Legal Committee Condemns Surge of Attacks on Diplomats, Missions, Saying Host States Must Fulfil Protection Obligations

24 October 2012
GA/L/3445

Legal Committee Condemns Surge of Attacks on Diplomats, Missions, Saying Host States Must Fulfil Protection Obligations

24 October 2012
General Assembly
GA/L/3445
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Sixth Committee

16th & 17th Meetings (AM & PM)

Legal Committee Condemns Surge of Attacks on Diplomats, Missions,

Saying Host States Must Fulfil Protection Obligations

 

Unstable Funding Prompts Delegates

To Urge Inclusion of Programme of Assistance in Regular Budget

Calling attention to the surge of attacks on diplomatic and consular officials in recent years, Sixth Committee (Legal) delegates called on States to preserve diplomacy and friendly State relations by fulfilling their legal obligations to protect such officials.

As the Sixth Committee continued its debate on effective measures to enhance the protection of diplomatic and consular missions and their personnel, the United States representative recalled that on 11 September 2012, his country’s Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an attack on the American mission in Benghazi.  American missions in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Pakistan and Sudan, as well as the missions of many other States, had also been assaulted recently.  It was crucial that States redouble efforts to combat and prevent such violence.

Also describing the assault against the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya’s representative said the attack had been condemned and demonstrations protesting it held.  That incident had been one of multiple violations to diplomatic personnel and premises following the revolution against Libya’s former Government.  His country, with enhanced stability, had begun to consider the resulting damage, and pursue investigations.  Those responsible, he stated, would be prosecuted.

Bahrain’s representative, echoing the deep concern about the attack in Benghazi and others, said the burden on host countries to protect such officials was not theirs alone.  Diplomatic and consular personnel must also follow the laws and security measures of host States.  To safeguard sound international relations, however, host countries must keep their international commitments separate from their political whims.

However, Saudi Arabia’s delegate said there was consensus in the international community that attacks on diplomatic and consular missions and personnel were a clear violation of international law.  That consensus was best demonstrated by the adoption of General Assembly resolution 66/12 by absolute majority, which had resulted from the kidnapping of a Saudi diplomat in Yemen and the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Karachi.

Turning the debate to the Programme of Assistance, Virginia Morris, Principal Legal Officer of the Codification Division, said the Sixth Committee’s consideration of the Programme at this time would have significant impact on its future.  Although the Programme had made notable progress, including expanding the scope of its publications, creating new websites and hosting regional courses in Africa, she stressed that financial shortfalls continued to plague its activities.

The regional courses to be held in Ethiopia and Thailand still needed additional funding, she said, and, without necessary support, no courses would be held in the Asia-Pacific or Latin America in 2013.  Also suffering from diminished resources were the Audiovisual Library, whose already small staff had been cut in half, and the History Archives, under which work would close at the end of this year.  Strongly emphasizing the necessity of State support for the advancement of international law in the twenty-first century, she urged the Committee to seriously consider the Programme’s future.

Voicing unanimous support for the Programme and praise for the work of the Office of Legal Affairs, delegates stressed the need for additional funding, including exploring innovative ways to sustain the Programme.  Delegates of Portugal and the United Republic of Tanzania spoke with concern about those funding constraints and recommended that the Programme might best be funded through the Organization’s regular budget.  After all, said Portugal’s delegate, the resources needed by the Programme were small compared to its enormous importance.

A representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic expressed hope that his nationals would be considered for admission to the Programme’s training courses in the future.  Describing his country’s special emphasis on education in the field of international law, he said its International Law Project had helped build a national system governed by the rule of law, which would not have been possible without the support of development partners.

Because the late Ghanaian Ambassador Ken Dadzie had been a pioneer of the Programme, said Ghana’s delegate, it held special meaning to her delegation, and she hoped the Programme would continue for many years.  Commending the Codification Division for its creativity in keeping the Programme going despite economic difficulties, she said the time had come to make adequate funding for the Programme under the regular budget a priority. 

The Committee also considered a draft resolution, introduced by the representative of the Philippines, on the Manila Declaration, which had been the first instrument adopted by the General Assembly as the result of the work of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on Strengthening of the Role of the Organization. 

Also speaking today on effective measures to enhance the protection of diplomatic and consular officials were representatives of Republic of Korea, El Salvador, Canada, Cuba, India, Syria, Israel, Russian Federation, Tunisia, Egypt and Iran.

Other speakers on the Programme of Assistance were representatives of Chile (also for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Egypt (for the African Group), Viet Nam (for the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Ethiopia, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Nigeria, Malaysia, China, Ireland, Thailand, Eritrea, Israel, South Africa, United States, Sudan, and Russian Federation.  A representative of the Delegation of the European Union also spoke on the topic.

