It is a great pleasure for me to present today, together with my colleague Ambassador Thomas Greminger, the Permanent Representative of Switzerland, the Arabic translation of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.
On a personal note I would like to add that it is a particular pleasure for me to speak to you today as in the early 90s I was personally involved in the drafting and negotiation of the Code. I still vividly remember the enthusiasm and the sense of a new era which was guiding the work of the CSCE then. There was a strong resolve reflected also in the Summit Documents at the time effectively to meet the challenges of change after the end of the Cold War. The Forum for Security Cooperation which was created by the 1992 CSCE Summit in Helsinkiwas entrusted with the elaboration of concrete measures aimed at strengthening security and stability and giving expression to the fundamental notion that security in the OSCE area is indivisible.
Apart from the further development of the Confidence- and Security-building Measures as enshrined in successive versions of the Vienna Document a number of other important instruments were adopted in the FSC in the 90s. The Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security adopted by the CSCE Summit in Budapest1994 was and continues to be of outstanding importance: it sets out the fundamental principles pertaining to the security relations among OSCE participating states and represents a landmark document in security sector governance.
it is also interesting to recall that the Code of Conduct was seen as being of crucial importance at a time when Europewent through a period of dramatic change. Societies in many OSCE participating States underwent deep changes. And the Code of Conduct was a direct response to the changing role and position of armed forces in societies in transition. The Code commits participating States to provide for and maintain effective democratic control of their military, paramilitary and internal security forces as well as of the intelligence services and the police. It also obliges participating States to further the integration of their armed forces with civil society, to ensure that the armed forces remain politically neutral and to guarantee that the human rights of service personnel are respected.
Against the backdrop of our own history in the 20th century, we consider such provisions of crucial importance. Thus, to give an example, it is an essential principle of our constitution, the German Basic Law, that the powers of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s national military forces, are under Parliament’s control. That means that the Bundeswehr receives its mandates from our democratically legitimized body. Concurrently, Parliament exercises a special duty of care in respect of the soldiers. Every soldier remains in full possession of his or her rights as a citizen. These rights may be restricted only to the extent required by the special nature of service as a soldier. In order to ensure this concept of “citizen in uniform”, Germanyhas created the post of a Military Commissioner, who – acting as a kind of ombudsman - has the crucial function of safeguarding soldiers’ fundamental rights. Each and every soldier has direct access to the Commissioner with any queries he or she may have. The Commissioner’s main task is to keep track of violations of soldiers’ fundamental rights and of the principle of internal leadership; he reports to Parliament on his work at least once a year. He himself is elected by Parliament for five years, but he is not a member of this sovereign body itself.
In the 90s it was Europewhich underwent profound changes. Today it is the Middle East and in particular Arab countries which are going through a period of dramatic change. I am therefore convinced that the Code of Conduct, whose Arab translation we are launching today, is particularly topical and of special interest to our Mediterranean Partners. I very much hope that the Code of Conduct will provide the subject of a lively debate with our Mediterranean Partners and will indeed contribute to strengtheining our cooperation.
Germany and Switzerlandpledge their readiness to assist OSCE’s Partners for Co-operation in their efforts to work towards the principles outlined in this key document for security governance.
We are looking forward to follow-up events providing opportunities to have detailed discussions on the issues dealt with in the Code of Conduct. I am pleased that a workshop is already planned to take place in Maltalater this year. And I am particularly grateful to Switzerlandfor providing the premises for conducting this workshop. I would also welcome events to take place in military schools or other appropriate establishments in Arab countries. We would certainly consider providing the financial contributions to make such events possible. We also stand ready to send experts to explain and discuss the Code. I am looking forward to continuing and intensifying the discussion on this matter with our Mediterranean Partners.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.