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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations - General Assembly: Ad - Hoc Committee on the Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials and Experts on Mission (New York)

Statement on behalf of the European Union by Mr. Marko Rakovec, Second Secretary Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the United Nations

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Madame Chairperson,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia[1] and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia[1], the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.


Madame Chairperson,

At the outset, we would like to express our appreciation to you, Madame Chairperson, and the other members of the Bureau for once again chairing this Committee. We are confident that you will guide this Committee in its deliberations in a very competent and efficient manner.


Madame Chairperson,

The European Union welcomes this meeting of the Ad hoc Committee as an important opportunity to consider the next steps in ensuring the criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission. The adoption of the Resolution A/RES/62/63 in December 2007 under your able guidance, Madame Chairperson, was the first step in addressing this issue.

The EU fully supports the 'zero tolerance' policy of the United Nations with respect to crimes committed by the UN officials and experts on mission. It is evident that serious criminal acts committed by anyone should not go unpunished and that the perpetrators of criminal offences must be held accountable for their acts. This applies even more to all UN personnel, who are expected to promote justice and the rule of law during the course of the UN operations. Criminal offences committed by UN personnel cause damage to the victim, the victim's family and finally to the whole community. Even more, such acts are deemed as a violation of trust those in distress areas have in the UN personnel. Consequently, such acts cause serious damage to the reputation of the UN personnel, UN organization as a whole and its Member States. As acknowledged by the Secretariat, without the trust of the community, mandates will not receive full cooperation and may fail or take longer to achieve.

For these reasons, the question of criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission is of great importance for the EU. Therefore, the EU strongly supports a comprehensive approach in addressing this issue in the future. In that respect the EU is ready to continue the discussion of a possible draft convention on the criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission which could contribute to holistically addressing the issue in question.

However, due to the serious nature of the matter, it is necessary to focus on certain elements, in particular, those relating to cooperation and crime investigation which are at the moment primary tools to ensure the criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission.

Enhancement of cooperation between States and International Organizations in respect of criminal acts committed by UN personnel is our next step in addressing this issue. EU fully supports the idea that the States should expand their cooperation on exchange of information, extradition, serving of sentences and other measures to facilitate the effective exercise of criminal jurisdiction. Likewise, the cooperation between States and the UN should cover exchange of information, assistance with respect to procedural issues (e.g. gathering of evidence, availability of witnesses), reporting on the current status of investigations, enhancing the rule of law capacities in national judicial systems etc.

Professional investigation which includes effective gathering and preservation of evidence is paramount in addressing this issue. While criminal investigation remains primary the responsibility of the Host State (if possible), evidence gathered by UN organs nevertheless remains very important for the subsequent criminal proceedings. Therefore, we fully support the efforts of the Secretariat to implement paragraph 9 of the Resolution A/RES/62/63 and to establish a transparent internal system which will be able to recognize misconduct amounting to criminal acts and to report credible allegations to the sending States.


Madame Chairperson,

In the light of the request contained in paragraph 10 of the Resolution A/RES/62/63, the EU calls upon all States to report to the Secretary General on the implementation of the resolution, in particular paragraphs 2 to 4 and 9, which provide that States should take all appropriate measures to ensure that criminal acts in concern do not go unpunished, to consider extending their criminal jurisdiction over their nationals while serving as UN officials or experts on mission and to enhance cooperation in the exchange of information and in the conduct of investigations. The EU firmly believes that full implementation of these key provisions would represent the first step in closing the jurisdiction gap on this issue.

The EU looks forward to the additional information from the Secretary General on the measures taken, as requested in paragraphs 5, 6 and 9, on the detection, reporting and investigating the alleged criminal acts. In particular, we would appreciate to hear which difficulties the Secretariat encounters when implementing those provisions, and we are ready to listen to all the other problems concerning criminal prosecution of UN official and experts on mission. Such comprehensive information would establish a solid basis to further develop measures for holding UN officials and experts on mission equally accountable for their criminal acts.


Madame Chairperson,

The EU stands ready to continue with active participation in our discussion.

Thank you Madame Chairperson.


[1]Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 08.04.2008