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Sixty-second session

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-ninth session (agenda item 82)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/62/100)

The International Law Commission was established by the General Assembly at its second session, in 1947, with a view to giving effect to Article 13, paragraph 1 a, of the Charter and with the objective of promoting the progressive development of international law and its codification (resolution 174 (II)).

The statute of the Commission, annexed to resolution 174 (II), was subsequently amended (resolutions 485 (V), 984 (X), 985 (X) and 36/39). The Commission consists of 34 members elected for a term of five years. The last election was held at the sixty-first session of the General Assembly (decision 61/411), and the next election will be held during the sixty-sixth session.

At its sixty-first session, the General Assembly recommended that the Commission continue its work on the topics in its current programme, taking into account the comments and observations of Governments to the General Assembly; drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their views on the various aspects involved in the topics on the agenda of the Commission identified in chapter III of its report, including in particular on the draft articles and commentaries on the law of transboundary aquifers; invited Governments to provide to the Commission information on legislation and practice regarding the topic “The obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare)”; took note of the decision of the Commission to include five topics on its long-term programme of work; and recommended that the debate on the report of the International Law Commission at the sixty-second session of the General Assembly commence on 29 October 2007 (resolution 61/34).

Consideration at the sixty-second session

The Sixth Committee considered agenda item 82 at its 18th to 26th and 28th meetings, from 29 October to 6 and 19 November 2007.

The Chairman of the International Law Commission at its fifty-ninth session introduced the report of the Commission: chapters I to III, VI to VIII and X at the 18th meeting, on 29 October and chapters IV, V and IX at the 22nd meeting, on 1 November (see A/C.6/62/SR. 18 and 22).

Statements were made by the representatives of Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Benin (on behalf of the African Group), Austria, Argentina, Egypt, China, Bulgaria, Ireland, Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Mexico, Greece, Guatemala, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Canada, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Portugal, Japan, India, Colombia, Poland, France, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), the Republic of Korea, Cyprus, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, the Russian Federation, Romania, Switzerland, Belgium, Belarus, Israel, Kenya, Uruguay, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Chile, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Slovenia, Cuba, Syrian Arab Republic, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Australia, Algeria, Thailand, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Slovakia. The representative of the observer delegation of the European Commission also made a statement.

A summary of the discussions on this agenda item may be found in the Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, during its sixty-first session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/588 (forthcoming)).

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 28th meeting, on 19 November 2007, the representative of Morocco, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-ninth session” (A/C.6/62/L.18).  At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/62/L.18 without a vote.

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-third session (2008)