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Speech at UN high-level meeting about the Rule of Law

Speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at UN high-level meeting about the Rule of Law the 12 th. September 2012 in New York.

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Mr. President,

Today, with the adoption of the Declaration, the international community has expressed its will to strengthen the rule of law to promote global peace, security and stability.

Today, we have also affirmed that the rule of law is strongly interlinked with the obligations of our States to respect and promote respect for international human rights and humanitarian law and to provide legal protection for all without discrimination.

And today – confronted with global challenges to recover from financial crisis and eradicate poverty – we have highlighted the important interrelationship between rule of law and generating economic growth, sustainable development, employment and better opportunities.

Mr. President,

Allow me to thank you for trusting Denmark and Mexico with the task of co-facilitating the Declaration adopted today. For both our countries, the rule of law is a core value and a principle of governance.

I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his vision to advance the rule of law as a critical enabler of the three main pillars of the United Nations; international peace and security, development and human rights.

Seen from the perspective of Denmark as a smaller state, the rule of law provides a common framework for addressing problems that transcend borders. Rule of law is a fundamental condition for creating a level playing field and for preventing and addressing conflict.

Denmark is convinced that a rights-based approach to development is necessary. This approach is clearly reflected in the new Danish strategy for our bilateral development assistance entitled “The Right to a Better Life”.

The strategy recognises in particular the importance of ensuring that women, children and vulnerable groups have unhindered and equal access to justice, decision making, resources and opportunities.

Mr. President,

Denmark views the fight against impunity as an important element of rule of law. This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute. The International Criminal Court (ICC) - through hard work and the support of the current 122 States Parties - has gained an important foothold in the fight to ensure that those responsible for the most serious international crimes will be held accountable. But the Rome Statute system is still in its early days and in need of continued political support. Denmark calls upon all Member States to lend their full support to the ICC, and for Members States that have not yet done so to join the Rome Statute.

While we work to make the International Criminal Court (ICC) a universally recognised and effective body, it must be remembered that the primary responsibility for prosecution rests with the countries themselves. International courts such as the ICC are complementary. They constitute a last resort, when national authorities fail to act. We therefore encourage States to strengthen national judicial systems and institutions.

Mr. President,

On behalf of Denmark, I want to thank all Member States for their contributions to our joint Declaration.

Denmark believes there is a need for an on-going process to see how the rule of law can help meet the evolving global challenges we are facing.

States will pursue this work, but civil society also has much to contribute to advancing the rule of law and human rights.

I welcome the many pledges made at this High-Level meeting. Denmark also commits several pledges today.

Denmark looks forward to engaging in cooperation with Member States, the United Nations and civil society organizations in advancing the rule of law.

Thank you.