The Committee will meet again Monday, 29 October, to begin its debate on the Report of the International Law Commission.

Background

The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to conclude its debate on effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and personnel, and to revisit the Report for the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, as well as related documents (for background see Press Release GA/L/3437).  In consideration of the latter item, the Committee had before a draft resolution entitled “Thirtieth anniversary of the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes” (A/C.6/67/L.3).

Also before the Committee was the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/67/518).

The report focuses on the activities of the Office of Legal Affairs, particularly those of its Codification Division and Treaty Section.  It also covers administrative and financial aspects of the Programme and its Advisory Committee’s forty-seventh session. 

The report states that during 2012, the Office of Legal Affairs prepared several legal publications and maintained a number of websites, listed in the annexes to the report.  The Treaty Section organized two training seminars at the United Nations Headquarters in December 2011 and May 2012, on the registration of treaties and depositary practice of the Secretary-General.  Other training activities were held in Belarus, Colombia and South Sudan in 2011 and 2012.

The Codification Division, responsible for the Programme’s implementation, prepared reports of the Secretary-General and provided services to the Advisory Committee and the Sixth Committee on the topic.  As part of the International Law Fellowship Programme, it organized courses and special seminars covering a broad range of subjects relating to international law.  The Division also organized a regional course in international law for French-speaking lawyers from countries in Africa, which was held in Addis Ababa earlier this year in cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). 

The report continues, noting that the Division will conduct a regional course in international law for Africa, at the African Union’s headquarters in April 2013 provided there are sufficient voluntary contributions, and arrange a planning mission in Costa Rica in 2013 with a view to conducting a regional course in international law for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2014. 

The report points out that the Division, which aims to research, preserve and digitize the audiovisual heritage of the United Nations in the field of international law for the Historic Archives, was not able to do so this year, owing to insufficient resources.  However, as part of its dissemination activities, it gave Audiovisual Library presentations in various parts of the world and created two new websites for the publications Legislative Series and Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders of the Permanent Court of International Justice.

In a section on the Programme’s administrative and financial implications, the report states that in 2012, voluntary contributions were received for the Audiovisual Library from Finland ($6,142), Germany ($54,132), Israel ($5,000), New Zealand ($7,761), Sweden ($25,000) and the United Kingdom ($7,921).  In addition, a pledge for contributions for the Audiovisual Library was received from Mexico ($5,000).  Voluntary contributions were also received for the regional courses in international law from Ghana ($1,000), New Zealand ($8,191), Qatar ($3,000) and the African Union ($30,000).

In a section on the Programme’s Advisory Committee, the report lists new Member States that were appointed to serve a term commencing 1 January 2012 and ending 31 December 2015.  During its forty-seventh session, the Advisory Committee commended the activities of the Codification Division, but noted with concern the insufficient funding for those activities.  It decided to consider the viability of voluntary contributions as a method for funding those activities and the need to provide a more reliable funding method through the regular budget at its forty-eighth session.  It recommended that steps be taken toward implementation of the General Assembly’s request that the Secretary-General provide the necessary resources to the 2014-2015 programme budget to ensure the Programme’s continued effectiveness and development.

An annex contains a listing of legal publications issued by the Office of Legal Affairs.  Another annex contains a list of websites maintained by the Office of Legal Affairs.

Statements on Protection of Diplomatic Facilities

ALBANDRI ALSUBAIE ( Saudi Arabia) said that respect for international law, which defined diplomatic and consular relations, was the basis for good relations between States.  Without protection and security for diplomats and consular representatives, one of the most effective means of cooperation and peaceful settlement of disputes was threatened.  Ensuring the protection and safety of diplomats and consular representatives was a priority for her country. 

She emphasized the need to improve effective measures in protecting such personnel, and rejected and condemned any and all acts of violence against them, as well as any aggression against foreign representatives around the world.  Such acts prevented diplomatic work and posed a serious threat to international relations and to international peace and security.  Protection and safety should be guaranteed by the host State on the basis of diplomatic principles and in line with international law and conventions.

Her country, she noted, had undertaken a number of measures in order to protect and ensure the safety of those representatives on its soil.  Beyond measures taken at the national level, Saudi Arabia had also played a crucial role in implementing policies at the international level to enhance the protection and safety of diplomats.  It had become a party to a large number of international conventions, in particular the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, among others. 

The kidnapping of a Saudi diplomat in Yemen and the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Karachi, she continued, had resulted in the adoption of General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/12, entitled “Terrorist attacks against people who enjoy diplomatic status”, which condemned terrorism in all its forms, denounced all attacks against diplomats and consular missions and against diplomats, and appealed to all States to prevent terrorist attacks.  The adoption of that resolution with absolute majority in the Assembly was a clear signal to the world that any attacks were seen as a clear violation of international law by the international community and that authors and perpetrators of such attacks would be brought to justice.

