International law is an important part of the structure of our international society. Sovereign states accept it as such, and their record in observing it bears comparison with the level of law observance in many countries. International law is a part of the structure for it is an integral part of it and not an optional extra. The importance of international law is a function of its effectiveness and its ability to respond to change. Considering the importance of the concept, the Non –Aligned Movement has constantly striven for the need of attention and development within a framework of respect for the international rule of law, if a stable international order is to prevail.
The movement had emphasized the continued relevance and validitated its principled positions concerning international law and has reiterated in successive summits and ministerial meetings that purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the principles of international law are indispensable in preserving and promoting peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, and human rights for all. The movement has expressed its concerns at the enactment of politically motivated domestic laws directed against other States, and stressed the negative impact of such measures on the rule of international law as well as on international relations, and called for the immediate cessation of all such measures. The movement categorically rejects the enactment of politically motivated domestic laws directed against other States, and has stressed the negative impact of such measures on the rule of international law as well as on international relations, and called for the immediate cessation of all such measures.
The movement has called upon the States to refrain from such abuse, and also recognized the need for further consideration at the United Nations of the agenda item entitle “Scope and Application of the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction”. It may be mentioned here that this item was included in the provisional agenda of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly, in 2009, at the request of the United Republic of Tanzania, one of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement. During the general debate on the Item, Iran speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned movement mentioned that universal jurisdiction was an important principle of international law, which was aimed at combating impunity and bringing justice to victims and sought the cooperation and mutual legal assistance in any application of the principle of universal jurisdiction. India, as one of the leading member states of NAM has enshrined the principles in its constitution. Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India states that the State shall endeavour to “foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another. The African Union, which comprises a number of states of NAM has also reiterated its commitment to fight impunity and requested that the warrants of arrest issued on the basis of the abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction shall not be executed in any Member State.
NAM has welcomed the establishment of the working Group in the Sixth Committee in accordance with resolution 68/117 to continue to undertake a thorough discussion aimed at identifying the scope and application of Universal Jurisdiction; and to consider establishing a mechanism to monitor such application and to prevent its abuse in the future. Resolution 68/117 reaffirms the commitment of the General Assembly to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, to international law and to an international order based on the rule of law, which is essential for peaceful coexistence and cooperation among States.
Thus it can be seen that the Non-Aligned Movement respects the principles of international law enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, with a particular emphasis on the sovereign equality of States as well as their political independence and non-interference in internal affairs of other State. The movement also believes that the involvement of incumbent high-ranking officials should be dealt with in conformity with international law and the exercise of criminal jurisdiction by national courts, by invoking universal jurisdiction, over high-ranking officials who enjoy immunity under international law, violates the sovereignty of States, which is the most fundamental principle of international law.
The Movement thus ensures that principles firmly established in international law should be fully respected and in this regards, NAM member states have taken precedence in coordinating their national laws in accordance with international regulations as enshrined in UN Charter.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor