Intervention by H.E. Marina Kaljurand, Foreign Minister of Estonia at the Presentation of the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, October 1st, 2015
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a member of the ACT group, Estonia welcomes the support expressed by a large number of UN Member States during the opening of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly for the idea that permanent members of the Security Council should voluntarily agree to refrain from using their veto in situations involving mass atrocity crimes.
The Security Council has an explicitly defined primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security – we firmly believe that a code of conduct on voluntary restraint on the use of veto will help the Security Council to live up to this mandate.
As all of you know this idea is not new and has been introduced by France and Mexico here at the UN formerly, and has been dealt with in depth by the ACT group, resulting in the preparation of an actual code of conduct. Estonia has expressed its support for both of these initiatives and strongly believes that they are complementary and share a common goal.
Atrocity crimes concern the international community as a whole, they are prohibited under customary international law and constitute a threat to international peace and security.
Where national or regional mechanisms fail, timely and decisive Security Council action is necessary to prevent or end the commission of these crimes. Perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable. Only through adoption of such a code of conduct will the United Nations send a clear message that there is no impunity and would thus possibly help to deter those who might commit future crimes. The 70th anniversary of this United Nations seems an opportune moment to bring about real change in the maintenance of peace and security.
I thank you for your attention.