KIM SAENG ( Republic of Korea) expressed his country’s grave concerns over the unacceptable recent attacks and bouts of violence directed against diplomatic and consular missions, as well as international organizations.  Stressing that compliance with universally accepted principles of diplomatic and consular interventions was an absolute prerequisite for functioning relations between States, he condemned any and all violence directed against diplomatic and consular missions and personnel, as well as against United Nations field offices and other international organizations. 

He recalled that, under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, receiving States had a special duty to protect diplomatic and consular missions against any intrusion or damage.  His Government was fully committed to upholding and protecting internationally agreed-upon obligations as contained in international law, including the Vienna Conventions, with a view towards protecting the essential work of all diplomatic and consular missions and their staff.

JOAQUÍN ALEXANDER MAZA MARTELLI ( El Salvador) said analysing the topic at hand from a legal point of view was vital in enhancing the basic principles of international law from which diplomatic and consular relations were governed.  The essential work of such missions and their guaranteed protection had allowed for solid links to be created between States, even before treaties had been developed.  However, the idea of protecting such officials did not just further the relations of States or international organisations.  It extended the fundamental rights of peoples related to diplomatic and consular offices. 

He said protection of those fundamental rights required that States refrain from any action that would impede the rights of diplomatic and consular personnel.  States had to ensure that those individuals enjoyed their rights, could work effectively and were protected against aggression.  In that regard, it was crucial that States adopt preventive measures in this area.  States must also implement Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which obligated States to protect diplomatic and consular offices from intrusion and damage and attempts against their dignity.

He went on to thank the Secretary-General for his report, which represented a significant tool for measuring progress achieved, and for follow-up on various events that had taken place.  In his country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was able to officially call upon specialized divisions to ensure the permanent protection of diplomatic relations, noting that the level of protection offered might vary depending on the diplomatic mission or international organization. 

GILES NORMAN ( Canada) expressed deep condolences to the United States for the recent tragic deaths of its diplomatic and consular staff in Libya.  The loss of those lives highlighted dangers faced by such staff and the stresses and repercussions placed on their families.  Underscoring the immunities granted to diplomatic and consular officials, he said the Vienna Conventions placed a special duty on receiving States to protect the peace and dignity of missions, as well as consular staff and their families.  Such protection was a key element in maintaining friendly relations.  Additionally, States should grant protection to international organizations, if they had agreed to do so.

Condemning violent acts that targeted diplomatic or consular premises as unjustifiable, he urged that perpetrators be held accountable.  It was incumbent upon receiving States to heed the security concerns of foreign missions, to ensure local authorities reacted swiftly and effectively to prevent such acts before they occurred, and failing that, to stop them immediately as they occurred.  Even in cases where missions had been recalled or expelled, diplomatic property retained its entitlement to protection from the receiving State.  Likewise, diplomatic and consular representatives were expected to respect local laws, just as States were expected to protect them.  States should not invoke the failure to adhere to one of those obligations, however, as a justification for not respecting the other.

TANIERIS DIÉGUEZ LAO ( Cuba) voiced concern at continued transgressions to the security of diplomatic missions and staff and unequivocally condemned such actions.  Her country favoured adoption of any relevant measures to prevent such acts, with a view of seeing perpetrators of such acts brought to justice.  Such efforts would contribute to the better development of diplomatic and consular relations.  Cuba’s legislation defined serious crimes as any aggression against the dignity of foreign diplomats, representatives and other internationally protected persons, and it guaranteed strong punishment for such perpetrators.  Her country’s system of protection for the diplomatic corps not only ensured the protection of diplomatic residences, but the staff as a whole. 

In her country, she continued, diplomatic staff had access to a rapid response telephone line to call for any sort of emergency.  Help would then be provided instantly.  Cuban staff was trained to guarantee the protection and safety of the diplomatic corps.  Despite its limitations owing to the economic trade blockade imposed on it for more than 50 years, her country’s system had shown a steady decline in such aggressions and had seen no bloodshed or incident of violence.

Further, she said, there was no organized criminal activity affecting diplomatic activities.  Rather, there was an atmosphere of tranquillity and security to carry out diplomatic functions by representatives.  Her country continued to pay attention to the issue as a demonstration of its firm commitment to international law and, in particular, to the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

MARK A. SIMONOFF ( United States) said the rules protecting the sanctity of ambassadors, other diplomats and consular officials were among the oldest established and fundamental obligations of international law.  Thus, respect for such rules was a basic requisite for the normal conduct of relations among States.  However, in recent times, diplomatic premises, and related officials, had come under attack, including American missions in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Pakistan and Sudan.  Tragically, on 11 September of this year, four Americans, including United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed during a terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi. 

