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Sixty-fourth session

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-first session (agenda item 81)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/64/100)

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).

At its sixty-third session, the General Assembly recommended that the Commission continue its work on the topics in its current programme; expressed its appreciation to the Commission for the work accomplished at its sixtieth session, in particular the completion of the second reading of the draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers and the completion of the first reading of the draft articles on the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties”; drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their views on the various aspects involved in the topics on its agenda; invited Governments to provide information to the Commission regarding practice with regard to the topics “Reservations to treaties” and “Protection of persons in the event of disasters”; drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their comments and observations by 1 January 2010 on the draft articles and commentaries on the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties”; took note of the decision of the Commission to include the topics “Treaties in time” and “The Most-Favoured Nation clause” in its programme of work; requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly a report on the assistance currently provided to special rapporteurs and options regarding additional support of the work of special rapporteurs; encouraged the continued practice of informal consultations in the form of discussions between the members of the Sixth Committee and the members of the Commission attending the sixty-fourth session of the Assembly; and recommended that the debate on the report of the International Law Commission at the sixty-fourth session of the Assembly commence on 26 October 2009 (resolution 63/123).

Consideration at the sixty-fourth session

The Sixth Committee considered agenda item 81 at its 15th to 23rd and 25th meetings, from 26 to 30 October and on 2, 3 and 12 November 2009.

The Chairman of the International Law Commission at its sixty-first session introduced the report of the Commission: chapters I to IV and XIII at the 15th meeting, on 26 October, chapters V and VI at the 17th meeting, on 28 October, chapters VII and VIII at the 18th meeting, on 28 October, and chapters IX, XI and XII at the 22nd meeting, on 2 November (see summary records of the Sixth Committee, A/C.6/64/SR.15, 17, 18 and 22).

Statements were made by the representatives of Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Austria, Belarus, China, Germany , El Salvador, the Czech Republic, Romania, France, South Africa, Singapore,  Switzerland, the Russian Federation, Italy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Mexico, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Iran (Islamic Republic of), the Netherlands, Greece, Ireland, Japan, India, Indonesia, Spain, the United States of America, Brazil, Ghana, Cuba, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic Countries),Chile, Ukraine, Egypt, Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries),  Saudi Arabia,  Myanmar, Viet Nam, Thailand, Canada, Malaysia, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of'), Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Israel, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. The representatives of the observer delegations of the European Commission, the European Community, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also made statements.

The views of the representatives who spoke during the Committee’s consideration of the item are reflected in the relevant summary records (A/C.6/64/SR.15-23 and 25). 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-fourth session, prepared by the Secretariat (forthcoming).
Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 25th meeting, on 12 November, the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-first session” (A/C.6/64/L.15).

At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/64/L.15 without a vote. By the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would express its appreciation to the International Law Commission for the work accomplished at its sixty-first session, in particular for the completion, on first reading, of the draft articles on the topic “Responsibility of international organizations”.

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-fifth session (2010)