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Address by the Foreign Minister of Estonia H.E. Mr. Sven Mikser at the reception on the occasion of the International Law Week at the Estonian House, 19 October 2018

19.10.2018


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we have gathered here on the occasion of the International Law Week. Estonia is happy to host the traditional reception this year.

United Nations Sixth Committee, that is dealing with legal issues, has begun its work for this session. Its highlight will come next week when Legal Advisers from all the UN member states will gather for the debate on International Law Commission’s report and discuss topical international law issues. These discussions are taking place at a moment where the international situation poses increasing challenges to the respect for international law and the rules-based international order.

Estonia is convinced that international law counts. Estonia is committed to promoting the rules-based world order, as for us international law is an existential matter. It is unfortunate that the rules based international system – the foundation of the international community – is increasingly challenged and questioned. We have been witnessing growing disunity and disagreements on a number of topics. Yet, it is clear that the international community needs to uphold and promote international law by responding decisively to grave violations of international law, including those of humanitarian law and human rights law.

One of the principal functions of the United Nations is to promote the development of international law. It is important for the UN to act as one and countries thrive when we work together and maintain a multilateral world that reacts adequately to today´s challenges. Strengthening respect for international obligations is critical for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Estonia believes in strengthening international courts, tribunal and arbitral mechanisms, which serve accountability for the serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law as well as the promotion of the rule of law. Estonia is firmly of the position that crimes have to be prevented, investigated and prosecuted.

The International Criminal Court is a fundamental part of a rules-based world order. We have celebrated 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute and have witnessed the activation of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression this summer. The application of international law is vital for the prevention of the most serious crimes and the deterrence of conflicts.

We are committed to promoting that international law is applicable also when cyber means are used. Estonia is committed to contribute to the observance of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including support for the rule of law and the principles of international law. We are also committed to the preservation of peace and the strengthening of international security. In order to give our contribution to this, Estonia has decided to run for the non-permanent membership of the Security Council for the period 2020-2021. We believe that 27 years as a member state of the United Nations and 100 years of statehood have given us enough experience and expertise to be ready for this important task.

With that, I conclude my short remarks and wish you pleasant evening with us at the Estonian House.

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