The diplomatic premises of many other Member States, he said, had been breached as well, with diplomatic property damaged or destroyed.  Facilities and staff of the United Nations had also been frequently targeted.  In 2010, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution condemning acts of violence against diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, and last year, the Assembly came together to deplore the plot to assassinate the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States. 

"This year, we must all strengthen resolve to condemn and combat acts of violence against missions and their representatives, as well as against those representatives of international organizations," he stated.  Host States must also redouble efforts to fulfil obligations to protect diplomats and consular officials and to prevent attacks against them.  The Committee had a personal stake in diplomatic protection, as diplomacy was the foundation of international relations.

DEREK OBRIEN ( India) said diplomatic and consular missions were pivotal in the development of friendly relations among nations, and diplomatic and consular representatives required personal protection in order to discharge their official functions smoothly.  The safety and security of mission premises was therefore necessary to ensure a peaceful and workable environment.  Granting protection, privileges and immunities to such personnel ensured the efficient performance of their official functions.  Diplomatic and consular missions were crucial in carrying out the purposes of the United Nations Charter by applying the principles enshrined therein. 

He said his country strongly condemned all acts of violence against the security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.  It was a serious concern that needed to be addressed effectively.  Crimes against diplomatic agents and other internationally protected persons created a serious threat to the maintenance of normal international relations.  His country was a party to the Vienna Conventions, their Protocols, and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents.  All States must realize the importance of those instruments and carry out the obligations assumed thereunder with a sense of high responsibility.  He stressed the need for those States that had not already become a party to those instruments to do so. 

KOUSSAY ALDAHHAK ( Syria) called diplomacy the basic means of amicable relations between countries and the peaceful settlement of disputes.  Many of the Syrian missions, both diplomatic and consular, as well as their diplomats working in them, had come under attack.  Opposition groups abroad had taken advantage of regrettable events in some countries and had organised non-peaceful gatherings.  As a result, embassies had been destroyed and damaged, documents meddled with, and vehicles targeted. 

His country’s diplomats, he continued, had been attacked in many places around the world.  While some States had dealt positively with those attacks under international law, others had not responded appropriately.  Syria, in that regard, was doing what it could to guarantee the safety of diplomatic premises on its territory.  Attacks targeting diplomatic and consular missions could not be justified under any condition. 

RIVKA TOPF-MAZEH ( Israel) said the physical well-being of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives was a fundamental prerequisite for the execution of their duties and for effective international relations.  Unfortunately, recent terrorist attacks against diplomatic and consular missions and representatives in the Middle East and elsewhere had shown that no one was immune from that plague.  Israeli diplomats and premises had long been the subject of countless terrorist attacks and failed plots throughout the world.  The international nature of those abhorrent crimes required an effective and resolute international response. 

She called upon the international community to cooperate closely on all spheres, in particular the operational, legal and intelligence-sharing levels, and to take all necessary measures to provide adequate protection for all diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.  Her country reiterated its commitment to respect the provisions of the Vienna Conventions, as well as all other relevant instruments of international law that provided such protection. 

Further, she said, the Committee must emphasize the obligations arising out of those international instruments, which required host countries to take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on the person, freedom and dignity of the representatives.  Such obligations imposed upon the receiving State a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.  She urged Member States and the international community to ensure a safe international environment in order to allow diplomatic and consular missions and representatives to carry out their duties free from fear and harm.

TALAL ALABSI ( Bahrain) said his country was committed to and did not deviate from the basic foundations of foreign policy, including the international instruments to which it had become party.  He expressed deep concern about the continued breach of safety of diplomatic and consular missions and resulting attacks, calling specific attention to the attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington.  Bahrain was among the States that had submitted a draft resolution encouraging the adoption of measures to prevent such attacks and to not provide haven to those that had any role to play in those attacks.

He recalled that weeks ago there had been an attack against the United States consulate in Benghazi, which had led to the death of several American diplomats.  While host countries held the basic responsibility for protection of such officials, that burden could not be their responsibility alone.  Diplomatic and consular personnel must respond to host States’ security measures and must implement them, and missions must respect the laws of the host country.  As well, all perpetrators must be brought to justice.  In closing, he warned that host countries must keep international commitments separate from political whims; otherwise, there was a risk of destruction to international relations. 

DIANA TARATUKHINA ( Russian Federation) expressed concern at the increase in attacks against diplomatic missions and personnel, which had often been accompanied by the loss of human life.  She was also concerned that such incidents were becoming global in nature, with the most egregious incident occurring in North Africa against the backdrop of ongoing political transformation, in particular the killing of diplomats in Benghazi.

She said such situations were unacceptable.  The immunity of foreign representatives was not up for discussion.  Her country insisted that those States where such incidents had occurred take robust measure to ensure the security of diplomats in accordance with their international legal obligations.  They must thoroughly investigate such acts to bring the guilty to justice, she said in conclusion.

