The Conference on Disarmament


by Mr. Petru DUMITRIU
Chargé d'affaires a.i.
Delegation of Romania

Geneva, 14 September 2003

I would join the plea already made by other distinguished representatives in favour of a decision that give impetus to the work of the Conference on Disarmament, and reiterate the position of Romania - similar to that of the majority of delegations - on the necessity to reach the consensus over starting negotiations at least on a number of agreed issues that stand before us for more that seven years.

Let me praise you for your diligent efforts and consultations you have recently undertaken with a view to making the long waited breakthrough and succeeding in eventually adopting a Program of Work. I would support the important principles you described in your statement of 7th August as underlying prerequisites for an agreed Program of Work: 1) striking a balance among items which should be relevant on long term; 2) planning discussions or negotiations on various issues in such a way as to avoid handling too many themes at the same time; 3) adopting an approach that would remove the risk to held hostage the Conference to issues on which there is not yet agreement, despite the fact that on an important number of other matters there is a satisfactory degree of interest and acceptance.

I may also express our support for the position you presented on 31st July, according to which the Conference on Disarmament - although a negotiating body - should also function as a forum for debates and exchange of views on the most actual topics of the agenda for global peace, security and stability.

In other words, Mr. President, even a less comprehensive agenda would be much better than the longstanding stalemate in the work of the Conference of Disarmament, which is inadmissibly inert for the unprecedently dynamic world we live in.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform the Conference on Disarmament on recent national developments in connection with the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW). The Parliament of Romania adopted, on 27 June 2003, the Law (no.287) on the adhesion to the amended Article 1 of the CCW, as well as to the Amended Protocol II and Protocol IV of the above mentioned Convention. The Law has been promulgated by the President of Romania (Decree no. 416) and published in the Official Journal (no. 555, part I) of 14 July 2003. Thus, almost the entire internal procedure has been completed for Romania to become a High Contracting Party to the two additional Protocols to the CCW, when the instruments of adhesion are deposited with the United Nations Secretary General.

Romania attaches great importance to the CCW in its regulations and prohibition of weapons which may be deemed excessively injurious or have indiscriminate effects. Since its entry into force, almost 20 years ago, the CCW has proved to be an important international instrument not only in the area of disarmament, but also in the demanding realm of international humanitarian law. We believe that the main purposes of the Convention are, on one hand, to protect civilians from weapons that cause particular human sufferings and, on the other hand, to protect soldiers and combatants from weapons that are unnecessary harmful and thereby exceed the normal military requirements. Romania's commitment to CCW regulations and principles has been demonstrated by the ratification of the Convention on 26 June 1995.

Since its adoption, the CCW has gradually been strengthened through amendments of existing protocols as well as adoption of new ones. These improvements demonstrate the flexible nature of this framework convention which constantly allows the States Parties to match new military advancements and technologies with further appropriate measures and restrictions meant to assure that injuries of civilians or damages of their property are kept to a minimum - taking into account both military requirements and humanitarian law.

It is in this respect that Romania decided to adhere to the latest improvement of the CCW, decided by the Second Review Conference in December 2001, where States Parties took the important step of extending the scope of application of the CCW to cover not only international armed conflicts, but also non-international armed conflicts. We appreciate that this is a particularly important decision, as non-international conflicts represent the majority of current armed conflicts.

As many other High Contracting Parties, Romania views the Amended Protocol II as a significant component of the CCW, and, at the same time, as a complementary means to the Ottawa Convention in our common effort to reduce the human senseless suffering that results from using mines, booby-traps and other similar devices in armed conflict. By adhering to this Protocol in the amended form of 3 May 1996, Romania has also accomplished the political commitment undertaken under the Ottawa Convention.

In the end of my brief intervention, allow me to express the hope that by adhering to these instruments, Romania has brought its own modest but genuine contribution to the universalization of the CCW, and of the humanitarian law in general. We continue to be interested in this issue and remain actively engaged in the work of the Group of Governmental Experts of the States Parties to the CCW, with a view to further strengthening and expanding the customary rules that regulate the conduct of hostilities.

I thank you, Mr. President!

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