General Assembly, on Recommendation of Legal Committee, Adopts Texts on Measures to Eliminate Global Terrorism, Programme of International Legal Assistance

6 December 2010
GA/11030

General Assembly, on Recommendation of Legal Committee, Adopts Texts on Measures to Eliminate Global Terrorism, Programme of International Legal Assistance

6 December 2010
General Assembly
GA/11030
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Plenary

57th Meeting (PM)

General Assembly, on Recommendation of Legal Committee, Adopts Texts on Measures

to Eliminate Global Terrorism, Programme of International Legal Assistance

 

Also Adopts Texts on Rule of Law; Work of United Nations

Commission on International Trade Law, International Law Commission

Among the 17 resolutions and two decisions adopted this afternoon on the recommendation of the Sixth Committee (Legal) by new language within a text on measures to eliminate international terrorism, the General Assembly expressed concern at the increase in kidnapping and hostage-taking for ransom and/or political concessions.

Also adopted without a vote was a resolution of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) establishing a voluntary fund for the activities for the International Year for People of African Descent, as well as the convening of a high-level thematic debate to close the Year.

By the resolution adopted on measures to eliminate international terrorism, the Assembly, deeply disturbed by the persistence of terrorist acts which had been carried out worldwide, stressed the need to strengthen further international cooperation among States and among international and regional organizations and agencies and the United Nations in order to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Further, the Assembly decided that its Ad Hoc Committee charged with elaborating the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism should expedite its work and should meet from 11 to 15 April 2011 to continue to discuss the question of convening a high-level conference to formulate a concerted global response to international terrorism.  Meanwhile, States were called upon to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy at all levels and to intensify information exchange, including toward the aim of avoiding misinformation.

A priority in the work of the Sixth Committee, the importance of the rule of law at the national and international levels was emphasized and highlighted in other action taken by the Assembly, notably regarding the need to strengthen support for States to achieve that goal.  The Assembly called on the United Nations system to address aspects of the rule of law in its activities and expressed full support for the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group supported by the Rule of Law Unit, both of which were invited to continue interacting with States, particularly at the informal level. 

In addition, the same resolution invited the International Court of Justice, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the International Law Commission to comment on activities in the field.  The Assembly also decided that a high-level meeting on the rule of law should be convened during its high-level segment in two years.

As development aims and rule of law activities could not be achieved without the promotion of international law, a resolution adopted on the United Nations Programme of Assistance related to International Law had the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to finance fellowships from the regular budget.  The United Nations chief was also authorized to award a minimum of one scholarship in 2011 under the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea and to ensure that the fellowship continued to be awarded annually from within the regular budget.  Governments were urged to make contributions to the Programme for regional courses to complement both the International Law Fellowship Programme and the Audiovisual Library in International Law.

Illustrating the successful work of the Sixth Committee were the four resolutions adopted today on the report UNCITRAL.  One was the annual omnibus text on the Commission’s work.  The others were related to revised arbitration rules, a legislative guide on secured transactions dealing with intellectual property and a legislative guide on insolvency law and enterprise groups.

Another highlight of the Sixth Committee’s successful efforts was a resolution on the International Law Commission’s report where the Assembly drew attention to the importance of the Commission having the views of States on topics before the Commission.  Currently, those included “treaties over time” and   “reservations to treaties”, which after 16 years of concerted work was being prepared in draft articles and a Guide to Practice for finalization.

The Commission was invited to consider as a priority the topics of “immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction” and “the obligation to extradite or prosecute”.  The Assembly again stressed the need to provide assistance to Special Rapporteurs and to continue enhancing the dialogue between the Commission, the Legal Committee and other relevant legal bodies encouraged.  States were encouraged to make “urgently needed” contributions to the International Law Seminar trust fund.

Reflecting the Sixth Committee’s trademark consensus, other texts adopted without a vote included those on the responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts, where the Assembly requested Governments to consider the form the draft articles should take; criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission where States were strongly urged to consider establishing jurisdiction over crimes by their nationals and to provide information to the Secretary-General on their handling of allegations of misconduct; and diplomatic protection to States requesting views from States on whether the articles should be elaborated as a convention or whether some other action should be taken.