JUMA JUBAIL ( Libya) said his country had ratified diplomatic and consular conventions, and had ensured their implementation.  However, in light of the exceptional circumstances Libya had experienced last year following the revolution against its former government, some premises of diplomatic and consular missions and residences of diplomatic personnel had been violated by unidentified groups. 

After establishment of the interim Government, he said his country had taken stock of the situation and had studied ambassadors’ requests to consider the resulting damage and to pursue investigations.  Currently, Libya was studying requests from 21 embassies.  Regarding the regrettable incident against the American consulate in Benghazi, which led to the death of four people, the American Ambassador among them, he said the day after that incident, condemnations were uttered and demonstrations held.  Further, Libya’s National Congress had expressed its commitment to prosecute the individuals responsible for the attack and to further ensure related protections. 

NOUR ZARROUK ( Tunisia) expressed regret and firmly denounced the recent attack against the American school in her country, noting that it was not reflective of her Government or post-revolutionary Tunisia.  Her country was committed to ensuring the safety and security of diplomatic missions and staff in line with the Vienna Convention of 1961, among others. 

OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD ( Egypt) said the obligation to protect foreign ministers was the cornerstone of international relations.  The rules of the Vienna Conventions were well established principles of international law that should be duly observed to allow foreign representatives to fulfil their mandates.  Cairo was the host to almost 200 foreign missions representing States, intergovernmental organizations and institutions.  With more than 160 consular missions abroad, his country had one of the widest representations around the world.  Thus, utmost priority was being given to this topic.

He emphasized that his country strictly observed the provisions of international diplomatic law.  Recalling the 25 January 2011 revolution, Egypt’s authorities had demonstrated their commitment to the safety and security of diplomatic missions and representatives.  Such respect was mandatory and any attacks against those missions and representatives could never be justified.  Further, his Government had condemned in the strongest terms all incidents of violence against diplomats around the world, in particular the attacks against the United States Consulate in Benghazi. 

Concerning the recent September demonstration that took place in front of the United States Embassy in Cairo, he said that while his country respected the right of its people to peaceful demonstration, its authorities had taken all measures to protect the Embassy and had not hesitated to arrest those who had breached the law.  Roadblocks had been constructed on the main streets leading to the United States Embassy to ensure the protection of staff.  No staff had been injured or hurt, and all persons arrested had been duly prosecuted by the Egyptian judiciary.  Bewildered by the European Union’s call to Egypt on 22 October, he rejected such a call and requested that the European Union’s representative pursue accuracy before calling for a certain action.  In conclusion, he urged all States to ensure the protection and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives. 

ESMAEIL BAGHAEI HAMANEH (Iran) reaffirming his country’s commitment to the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, recalled a number of violent incidents against his country’s diplomats, specifically the kidnapping of four Iranian diplomats by a militia group in Lebanon in 1982 and past attacks by the Taliban against Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan.

Certain delegations, he went on to say, had made allegations against Iran that had no basis.  The fake story about the attempted attack on the Saudi ambassador centred on a mentally unstable American citizen and was a bogus plot scheme.  The script was so revealingly phony, he pointed out that a New York Times writer had said the story sounded like a rejected Tarantino script.  It was disturbing and deplorable that the sponsors of that campaign had not spared the United Nations from carrying out their agenda against Iran.  Those totally baseless allegations were a serious blow to the rule of law.  In closing, he further warned against using the General Assembly for furthering such a political agenda.

Right of Reply

In exercise of the right of reply, a representative of Sudan reasserted the importance of respecting international law and international conventions, particularly the Vienna Conventions.  Reiterating his country’s respect for those international rules, he stated that his country reflected those principles for the diplomatic corps working in Sudan, and had established a calm environment, doing everything to ensure such obligations were fulfilled.  The attack against the United States Embassy in Libya was something it regretted.  He expressed condolences to the United States.

He said that the United States delegate’s statement on the attack perpetrated against his embassy in Sudan addressed an issue that was not clear.  What happened in September was in response to peaceful demonstrators provoked by actions that had defamed their Prophet.  On the basis of his Government’s commitment to provide protection to diplomatic missions, it had adopted every measure to protect American diplomats and the Embassy. 

Further, he said, his country had dealt with the consequences of that unrest in a very rapid way, as well as with damage caused to the Embassy, and had been in direct contact with those concerned at the American Embassy.  That protection by the Sudanese authorities had reached such a point that security measures that had been adopted because of what took place during those demonstrations caused the death of three Sudanese citizens, which it highly regretted.  It was a question of conflicts, he said, while reiterating the principle to protect diplomatic missions and representatives residing in Sudan.

