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Agenda item 152
  • Convention on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property

    In 1991, the International Law Commission adopted 22 draft articles on the jurisdictional immunities of States and their property. In accordance with article 23 of its Statute, the Commission submitted them to the General Assembly together with a recommendation that the Assembly convene an international conference of plenipotentiaries to examine the draft articles and to conclude a convention on the subject.

    Working Group

    The General Assembly continued to consider the item during the 1990's, most recently in resolution 53/98 of 8 December 1998 in which it decided to establish an open-ended Working Group of the Sixth Committee to consider outstanding substantive issues related to the draft articles. The Assembly also invited the International Law Commission to present any preliminary comments it may have regarding outstanding substantive consultations held pursuant to General Assembly decision 48/413 of 9 December 1993 and taking into account the recent developments of State practice and other factors related to the issue since the adoption of the draft articles, in order to facilitate the task of the Working Group.

    At its fifty-first session, the Commission established a Working Group on the topic and entrusted it with the task of preparing preliminary comments as requested by General Assembly resolution 53/98. The Commission took note of the report of the Working Group and decided to annex it to the report of the Commission to the General Assembly. It also adopted the suggestions of the Working Group contained in its report and dealing with the following five areas: 1) Concept of State for purpose of immunity; 2) Criteria for determining the commercial character of a contract or transaction; 3) Concept of a State enterprise or other entity in relation to commercial transactions; 4) Contracts of employment and 5) Measures of constraint against State property.

    At its second meeting on 27 September 1999, the Sixth Committee elected Mr. Gerhard Hafner as Chariman of the open-ended Working Group on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property, established by resolution 53/98. The working group held four meetings between 8 and 9 November 1999.

    The Chaiman of the Working Group presented his report (A/C.6/54/L.12) on the work of the Working Group to the Sixth Committee at its 30th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting on 12 November 1999.

    Consideration by the Sixth Committee

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 36th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 19 November 1999. It had before it the report of the Chairman of the Working Group (A/C.6/54/L.12). Statements were made by the representatives of Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Japan, Myanmar, Burkina Faso, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, France, the Netherlands and South Africa.

    All delegations praised the work accomplished by the International Law Commission on the topic at its recent session. Support was expressed for the adoption of a convention on the topic. In terms of this view, only through the binding norms of a convention could the law of State immunity acquire the required measure of uniformity, certainty and precision which the various national regimes in this area did not provide.

    Others spoke in favour of the adoption of a model law on the topic, and some suggested that the draft be referred back to the International Law Commission for the elaboration of such a model law.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 36th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 19 November 1999, the representative of Japan and Coordinator of the informal consultations introduced a draft resolution entitled "Convention on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property" (A/C.6/54/L.19 and Corr.1). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.19 without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/607)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item 153
  • United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 30th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 36th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held on 12 and 19 November 1999. The Committee had before it the Secretary-General's report (A/54/515). Statements were made by the representatives of Ghana, Finland (on behalf of the European Union), the Republic of Korea, Malaysia (on behalf of ASEAN), Singapore, Niger, Cyprus and the Solomon Islands.

    All speakers expressed appreciation for the United Nations Programme of Assistance, and the report of the Secretary-General on the item, and stressed the need for continued support and expansion of the Programme. The fellowship programmes under the United Nations Programme of Assistance were highlighted by several speakers. One speaker proposed that funds be made available to the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea to increase the number of fellowships awarded to more than one per year.  It was also urged that in those instances where selected fellows are unable to take up their fellowships that immediate action be taken to select a replacement. Appreciation was expressed for the establishment of the United Nations Audiovisual Library in International Law, and attention was drawn to the up-to-date list of tapes attached as an annex to the Secretary-General's report. One speaker emphasized the importance of the training activities of UNCITRAL under the Programme. Several speakers pointed to the value of distributing information on international law via the Internet, and voiced the need to increase these efforts. One speaker suggested that web sites also target general audiences and not just the "legal elite".

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 36th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 19 November 1999, the representative of Ghana introduced a draft resolution, which it had proposed, entitled "United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law" (A/C.6/54/L.14 and Corr.1). At the same meeting, the representative of the Solomon Islands made a statement to explain its position before the adoption of the draft resolution. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.14 and Corr.1, without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/608)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-sixth session (2001)

     
Agenda item 154
  • United Nations Decade of International Law

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 8th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 9th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 10th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held from 18 to 19 October 1999. It had before it the final report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Decade of International Law, as well as the report on the outcome of the of the celebration of the centennial of the First International Peace Conference held at The Hague in 1899. At the 8th meeting, the Netherlands introduced the report on the outcome of the celebrations of the centennial of the First International Peace Conference (A/54/381). Statements were made by the representatives of the Netherlands, Finland (on behalf of the EU and associated countries), Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), the Republic of Korea, Japan, Ecuador, Algeria, the Philippines, Jamaica, Cyprus, San Marino, Costa Rica, Brazil, Russian Federation, Dem. People's Rep. of Korea, Norway, China, New Zealand, Cote d'Ivoire, Solomon Islands and observer for, Malaysia (on behalf of ASEAN), India, Hungary, Croatia, Mozambique, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Ukraine, Iraq, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Bolivia, South Africa and Belarus. The observers of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) made statements. Delegations expressed their appreciation for both reports, and emphasized the success of the Decade in attaining its goals.

    With regard to the promotion of the acceptance of and respect for the principles of international law, specific reference was made to several advances during the Decade, including the establishment of the international criminal tribunals, as well as the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as to various efforts by States at the national level. An updated report concerning WIPO activities in this field was also presented. The importance of strict compliance with the principles of international law by all States, irrespective of their size and power, was underscored.

