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The statements made this morning confirm the results achieved in ten years of debates about the links between crime prevention, RoL, and sustainable development.

Now we must look to the future and support the process to define the UN’s post-2015 agenda.

In examining the concept of RoL, a surprising variety of features and interpretations come to our attention.

It is interpreted differently depending on whether it refers to a national or an international context, and we cannot ignore the institutional histories and the cultures of individual Countries.

RoL is based on principles that are gaining ground in the international community, such as:

– the separation of powers within a balanced system,
– the equality of all persons before the law,
– the elimination of areas of impunity,
– the transparency and accountability of procedures and institutions,
– respect for fundamental human rights.

All the documents of the UN and of the international organizations concur in the belief that without respect for these principles, a nation will experience discord and tensions that will in the short term lead to open conflicts or, in the long term, generate deep divisions and stunt the growth and well-being of the community.

Fairly applied laws, the avoidance of arbitrariness, legal transparency, and an independent judiciary are crucial to assuring all citizens – without distinction by wealth, race, religion, or social class – that the supremacy of the law and equality before the law are essential and closely related.

These principles take on special importance in the field of criminal justice. By resolution 69/197, sponsored by Italy and co-sponsored by one-hundred other delegations, the General Assembly has recently underscored the central role of the fight against organized crime in all its forms and, at the same time, recalled that this fight must take place in accordance with international rules and standards as well as the principles of Rule of Law.

International cooperation against organized crime must go hand-in-hand with equal access to justice for persons, including the perpetrators of crimes and the members of vulnerable groups. Both are goals that must be achieved in the next decades.

The threats caused to security and development by transnational organized crimes are as significant as those caused by national and regional conflicts. In many cases, such phenomena proceed accompany and mutually reinforce each other.

Only the implementation of Rule of Law principles and effective and fair criminal justice systems can free people from fear, build their confidence in national and international institutions, and unleash energies that can create development and well-being.

These are the reasons why “Goal 16” should be considered essential. It should be discussed and improved with an open approach in order to grant stability, security and prosperity to both the international community and single communities.

We are deeply convinced of these ideas, which are widely shared and recalled in UN documents. We must nevertheless point out that progress in international legal instruments is not always accompanied by their proper implementation. We must make this a priority and address it also at the Doha Congress.

We must strengthen our political will where it might be lacking, provide support for Countries with weak points or resistance, and proceed with consistent behavior and effective, coordinated initiatives.

These are some of the reasons that inspired Italy to co-organize today’s debate. We are certain that the prestige of the chair and the professionalism of the participants will engender new knowledge and new ideas that the organizations in charge of preparing the Congress and the Member States can collect and appreciate also in view of the definition of the post-2015 Agenda, whose importance we all clearly perceive.