9 December 2011
General Assembly
GA/11192

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

82nd Meeting (PM)


General Assembly, on Recommendation of Its Legal Committee, Adopts 25 Texts,


Advances Preparations for Rule of Law Summit in September 2012

 


Other Texts Concern Counter-terrorism, International Law Education,

Global Trade Law Development, Examination of Laws to Prevent Statelessness


In keeping with the tradition of consensus practiced in the Sixth Committee (Legal), the General Assembly adopted without a vote 22 resolutions and three draft decisions that highlighted the priorities of the Organization in the international legal arena.


The promotion of the rule of law at national and international levels remained central to the work of the Committee, which kept attention focused on the issue and helped to refine the concept.  Indeed, in the resolution adopted today, the Assembly reaffirmed the need for universal adherence to and implementation of the rule of law at both the national and international levels and its solemn commitment to an international order based on the rule of law and international law, which, together, with the principles of justice, it said, was essential for peaceful coexistence and cooperation among States.


The resolution recalled the decision to convene a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law on 24 September 2012 and, flowing from that, laid out a series of preparatory steps, in fulfilment of the decision in the text that the high-level meeting would result in a “concise outcome document”.  The Assembly President was requested to produce, in consultation with Member States, a draft outcome paper, to finalize organizational arrangements for the meeting, and to submit a report on the item no later than March 2012.


As rule of law activities could not be achieved without the promotion of international law, the Assembly reiterated in another resolution that a core activity of the Organization was the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law.  The Assembly expressed concern about the serious reduction in programme budget for fellowships and sought the provision of necessary resources to ensure the Programme’s continued efforts to develop, in particular, regional courses in international law and the Audiovisual Library of International Law.


In the context of its long-standing practice of considering measures to eliminate international terrorism, the Assembly strongly condemned all manifestations of the scourge, including “the atrocious and deliberate attacks” on United Nations offices around the world, and called upon all States, the United Nations system and other international, regional and subregional organizations to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.


With no meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the agenda in 2012, the Assembly requested the Sixth Committee to establish a working group to continue work on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and explore further the possibility of convening a high-level conference under United Nations auspices.


Illustrating the successful work of the Sixth Committee were the three resolutions adopted on the report of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).  One was the annual omnibus text on the Commission’s work.  The other two were on the Model Law on Public Procurement, which updated procurement tools and techniques that had emerged since the 1994 Model Law, and the Model Law on Cross-border Insolvency:  the Judicial Perspective.


Among other highlights were the three resolutions concerning the International Law Commission.  The Assembly commended the Commission for the completion of work on the draft articles on the responsibility of international organizations, the draft articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties and the Guide to Practice on Reservation to Treaties.


Reflecting the Sixth Committee’s trademark consensus, another text adopted without a vote concerned the nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States.  Among its terms, States were encouraged to consider, on regional and subregional levels, the elaboration of legal instruments when regulating questions of nationality with a focus on preventing statelessness.  In a resolution on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on missions, States were strongly urged to consider establishing jurisdiction over crimes by their nationals and to provide information to the Secretary-General on their handling of allegations of misconduct.


Also adopted were texts on the Special Committee on the Charter; the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction, by which the subject would continue to be investigated, in the context of a working group; transboundary aquifers, which urged States to make appropriate bilateral or regional arrangements for the proper management of their transboundary aquifers; code of conduct for judges within the internal two-tier system; amendments to the rules of procedure of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal; and the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country.


Nine requests for observer status were also considered by the Assembly, of which five were adopted without a vote, two were deferred and two were withdrawn.  The adopted requests concerned the Union of South American Nations; the International Renewable Energy Agency; the Central European Initiative; the Intergovernmental Authority on Development; and the West African Economic and Monetary Union.


Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the decision contained in the report on revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.


Petr Válek, Vice Chairman of the Sixth Committee, speaking for Jacqueline K. Moseti ( Kenya), Committee Rapporteur, introduced the Committee’s reports.


Legal Committee Reports


Before the Assembly are the reports of its Legal Committee.  They contain resolutions and decisions approved, deferred or withdrawn by the Committee without a vote.


Before the Assembly is a report on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States (document A/66/469), which contains one resolution approved by the Committee on 9 November.  By it, the General Assembly would, among others, once again encourage States to consider, at regional or subregional levels, the elaboration of legal instruments regulating questions of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, in order to prevent the occurrence of statelessness as a result of such successions.