    As to the encouragement of the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law, it was noted that extremely valuable work had been done under the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law. Special recognition was given to the UN Internet services. Certain delegations expressed appreciation for the efforts by the Secretariat to establish an electronic database for treaties deposited under Article 102 of the Charter. The point was made that free on-line access to the United Nations Treaty Collection should be made available for developing countries and that allocation of specific budgetary resources for treaty translation would be needed. Awareness of international law by the general public was considered vital for the establishment of the rule of law. A number of delegations felt that much remained to be done. In particular, a delegation expressed regret that little progress was achieved in the area of wide dissemination of international law to public at large.

    The role of the International Law Commission in the progressive development of international law and its codification was recognized, and the hope was expressed that the Commission would continue adjusting its working methods and procedural preferences to the practical demands of changing times. It was recalled that a wide range of international legal instruments were adopted during the Decade. In the view of a delegation, the development of the international legal framework for arms control had not advanced at the desired pace and the Sixth Committee was called upon to give increased attention to legal aspects of disarmament and arms control. A further view was expressed that priority should be given to promoting compliance with existing international humanitarian law treaties rather than adopting a number of new instruments. The importance of the adoption of regional instruments was also underscored. The hope was expressed that the universal participation of States in negotiating international instruments would be achieved.

    With regard to the peaceful settlement of disputes, reference was made to the increased confidence that has been shown in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Most delegations stressed the need for the ICJ to be provided with the adequate human and financial resources to carry out its activities. It was also noted that the Decade had witnessed the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the two international criminal tribunals as well as the adoption of the Rome Statute. It was stated that an emphasis should be placed on existing mechanisms in this field, including regional mechanisms. A view was expressed that an universal instrument in the area of dispute settlement should be elaborated so as to reflect new international realities. San Marino informed the Committee of the establishment of a Court of Arbitration and hoped that it would become an internationally recognized mechanism for settlement of commercial and political disputes. The observer for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) outlined the recent activities of the PCA.

    Appreciation was expressed to the Governments of the Netherlands and the Russian Federation for hosting the Centennial celebrations. It was observed that the discussions held in The Hague and St. Petersburg greatly contributed to advancing the themes of the First Peace Conference and served as a useful basis for carrying the achievements of the Decade into the next century.

    It was also noted that the lead of the Secretary-General and contribution of the Office of Legal Affairs had been indispensable for the Decade. Support was expressed for continuing the various programmes established during the Decade into the next century.

    Working Group on the United Nations Decade of International Law

    The General Assembly, in its resolution 53/100, had requested the Working Group on the United Nations Decade of International Law to continue its work at the fifty-fourth session in accordance with its mandate and methods of work. Pursuant to that request, the Sixth Committee, at its 2nd meeting, on 27 September, elected Mrs. Socorro Flores (Mexico) Chairperson of the Working Group for the session. The Working Group held 12 meetings from 18 October to 10 November 1999, at which time it considered proposals for several draft resolutions related to the United Nations Decade. At the 33rd (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting of the Sixth Committee, held on 15 November 1999, the Chairperson of the Working Group presented an oral report on the work accomplished by the Working Group.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 33rd (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 15 November 1999, the Chairperson of the Working Group introduced a draft resolution entitled "Outcome of the action dedicated to the 1999 centennial of the first International Peace Conference" (A/C.6/54/L.9) and made an oral revision. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.9, as orally revised without a vote.

    At the 33rd (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 15 November 1999, the Chairperson of the Working Group introduced a draft resolution entitled "United Nations Decade of International Law" (A/C.6/54/L.10) and made an oral revision. At the same meeting, the representative of Cameroon submitted an amendment (A/C.6/54/L.18) to draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.10, and subsequently withdrew the proposed amendment. The representatives of CŰte d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Solomon Islands made statements in explanation of their respective positions before action was taken on the draft resolution. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.10 as orally revised without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/609)

    Plenary meeting of the General Assembly marking the end of the United Nations Decade of International Law

    Pusuant to General Assembly resolution 53/100, a plenary meeting of the General Assembly was held on 17 November 1999 to mark the end of the United Nations Decade of International Law. The Assembly had before it the report of the Secretary-General (A/54/362 and Add.1), the Letter from the Permanent Representatives of the Netherlands and the Russian Federation addressed to the Secretary-General (A/54/381) and the Report of the Sixth Committee.

     
Agenda item 155
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 15th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 16th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 17th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 18th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 19th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 20th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 21st (E, F, S, R, C, A), 22nd (E, F, S, R, C, A), 23rd (E, F, S, R, C, A), 24th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 25th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 26th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 27th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 28th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held from 25 October 1999 to 5 November 1999. It had before it the Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session. The Chairman of the International Law Commission introduced chapters I-IV, VII, V, VI, and VIII-X of its report to the General Assembly at the 15th, 18th, 21st, 24th, and 25th meetings, held on 25 October, 27 October, 29 October, 2 November and 3 November, respectively.

    Statements were made by the representatives of Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Japan, Germany, Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Finland (also on behalf of the Nordic countries), France, the Czech Republic, Côte díIvoire, Hungary, Costa Rica, Croatia, Brazil, Slovenia, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Venezuela, the Russian Federation, Pakistan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Algeria, Italy, the United States, Vietnam, India, Australia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Spain, Portugal, Denmark (also on behalf of Nordic countries), Austria, Singapore, Indonesia, Slovakia, China, New Zealand, Israel, Bulgaria, Sweden (also on behalf of the Nordic Countries), Tunisia, Niger, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Burkina Faso, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey and the Observer for Switzerland.