Introduction of Draft Resolution on the Manila Declaration

IGOR BAILEN ( Philippines) said the draft resolution on the Manila Declaration acknowledges that 15 November of this year would mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Manila Declaration.  The Declaration had been the first instrument adopted by the General Assembly as the result of the work of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on Strengthening of the Role of the Organization. 

The draft resolution, which he noted, the Special Committee had approved by consensus last year, was being recommended to the Sixth Committee.  It was fitting that the General Assembly commemorate the Special Committee’s first achievement, and auspicious that the matter of peacefully settling disputes was under consideration on the sixty-seventh anniversary of the Charter entering into force.  On the basis of consensus, the Sixth Committee should approve the draft resolution. 

Introduction to Report on Programme of Assistance

VIRGINIA MORRIS, Principal Legal Officer of the Codification Division, said the Sixth Committee’s consideration of the Programme was of particular importance this year because it would have significant impact on the Programme’s future.  The Programme had set a goal to strengthen its activities and better respond to increased demand for international law training and materials by its fiftieth anniversary in 2013.  Expressing appreciation for guidance from the Sixth Committee and Advisory Committee over the last eight years, she emphasized that in 2013 activities would be proposed based on support pledged by Member States.

Reviewing progress made thus far, she said the scope of existing publications and desktop publishing had been expanded, new websites had been created, the International Law Fellowship Programme had been revitalized, efforts to strengthen the regional course for Africa had been concluded, two regional courses had been held in Ethiopia, and the Audiovisual Library had become a major resource for international law training and research in countries around the world.  Despite progress, however, she cited various financial shortfalls that plagued the Programme’s future.

She said the regional course to be held again in Ethiopia still needed $150,000 plus programme support costs.  As well, $100,000 was still needed to cover the regional course in Thailand this November.  Due to diminished support, no regional courses would be held for the Asia-Pacific in 2013.  As well, no regional course would be held in Latin America and the Caribbean, which had yet to host such a course. 

Also plagued by insufficient funds, she said, were the Audiovisual Library and the Historic Archives.  The decrease in voluntary contributions last year resulted in the Programme being forced to cut in half to one lawyer and one audiovisual expert as the Library’s staff.  The Programme would also discontinue work under the Archives at the end of this year, as well as the research arm of the Audiovisual Library. 

She reminded delegations that the demand for international law training could not be met in the twenty-first century without the support of all Member States.  The time had therefore come for States to seriously consider the future of the Programme.

Statements on Programme of Assistance

José Antonio Gonzalez (Chile), speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that although his organization had only been in existence for a year, CELAC Member States’ tradition of respect for and promotion of international law was well-known.  They had declared the primacy of international law in the governance of international relations and had made significant strides in incorporating the principles and fundamental norms of international law into their domestic legal systems.  They had also participated actively in the establishment and operation of numerous organizations engaged in the field of international law. 

As well, he said, CELAC had made significant contributions to the development and codification of legal institutions in several fields of that discipline.  Knowledge and understanding of international law principles was a necessary premise for their observance.  CELAC assigned the greatest importance to the teaching, study and dissemination of international law.  The Programme of Assistance, which turned 47 years old this year, was a building block of that structure. 

Turning to the Secretary-General’s report, he said the scholarships and courses on international law had a multiplying effect within the community of students and professionals.  An entire generation of young law students and practitioners interested in international law had benefited from lessons by first-rate experts.  Given the limited funds for the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship on the Law of the Sea, he urged Member States to continue making contributions to that end, and to consider making or increasing their contributions to the Audiovisual Library of International Law.  Without such support, the enlargement of the Audiovisual Library would be seriously impaired.

Stressing the importance of the teaching of international law and the compilation of the summaries and decisions of the International Court of Justice in all the official languages of the United Nations, he pointed out that only English and French were the working languages of the Court.  As such, that source was the sole way for teachers, researchers and students of their countries to accede to the contents of the rich jurisprudence of the Court.  No effort should be spared in maintaining an updated collection and in assuring its widest possible dissemination at the national level.

IBRAHIM SALEM (Egypt), speaking for the African Group, said he appreciated the diligence with which the Secretariat had carried out its responsibility contributing to the Programme’s goal, as set out in 1965, principally by the initiative of African States.  The Programme’s internet-based activities, in particular, had benefited many lawyers and students in developing countries.  With the Organization’s renewed emphasis on promoting the rule of law, the Programme had become even more relevant.  Thus, the resource constraints identified in the Secretary-General’s report must be urgently addressed.

He commended the Codification Division’s efforts to strengthen the Programme, including cost-savings efforts to maintain fellowships for the International Law Programme at The Hague Academy, and the Division’s desktop publishing programme and online publications.  He spoke in support of the regional courses that had been held in Addis Ababa; in particular, he commended the Ethiopian Government’s willingness to host the upcoming course in 2013, as well as the African Union’s voluntary contribution.  

