United Nations

A/RES/51/157


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

30 January 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 145


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

               [on the report of the Sixth Committee (A/51/625)]


            51/157.  United Nations Decade of International
                     Law

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolution 44/23 of 17 November 1989, by which it
declared the period 1990-1999 the United Nations Decade of
International Law,

      Recalling also that the main purposes of the Decade, according to
resolution 44/23, should be, inter alia:

      (a)   To promote acceptance of and respect for the principles of
international law;

      (b)   To promote means and methods for the peaceful settlement of
disputes between States, including resort to and full respect for the
International Court of Justice;

      (c)   To encourage the progressive development of international
law and its codification;

      (d)   To encourage the teaching, study, dissemination and wider
appreciation of international law,

      Recalling further its resolution 49/50 of 9 December 1994, to
which was annexed the programme for the activities for the third term
(1995-1996) of the Decade,

      Expressing its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his
report submitted pursuant to resolution 50/44 of 11 December 1995, 1/

      Having considered the above-mentioned report,

      Recalling that at the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly
the Sixth Committee established the Working Group on the United
Nations Decade of International Law with a view to preparing generally
acceptable recommendations on the programme of activities for the
Decade,

      Noting that at the fifty-first session the Sixth Committee
reconvened the Working Group to continue its work in accordance with
resolution 50/44 and all previous resolutions on the question,

      Having considered the oral report presented by the Chairman of
the Working Group to the Sixth Committee, 2/

      1.    Expresses its appreciation to the Sixth Committee for the
elaboration, within the framework of its Working Group on the United
Nations Decade of International Law, of the programme for the
activities for the final term (1997-1999) of the Decade, and requests
the Working Group to continue its work at the fifty-second session in
accordance with its mandate and methods of work;

      2.    Also expresses its appreciation to States and international
organizations and institutions that have undertaken activities,
including sponsoring conferences on various subjects of international
law, in implementation of the programme for the third term (1995-1996)
of the Decade;

      3.    Adopts the programme for the activities for the final term
(1997-1999) of the Decade contained in the annex to the present
resolution;

      4.    Recalls, with appreciation to the Secretary-General, the
successful organization of the United Nations Congress on Public
International Law, held from 13 to 17 March 1995, which focused on the
four main purposes of the Decade, as well as on new challenges and
expectations for the twenty-first century, and welcomes the
publication of the proceedings of the Congress;

      5.    Welcomes the establishment of the International Tribunal for
the Law of the Sea under the United Nations Convention on the Law of
the Sea 3/ as a new means of settlement of disputes;

      6.    Encourages the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat to
continue in its efforts to bring up to date the publication of the
United Nations Juridical Yearbook;

      7.    Invites all States and international organizations and
institutions referred to in the programme to undertake the relevant
activities outlined therein and to provide information in this respect
to the Secretary-General for transmission to the General Assembly at
its fifty-fourth session;

      8.    Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-fourth session, on the basis of the information
mentioned in paragraph 7 above and new information on the activities
of the United Nations relevant to the progressive development of
international law and its codification, a final report on the
implementation of the programme;

      9.    Encourages States to disseminate at the national level, as
appropriate, information contained in the report of the Secretary-
General;

      10.   Appeals to States, international organizations and
non-governmental organizations working in the field of international
law and to the private sector to make financial contributions or
contributions in kind for the purpose of facilitating the
implementation of the programme;

      11.   Once again requests the Secretary-General to bring to the
attention of States and international organizations and institutions
working in the field of international law the programme annexed to the
present resolution;

      12.   Notes with appreciation the activities undertaken by the
International Committee of the Red Cross in the field of international
humanitarian law, including with regard to the protection of the
environment in times of armed conflict;

      13.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-
second session the item entitled "United Nations Decade of
International Law".


                                                          85th plenary meeting
                                                              16 December 1996


                                     ANNEX

          Programme for the activities for the final term (1997-1999)
               of the United Nations Decade of International Law

                I.  PROMOTION OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF AND RESPECT
                    FOR THE PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

      1.    The General Assembly, bearing in mind that maintenance of
international peace and security is the underlying condition for the
success of the implementation of the programme for the United Nations
Decade of International Law, calls upon States to act in accordance
with international law, and in particular the Charter of the United
Nations, and encourages States and international organizations to
promote the acceptance of and respect for the principles of
international law.

      2.    States are invited to consider, if they have not yet done
so, becoming parties to existing multilateral treaties, in particular
those relevant to the progressive development of international law and
its codification.  International organizations under whose auspices
such treaties are concluded are invited to indicate whether they
publish periodic reports on the status of ratifications of and
accessions to multilateral treaties and, if they do not, to indicate
whether in their view such a process would be useful.  Consideration
should be given to the question of treaties that have not achieved
wider participation or entered into force after a considerable lapse
of time and the circumstances causing the situation.