    All speakers commended the Commission for its adoption of the draft articles on the nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States (chapter IV of the Commission's Report). The view was expressed that the draft articles strike a balance between the interests of States and the rights of citizens, contributing to the reduction of statelessness. Some supported their adoption by the General Assembly in the form of a declaration. Others called for considering the possibility of adopting a convention instead of a declaration.

    Still others were of the view that further clarification was required, both as regards the implication of adopting the Declaration and in relation to the interrelationship between some of the draft articles. Some called for the inclusion of a provision recognizing the nationality of a constituent unit as the general criterion for the acquisition of nationality in cases where the predecessor State is a federation. A preference was also voiced for further reflection on, inter alia, the need to clarify the meaning of article 19, the harmonious application of the rules and the implications for limiting their application to situations of succession in accordance with international law. The view was also expressed that a more thorough consideration of the dominance of the principal of habitual residence in regulating the succession of States was called for.

    As regards the nationality of legal persons in relation to the succession of States, different views were expressed in the Committee. While some supported the Commissionís continued consideration of the question, others supported the Commissionís conclusion not to consider the item further.

    With regard to State Responsibility (chapter V of the Commission's Report), the Commission was commended for significant simplifications and clarifications of the draft articles. At the same time, it was cautioned against over-simplification, and against making substantial changes in the draft articles adopted on first reading.

    With regard to "State crimes", some support was expressed for its retention and a preference for the term "serious international obligation" to cover the same idea was proposed. At the same time strong opposition was expressed against its retention. Agreement was also expressed by some speakers for the recognition of a hierarchy among the norms of international law, if they entailed different consequences. In that regard, it was noted that responsibility arising from a violation of a jus cogens or erga omnes norm should be considered to be extremely serious.

    Support was expressed for the retention in the draft articles of the requirement of "exhaustion of local remedies".

    With regard to circumstances precluding wrongfulness, it was argued that a "state of necessity" should be narrowly construed and a distinction be made between it and "humanitarian intervention". Others went further and called for the exclusion of the concept of "humanitarian intervention" in its entirety, since it was controversial, and was best considered by the political organs of the Organization.

    Furthermore, a narrow definition for self-defence was favoured. It was proposed that article 51 of the Charter concerning self-defence be expanded further to include anticipatory self-defence. The view was also expressed that the rules of the jus in bello should apply equally to in situations of "self-defense".

    While some preferred the retention of the notion of "consent", others cautioned against an abusive interpretation of such an excuse.

    Support was further expressed for the inclusion of "compliance with peremptory norm" as a circumstance precluding wrongfulness. A preference was expressed for the inclusion of an explicit provision relating to jus cogens.

    The Commission was urged to reconsider the articles in Part Two with a view to arriving at more generally acceptable proposals dealing with the definition of an injured State, content of compensation and countermeasures. It was also noted that a precise definition of the conditions for joint responsibility of States was also needed. Some speakers noted the importance of providing a precise definition for "injured States", so as to distinguish between those injured States that suffer actual damage and those that suffer only legal injury. It was argued that material injury was an essential component of any such definition. With regard to "compensation", some speakers called for detailed provisions on measures for its calculation. With regard to countermeasures, support was expressed both for their deletion and their retention. Some speakers questioned the linkage between countermeasures and dispute settlement, while others agreed with such a linkage. Still others emphasized the need for clear rules on this subject.

    With regard to the topic "Reservations to treaties" (chapter VI of the Commission's Report), support was expressed for the Guide to Practice accompanied by model clauses. Its usefulness and importance for the practice of States and international organizations alike was emphasized. It was also noted that the Guide to Practice offered useful clarifications and minimized disputes relating to reservations. Support was expressed for the final product taking the form of guidelines without modifying the existing regime of the Vienna Convention on the Law of treaties. In that regard, while support was expressed for a specific (sui generis) regime for reservations to human rights treaties, it was also argued that the Vienna regime should be preserved without any such special dispensation for human rights treaties

    While satisfaction was expressed with the general outline of the draft guidelines, some speakers preferred that the Commission focus mainly on issues on which States need guidance (admissibility of reservations, effect of objection) and complete the topic in the remaining two years of its term. It was also hoped that the Commission consider the effect of inadmissible reservations in view of the uncertainty of the Vienna regime and in the absence of an objective body or system to decide on the compatibility of reservations with the object and purpose of a treaty.

    Concerning the first chapter on definitions of reservations and interpretative declarations, reference was made to the importance of the definition of reservations, as well as of the definition of interpretative declarations which filled one of the lacunae of the Vienna Convention on the Law of treaties. It was observed that the definition of interpretative declarations was especially important for successor States, which might use such declarations upon their notification of succession. Some speakers called for the exclusion of other unilateral statements, which are not reservations or interpretative declarations, from the scope of the Guide to Practice. The view was also expressed that interpretative declarations should be viewed in light of the specificity of different cultures. Others found the distinction between conditional interpretative declarations and reservations useful.

    Support was further voiced for the draft guidelines concerning reservations to bilateral treaties and for the view that "reservations" to bilateral treaties constituted in fact proposals to renegotiate the treaty.. It was also pointed out that statements of non-recognition could not constitute reservations.

    As regards the topic of Jurisdictional immunities of States and their properties (chapter VII of the Commission's report),while support was expressed for the Commission's suggestions on some of the issues identified by the Working Group, caution was expressed concerning other issues. In terms of a further view the Commission's suggestions were supported in general as conducive to reaching a wider consensus on the topic.

    Interest was expressed in discussing further the question of the existence or non existence of jurisdictional immunities in actions arising, inter alia, out of violations of jus cogens norms.

