Statement by Ms. Minna-Liina Lind, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN on Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council Reform, March 9, 2019
Let me start by saying that Estonia greatly values your leadership in these IGN negotiations.
We have heard in the course of today many useful historic insights on the reasons veto was initially established and overview of its use throughout the 70 years including some concerning examples from the past few years.
Security Council has an explicitly defined primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security but considering the number of crises around the world and the disastrous consequences they have on the civilian population it is clear that the Security Council has not always lived up to its tasks. Far too often we have seen how the distinct privilege of the veto, or even just the threat of using it, has been abused leaving the Security Council paralyzed and passive on the sidelines in situations where it is most needed.
Estonia has in many occasions expressed its position, which we also included in our contribution to the framework document, that permanent members of the Council should voluntarily and collectively commit themselves to not using their veto to block Council action aimed at preventing or ending situations involving mass atrocity crimes.
As a member of the ACT group, we welcome the support expressed by a large number of Member States for the ACT code of conduct which entails a broader pledge to support timely and decisive Security Council action. The code is currently supported by 110 countries and we hope that more countries will join shortly. Launch of the code is however only the beginning; the main task now is to focus on its implementation by the members of the Security Council. It would send a clear message that there is no impunity and would thus possibly help to deter those who might commit future crimes. Furthermore, Estonia has also expressed its support to the proposal formerly introduced by France and Mexico here at the UN. We believe that these two initiatives 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 must be held accountable. In this regard, Estonia also values highly the role of the ICC.
I thank you.