Statement by Yuriy Vitrenko, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, at the UN Security Council briefing on UN sanctions

Mr President,

I thank Egyptian Presidency for organizing this briefing and Assistant Secretary-General Zerihoun for the extensive presentation regarding the UN sanctions.

For more than 50 years already, prohibitions and restrictions imposed by the Security Council are recognized as the most powerful non-military response to threats to global peace and security. We share the view that sanctions remain an important tool to counter terrorism, prevent conflicts, consolidate peace agreements, protect civilians and curb WMD proliferation.

Furthermore, the current practice of introducing more precise, targeted sanctions seeks to strike a balance between sought results and possible unintended or adverse socio-economic and humanitarian consequences in a specific state or third states. Significant progress has also been achieved in designing and monitoring the implementation of sanctions regimes since the time when the Council’s Informal Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions was first set up in April 2000. Establishment of expert panels to assist relevant UNSC Committees has been a successful practice, while introduction of an essentially novel institution – the Office of Ombudsman of the 1267 Committee – should be seen as a notable leap forward in ensuring that relevant sanction measures meet human rights standards.

Mr. President,

The processes of sanctions design, their implementation, evaluation and follow-up, relevant Committees’ working methods, monitoring and enforcement are closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing.

At the same time, we cannot but recognize that, along with developments in sanctions’ design and calibrating their nature and scope, the issue of enhancing sanctions’ effectiveness and efficiency requires sustained attention by this Council.

This, clearly, depends largely on prompt and comprehensive implementation of respective Security Council’s resolutions by the Member States.

Mr. President,

We see two major challenges in making UN sanctions more efficient: the lack of will, which prevents the Council from responding promptly and decisively to grave violations of international law, and, on the other hand, outright obstruction or evasion of the existing sanctions. While the deficit of political will and abuse of veto right merit a separate debate, I wish to recall that in accordance with para 5 of Article 2 of the UN Charter all Member States, inter alia, shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action. In this respect, Security Council has to explore ways of further strengthening the role of respective Committees in identifying possible cases of non-compliance and determining appropriate course of action with regard to those who violate relevant international obligations.

Outreach activity, including awareness-raising and dialogue with relevant international and regional organizations, as well as effective means of sanctions enforcement are seen as important elements in curbing, eliminating and further preventing sanctions’ evasion. At the same time, assistance to states in implementing UN sanctions is the area where, in our view, more can and should be done to increase the effect of decisions taken at the UNSC level.

Let me also stress in this connection the important role played by various international organizations in implementing sanction regimes to respond to breaches of peace and other grave violations of international law. The use of additional measures and their own specific instruments for better targeting international wrongdoing is an essential part of the international toolbox in this area. The efforts of the European Union should be seen as an example of a consistent and coherent sanctions’ policy firmly rooted in international law.

Mr. President,

Ukraine is among those countries which fully recognize the importance of undertaking continuous efforts, including periodic reviews, to further improve proper design, implementation, evaluation and follow-up of sanctions regimes and to increase effectiveness of targeted sanctions.

To this end we are in favor of further endeavors aimed at independent review of crosscutting issues and trends in sanctions’ application, best practices and challenges in their implementation as well as preparing recommendations, including with regard to practical options to better support Member States’ capacities in this area.

Let me conclude by citing Jan Eliasson that “sanctions can work – when they are designed and implemented well and when they enjoy the support of Member States on and outside the Security Council”.

Thank you.