    While support was expressed for including provisions on allowing measures of constraint against State property in certain cases, support was also expressed in the Committee for the absolute State immunity approach.

    The Committee was reminded of the usefulness of adopting an international legal framework regulating State immunity. In that regard, support was expressed for drawing up a Model Law on State Immunity. Others stressed the need for adopting basic rules on state immunity at the international level, in the form of a convention. In terms of a further view, it was felt that, at present, international conditions were not sufficiently ripe for a convention on the topic.

    As regards unilateral acts of States (chapter VIII of the Commission's report), a preference was expressed for the inclusion of the element of "autonomy of the act" in the definition, and doubts were expressed about confining the study to "declarations". Doubts were also expressed about the possibility of clearly distinguishing legal from political unilateral acts. In that regard, it was also felt that since all acts of the State were political in nature, the real question was which acts produced legal effects. It was noted in that regard that the intention of the author of the act was as important as its legal effects in determining whether an unilateral act was political or juridical in nature.

    The view was expressed that the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties could serve as a useful guide on certain aspects of the topic, such as the validity of the declaration of will and nullity of acts, but not on other aspects of the topic, such as interpretation, modification, suspension and termination of unilateral acts. In terms of a further view, the rules of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties do not provide an appropriate framework for the study of unilateral acts. The view was also expressed that many rules on reservations to treaties could also be applied mutatis mutandis to unilateral acts.

    The Committee was reminded of the importance of Governments responding adequately to the questionnaire on the topic prepared by the Secretariat in consultation with the Special Rapporteur.

    With regard to the topic International liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law (chapter IX of the Commission's report), while support was expressed for the work carried out by the Commission on the prevention aspect of the topic, different views were expressed regarding the Commissionís consideration of the question of liability. On the one hand, a preference was expressed for waiting until the completion of the Commissionís work on the prevention of transboundary hazardous activities, in order to allow for further international practice to develop in this area. It was argued further that the regulation of international liability ought to proceed with particular topics or regions, and should be limited to operatorís civil liability. At the same time the view was expressed that such deferral should be without prejudice to the Commissionís future work on the issue. Conversely, several speakers called on the Commission to continue with all aspects of the liability component of the topic.

    With regard to the topic Diplomatic Protection, reference was made to the requirements of mutual obligations imposed on diplomatic missions and on the host country in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations of 1961 and 1973.

    As regards the long-term programme of work of the Commission (chapter X of the Commission's report), while support was expressed for the preliminary selection of suitable topics by the Commission (responsibility of international organizations, effect of armed conflicts), it was also suggested that some aspects of international environmental law should also be considered. Conversely, it was felt that the Commission should continue to focus on general international law, and postpone any further elaboration of environmental issues, which were being discussed in various specialized fora. The view was also expressed that focus should be placed on practical needs and assisting other international bodies in clarifying any particular area of international law. Others supported the inclusion of new appropriate topics reflecting a balance between doctrinal aspects and the reality of international relations and practice.

    With respect to the working methods of the Commission (chapter X of the Commission's report), while support was expressed in favour of holding a split session of the Commission next year, others felt that it was premature to take any decisions on split sessions despite their advantages, especially since financial considerations had to be taken into account. Governments were encouraged to provide adequate responses to the questionnaires of the Commission. Others encouraged the Commission to take into consideration statements of delegations made in the Sixth Committee. Reference was also made to enhanced co-operation with regional bodies. Notice was taken of the fact that the Commissionís documentation had been made available on its web site (http://www.un.org/law/ilc/index.htm). Support was expressed for future codification texts taking the form of legally binding instruments.

    Support was expressed for the innovations introduced by the Commission in the structure of its report as well as for the Commissionís energy and adaptability in facing new challenges. At the same time, the Sixth Committee was urged to respond in a more imaginative manner to the needs of the Commission.

    The Committee observed a minute of silence in memory of Minister Doudou Thiam of Senegal, former member, Chairman and Special Rapporteur of the Commission.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 36th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 19 November 1999, the Vice-Chair of the Sixth Committee, the representative of Colombia introduced a draft resolution entitled "Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session" (A/C.6/54/L.7/Rev.1 and Corr.1). The Committee also had before it a statement of the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.7/Rev.1 and Corr.1, submitted by the Secretary-General in accordance with rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly. (A/C.6/54/L.21).

    At the same meeting, the Committee adopted operative paragraph 10 of the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 111 to 1, with 4 abstentions. (See the report of the Sixth Committee for the voting)

    The representatives of Finalnd and Cote d'Ivoire made statements before the vote.

    The representative of the United States made a statement in explanation of vote after the vote.

    At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resoluton A/C.6/54/L.7/Rev.1 and Corr.1, without a vote.

    After the adoption of the draft resolution, statements in explanation of position were made by the representatives of Canada and the United Republic of Tanzania.

    At the 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 18 November 1999, the Vice- Chair of the Sixth Committee, the representative of New Zealand introduced a draft resolution entitled "Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States" (A/C.6/54/L.6 and Corr.1). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.6 and Corr.1 without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/610)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item156
  • Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its thirty-second session

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 3rd (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 4th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held on 11 and 12 October 1999, respectively. The Chairman of UNCITRAL presented the 1999 report to the Committee, at the 3rd (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, and statements were made by the representatives of Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Japan, Austria, Brazil, United Kingdom, Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Malaysia, Islamic Republic of Iran, France, Germany, Russian Federation, China, Canada, Hungary, Pakistan, Italy, U.S., India, Thailand, Colombia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Ukraine, the United Republic of Tanzania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Ecuador, Belarus and the observer of WIPO.

