Ministry Statements & Speeches:
Mr. Shannon Tau.
I would like to start by thanking the Head of the Mechanism, Madam Marchi-Uhel for presenting the eighth report of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for the crimes committed in the Syrian Arab Republic. New Zealand appreciates the opportunity to discuss the important work of the Mechanism in this plenary meeting of the General Assembly.
Like others who have spoken today, New Zealand reiterates its strong support for the value and integrity of the Mechanism and its work. We continue to stress the importance of working collectively against impunity for the horrific crimes committed in Syria, and the critical role of the Mechanism in these efforts, and in seeking accountability. If there is no justice for the victims of crimes committed in the Syrian Arab Republic, the rule of law and its fundamental importance will be eroded for everyone. The rule of law, accountability, and respect for the basic tenets of international law are particularly important to reflect on and protect for these reasons – and in the wider circumstances of the day.
New Zealand is pleased to observe from the report of the Mechanism that progress is being made toward the fulfilment of its mandate, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The opening of two new case files in this reporting period, together with the growing number of requests for assistance which it is receiving, highlights the important work that the Mechanism is undertaking to establish individual criminal accountability.
New Zealand also commends the Mechanism’s growing collection of evidence with the assistance of new technologies, and expanding engagement with States, international organisations and civil society. We welcome the Mechanism’s procurement and deployment of new software, and development of new technology partnerships.
We further welcome the commitment by the Mechanism to a holistic and inclusive approach to justice, including the integration of thematic gender, children, and youth strategies into its work. We welcome the application of this approach in the inquiry into crimes by individuals associated with the Islamic State.
As the report makes clear, the scale and importance of the work to be undertaken by the Mechanism is immense.
Mr President, we will continue to follow the work of the Mechanism closely. You can count on New Zealand’s full support. I thank you.