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Sixty-seventh session

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its
sixty-third and sixty-fourth sessions (Agenda item 79)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/67/100)

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-sixth session of the General Assembly (decision 66/506).

At its sixty-sixth session, the General Assembly recommended that the Commission continue its work on the topics in its current programme; commended the Commission for the completion of its 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 Reservations to Treaties; decided that the consideration of chapter IV of the report of the Commission on the work of its sixty-third session, dealing with the topic “Reservations to treaties”, shall be continued at the sixty-seventh session of the Assembly, during the consideration of the report of the Commission on the work of its sixty-fourth session; drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their views on the various aspects of the topics on the agenda of the Commission, in particular on all the specific issues identified in chapter III of its report; took note, in particular, of the inclusion of the topics “Formation and evidence of customary international law”, “Protection of the atmosphere”, “Provisional application of treaties”, “The fair and equitable treatment standard in international investment law” and “Protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts” in the long-term programme of work of the Commission, and of the respective comments made by Member States; and invited the Commission to give priority to, and work towards the conclusion of, the topics “Immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction” and “The obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare)” (resolution 66/98).

Consideration at the sixty-seventh session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 18th to 25th meetings, on 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 16 November 2012 (see A/C.6/67/SR.18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25).

The Chairman of the International Law Commission at its sixty-fourth session introduced the report of the Commission on the work of that session: chapters I to V and XII at the 18th meeting, on 1 November, and chapters VI to XI at the 20th meeting, on 2 November. At the 18th meeting, on 1 November, the Sixth Committee decided that, due to unforeseen disruptions in its programme of work, the consideration of chapter IV of the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third session, dealing with “Reservations to treaties”, would be postponed to the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

Statements were made by the representatives of: Chile (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries), the European Union, Switzerland, Austria, Peru, Germany, Belarus, Spain, the Republic of Korea, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Chile, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Thailand, El Salvador, China, Greece, Portugal, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Poland, Japan, South Africa, Romania, France, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States of America, Australia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), India, Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, Israel, Cuba, the Congo, Hungary, Zambia, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Peru, Belarus, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, Slovenia, New Zealand, Algeria, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Japan, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam. A statement was also made by the observer of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Mr. Maurice Kamto, Special Rapporteur for the topic “Expulsion of aliens”, and Ms. Concepci√≥n Escobar Hern√°ndez, Special Rapporteur for the topic “Immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction”, made statements.

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-seventh session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/657).

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 24th meeting of the Committee, on 9 November, the representative of Peru, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third and sixty-fourth sessions” (A/C.6/67/L.13). At the 25th meeting, on 16 November, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/67/L.13 without a vote.

By the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would, inter alia, express its appreciation to the Commission for the work accomplished at its sixty-fourth session, in particular for the completion of the first reading of the draft articles on the expulsion of aliens. The Assembly would also decide that the consideration of chapter IV of the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third session (A/66/10, paras 51-76, and A/66/10/Add.1), dealing with the topic “Reservations to treaties”, would be continued at the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, during the consideration of the report of the Commission on the work of its sixty-fifth session. Furthermore, the Assembly would, inter alia, take note with appreciation of the inclusion by the Commission of two new topics in its programme of work, namely the topics “Formation and evidence of customary international law” and “Provisional application of treaties”, and encourage the Commission to continue the examination of the topics that are in its long-term programme of work; invite the Commission to continue to give priority to the topics “Immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction” and “The obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare)”; and take note of the tentative work programme of the Commission for the remainder of the quinquennium.

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-eighth session (2013).