    The speakers welcomed the report and the stressed the importance of the work carried out by UNCITRAL and its Secretariat in the unification of international trade law, the dissemination of relevant information and through the training and technical assistance provided.

    The point was made that UNCITRAL constituted the core legal body within the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Support was expressed for the provision of adequate human and financial resources to allow UNICTRAL to carry out its mandate. Some suggestions were made on how to rationalize the work of the Commission.

    Particular support was expressed for the work undertaken by UNICTRAL on privately financed infrastructure projects, electronic signatures and receivable financing. Some concerns were voiced on possible duplication of work on the topics of international commercial arbitration, and cross-border insolvency; in this regard, it was noted that due coordination with other UN bodies and international organizations was required.

    Some speakers were of the view that UNICTRAL should take more into account the concrete conditions of developing countries and that efforts need to be undertaken to increase the participation of developing countries in the work of the Commission.

    The Chairman of UNCITRAL made a concluding statement.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 29th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 11 November 1999, the representative of Austria, on behalf of Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finalnd, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Venezuela, subsequently joined by The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Haiti, introduced a draft resolution entitled "Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its thirty-second session" (A/C.6/54/L.4). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.4 without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/611)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item 157
  • Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, held on 18 November 1999. At that meeting, the Chairman of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country introduced the report of the Committee contained in document A/54/26. Statements were made by the representatives of Finland (on behalf of the European Union), Cuba, Japan, Malaysia, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, China, the Russian Federation and the United States.

    All speakers welcomed the increase of the membership of the Committee by four new members (Cuba, Hungary, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Malaysia). Most delegations welcomed the efforts done by the Host Country in order to maintain appropriate conditions for the normal functioning of missions accredited to the United Nations.

    Several speakers referred to continuing problems such as the host country travel restrictions, housing for diplomatic personnel, parking regulations and security for missions and the safety of their personnel. One delegation also recalled that its funds had been frozen in the host country's banks.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 18 November 1999, the representative of Cyprus, on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, and Cote d'Ivoire introduced a draft resolution entitled "Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country" (A/C.6/54/L.17) and made an oral revision. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.17, as orally revised without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/612)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item 158
  • Establishment of an International Criminal Court

    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 11th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 12th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 13th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 14th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held from 20 to 22 October 1999. It had before it the reports of the first and second session of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court held in 1999. Statements were made by the representatives of Finland (on behalf of the European Union), Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Norway, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia (also on behalf of the following members of the South Pacific Forum: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu), Colombia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Senegal, Cameroon, Russian Federation, Cyprus, Mozambique (on behalf of SADC), San Marino, Egypt, Ecuador, Canada, Croatia, Pakistan, Brazil, Czech Republic, Hungary, Venezuela, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Lesotho, Ghana, Thailand, the Sudan, Mongolia, China, the United States, Ukraine, Libya, Liechtenstein, Uganda, Indonesia, Slovenia, Kenya, Poland, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago (on behalf of CARICOM), Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Israel, Haiti, the Syrian Arab Republic and the observers for Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross. All delegations expressed support for the ICC, as well as appreciation for the efforts of the Preparatory Commission.

    It was noted that while substantial progress had been made in the finalization of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the Elements of Crimes, much work still remained. In light of the June 2000 deadline for the finalization of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the Elements of Crimes, support was expressed for the holding of a further two three-week sessions of the Preparatory Commission in the first half of 2000. Some called for priority to be given to those items to be completed by June 2000. Furthermore, proposals were made to schedule a third meeting in 2000 to continue work on the other items in resolution F, such as the financial regulations and the definition of the crime of aggression, and to extend the mandate of the Commission beyond 2000 to carry on with that work. The hope was expressed that the General Assembly would provide the Preparatory Commission with the necessary time and resources in the year 2000.

    The point was made that the purpose of both the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the Elements of Crimes should be to facilitate the interpretation and application of the Statute, in strict conformity with it. Furthermore, the need for the application of the law by the Court to be completely impersonal, without any differentiation based on the nationality of the person under investigation or accused was highlighted.

    As regards the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the point was made that greater attention should be given to the rights of suspects. Colombia and Senegal stressed the need to allow for access by victims and witnesses to proceedings. Similarly some observed that sufficient flexibility should be introduced to allow for the exercise of discretion by judges. Others added that a right balance between the rights of the victims, suspects and the accused should be achieved while still others thought the rules should be flexible, balanced and not too detailed.

    In connection with the Elements of Crimes, particular emphasis was placed on respecting the principle of nullum crimen sine lege and for ensuring consistency with existing laws of armed conflict. Emphasis was also placed on the need to regulate the recruitment of children in armed conflicts. Some felt that the elements of crimes should reflect contemporary international law while others maintained that crimes under the Court's jurisdiction should be clarified as much as possible.

    Several delegations welcomed the establishment of the working group on the crime of aggression. Some stressed the importance that an appropriate definition of the crime of aggression, and its being under the Court's jurisdiction, had from the standpoint of a wide acceptance of the Statute. In their view an agreed definition of this crime would encourage more States to ratify the Statute. The primacy of the Security Council in determining the existence of an act of aggression was stressed.

    Several delegations reported on preparations to ratify the Statute. It was also proposed that technical assistance be made available to small countries so as to facilitate the legislative process. It was also noted that the finalization of an authentic text of the Statute would lead to further ratifications. Reference was made to a ratification kit developed by SADC legal experts to assist in the ratification of the Rome Statute. States were called upon to make voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund created under resolution 53/105 to enable delegations from least developed countries to participate in the Preparatory Commission.

