The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic spoke at the beginning of the General Debate of the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade on the theme Strengthening international law: Parliamentary roles and mechanisms, and the contribution of regional cooperation, stressing that violations of international norms and principles are the cause of many of world problems, justice and law must stand above force in international relations.
Gojkovic said that today, with the international legal order based on the Charter of the United Nations and its conventions and treaties, it is up to the parliamentarian to appeal to the world to maintain and advance this order and uphold principles and norms.
“Breaking international norms, principles and rules is the cause of many of today’s problems in the world. The condition of international relations leads to violence, human suffering and misery. Justice and law have to be above force in international relations”, said the Serbian Assembly Speaker.
Historically, this has been proven time and time again, said Gojkovic, in the 20th century alone we witnessed the destructive power of force above justice and law. “I am afraid that the international legal order is under threat today, and with it peace and security in the world. That is why we need to adhere to the UN Charter, conventions and other international legal instruments that guarantee international law and order”, said Gojkovic stressing that this has to be done fully and justly, not by half-measures and arbitrarily because selective abidance by international obligations undermines the very foundations of international legal order, peace and security.
Regional cooperation is one of the most important aspects of maintaining peace and security, said Gojkovic, and the focal points and biggest risks that jeopardize the peace and stability are of regional character.
“That is why conflict resolution has to involve the relevant regional stakeholders as a link between global principles and individual interests. Any lasting agreement has to be the result of dialogue and in line with international law. It is also vital that the agreements be respected and their guarantors consistent in it so that the agreements would be implemented”, said Gojkovic.
Gojkovic stressed that any diversion, politisation and malicious interpretation of agreements undermine the peace and security of the region, which is why regional mechanisms and institutions are an important framework for political dialogue.
The Assembly Speaker said that this makes it imperative that all the stakeholders take part in the dialogue to make it sustainable and that said dialogue must be based on a firm compromise of the opposing parties.
“These are the principles the Republic of Serbia insists on with its firm advocacy of dialogue which should lead to a compromise based in international law and a solution that ensures peace and stability. That is our approach to the issue of Kosovo-Metohija and we would like to thank all the countries in the world that share the same approach for their support and understanding.”
Gojkovic said that, in today’s polarized international relations, parliamentarians, as representatives of the people, have to regain the trust in the institutions and principles of international law because that is the only way to create a stable world with a certain future and stressed that it is important to continue the close cooperation with the United Nations.
Gojkovic said she was proud to speak about international law on the 130th anniversary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union because that was one of its basic goals since foundation back in 1889 when parliamentarians from different countries came together and decided to try to establish conflict resolution mechanisms using international norms and instruments.
Finally, Gojkovic said that the parliaments of the world have been working for 130 years to build a community of IPU values whose goal is peace, freedom, equality between the states and individuals, tolerance, understanding and dialogue.
IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron and IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong also spoke at the start of the General Debate and the parliamentarians from 150 countries of the world will be discussing international law and regional cooperation until 17 October what they will pass the Belgrade Declaration.
The General Debate was preceded by the Governing Council where the Serbian Assembly Speaker was elected chair of the 141st IPU Assembly.