He called for adequate resources under the Organization’s regular budget to sustain the Audiovisual Library on International Law and the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.  More resources should also be made available to enable the Secretariat to publish research papers and other materials on international law.  Those publications would make it easier for Member Sates with limited internet facilities to continue to gain access to the latest publications.

PHAM QUANG HIEU (Viet Nam), speaking for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed appreciation for the Secretary-General’s efforts to strengthen , expand and enhance international law training and dissemination activities within the framework of the Programme of Assistance.  The Office of Legal Affairs and its affiliates were commendable for their work to implement the Programme through such activities as the publication, preparation and dissemination of information relating to international law, and the conduct of fellowship programmes and regional courses in international law.

Singling out the Codification Division and its International Law Fellowship Programme, he said that the expansion of the Audiovisual Library, which made electronic materials more accessible to the wider global audience, and the desktop publishing programme and on-line publications, deserved special praise.  Regional courses moved the Programme toward deeper engagement with Member States.  In that regard, Thailand would host such a three-week course in Bangkok.  This would be the fourth time an ASEAN Member would host the regional course, demonstrating the Association’s support for the Programme of Assistance.

Despite encouraging results from the past year, he pointed out that the Programme was facing financial and other resource constraints for its next year.  Those constraints must be addressed by all Member States and other actors if the Programme’s success were to continue.  He called on Member States, universities, institutions and research centres, philanthropic foundations and other actors to consider making voluntary financial and other contributions.  However, although voluntary contributions were appreciated, the Programme should be provided with adequate financial resources under the next and future bienniums.

ROLAND TRICOT, First Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union said that almost half a century had passed since the Programme of Assistance had been established to contribute towards better knowledge of international law as a means to strengthen international peace and security and promote friendly relations and cooperation among States.  Quoting the preamble of the United Nations Charter, he stated that knowledge of international law was a prerequisite to establish the “conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.

Therefore, he said, the Programme of Assistance was a key tool within the framework of the Organization’s rule of law activities.  Welcoming the adoption of resolution 66/97, he commended the Office of Legal Affairs, in particular its Codification Division, for its efforts to strengthen and revitalize activities under the Programme, notably with its use of modern technology.  As well, the Audiovisual Library had become an important resource for the legal community, and the Division’s publishing programme, particularly the desktop publishing initiative, had greatly enhanced the timely issuance of legal publications.

Further, he welcomed contributions to the International Law Fellowship Programme by regional organizations, particularly the African Union, and noted the Division’s success in resuming regional courses in international law.  The contributions of the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship on the Law of the Sea were also essential for capacity building in developing countries.  “The need for international law training and dissemination of legal resources is a constant and ongoing one,” he said in closing.  The Programme of Assistance was a core activity of the United Nations that benefitted all States.  It was crucial that the Programme have adequate resources to continue to meet the needs of the international community in the years to come.

YIBZA AYNEKULLU (Ethiopia), expressing appreciation for the Organization’s efforts to strengthen, expand and enhance training and dissemination of international law, singled out the contribution made by the regional courses organized by the Codification Division.  Those courses aimed to deepen knowledge of international law for developing countries and those with emerging economies.  Ethiopia had hosted the ninth and tenth of such courses for the African Region in 2011 and 2012, demonstrating its firm stand in propagating common understanding of rule of law and international law.

The regional courses, he continued, enabled government officials and young professionals of international law to not only expand their legal expertise, but contributed to the sharing of experiences and exchange of ideas, thus promoting greater understanding and cooperation on legal matters in the region.  In closing he said:  “[T]here is no better way of consolidating peace than disseminating knowledge and application of international law,” and reconfirmed Ethiopia’s commitment to strengthening the effectiveness of the African Regional courses on a regular basis.

CHOI YONG HOON ( Republic of Korea) said that his country remained a strong supporter of the Programme of Assistance, having played a major role in organizing a recent regional course and in setting up a regional centre for international law in Asia and the Pacific in the Korean city of Incheon.  He expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General for his efforts in strengthening the regional course in international law as well as the International Law Fellowship Programme. 

In a climate in which resource shortages for the Programme were inevitable, he said that expanded use of the internet-based database was indispensable.  More financial support to the Audiovisual Library would therefore be extremely important for the long-run health of the entire Programme.  He pledged his country’s continued commitment to invigorating the study and dissemination of international law in line with the efforts of the United Nations and other Member States.

JOSÉ ANTONIO GONZALEZ ( Chile) said that, given its growing influence in today’s society, the knowledge and teaching of international law was increasingly important.  It was also of growing importance for lawyers, legislators and judiciary, specifically, to know more about international law.  Expressing support for the discussion at hand, he highlighted his country’s voluntary contribution to the Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.  Chile had also hosted an external course for The Hague Academy for Latin America.  Work should continue under the Programme, which was a valuable mechanism for disseminating international law.

