating between UN operations under Chapter 6 and 7.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, my delegation looks forward to fruitful discussion of the outstanding issues in the Ad Hoc Committee with regard to the scope of ratione personae and ratione material.
We would, however, like to call attention to the need to proceed with caution on the ratione materiale, with particular reference to the notion of broadening its scope to include serious crimes other than those described within the original mandate of this Ad Hoc Working Group, namely: sexual exploitation and related-abuses.
We are of the view that the Ad Hoc Committee should focus on the crimes originally within their mandate to avoid a situation where broadening the scope may make it difficult, in the short term, to reach agreement.
Last, we believe that the existing criminal law of both the sending and receiving countries will ensure that perpetrators of serious crimes will not escape justice. What is needed is to explore ways and means of enhancing cooperation among member states and the United Nations with a view to facilitating the prosecution of suspects, particularly in such areas as the investigation and collection of evidence.
I thank you.
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