Saudi U.N. envoy: Fairer and stronger international court needed

July 24, 2009

Saudi Ambassador to the United Nations Khalid Al-Nafisee said Thursday that a stronger and more equitable international court is needed so states that commit war crimes will not go unpunished. “Those who, in my country’s opinion, commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes or any other heinous crimes must know that they will be dealt with strongly and timely by the international community,” he said.

Ambassador Al-Nafisee was speaking at a debate on the “responsibility to protect” principle, or R2P, which the U.N. endorsed in 2005. The concept advocates protecting civilians from their own governments so that genocides, such as those that took place in Rwanda and Bosnia, can be avoided.

“What is needed is to make sure a strong criminal justice system is in place, one that is just and fair [and able] to move against the country that commits such crimes and [is] not selective as to who to move against,” Ambassador Al-Nafisee said. “Unfortunately . . . as long as the Security Council has the power of veto, selective prosecution will continue to exist in this world no matter what kind of mechanism we create for R2P.”