Mr. Nguyen Ba Son, Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at the 6th Committee on agenda item 86
“The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels”
(New York, October 25, 2007)
Last year the General Assembly decided to include the item entitled “The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels” in the agenda of this Committee. The general debate of this item last year and the Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization this year confirm the importance and relevance of the rule of law, both on international and national agendas.
It’s hard to deny that the rule of law is a significant achievement of the human civilization. Upholding the rule of law in international relations is among the purposes of the United Nations. Today the rule of law is recognized and practiced in most parts of the globe. In the 2005 World Summit Outcome document, Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to, among other things, an international order based on the rule of law and international law. To fulfill this high-level commitment, further guidance for implementation and resolution of specific problems, both at the international and national levels, is needed. My Delegation, therefore, is pleased to join the Committee in the consideration of this topic. In this context, we take note of the Interim report of the Secretary-General regarding the inventory of current activities of the UN system for the promotion of the rule of law and the other reports presenting the comments and information received from Governments on the topic.
In our view, strengthening the international rule of law require, first and foremost, the progressive development, promotion and scrupulous implementation of international law. The international community has made international treaties and rules for and established international mechanisms in almost every aspect of international life, including the most important ones such as peace and security, dispute settlement, development and respect of human rights and dignity. However, much is to be improved as far as the enforcement of international law is concerned. On many occasions, we witness selectiveness or double standards in the application of international law. This runs counter to the very notion of the rule of law. Many developing and least developed countries find their efforts to take part in the codification and progressive development of international law, as well as to undertake legal reforms and strengthen the national rule of law challenged by capacity and resource constraints.
My Delegation, therefore, strongly supports the views expressed by many other Delegations that the Committee should be able to identify the concrete measures to be taken for the strengthening of the rule of law. The Committee could concentrate its discussions on measures aimed at:
- improving the codification and progressive development of international law (through the choices of priority topics, more efficient drafting process,…);
- increasing the number of states parties to international treaties and improving the implementation of international law, as well as obligations under international treaties (including through technical assistance for capacity building at the national level);
- consolidating or/and establishing appropriate organs and procedures that could help enforcing international law (highlighting the role of the UN General Assembly as a major normative and representative body of the UN);
- promoting general awareness and better understanding of international law.
Vietnam attaches great importance to upholding the rule of law in pursuing her cause of socio-economic development. The rule of law is enshrined in the Vietnamese Constitution, which clearly states that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is “a rule-of-law socialist state of the people, by the people and for the people”. In promoting the rule of law. Vietnam is carrying out the National Strategy for the Development and Improvement of Legal System to the Year 2010 and the Strategy on Judicial Reform to the Year 2020. The first strategy covers every aspect of social life, from economic development, political stability to human rights protection and promotion. The second one focuses on developing an effective and fair judicial system in the interest of justice. The two strategies are mutually complementary and reinforcing in the establishment of a uniform, transparent and viable legal system, which meets the current developmental needs of Vietnam.
In order to formulate and realize the above-mentioned strategies, Vietnam has and will continue to cooperate with the United Nations entities and possible donors. Through our experience, we respectfully suggest to strengthen the coordinating role of the United Nations, possibly through the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, in technical and other assistance programs given to developing countries to facilitate the promotion of their national rule of law.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.