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Conferenza organizzata dalla European Public Law Organization – “The EPLO Global Rule of Law Initiative”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatrice Mariangela Zappia, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, all’evento “The EPLO Global Rule of Law Initiative”. —

Thank you, Dr. Faedda,

I am very glad to see you presiding over this event and I am very happy that an Italian woman has been appointed as Permanent Representative of EPLO here at the UN. I also want to thank my colleague, Amb. Maria Theofili, for taking the lead in the organization of this interesting event. I also would like to acknowledge the presence of the USG for Legal Affairs, Miguel de Serpa Soares, and thank him for his insightful remarks.

I join others in welcoming President Amato at the UN and I am particularly pleased that President Giuliano Amato has been able to join us and to give today’s key-note speech. President Amato’s career and personal history is a testament of Italy’s legal culture and tradition and a fine example of how the finest legal minds can contribute to the progress of our institutions and societies.

I have listened with particular attention and interest to the intervention of President Amato. President Amato has provided us with a rich articulation of the concept of the “Rule of Law”. His insights are an important take-away from today’s meeting and something we should all keep in mind when we talk about the different aspects of the Rule of Law in our daily activities here at the UN.

I will not delve into the different meanings of the concept of the Rule of Law; rather I will limit myself to highlight what it means for Italy to support the Rule of Law in our work at the United Nations. With this in mind, I would like to point to three areas that my country is engaged in.

Firstly, the rule of law is a major component of international development. That is clearly expressed in SDG 16 of the Agenda 2030. Italy is fully committed to the achievement of that goal. In May this year, we hosted a dedicated conference in Rome with DESA and all relevant UN Agencies to consider what has been achieved and how to make further progress towards the full implementation of SDG16.

Strengthening national institutions, including judicial institutions, and promoting access to justice by citizens and private actors are key actions in this respect. We firmly believe that civil society and organizations have an important role to play in this regard. EPLO is certainly one of them, as is IDLO, which is why we have strongly supported the acquisition by these two organizations of the observer status at the GA.

Secondly, an integral part of the promotion of the rule of law is to ensure and uphold human rights – including by strengthening the international mechanisms for accountability for the most serious violations of human rights. Indeed, upholding and protecting human dignity is one of the major achievements of the Rule of Law as it has developed in the XX century and one that is reflected both in our national Constitution and in the UN Charter. Supporting the cause of fundamental human rights is therefore one of the central pillars of our action at the UN, be it through our work in GA Committees, in the daily negotiating of resolutions, or in reiterating our principled and unwavering support for the International Criminal Court.

Thirdly, Italy is profoundly convinced that a sustainable and peaceful system of international relations must be based on shared rules and values, including those reflected in international law. We believe that, in this respect, dispute settlement mechanisms, including resort to international tribunals such as the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, are key to maintaining peaceful relations and to preventing hostilities between and among nations.

It is therefore crucial that international law continues to be developed and reinforced. In this respect we remain fully engaged with the work of the International Law Commission for the codification and progressive development of the law, and we have promoted a number of initiatives to strengthen its engagement with the 6th Committee of the General Assembly that I am glad to say have been very well received.

Finally, let me say that we look with great attention and interest to the “Global Rule of Law Initiative” and we trust that under the able leadership of Prof. Flogaitis and Dr. Faedda, EPLO will deliver concrete results in terms of legal training and capacity-building, especially, but not only, for developing countries.

I thank you.