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STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ITALY TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AMBASSADOR INIGO LAMBERTINI, AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL WORKING METHODS (October 23, 2014)

Madame President,

I wish to thank you for convening this open debate on the working methods of the Security Council. This is a key pillar of the overall reform of the United Nations. Even under the current system, transparency, openness and efficiency are still needed to promote a sense of ownership of the Council by the entire international community.

We commend the improvements that have been made in rendering the Council’s working methods more responsive to the growing demand for openness and interaction between Council members and the rest of the membership. I am referring, for instance, to the increasing number of open debates and the informal “wrap-up” sessions by Security Council Presidents on their monthly work. As President of the Council of the European Union, Italy praises the attention dedicated to cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations.

But more improvements in the Council’s working methods are needed, such as greater interaction between the Council and the membership through regular consultations and detailed reports, deeper involvement of interested parties and regional organizations, and more contacts with the other main bodies of the United Nations.

We also wish to underline the importance of the Council’s consultations with Countries that contribute troops and police officers to peacekeeping operations. A perspective from the field can be fundamental, especially when mission mandates are being defined or renewed. Italy has welcomed past briefings to the Security Council by the military leadership of UN peacekeeping operations and looks forward to seeing UN Force Commanders more involved in the decision-making process.

At a time of serious crises in several areas of the world, improved working methods are also crucial to the Security Council’s ability to fulfill its main responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. This also holds true for ensuring effective and responsible follow-up to cases referred to the International Criminal Court by the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
We believe that the Council should have a forum where such follow-ups can be regularly discussed.

We should double our efforts to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes of international concern. The fight against impunity will not be effective unless there is greater cooperation, both on a collective and an individual basis. One fundamental challenge is how to respond to non-cooperation by States: non-respect of Court-ordered arrest warrants constitutes a violation of international law. In specific cases referred by the Security Council, such violations also constitute a breach of obligations under the UN Charter.

Concerning the role of the Ombudsperson, who we have heard from this morning, we should acknowledge that ensuring respect for the rule of law and human rights is an essential part of our task in countering terrorism. Therefore, providing fair and clear procedures for listed individuals has to be seen as part of our collective action. Consequently, the work of the Ombudsperson should receive full support and cooperation to ensure adequate and timely consideration of requests from individuals seeking removal from the consolidated list.


Madame President,

Improving working methods is part of the Security Council reform process. Italy believes in a comprehensive reform of the Security Council that encompasses all five clusters, including working methods. The veto mechanism is one of the key issues of Security Council reform.

The Security Council plays a crucial role in regulating international relations. Italy is opposed to any attempt to delegitimize the authority of the Council. At the same time, we are all aware that current veto system does not reflect today’s reality. Moreover, in some cases, it has prevented the Security Council from delivering appropriate responses in cases of mass atrocities. While we are working on a comprehensive solution, something can be done under the current system.

We join those who call for a voluntary code of conduct for permanent members of the Security Council on the use of the veto when taking action to prevent or end mass atrocities. Veto power presumes a clear responsibility to prevent or end the perpetration of atrocity crimes.

In this respect, Madame President, Italy is ready to engage with the rest of the membership in a constructive dialogue leading to an early outcome.

Thank you, Madame President.