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26 October 1995

Press Release


19951026 ADVANCE TEXT Following is the text of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's remarks at the tribute to Professor Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga in Washington D.C. today:

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today, and to pay tribute to the memory of my good friend and former colleague, Professor Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga.

I am especially pleased to have served as a member of the Honour Committee for the publication of the Liber Amicorum. The fact that so many well-established jurists and practitioners, all friends of Professor Aréchaga, have contributed writings to this impressive undertaking has made the publication a true liber amicorum.

It is a fine, and fitting tribute to the memory of an outstanding scholar, jurist, and friend.

The creation of laws to govern relationships between nations is one of the great innovations of the modern era. Their consolidation, expansion, and development has been one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century.

The founders of the United Nations recognized the special importance of international law to the world Organization. They placed the principle that international relations must be based on the rule of law at the very core of the United Nations Charter.

In the Charter, the founders gave substance to the conviction that the institutions of international law can provide a new framework for international peace and security.

Throughout the bitter confrontation of the cold war, international law provided a means of common progress and a common language for international dialogue. Transcending political, ideological, and cultural divisions, international law provided a way to develop shared norms and common standards.

Mutual respect among nations and peoples is indispensable to peaceful coexistence. The most fundamental features of international law reinforce this imperative.

- 2 - Press Release SG/SM/5800 26 October 1995

Dialogue and diplomacy, impartiality and agreement -- these are the essence of international law. And these are the materials from which peaceful relations between nations are built.

International rules now benefit an impressive array of human activities and relations. The Organization's ongoing development and codification of international law continues to be one of its most important contributions to human progress.

But rules, once they exist, must also be observed. While most are indeed observed in the daily practice of international relations, some -- including fundamental ones -- are persistently violated. This must be acknowledged. But it cannot be accepted.

International law must draw conclusions from the new disorder in the world, and the rule of law must invent new procedures so that it can better serve peace and international security. The quickening pace of history with which we are confronted today challenges us to demonstrate great imagination and creativity.

At a time when we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, we students and practitioners of international law have a special responsibility. We must work to encourage a wider appreciation of international law, and do all we can to promote its development and ensure its primacy.

It is only through a common effort by all that international law will become better understood. And with broader understanding must come greater respect.

The life and the work of Professor Aréchaga is a model, and a testament to this great endeavour. As a scholar, he worked with great insight to expand understanding of international law. As a practitioner, he worked with tireless energy to strengthen the application of international law. As a Judge, he worked with clear integrity to ensure the fundamental justice of international law.

Now, we stand at a point where those who have gone before, such as Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga, have created a great body of work that has been of immeasurable value and benefit to humanity. Their success has created new expectations and demands, but it has also opened up many new opportunities.

We must build upon the strong and firm foundations that they have left to us, and with seriousness of purpose and an ever inquiring mind, carry forward the age-old struggle to advance human society and improve our world.

I am pleased to add my voice in recognition of Professor Aréchaga's many accomplishments. I am happy to share in this fitting tribute to the memory of a dear friend and respected colleague.

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For information media. Not an official record.