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High – Level Summit on the Rule of Law

August 16, 2012

By Laura Winninger, UNA-SNY intern

“The rule of law is better than that of any individual.”

Based on this Aristotelian principle, the United Nations General Assembly will convene its member states, as well as observers and civil society organizations to a High Level Summit on the Rule of Law on September 24th, 2012, at the United Nations. There high-ranking UN representatives, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chair of the International Law Commission, Member States and Observers, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations will address the audience.

The roots of the rule of law go back to a time long before the UN and the modern concept of the rule of law were established, when communities sought to codify their laws as a way to create a just society. Today, as the concept of the rule of law is embedded in the Charter of the United Nations, this realization is still true, with laws protecting rights and preventing, or eventually punishing wrongs.

Since the world currently faces numerous conflicts, most prominently the violent Syrian upheaval, which undermines the rule of law and challenges the international community, the High-level Summit is an ideal opportunity to emphasize the importance of an internationally agreed set of rules and its implementation.

In order to invoke the member states’ efforts to strengthen the rule of law at the national and international levels, the Secretary General suggests in his report that the General Assembly elaborate a program of action, arrange a process to develop new “rule-of-law” goals and contribute to enhancing dialogue on the issue of the rule of law. Besides, member states are encouraged to put forward individual aims related to the strengthening of laws on a national basis.

Taking these ambitious goals into consideration, the High-Level Summit can, apart from enhancing the importance of international law, definitely also advance the dialogue on important issues, such as gender equality and peace building. As the UN’s capacity to act is based upon a solid network of common rules, a realizable outcome document of the High level Summit, finalized by the Present of the General Assembly and the member states, would be an important progress in international cooperation and in working towards an international community based on law.





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