Also adopted were texts on the prevention transboundary harm from hazardous activities and allocating loss in the case of such harm, a matter of major importance in relations between States; and the status of the Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions relating to protection of victims of armed conflicts, urging States to become party to the Protocols and to make use of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. 

Other texts included those on measures to enhance the safekeeping of diplomatic and consular missions and persons; the report of the Charter Special Committee; the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction which would continue to be considered in the context of a working group; and the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country.

Background

The Assembly this afternoon took up the work of its Sixth Committee (Legal), including 17 resolutions and two decisions issued in 16 reports, as well as other matters relating to a report of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) containing a draft resolution on the Programme of Activities for the International Year for People of African Descent.

Legal Committee Reports

Before the Assembly are the reports of its Legal Committee.  They contain resolutions and decisions all approved during the Committee’s session without a vote.

Before the Assembly is a report on the responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts (document A/65/463).  It contains one resolution approved on 5 November, by which the Assembly would request Governments to consider the question of future adoption of the draft articles or other appropriate action and submit written comments on such future action to the Secretary-General.  The Assembly would also request that the Secretary-General update the compilation of decisions of international courts, tribunals and other bodies referring to the articles, and invite Governments to submit written information on their practice in this regard.

A report on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (document A/65/464) contains one resolution, approved by the Committee also on 5 November.  By it, the Assembly would strongly urge States to take all measures to ensure that crimes by United Nations officials on mission did not go unpunished.  States would be strongly urged to consider establishing jurisdiction over crimes by their nationals while serving on mission with the United Nations.  The Secretary-General would be urged to strengthen existing training on United Nations standards of conduct while States would be urged to provide information to the Secretary-General on their handling of credible allegations of misconduct by their nationals.

Also before the Assembly is a report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (document A/65/465).  It contains four resolutions approved in Committee on 5 November.

Resolution I in the report is the annual omnibus text on the Commission’s work, by which the Assembly would take note of the report and would commend and welcome the Commission’s work.  The Assembly would reaffirm the importance of the Commission’s work, particularly for developing countries being assisted with technical cooperation in the field.  Activities such as the reported panel discussion and resulting decisions would be noted, as would the lack of sufficient funds to respond to the growing need for uniform interpretation of Commission texts.

By draft resolution II on arbitration rules of UNCITRAL as revised in 2010, the Assembly would express appreciation for the adoption of the relevant text.  It would recommend the Rules be used in settling disputes arising out of international commercial relations and would ask the Secretary-General to take all efforts toward making the Rules known and available.

Draft resolution III on the Commission’s legislative guide on secured transactions:  supplement on security rights in intellectual property would have the Assembly express appreciation for the completed text and request the Secretary-General to disseminate it broadly, including electronically.  The Assembly would also recommend its use by States to assess the economic efficiency of their intellectual property rights financing and to give favourable consideration to the text when revising relevant national legislation and to advise the Commission when they had done so.  Finally, States would be encouraged to consider becoming party to the United Nations Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade and to implement recommendations of the Trade Law Commission’s Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions.

Finally, draft resolution IV on the Commission’s legislative guide on insolvency law on the treatment of enterprise groups in insolvency would have the Assembly express appreciation for the text and would request the Secretary-General to transmit the document to Governments and interested bodies.  It would recommend that States use the Guide to assess the economic efficiency of their insolvency law regimes and for revising relevant legislation.  The Assembly would recommend that States continue to implement the Model Law on cross-border insolvency, and that judges, insolvency practitioners and other stakeholders give due consideration to the Guide.

Further, the United Nations would be urged to continue cooperating with States exercising jurisdiction by providing information and materials for purposes of criminal proceedings.  The Secretary-General would be requested to report on implementation of the resolution at the next Assembly session.

A report on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/65/466) contains one resolution, approved on 11 November, which would have the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to finance relevant fellowships from provisions in the regular budget and, when appropriate, from voluntary financial contributions.  The Secretary-General would also be asked to continue to award a minimum of one scholarship in 2011 under the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea and to provide the resources for awarding the fellowship from within the programme budget.

