VATICAN - INTERNATIONAL LAW, A PATH TO PEACE: INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OF PONTIFICAL COUNCIL JUSTICE AND PEACE, ARCHBISHOP RENATO MARTINO ON POPE JOHN PAUL II’S THEME FOR WORLD PEACE DAY 2004

Wednesday, 23 July 2003

Vatican City (Fides Service) – "Humanity is facing a crucial challenge: if it does not succeed in providing really efficacious institutions to avert the scourge of war, the risk is that the law of force will prevail over the force of law”. This was affirmed in a statement issued by the Holy See announcing the theme chosen by Pope John Paul II for World Peace Day 1 January 2004: “International Law a path for peace”. Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in charge of organising the Day comments on the theme.

Archbishop Martino does the theme chosen re-launch multi lateralism and the irreplaceable role of the Untied Nations to avert the scourge of war and guarantee the supreme good of peace?
My experience of the United Nations has convinced me of the importance of this forum, the only one, which because it is such a wide representation, can provide a platform of dialogue at the world level. In this sense it is an irreplaceable organisation and in this sense the Holy See has not failed to support it, as it can be seen by a recent letter by Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Kofi Annan. The theme of the next World Day for Peace intends to underline the value of law in the framework of international relations, starting from one essential principle: pacta sunt servanda.

But in your opinion, is the United Nations as it is today able to play this vital role or is there increasingly need of reform long awaited and still not in sight?
For a long time it has been said that the UNO needs reforming at different levels. The Holy See is convinced, as always, that the common world good must be pursued with adequate structures with universal competencies. This is clearly the teaching of Pacem in Terris of which we have celebrated the 40th anniversary. I think reforms must go in two directions: on the one hand, empower to improve the functioning of the Security Council; on the other the UNO must be able to guarantee better order and security, not only from a political and military point of view but also in the economic and social field. For example the new questions with regard to protecting the environment and health demand urgent measures to be respected by all.

What does the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace intend to do to reap more fruit from the next World Day for Peace?
The Council I have to honour of presiding is deeply committed to promoting conditions to foster the realisation of the prospects drawn by the Holy Father with his choice of the theme for the next World Day for Peace. In particular in the coming Autumn there will be two meetings in the framework of the United Nations, both under the banner of Pacem in Terris: one in New York with the participation of Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations and the other in Paris with the participation of Mr Koichiro Matsuura Director General of UNESCO. SL (Fides Service 23/7/2003 EM lines 37 Words: 478)


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