A report on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (document A/66/470) contains one resolution, approved by the Committee also on 9 November.  By it, the Assembly, deeply concerned by reports of such conduct, would strongly urge States to take all measures to ensure that crimes by United Nations officials on mission did not go unpunished.  States would be strongly urged to consider establishing jurisdiction over crimes by their nationals while serving on mission with the United Nations, and be encouraged to cooperate with each other and with the United Nations in the exchange of information, and in investigations and prosecution of United Nations officials and experts on mission who are alleged to have committed crimes of a serious nature.


Also before the Assembly is a report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (document A/66/471).  It contains three resolutions approved in Committee, two on 31 October and a third on 11 November.


Resolution I is the annual omnibus text on the Commission’s work, by which the Assembly would commend the Commission on the finalization and adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement and of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: the Judicial Perspective.  It would further welcome, among others, the preparation of a guide for enactment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement, while also calling upon Member States, non-member States, observer organizations and the Secretariat to apply the Commission’s rules of procedure and methods of work.


By draft resolution II on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement, by which the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General transmit the text of that Model Law to Governments and other interested bodies, and recommend that all States use the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement in assessing their legal regimes for public procurement and give favourable consideration to the Model Law when enacting or revising their laws.


Draft resolution III on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency:  the Judicial Perspective, would have the Assembly request the establishment of a mechanism for updating the Judicial Perspective on an ongoing basis, in the same flexible manner by which it was developed, and in doing so to ensure that it maintains a neutral tone and continues to meet its stated purpose.  Further, among others, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to publish, including electronically, the text of the Judicial Perspective, as updated or amended from time to time, and to transmit it to Governments with the request that the text be made available to relevant authorities so that it becomes widely known and available.


A report on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/66/472) contains one eponymous draft resolution, approved on 11 November, which would have the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to continue to award a minimum of one scholarship in 2012 and 2013 under the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.  The draft would also call upon States and international organization donors to make voluntary contributions to the Fellowship and the United Nations Audiovisual Library as well as to the Codification Division’s regional courses.


A draft resolution in the Committee’s report on the International Law Commission’s report on its sixty-third session (document A/66/473) was approved on 11 November.  By that text, the Assembly would draw the attention of Governments to the importance of the Commission receiving their views on topics being currently addressed, in particular to items such as the “immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction”, “expulsion of aliens”, and “protection of persons in the event of disasters”.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue efforts to identify concrete options for support for the work of the Commission’s special rapporteurs.  It would also express hope for the continuation of the International Law Seminar, held in connection with the Commission’s work, and appeal to States for voluntary contributions for that purpose.


Also approved by the Committee on 11 November were two additional draft resolutions included in the Commission’s report.  Draft resolution II, on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties, and Draft resolution III on the responsibility of international organizations.  Each of these would have the Assembly decide to include those topics in the Sixth Committee’s provisional agenda for its sixty-ninth session.  The Committee would at that time further examine the International Law Commission’s draft articles on both topics in order to discuss what form they might take.


A Legal Committee report on the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and the strengthening of the role of the Organization (document A/66/474) contains one draft resolution approved on 9 November.  By it, the Assembly would request, among others, that the Special Committee continue its consideration of all proposals concerning the maintenance of international peace and security in order to strengthen the role of the United Nations; to keep on its agenda the question of the peaceful settlement of disputes between States; to reiterate its call for voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the updating of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, and voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the elimination of the backlog in the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council; to call upon the Secretary-General to continue his efforts towards updating the two publications and making them available electronically in all their respective language versions; and to continue to address, in particular, the backlog in the preparation of volume III of the Repertory.


The Committee’s report on the rule of law at the national and international levels (document A/66/475) contains one resolution approved on 11 November.  That resolution would, among other provisions, call for enhanced dialogue among stakeholders with a view to placing national perspectives at the centre of rule of law assistance.  It would also call upon the United Nations to systematically address rule of law aspects in relevant activities.  Additionally, it would urge the General Assembly President to hold informal discussions with Member States before the 24 September 2012 high-level rule of law meeting, and to produce a draft text based on that meeting.


A report on the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction (document A/66/476) contains one draft resolution, approved on 9 November, which would, among other provisions, establish a Sixth Committee working group to continue discussion of the topic.  It would also invite States and observers to submit, before 30 April 2012, information on the matter, including applicable international treaties and domestic legal rules and practice, and would request the Secretary-General to devise a report based on that information.