In addition, the draft would urge Governments to make voluntary contributions for regional courses as an important complement to the International Law Fellowship Programme and the Audiovisual Library in International Law.  Appreciation would be expressed to the Republic of Korea and to Ethiopia for holding regional conferences.  The Secretary-General would be asked to continue to publicize the Programme and to invite Governments and others to make voluntary contributions toward the Programme’s activities and services.

One resolution in the Committee’s report on the International Law Commission’s report on its sixty-second session (document A/65/467) was also approved on 11 November.  By that text, the Assembly would draw the attention of Governments to the importance of the Commission having their views on topics being addressed, in particular, currently, on “reservations to treaties” and “treaties over time”.  Governments would be invited to submit views on the draft reservations to treaties by 31 January 2011 with a view toward finalizing the Guide in the Commission’s next session which would be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 26 April to 3 June and from 4 July to 12 August 2011. 

Governments would also be invited to submit views on the draft articles and commentaries on responsibilities of international organizations by 1 January 2011.  The Commission would be invited to give priority consideration to “immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction” and “the obligation to extradite or prosecute”.

In addition, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on assistance to Special Rapporteurs and request that efforts continue toward identifying concrete options for support of their work.  The Assembly would welcome the enhanced dialogue between the Commission and the Legal Committee, in particular through informal consultations, and would encourage further cooperation between the Commission and other relevant legal bodies.

Further, the Assembly would encourage States to be represented by their legal advisers during the first week in which the Commission’s report is discussed in the Committee.  It would request the Commission to continue indicating issues on which Government views would guide the Commission’s work.  Finally, the Assembly would express the hope that the International Law Seminar would continue to be held and would appeal to States to make “urgently needed” contributions to the Seminar trust fund.

A report on diplomatic protection (document A/65/468) contains one resolution, approved on 5 November, by which the Assembly would commend the articles on such protection as presented by the International Law Committee to Member States, who would be invited to submit views in writing.  States would also be asked to submit views on whether a convention based on the articles should be elaborated or whether any other action should be taken.  The Assembly would also request that within the framework of a working group of the Sixth Committee, there be further examination of the subject, as well as the identifying of any difference of opinion on the articles, in the light of the written comments of Governments, as well as views expressed in the debates held at the sixty-second and sixty-fifth sessions of the General Assembly.

One draft resolution is contained in a report on prevention of transboundary harm from hazardous activities and allocation of loss in the case of such harm (document A/65/469).  Also approved on 5 November, it would have the Assembly take note of the view that questions arising from this issue were of major importance in relations between States.  It would have the Assembly request that the articles on the prevention of transboundary harm and the articles on the allocation of loss as presented by the International Law Committee to be brought to the attention of Member States, who would be invited to submit views in writing. 

Further, States would be asked to submit further comments and recommendations on whether a convention based on the articles should be elaborated, as well as information on any practice in the application of the articles and principles.  It would also request that the Secretary-General submit a compilation of decisions of international courts, tribunals and other bodies in regards to the articles and principles. 

Also containing one draft resolution is a report on the status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts (document A/65/470).  Approved on 5 November, the text would have the Assembly urge States party to the Geneva Convention of 1949 to consider becoming parties to the Additional Protocols and to consider making use of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.  It would also have the Assembly call upon States to consider becoming party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child regarding children in armed conflict.

The Assembly would also request that, based on information received from Member States and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Secretary-General submit to the Assembly the status of the Additional Protocols as well as measures taken to strengthen the existing body of international humanitarian law at its sixty-seventh session.  States and the International Committee of the Red Cross would also be asked to submit information to the Secretary-General on new developments and activities during the reporting time.

The draft resolution approved on 5 November is contained in a report on consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives (document A/65/471).  That text would have the Assembly urge States to take all appropriate measures at the national and international levels to prevent any acts of violence against the missions, representatives and officials, and to fully investigate any such acts and bring the offenders to justice.

