Mr Cassis took part in the debate on the rule of law at the invitation of Japan. Like Switzerland, Japan is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council since the beginning of the year. It holds the presidency of the Council in January. "The principles of the Charter are being put to the test today. They have been flagrantly violated in the case of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine," Mr Cassis stressed at the Council.
He called on UN member states to respect international law and adhere to the principles of the UN Charter. The Charter prohibits the threat or use of force targeted at the territorial integrity or political independence of another state. "The work of international bodies such as the Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court and the various UN investigation and fact-finding mechanisms is of great importance. It is crucial that all states, as well as the Security Council, cooperate fully with these bodies," Mr Cassis stressed. Switzerland will work towards further strengthening rule of law during its tenure in the Security Council.
The topic of the current debate concerns two priorities that Switzerland has defined for its membership of the UN Security Council, namely protecting civilians and promoting sustainable peace. The other two priorities are enhancing the Council's efficiency and addressing climate security.
The Security Council itself must ensure that its resolutions uphold the principles of the rule of law, including with regard to sanctions. In this context, Mr Cassis mentioned Switzerland's efforts to strengthen the mandate of the UN Ombudsperson as as an important mechanism that helps ensure that legal procedural guarantees within the UN sanctions system are respected. Today, individuals and organisations whose names appear on the 'Islamic State' group and Al-Qaïda sanctions lists can turn to the Ombudsperson and submit a request to be removed. This possibility should also exist within the other sanctions regimes.
During his stay in New York, Mr Cassis met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, President of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi, UN Ombudsperson Richard Malanjum and other representatives of permanent and non-permanent member states of the UN Security Council.
Tomorrow, Friday, Mr Cassis will travel on to Washington D.C., where he will meet with Mr Blinken. Among other things, cooperation with the USA in the UN Security Council in relation to Switzerland’s priorities will be discussed, including the improvement of the rule of law in relation to UN sanctions regimes.
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Address by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis at the UN Security Council, 12.01.2023
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