Statement on behalf of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia

by Elvira Cupika-Mavrina, Legal advisor of Latvia to the United Nations at the Resumed Sixth Committee Session "Crimes against humanity" 

United Nations, New York

11 April 2023

Madam Chair,

I have the honor to speak today on behalf of the three Baltic States – Estonia, Lithuania and my own country, Latvia.

The Baltic States align with the statement made by the European Union and its Member States.

Turning to the draft Article 2 (definition of crimes against humanity):

We find the definition of crimes against humanity provided in Article 2 is clear and comprehensive and we welcome its inclusive and diverse character on the circumstances in which these crimes may occur.

The definition is victim centered meaning that it is designed to protect the rights and interests of the civilian population. Such focus is important, as it ensures that the emphasis remains on preventing and punishing crimes that have a significant impact on civilians. 

By establishing a clear definition, the draft articles will ensure that crimes against humanity are properly identified and addressed, and that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

If adopted and implemented, these draft articles shall promote respect for human rights, rule of law and provide justice for victims and survivors of crimes against humanity. 

Lastly, on Article 3 (general obligations):

We consider that the inclusion of a general obligation to prevent crimes against humanity is a much needed and positive development of international criminal law. Prevention is key to combat these heinous crimes, and the general obligation encourages States to take proactive measures to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Further, general obligation to prevent and to punish crimes against humanity sends a strong message that such crimes will not be tolerated and it reflects the international community’s commitment to uphold human rights and ensure that those who commit such crimes are held accountable.

I thank you!