The Assembly would also request that States report to the Secretary-General any serious violations of the protection, security and safety of said persons, as well as representatives with diplomatic status to international intergovernmental organizations.  It would also request that States report to the Secretary-General all measures taken to bring the offender to justice, the final outcome of the proceedings and any implementation of measures taken to prevent such violations occurring again.  States would also be asked to submit views on any measures needed or already taken, with regard to enhancing the issue of safety for diplomatic and consular personnel.

A Legal Committee report on that of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and the strengthening of the role of the Organization (document A/65/472) contains one draft approved on 11 November.  By it, the Assembly would request that the Special Committee continue to consider the subject as a priority, in regard to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions under the relevant chapter, as well as improving its working methods towards identifying widely acceptable measures for future implementation.  States would be called upon to make voluntary contributions to the trust funds for the updating of the Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council and for the elimination of the backlog in the Repertory of Practice of United Nations organs.  The Secretary-General would be asked to submit a report on both publications and on the implementation of the Charter related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions at the next Assembly session.  The Assembly would also take note of the decision for the Special Committee’s next session to be held from 28 February to 4 March and on 7 and 9 March 2011.

The Committee’s report on the rule of law at the national and international levels (document A/65/473) contains one resolution approved on 11 November.  By that test, the Assembly would stress the importance of adhering to the rule of law and of the need to strengthen support to States towards that end.  The Assembly would call on the United Nations system to address aspects of the rule of law in relevant activities and would express full support for the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group supported by the Rule of Law Unit, both of which would be invited to continue to interact with States regularly and, in particular, in informal briefings.

Further, the draft would encourage the United Nations system and other relevant entities to accord high priority to rule of law activities.  The International Court of Justice, UNCITRAL and the International Law Commission would all be invited to continue to comment on their activities in the field.  Finally, the Assembly would decide to convene a high-level meeting on the rule of law during the high-level segment of the Assembly session in two years.

A report on the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction (document A/65/474) contains one resolution, approved on 11 November, by which the Assembly would request the Legal Committee to continue considering the issue in the context of a working group.  Prior to 30 April 2011, Member States and relevant observers would be invited to submit information and observations on the subject, including that based on applicable international treaties, domestic legal rules and judicial practice.  The Secretary-General would be asked to then submit a report based on such information at the next Assembly session. 

The report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/65/475) contains one resolution approved on 11 November.  By it, the Assembly would strongly condemn all manifestations of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, and would call upon States, the United Nations system and other international, regional and subregional organizations to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  The Assembly would reiterate its call to States to intensify, where appropriate, the exchange of information on facts related to terrorism in order to avoid the dissemination of inaccurate or unverified information.

The draft would further have the Assembly urge States to ensure full prosecution of nationals or persons in their territories who funded or financially supported any and all terrorist acts.  States would also be called upon to become party to the relevant international conventions and protocols, to implement such conventions into national jurisdiction, and to cooperate and support other States in prosecuting perpetrators of terrorist acts.  Further, States would be urged to cooperate with the Secretary-General, intergovernmental organizations and one another to ensure that technical and other expert advice be provided to those States requiring and requesting assistance in becoming parties to and implementing those conventions and protocols.

Finally by the draft, in accordance with the decision to approve an oral amendment prior to action in the Committee, the Assembly would express concern at the increase in incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking for ransom and/or for political concessions.  Further, the Assembly would express the need to address the matter.  It would also decide that the Ad Hoc Committee would meet from 21-25 April 2011 to continue elaboration of the comprehensive convention, as well as to consider the question of convening a high-level segment to address global terrorism in a comprehensive and concerted manner.

The report on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/65/476) contains a single draft decision approved on 11 November, by which the Assembly would adopt the Committee’s preliminary work agenda for the Committee’s next session.  It indicates that in addition to issues considered at the current session, items expected to be taken up would include the law on transboundary aquifers and the nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States.

The Committee’s report on programme planning (document A/65/477) states that the Committee considered the item on 11 November and concluded its consideration without taking action. 

The report on the administration of justice at the United Nations (document A/65/478) contains one draft decision, approved on 22 October.  By it, the Assembly would decide to continue including the item on its agenda.  The Assembly would also decide that a working group would consider the issue at the next session, taking into account previous work, as well as deliberations of the Sixth (Legal) and the Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committees.  Elements still to be considered include the question of effective remedies for non-staff personnel and the code of conduct for judges of both the Dispute and Appeals Tribunals.

