Statement on The OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico- Military Aspects of Security

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Forum for Security Cooperation, Vienna, 7 June 2023

Ms. Chairperson, Dear Colleagues

Norway has aligned itself with the statement made by the European Union. Allow me to make a few remarks in my national capacity.

Madame Chair,

Alongside others, let me express Norway’s support for the Chair and the conduct of the work of the FSC. We welcome this opportunity to discuss the Code of Conduct. We commend the FSC chair for giving priority to the issue, although we sadly - the second year in a row - were not able to find agreement on holding the annual meeting on the implementation of the Codex.

Dear colleagues,

Through the Russian Federation’s invasion of its sovereign neighbor, in breach of the Code’s paragraph 8 and numerous other major international security provisions, the world has once again been reminded of the disproportionate impact war has on us all. This is sadly illustrated as the water from the dam at Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant is surging through the remains of the dam and put thousands of Ukrainians at risk.

The Russian Federation bears the responsibility for this miserable state of affairs. Norway thus – once again - calls on Russia to respect and implement the OSCE principles and their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. These are adequately stated in the Code of Conduct on Politico-military Aspects of Security. This war is a shameful example on how the Russian Federation bends around and violates the principles we all once committed to.

Madame Chair,

Among all suffering a war brings about, the sufferings of the youngest among us - the children - are the hardest to witness and the most difficult to prevent. Without having any impact on the situation, but having to bear war injuries on bodies, souls and futures, the most vulnerable amongst us, the Children, deserve and need to be protected. We must keep the suffering of the civil population and our children to a minimum.

Norway puts great focus on having political control of military, paramilitary and internal security forces as an expression of democracy. We will not tolerate or support forces that are not accountable to or controlled by their constitutionally established authorities. We remind other participating States of this commitment in the Codex.

All states must provide proper education on International Human Law, rules, conventions and commitments governing armed conflict as described in § 30 of the Code to their own government officials, their Military Forces and the Private Military Security Companies they contract,. Where violations happen – the actions must be documented, and the perpetrators must be held accountable. All personnel are individually accountable under national and international law for their actions.

Madame Chair,

Norway calls on all participating states to do everything possible to ensure that their Armed and Security Forces fulfill their responsibilities according to the Code of Conduct.

The undisputable relevance of the principles stipulated in the Code, including the provisions guiding the relations between States, is even more relevant today, more than twenty-eight years after their adoption.

Ensuring strict and verifiable implementation of OSCE politico-military commitments, in letter and spirit, by all participating States, remains a top priority for Norway.

Thank you!