    The view was expressed that the Statute should not be applied selectively. Misgivings were also expressed about the Statute risking inhibiting international military efforts in support of humanitarian or peacekeeping objectives and about prosecutions being brought against personnel engaged in official actions when their government is not a party to the Statute. Concerns were also expressed about the inclusion in the Rome Statute of the crime of transfer of populations as a war crime in art. 8(2)(b)(viii). Caution was also expressed against allowing the ICC to become a mechanism for interfering in the internal affairs of States.

    A delegation stressed the importance of trying to arrive at an arrangement to obtain the support for the Statute of those delegations that did not support it in Rome, on the understanding that the Statute could not be reopened. Others supported efforts to address the concerns of those States that had not signed nor ratified the Statute, with a view to achieving universal support for the ICC.

    The observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross announced a study on international and national case law on the elements of war crimes that the Red Cross would make available to the Commission at its next session.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 36th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 19 November 1999, the representative of the Netherlands introduced a draft resolution entitled "Establishment of the International Criminal Court" (A/C.6/54/L.8/Rev.1 and Corr.1). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.8/Rev.1 and Corr.1 without a vote. The representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon made statements before the adoption of the draft resolution.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/613)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item 159
  • Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization

    The Sixth Committee undertook its consideration of the report of the Special Committee on the Charter at its 5th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 6th (E, F, S, R, C, A), 7th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 8th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held from 13 to 18 October 1999. The Chairman of the Special Committee introduced the 1999 report (A/54/33). Statements were made by the representatives of Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Finland (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Japan, Republic of Korea, Colombia, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Guatemala, Egypt, India, Algeria, China, Croatia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Ghana, Canada, Hungary, Cuba, Zambia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Belarus, Jordan, Viet Nam, Malawi, Swaziland, Pakistan, Tunisia, Madagascar, Uganda, Iraq, Brazil, Sierra Leone, the Dem. People's Rep. of Korea, Ukraine, Chile, Bulgaria, Yemen, Israel, Turkey, Costa Rica, Haiti, the United States, Australia, Syrian Arab Republic, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, CŰte d'Ivoire, and Israel.

    Some speakers, emphasizing the importance of implementing the provisions of the Charter related to assistance to third States affected by sanctions, welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on the issue (A/54/383), as well as the report of the Special Committee, and recalled the recommendations and conclusions of the ad hoc expert group contained in the 1998 report of the Secretary-General (A/53/312). Some delegations favoured the establishment of an adequately financed permanent mechanism, within the United Nations system, to consider the potential adverse impact of sanctions on Third States, including a fund to assist affected States. Support was also expressed for the role of the Secretariat in monitoring the political, economic, social and humanitarian effects of sanctions.

    Some observed that sanctions should be an exceptional measure, to be applied only when all other means of settlement of disputes have been exhausted and that sanctions are to be defined in time and be lifted as soon as their objectives are achieved. Several delegations also emphasized that ways and means ought to be devised to minimize the adverse impact of sanctions on the civilian population, and that the possibility of exceptions on humanitarian grounds should be envisaged. Furthermore, it was argued that the right to consult with the Security Council, as contemplated in article 50, should be with the aim of finding ways and means of ameliorating the effects of sanctions on third States. It was observed that effectively targeting sanctions could minimize their adverse effect on third States. In that regard, the Sanctions Committees were implored to consider a methodology for assessing the impact of sanctions. The opposing view was expressed that the Charter does not provide that all peaceful means of settlement need be exhausted before the Security Council can impose enforcement measures.

    Support was reiterated for the proposal by the Russian Federation on basic conditions and criteria for the introduction of sanctions and other coercive measures and their implementation, which was described as providing a useful basis for the deliberations of the Special Committee on the question of sanctions.

    In connection with the proposal on defining the legal basis for peacekeeping operations, presented by the Russian Federation, while some support was expressed for the initiative, concern was expressed that further consideration of the item by the Special Committee should not duplicate the work of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The need to enhance communication with other UN bodies in this field was stressed.

    While some support was expressed for the proposal submitted by the Russian Federation and Belarus to request an advisory opinion from the ICJ as to the legal consequences of the resort to the use of force by States either without the proper authorization of the Security Council or outside the context of self-defence, objections were also raised on the grounds that it would not be useful to ask the Court to present its opinion on such a generic question. It was suggested that additional criteria for the use of force in humanitarian emergencies could be elaborated so as to reconfirm the validity of the Charter.

    General support was expressed for the proposed draft resolution on the strengthening of the ICJ in view of its increased workload. The point was made that the increase in the number of cases before the Court, without a commensurate increase in its resources, has put at stake the ability of the Court to undertake its work in a timely fashion.

    While some support was expressed for the proposal concerning the establishment of a dispute prevention and early settlement service, and the supplementary proposal by the United Kingdom, emphasis was placed by some on the principle that States parties to a dispute are free to choose from available means of peaceful settlement.

    With regard to proposals concerning the Trusteeship Council, the view was expressed that it was neither appropriate to abolish it nor to change its mandate at the present stage, since such action could be dealt with in the overall context of United Nations reform. At the same time, some support was expressed for having the Council reconstituted as a guardian of the common heritage of mankind.

    Interest was expressed in the proposal on strengthening the role of the Organization and enhancing its effectiveness, presented by Cuba, and the proposal on the strengthening of the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, presented by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

    Concerning the Secretary-General's report on the Repertory of Practice of the United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council (A/54/363) most speakers commended the efforts of the Secretariat in this field. However it was pointed out that the Secretary-General should give clear priority to the work on the Repertory so as to reduce the existing backlog and speed up the work on both important publications. A point was made that the publications should be issued in all official languages of the Organization. Support was expressed for the establishment of a special training and internship programme and a voluntary fund to expedite the work. It was suggested that avoiding an overlap between the two publications could contribute to their timely preparation within the existing resources.