The draft resolution contained in a report on the law of transboundary aquifers (document A/66/477) was approved by the Committee on 9 November.  It would have the Assembly urge States to recommend that the draft articles annexed to its resolution 63/124 be considered by Member States when negotiating future agreements or arrangements for the management of their transboundary aquifers.  Further, it would have the Assembly encourage the International Hydrological Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to offer further scientific and technical assistance to the States concerned.  Lastly, it would call for further examination on what form the draft articles should take.


The report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/66/478) contains one eponymous draft resolution approved on 11 November.  By it, the Assembly would strongly condemn all manifestations of terrorism — including “the atrocious and deliberate attacks that have occurred against United Nations offices in various parts of the world” — as criminal and unjustifiable.  It would call on States, the United Nations system and other international, regional and subregional organizations to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as the resolutions relating to the first and second biennial review of the Strategy.


It would also have the Assembly reiterate its call to all States towards efficient implementation of relevant legal instruments and to intensify the exchange of information on facts related to terrorism; and to recommend to the Sixth Committee at its next (sixty-seventh) session to establish a working group with a view to finalizing the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and to continue discussing the possibility of convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations.


The report on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/66/479) contains a single draft resolution approved on 11 November, by which the Assembly would adopt the Committee’s provisional programme of work of the Sixth Committee for the sixty-seventh session.


The report on programme planning (document A/66/480) states that the Committee took up that item on 11 November and concluded consideration without taking action.


The report on the administration of justice at the United Nations (document A/66/481) contains two draft resolutions, approved by Committee on 2 November.  The first, on the code of conduct for the judges of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, would have the General Assembly approve the code of conduct for the judges of the two tribunals, as set out in the annex to the text.  Those conditions would be based on independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety, transparency, fairness in the conduct of proceedings, and competence and diligence.


The second draft resolution, on the Amendments to the rules of procedure of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, would have the General Assembly approve the amendments to the rules of procedure of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, as set out in the annex to the draft, that would prescribe the manner in which panels, answers, cross-appeals and answers to cross-appeals, case management, and adoption and issuance of judgements would be held.


The Committee’s report on the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/66/482) contains one resolution, approved on 11 November, which would, among other provisions, have the General Assembly request the host country to remove remaining travel restrictions imposed on certain missions; to enhance the issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States; and, in response to the closing by JPMorgan Chase Bank of all bank accounts held by certain Permanent Missions, to welcome the efforts of the host country in facilitating the opening of bank accounts for permanent missions with other financial institutions.


The Assembly had before it a report recalling the introduction in the Committee, and subsequent deferral on 9 November to the sixty-sixth session, of a draft decision on the request for observer status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in the General Assembly (document A/66/483).  The Committee recommends to the Assembly the adoption of the decision to defer that text.


The Assembly then turned to the report requesting observer status for the Union of South American Nations in its work (document A/66/484), which was approved by the Committee on 18 October.  The Union, which is committed to strengthening the international presence of the South American region, seeks to achieve cultural, social, economic and political integration among its peoples.  Its focus includes eradicating poverty, overcoming inequalities and developing infrastructure for the interconnection of the region.


The report on observer status for the International Renewable Energy Agency in the General Assembly contains a draft resolution requesting such status for that agency (document A/66/485), which was approved by the Committee on 21 October.  The 151-member Agency promotes the widespread, increased adoption and use of all forms of renewable energy, and monitors and systemizes current renewable energy practices.  This includes policy advice, encouraging discussion and interaction on the issue of renewable energy, improving knowledge and technology transfer, capacity-building, and increasing public awareness about the benefits and potential offered by renewable energy.


The report requesting observer status for the Central European Initiative in the General Assembly (document A/66/486) contains a draft resolution approved by the Committee on 18 October.  The Initiative, an 18-member body, is the largest and oldest intergovernmental forum for regional cooperation.  Member States are in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.  The Initiative represents a territory of 2.4 million square kilometres and a population of more than 250 million.  It has worked to establish cohesion and solidarity among its Member States, transforming from a group focused on policy dialogue to one emphasizing the transfer of know-how and technology and promoting climate and energy sustainability and civil society.


Also before the Assembly was a report regarding the draft resolution on observer status in the General Assembly for the United Cities and Local Governments (document A/66/487).  The report recalls that the draft resolution containing that request was withdrawn on 9 November and that the Committee concluded its consideration of the item without taking action.


The Assembly also had before it a report containing a request for observer status for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the work of the General Assembly (document A/66/488), which was approved in Committee on 18 October.  The six-member Authority was developed to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development.  Founded in 1996, its six member States are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.  It comprises four hierarchical policy organs, including the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the Council of Ministers, the Committee of Ambassadors and the Secretariat.  Its mission is to assist and complement the efforts of the member States in the realms of increased cooperation, food security, environmental protection, promotion and maintenance of peace and security and humanitarian affairs and economic cooperation and integration.