      3.    States and international organizations are encouraged to
provide assistance and technical advice to States, in particular to
developing countries, to facilitate their participation in the process
of multilateral treaty-making, including their adherence to and
implementation of multilateral treaties, in accordance with their
national legal systems.

      4.    States are encouraged to report to the Secretary-General on
ways and means provided for in the multilateral treaties to which they
are parties, regarding the implementation of such treaties. 
International organizations are similarly encouraged to report to the
Secretary-General on ways and means provided for by the multilateral
treaties concluded under their auspices regarding the implementation
of such treaties.  The Secretary-General is requested to prepare a
report on the basis of this information and to submit it to the
General Assembly.

      5.    The General Assembly, recognizing the importance of the
protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, takes
note of the efforts under way to facilitate the implementation of
existing international instruments in this field.


          II.  PROMOTION OF MEANS AND METHODS FOR THE PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT
               OF DISPUTES BETWEEN STATES, INCLUDING RESORT TO AND FULL 
               RESPECT FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

      6.    States, the United Nations system of organizations and
regional organizations, including the Asian-African Legal Consultative
Committee, as well as the International Law Association, the Institute
of International Law, the Hispano-Luso-American Institute of
International Law and other international institutions working in the
field of international law, and national societies of international
law, are invited to study the means and methods for the peaceful
settlement of disputes between States, including resort to and full
respect for the International Court of Justice, and to present
suggestions for the promotion thereof to the Sixth Committee.

      7.    Noting the establishment of the International Tribunal for
the Law of the Sea in October 1996 in accordance with the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 3/ States and other entities
referred to in article 20 of annex VI of the Convention are encouraged
to consider making use of the Tribunal for the peaceful settlement of
disputes in accordance with article 21 of annex VI of the Convention.

      8.    Taking into account the suggestions mentioned in paragraph 6
of the present section and with due regard to the recommendations
contained in the report of the Secretary-General entitled "An Agenda
for Peace", 4/ the Sixth Committee should consider, where
appropriate, on the basis of a report of the Special Committee on the
Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of
the Organization, or of the Working Group on the United Nations Decade
of International Law, the following questions:

      (a)   Strengthening the use of means and methods for the peaceful
settlement of disputes, with particular attention to the role to be
played by the United Nations, as well as methods for early
identification and prevention of disputes and their containment;

      (b)   Procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes arising
in specific areas of international law;

      (c)   Ways and means of encouraging greater recognition of the
role of the International Court of Justice and its wider use in the
peaceful settlement of disputes;

      (d)   Enhancement of cooperation of regional organizations with
the United Nations system of organizations in respect of the peaceful
settlement of disputes;

      (e)   Wider use of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.


              III.  ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE PROGRESSIVE DEVELOPMENT
                    OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ITS CODIFICATION

      9.    International organizations, including the United Nations
system of organizations and regional organizations, are invited to
submit to the Secretary-General of the United Nations summary
information regarding the programme and results of their work relevant
to the progressive development of international law and its
codification, including their suggestions for future work in their
specialized field, with an indication of the appropriate forum to
undertake such work.  Similarly, the Secretary-General is requested to
prepare a report on the relevant activities of the United Nations,
including those of the International Law Commission.  Such information
should be presented in a final report by the Secretary-General to the
Sixth Committee.

      10.   On the basis of the information mentioned in paragraph 9
above, States are invited to submit suggestions for consideration by
the Sixth Committee and, as appropriate, recommendations.  In
particular, efforts should be made to identify areas of international
law that might be ripe for progressive development or codification.

      11.   The Sixth Committee should study, taking into account
General Assembly resolution 684 (VII) of 6 November 1952, 5/ its
coordinating role with respect to, inter alia, the drafting of
provisions of a legal nature and the consistent use of legal
terminology in international instruments adopted by the General
Assembly.  States are invited to present proposals in this regard to
the Sixth Committee.

      12.   The Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations
and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization should
continue to study possible measures to strengthen the United Nations
system for the maintenance of international peace and security.  In
that context, the Special Committee should bear in mind the debate
within the United Nations, in particular in the General Assembly, on
the report of the Secretary-General entitled "An Agenda for Peace".


              IV.  ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE TEACHING, STUDY, DISSEMINATION
                   AND WIDER APPRECIATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

      13.   Within the context of considering appropriate activities to
mark the final term of the Decade's programme, States, the United
Nations system of organizations and regional organizations and
institutions referred to in the programme should encourage:

      (a)   The publication of essays on subjects of international law
written by legal advisers of States and international organizations,
scholars and other legal practitioners providing a useful perspective
on international law as viewed from their standpoint;

      (b)   The organization at the national, regional and international
level of symposia, conferences, seminars, lectures and meetings on
selected topics or themes of international law during the remaining
years of the Decade to celebrate the end of it.  Topics for
consideration could include, without limiting other suggestions, the
contribution of the United Nations to international law; more
effective means of implementing the rules of international law; merits
or otherwise of treaties and other forms of instruments such as
resolutions, declarations and so on; future topics for the
International Law Commission; and the role of the International Court
of Justice in the settlement of disputes and advisory opinions.