    Various suggestions were considered regarding the working methods of the Special Committee.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 34th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 16 November 1999, the representaive of Egypt introduced a draft resolution entitled "Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization" (A/C.6/54/L.11) and made an oral revision. At the same meeting, the representatives of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Russian Federation made statements in explanation of their respective positions before action was taken on the draft resolution. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.11, as orally revised, without a vote.

    At the 17th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 27 October 1999, the representative of Bulgaria, also on behalf of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, introduced a draft resolution entitled "Implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions" (A/C.6/54/L.3). At the 30th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 12 November, the representative of Ghana and coordinator of informal consultations introduced a revised draft resolution entitled "Implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions" (A/C.6/54/L.3/Rev.1). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.3/Rev.1 without a vote. The representative of the Russian Federation made a statement in explanation of position after the adoption of the draft resolution.

    At the 29th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 11 November, the representative of Mexico introduced a draft resolution entitled "Strengthening of the International Court of Justice" (A/C.6/54/L.5). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.5, without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/614)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item 160
  • Measures to eliminate international terrorism

    Working Group on international terrorism

  • The General Assembly, in resolution 53/108 of 8 December 1998, inter alia, decided that the Ad Hoc Committee established pursuant to resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, should hold its third session from 15 to 26 March 1999, devoting appropriate time to the consideration of the outstanding issues relating to the elaboration of a draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, and should initiate the elaboration of a draft international convention for the suppression of terrorist financing. It further recommended that the work continue during the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly, from 27 September to 8 October 1999, within the framework of a working group of the Sixth Committee. Accordingly, the Sixth Committee, at its second meeting, on 27 September 1999, established such a Working Group and elected Mr. Philippe Kirsch (Canada) as its Chairman.

    The Working Group held 11 meetings, from 27 September to 8 October 1999. The Working Group had before it the report of the Working Group of the Sixth Committee (A/C.6/53/L.4), wherein a revised text of the draft convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism prepared by the Friends of the Chairman was presented, as well as the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the work of its third session (A/54/37), containing, inter alia, a discussion paper submitted by the Bureau of the Ad Hoc Committee on articles 3 to 25, and a working paper prepared by France on articles 1 and 2 of the draft international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism. The Working Group had also before it oral and written proposals submitted during its meetings.

    With regard to the elaboration of the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, it was noted at the first meeting of the Working Group that while some consultations had been held on the draft convention, broader consultations were required to find an acceptable solution to the remaining issues concerning the scope of the Convention. At the 11th meeting, the Working Group was informed that while there appeared to be a willingness among delegations to continue work on the convention, it was determined that the time was not opportune for the convening of informal consultations during the Working Group. The Chairman appointed Ms. Cate Steains (Australia) to act as a coordinator on the issue with a view to organizing open-ended informal consultations at the appropriate time.

    Concerning the elaboration of the draft international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism, discussions were held both in the Working Group and in informal consultations. On the basis of those discussions as well as written or oral proposals and amendments submitted to the Working Group, a new discussion paper on articles 5, 7, 8, 12 and 17 was prepared by the Friends of the Chairman for consideration by the Working Group, which was further revised by the Friends of the Chairman during the session of the Working Group. A revised text of article 1 was also submitted by the coordinator of the informal consultations. A revised text of article 2 was orally introduced by the coordinator of the informal consultations at the 10th meeting of the Working Group. A discussion paper on the preamble, as revised, was submitted by France. Following the discussions of those revised texts, and taking into account the comments by delegations, the Friends of the Chairman prepared a revised text of the draft convention (subsequently revised further), and which was orally amended at the Working Group's 11th meeting.

    At its 11th meeting, the Working Group decided to submit the draft international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism to the Sixth Committee for discussion and consideration. It noted that the Sixth Committee might wish to subsequently submit the draft convention to the General Assembly with a view to its adoption.

    At its 11th meeting, the Working Group decided to recommend that the coordinator for the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism consult with the Chairman and Bureau of the Sixth Committee on the organization of consultations on the draft convention and report to the Chairman of the Sixth Committee on the outcome of those consultations.

    See the report of the Working Group (A/C.6/54/L.2)

    The Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee and Working Group, Mr. Phillipe Kirsch presented an oral report on the work of the Working Group to the Sixth Committee at its 31st (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, held on 12 November 1999


    Consideration by the Sixth Committee


    The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 31st (E, F, S, R, C, A),
    32nd (E, F, S, R, C, A), 33rd (E, F, S, R, C, A), 34th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held from 12 to 18 November 1999. The Committee had before it the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 (A/54/37), the Report of the Secretary-General (A/54/301and Add.1), Report of the Working Group (A/C.6/54/L.2) and various letters.

    Statements were made by the representatives of Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Finland (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Colombia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea, Yemen, Belarus, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Egypt, Iraq, Maldives, Romania, Oman, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Qatar, Cuba, Azerbaijan (on behalf of the GUUAM Group (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova)), Turkey, Peru, Kuwait, China, Madagascar, Malawi, Hungary, Malaysia, Lebanon, South Africa, Syria, Guatemala, Israel, Bahrain, Costa Rica (on behalf of the GRUCA Group - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Panama), Libya, Sudan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Angola, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Canada, Poland, Slovenia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liechtenstein, Ghana and France, Viet Nam, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Haiti, the United States, Ethiopia, and New Zealand.