The Committee’s report on the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/65/479) contains one resolution, approved on 11 November, by which the Assembly would request that the host country continue to take all measures necessary to prevent any interference with the functioning of missions so that respect for diplomatic privileges and immunities was maintained.  The host country would be asked to continue to ensure the parking programme is implemented in a fair, non-discriminatory manner consistent with international law.  The host country would also be requested to remove the remaining travel restrictions on certain staff members of missions and the Secretariat, and also to improve its issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States, among others.

Report of the Third Committee

Before the Assembly is a report on the promotion and protection of human rights:  human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (document A/65/456/Add.2 (Part I)).  It contains one revised draft resolution, approved on 23 November in Committee entitled “Programme of activities for the International Year for People of African Descent” by which the Assembly would welcome the ongoing efforts of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, and would request the Secretary-General to establish a voluntary fund for the activities for the Year, to which Member States and all relevant donors would be encouraged to contribute. 

It would also have the Assembly request that the Secretary-General to close the International Year for People of African Descent with the convening of a high-level thematic debate on the achievement of the goals and objectives of the Year, with the participation of the Chair of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, a representative of people of African descent, civil society and relevant stakeholders.

Introduction to Legal Committee Reports

GLENNA CABELLO DE DABOIN (Venezuela), Special Rapporteur of the Sixth Committee, introduced the 17 resolutions and two decisions to the General Assembly, noting that the agenda items allocated to the Committee, with the exception of the election of officers, fell under three categories, including the promotion of justice and international law; drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and organizational administration and other matters.

Action on Legal Committee Reports

The Assembly then took up the report on the responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts (document A/65/463).  The resolution contained therein was adopted without a vote.

The report on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (document A/65/464) was taken up.   The resolution within it was adopted without a vote.

Next taken up was the Report of UNCITRAL (document A/65/465).  Resolution I, the annual omnibus resolution on the work of the Commission was adopted without a vote, as were draft resolution II on the arbitration rules of UNCITRAL as revised in 2010; resolution III on the Commission’s legislative guide on secured transactions:  supplement on security rights in intellectual property; and resolution IV on the Commission’s legislative guide on insolvency law on the treatment of enterprise groups in insolvency.

The Assembly then took up the report on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/65/466).  The resolution contained in it was adopted without a vote.

The Committee’s report on the International Law Commission’s report (document A/65/467) was taken up.  The resolution within it was adopted without a vote.

Taking up the report on diplomatic protection (document A/65/468), the Assembly adopted the resolution it contained without a vote.

The report on the prevention of transboundary harm from hazardous activities and allocation of loss in the case of such harm (document A/65/469) was taken up, and the resolution within it adopted without a vote.

Continuing, the Assembly took up the report on the status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts (document A/65/470).  The resolution within the text was adopted without a vote.

The report on measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives (document A/65/471) was taken up, and its single resolution adopted without a vote. 

The Committee’s report on that of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and the strengthening of the role of the Organization (document A/65/472) was taken up.  Without a vote, the resolution in it was adopted.

The Assembly then took up the report on the rule of law at the national and international levels (document A/65/473).  The resolution contained within it was adopted without a vote.

Continuing, the Assembly took up the report on the scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction (document A/65/474), containing one resolution, which was adopted without a vote.

Taking up the report on measures to eliminate international terrorism(document A/65/475), the Assembly adopted the resolution within it without a vote.

The Assembly then took up the report on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/65/476).  The decision within it was adopted without a vote.

The Committee’s report on programme planning (document A/65/477) was taken up, and the Assembly took note of it. 

The Assembly then took up the report on the administration of justice at the United Nations (document A/65/478).  The relevant draft decision contained in it was adopted without a vote.

The Committee’s report on the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/65/479) was taken up, and the resolution within it was adopted without a vote.

Third Committee Action

The Assembly took up a report on the promotion and protection of human rights:  human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (document A/65/456/Add.2 (Part I)).  The resolution within it, Programme of Activities for the International Year for People of African Descent, was adopted without a vote.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.