      14.   The Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of
Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider
Appreciation of International Law should, in the context of the
Decade, continue to formulate, as appropriate and in a timely manner,
relevant guidelines for the Programme's activities and report to the
Sixth Committee on the activities carried out under the Programme in
accordance with such guidelines.  Special emphasis should be given to
supporting academic and professional institutions already carrying out
research and education in international law, as well as to encouraging
the establishment of such institutions where they might not exist, in
particular in the developing countries.  States and other public or
private bodies are encouraged to contribute to the strengthening of
the Programme.

      15.   States and law faculties of higher educational institutions
are encouraged to include international law as a core subject in their
curricula.  They are also encouraged to introduce courses in
international law for students studying law, political science, social
sciences and other relevant disciplines; they should study the
possibility of introducing topics of international law in the
curricula of schools at the primary and secondary levels.  They should
also consider introducing public international law courses geared
towards career training and the establishment of clinical programmes
in various areas of international law.  Cooperation between
institutions at the university level among developing countries, on
the one hand, and their cooperation with those of developed countries,
on the other, should be encouraged.

      16.   States should consider convening conferences of experts at
the national and regional levels in order to study the question of
preparing model curricula and materials for courses in international
law, training of teachers in international law, preparation of
textbooks on international law and the use of modern technology to
facilitate the teaching of and research in international law.

      17.   States, international organizations and professional and
academic institutions should consider making available materials to
the United Nations audio-visual library on international law proposed
by the Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of
Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider
Appreciation of International Law.

      18.   States are encouraged to organize special training in
international law for legal professionals, including judges, and
personnel of ministries of foreign affairs and other relevant
ministries as well as military personnel.  The United Nations
Institute for Training and Research, the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Hague Academy of
International Law, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law,
regional organizations and the International Committee of the Red
Cross are invited to continue cooperating with States in this respect.

      19.   In connection with training of military personnel, States
are encouraged to foster the teaching and dissemination of the
principles governing the protection of the environment in times of
armed conflict and should consider the possibility of making use of
the guidelines for military manuals and instructions prepared by the
International Committee of the Red Cross. 6/

      20.   Cooperation among developing countries, as well as between
developed and developing countries, in particular among those persons
who are involved in the practice of international law, for exchanging
experience and for mutual assistance in the field of international
law, including assistance in providing textbooks and manuals of
international law, is encouraged.

      21.   In order to make better known the practice of international
law, States and international and regional organizations should
endeavour to publish, if they have not yet done so, summaries,
repertories or yearbooks of their practice.  They should also
endeavour to place this material on computer networks for wider and
instant distribution.  The Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat
is encouraged to continue its efforts in this regard, including
through its participation in the Global Legal Information Network
project.

      22.   The Secretary-General, in cooperation with the Registry of
the International Court of Justice, is encouraged to publish, to the
extent feasible and in a timely manner, the publication updating the
Summaries of the Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders of the
International Court of Justice (1948-1991), 7/ at present under
preparation, in all official languages of the Organization.

      23.   Other international courts and tribunals, including the
European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, are invited to disseminate more widely their judgements and
advisory opinions and to consider preparing thematic or analytical
summaries thereof.

      24.   International organizations are encouraged to publish
treaties concluded under their auspices, if they have not yet done so. 
Timely publication of the United Nations Juridical Yearbook is also
encouraged.


                   V.  PROCEDURES AND ORGANIZATIONAL ASPECTS

      25.   The Sixth Committee, working primarily through its Working
Group on the United Nations Decade of International Law and with the
assistance of the Secretariat, will be the coordinating body of the
programme for the Decade.  The question of the use of an
intra-sessional, inter-sessional or existing body to carry out
specific activities of the programme may be considered by the General
Assembly.

      26.   States are encouraged to establish, as necessary, national,
subregional and regional committees, which may assist in the
implementation of the programme for the Decade.  Non-governmental
organizations are encouraged to promote the purposes of the Decade
within their fields of activity, as appropriate.

      27.   Voluntary contributions from Governments, international
organizations and other sources, including the private sector, would
be useful and are strongly encouraged in order to implement the
programme for the Decade.  To that end, the establishment of a trust
fund to be administered by the Secretary-General might be considered
by the General Assembly.


                                     Notes

1/    A/51/278 and Add.1.

2/    See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Sixth Committee, 48th meeting (A/C.6/51/SR.48), and
corrigendum.

3/    Official Records of the Third United Nations Conference on the
Law of the Sea, vol. XVII (United Nations publication, Sales
No. E.84.V.3), document A/CONF.62/122.

4/    A/47/277-S/24111; see Official Records of the Security Council,
Forty-seventh Year, Supplement for April, May and June 1992, document
S/24111.

5/    See annex II to the rules of procedure of the General Assembly
(A/520/Rev.15).

6/    A/49/323, annex.

7/    United Nations publication, Sales No. E.92.V.5.

 

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