    All speakers condemned international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expressed support for the work of the Ad Hoc Committee and of the Working Group of the Sixth Committee in this regard. Reference was made to the vulnerability of small States to terrorism. Some delegations underscored the need to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to eradicate terrorism. It was pointed out that international cooperation in suppressing terrorism should be carried out in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and the basic norms and principles of international law, including those related to human rights. Most delegations considered the United Nations as the most appropriate forum to develop and implement measures to counter terrorism and punish its perpetrators.

    General support was expressed for the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism at the current session of the General Assembly. It was pointed out that, though some reservations were expressed in the process of its elaboration, the draft represented a balanced text complementing existing instruments in this field and that its adoption would help cut the sources of the financing of terrorism. Some speakers pointed to some of the limitations of the treaty, and a delegation expressed a strong preference for postponing consideration of the draft convention until future discussions could allow its adoption by consensus.

    Speakers also favoured the speedy completion of the work on the draft international international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and its adoption. Some concern was expressed regarding the limited progress achieved in the resolution of the outstanding difficulty relating to the scope of its application. A point was made that, taking into consideration the risks of nuclear terrorism, the outstanding issues related to the scope of the draft convention should be resolved as soon as possible, and Governments were called upon to enhance efforts to overcome those remaining issues. Support was expressed for the position of the NAM in this regard, namely that the scope of the draft convention be expanded to include the activities of State militaries. A reference was made to the need for the treaty to encompass State terrorism as well. The view was also expressed that a distinction should be drawn between the draft convention, as well as the issues raised by the ICJ Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons, and the use and possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear powers. Several speakers welcomed the appointment of a coordinator to consider outstanding issues with a view to finalizing the treaty. The coordinator, Ms. Cate Steains (Australia), presented an oral report to the Committee on the status of the informal consultations being undertaken.

    Support was also expressed for the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, and for the text prepared by India which was viewed as an adequate basis for such work. It was proposed by some that the comprehensive convention consider the question of a legal definition of terrorism. A point was made, however, that the draft text proposed by India contained many controversial issues and that the necessity and feasibility of elaborating such a convention should be studied carefully. The view was also expressed that the proposed instrument should avoid broad definitional questions and focus rather on its scope.

    Some speakers reiterated their position as regards the need to distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle by national liberation movements for self-determination and independence, and called for the formulation of an universal legal definition of terrorism. At the same time, it was pointed out that reaching agreement on such a definition was difficult and that the United Nations has been more successful by focusing on treaties that criminalize specific manifestations of terrorism.

    Support was expressed in the Committee for the convening of a high level conference in 2000 under the auspices of the United Nations to formulate a joint response to terrorism.

    Armenia, Azerbaijan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 18 November 1999, the representative of Canada introduced a draft resolution entitled "International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism" (A/C.6/54/L.16 and Corr.1) and made an oral revision. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.16 and Corr.1, as orally revised, without a vote. After the adoption of the draft resolution, the representative of the Sudan made a statement in explanation of position and the representative of France made a concluding statement

    At the 37th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 23 November 1999, the representative of Canada introduced a draft resolution entitled "Measures to eliminate international terrorism " (A/C.6/54/L.15/Rev.1) and made an oral revision. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/54/L.15/Rev.1 by a vote of 116 in favour to none against with 3 abstentions. After the adoption of the draft resolution, the representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Cuba, the United States, Ghana, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda made statements in explanation of position.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/615)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

     
Agenda item 161
  • Review of the Statute of the Administrative Tribunal of the United Nations
  • The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 29th (E, F, S, R, C, A) and 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meetings, held on 11 and 18 November 1999. Statements were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Italy, Niger and Greece. Mr. Hubert Thierry, President of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, also made a statement.

    All speakers acknowledged the importance of the work of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, and offered their general support for the proposed amendments to the Statute of the Tribunal, as set out in the draft resolution on the item (A/C.6/54/L.13 and Rev.1). The United Kingdom, one of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution, emphasized that the proposed amendments would not represent a radical change to the Statute, nor would there be any financial implications as a result of the implementation of the amendments.

    The speakers highlighted the proposed amendments regarding the need: to change the title of "Member" to that of "Judge" and "Secretary" of the Tribunal to that of "Registrar"; to include in the Statute a requirement of appropriate legal qualifications of the Members; to increase the term of office of the Members from three years to four years; and to make provision in the Statute for all the Members of the Tribunal to hear a case where a significant legal question was at issue and/or where the three-Member panel, currently provided for in the Statute, was unable to reach a unanimous decision in a case. One speaker, however, questioned the need for unanimous decisions, pointing out that other tribunals had found dissenting opinions of great value. Another speaker suggested that cases before the Tribunal be decided by a "simple majority", similar to the practice of other tribunals. It was further suggested that the language of the Statute should be gender-neutral.

    Action taken by the Sixth Committee:

    At the 29th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 11 November 1999, the representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (on behalf of France and Ireland) introduced a draft resolution entitled "Review of the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal" (A/C.6/54/L.13). Following the consideration of the draft resolution at the meeting of the Sixth Committee on 11 November, a revised draft resolution contained in document A/C.6/54/L.13/Rev.1 was circulated. No action was taken by the Committee on the draft resolution.

    At the 35th (E, F, S, R, C, A) meeting, on 18 November, the representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (on behalf of France and Ireland) introduced a draft decision entitled "Review of the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal" (A/C.6/54/L.20). The representatives of Nigeria, Malaysia, Sierra Leone and Cuba explained their positions before taking a decision on the draft. At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft decision A/C.6/54/L.20 without a vote.

    See: Report of the Sixth Committee (A/54/616)

    This agenda item was subsequently considered at the fifty-fifth session (2000)

         

     


 

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