A report regarding observer status for the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking Countries in the work of the General Assembly (document A/66/489) recalls that the draft resolution by that name was withdrawn on 9 November and, thus, the Committee had concluded its consideration of the item without taking action.


The Assembly also had before it a report regarding a request for observer status for the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in the General Assembly (document A/66/490), which recalls the deferral by the Committee on 11 November of such a request until the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session.


Before the Assembly was a report requesting observer status for the West African Economic and Monetary Union in the work of the General Assembly (document A/66/550).  The draft contained within the report had been approved by the Committee on 18 October.  The Union is described as an intergovernmental organization, established in 1994, with the aim of regional integration among West African nations.  Specifically, the organization has the goal of promoting common policies to further the development and economic integration of the eight States which share a common currency, the CFA franc.  Those States are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.


Introduction of Legal Committee Reports


PETR VÁLEK, Vice Chairman of the Sixth Committee, speaking for Jacqueline K. Moseti (Kenya), Committee Rapporteur, introduced 22 resolutions and three draft decisions to the General Assembly, noting that the agenda items allocated to the Committee, with the exception of the election of officers, represented the priorities of the Organization in the legal sphere, including the promotion of justice and international law; drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and organizational matters and administration.


Action on Legal Committee Reports


The Assembly then took up the report on the nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States (document A/66/469), adopting the resolution contained therein without a vote.


The resolution contained in the report on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (document A/66/470) was also adopted without a vote.


Next taken up was the report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (document A/66/471), which contained three resolutions.  Resolution I, the annual omnibus resolution on the work of the Commission, was adopted without a vote, as were draft resolution II on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement and draft resolution III on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency:  the Judicial Perspective.


The Assembly then took up the report on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/66/472), adopting its resolution without a vote.


The Assembly next considered the Committee’s report on the International Law Commission’s report (document A/66/473), containing three resolutions:  “Report of the International Law Commission”; “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties”; “Responsibility of international organizations”.  Each was adopted without a vote.


Next, the resolution contained in the Committee’s report on the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and the strengthening of the role of the Organization (document A/66/474) was adopted without a vote.


The Assembly then took up the report on the rule of law at the national and international levels (document A/66/475).  After noting the oral amendment to the draft resolution and the subsequent administrative and budgetary issue, the Assembly adopted the resolution, contained therein, without a vote.


Continuing, the Assembly took up the report on the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction (document A/66/476), containing one resolution, which was adopted without a vote.


The resolution contained in the report on the law of transboundary aquifers (document A/66/477) was adopted without a vote.


Taking up the report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/66/478), the Assembly adopted the resolution contained therein without a vote.


Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the decision contained in the report on revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/66/479).


Then, the Assembly took note of the Committee’s report on programme planning (document A/66/480).


Taking up the report on the administration of justice at the United Nations (document A/66/481), the Assembly adopted, without a vote, the two resolutions contained therein:  “Code of conduct for the judges of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeal Tribunal”; and “Amendments to the rules of procedure of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal”.


Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution contained in the Committee’s report on the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/66/482).


Taking up the report regarding observer status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States (document A/66/483), the Assembly, acting on the Committee’s recommendation, adopted the draft decision contained therein deferring that request until its sixty-seventh session, without a vote.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly next adopted the resolutions contained in the report on observer status for the Union of the South American Nations in the General Assembly (document A/66/484); observer status for the International Renewable Energy Agency in the General Assembly (document A/66/485); and observer status for the Central European Initiative in the General Assembly (document A/66/486).


Next, the Assembly took note of the report before the Assembly regarding a request for observer status for the United Cities and Local Governments (document A/66/487), which had been withdrawn from consideration in the Committee.


Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution in the report concerning a request for observer status for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the work of the General Assembly (document A/66/488).


Next, the Assembly took note of the report regarding a request for observer status for the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking Countries (document A/66/489).  The resolution by that name had been withdrawn from consideration in the Committee.


The Assembly also had before it a report containing a draft decision to defer a request for observer status for the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in the General Assembly (document A/66/490) until the sixty-seventh session.  The draft decision was adopted without a vote.


The resolution requesting observer status for the West African Economic and Monetary Union in the work of the General Assembly, contained in a report by the same name (document A/66/550), was then adopted without a vote.


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For information media • not an official record