ALEJANDRO ALDAY ( Mexico) took note, with pleasure, of the Programme’s work, paying tribute to the Codification Division and the Secretariat of the Consultative Committee for their efforts to provide assistance despite lack of economic resources.  In the Secretary-General’s report, the depletion of resources was a major concern, specifically in terms of voluntary contributions.  The survival of the Programme was of vital importance towards enhancing the rule of law at the international level.  Abidance to the principles of the Charter began with the dissemination and promotion of international law.  The Programme was, therefore, essential for the proper functioning of organizations and friendly relations between nations.  It should not depend solely on the generosity of States.  The Programme should be a part of programmes under the Organization’s regular budget.

ALICE REVELL ( New Zealand) said that the recently revitalized regional courses in international law provided an invaluable opportunity for young lawyers in government, foreign and justice ministries, the judiciary and law faculties of universities, offering participants high-quality training by leading scholars and practitioners.  New Zealand had made voluntary contributions towards the African regional course and welcomed the possibility of such a course for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2014. 

The Audiovisual Library was another valuable resource, she said, and its lecture series covered every subject of international law.  So far, it had been used by 450,000 people in 192 United Nations Member States.  Her country, as well, had made voluntary contributions to its trust fund.  The Programme of Assistance’s important activities in teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law should continue, and she encouraged other States to consider making voluntary contributions to it.

EDEN CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago), noting his country’s support for the Programme, said the understanding and appreciation of international law was one of the ways to foster the development of respect for the rule of law, and essential for the maintenance of international peace and security.  The Codification Division’s efforts to enhance the capacity of international lawyers and diplomats and to provide advice to governments in several areas of international law were appreciated.  The latest publication on the International Court of Justice summary of jurisprudence was also useful as it demonstrated to Member States the important work of the Court.  That body of work could serve as a catalyst for more States to use, for the pacific settlement of disputes, the Court or other third party mechanism.

He said the Secretary-General’s report detailed the other initiatives which had been conducted by the Codification Division and which had benefited from collaboration with Member States.  The information provided on State responsibility had assisted in clarifying that important subject which was often misunderstood by States and led to disputes in international relations.  Further, the importance of international law was demonstrated in many areas, including legal frameworks for States regarding the exploring and exploiting of living and non-living resources of different maritime zones, as codified in the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship had assisted tremendously in the training of many lawyers who were now experts on such matters. 

He praised the efforts of the Codification Division and Audiovisual Library and other e-technology services, which were accessible not only to developed States, but to developing countries as well.  That was significant in helping train international lawyers, especially those charged with codification in their domestic jurisdiction.  In conclusion, he said his country pledged its support for the Codification Division and its efforts in making the international community aware of the importance of international law in day-to-day international relations.

FERNANDA MILLICAY ( Argentina) said that the publications and audio-visual tools provided under the Programme of Assistance constituted a priceless resource for Member States.  Their use went beyond public officials or practicing lawyers, and included students who aimed to deepen their knowledge of international law.  She also welcomed the holding of regional courses, particularly the one that took place in Addis Ababa in this past February and March, as well as workshops on the Law of the Sea Tribunal, the one in Latin America of which her country played host in 2008. 

Praising the International Law Scholarship Programme, she highlighted the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.  Although, in the past, it had not been awarded for three consecutive years, the Trust Fund recently received some new contributions, including from her country.  She called for a brief presentation on that Fellowship in the Sixth Committee, in efforts to ensure an annual award.  Also commending United Nations bodies on their programmes for the dissemination, study and awareness of international law, she said Member States should continue to support such efforts.  However, they should also examine the viability of the current voluntary funding system and look at alternate ways of ensuring the Programme will have the necessary financial resources for the 2014-2015 biennium.

C.L. LASEINDE (Nigeria) said he was pleased to participate as a member of the Programme’s Advisory Committee, adding that the Programme, established 47 years ago, had continued to positively impact students and practitioners of international law throughout the world, and specifically in developing countries, such as his own.  He congratulated other members of the Committee for their painstaking actions that resulted in the report, as well as the active support of the Codification Division.  The report’s outcome would help the international community in establishing the appropriate legal framework, as well as promote friendly relations between States. 

He said the Programme of Assistance was one of the many tools that helped provide a deeper understanding of the complex issues existing in the interconnected world.  Commending the Office of Legal Affairs for its relentless efforts in implementing the Programme, he supported exploring possibilities to increase financial resources from the regular budget to strengthen the international law programme and training courses around the world.  The suggestion to use revenue generated by the sales of the Codification Division’s legal publications to fund its activities under the Programme was also welcomed.  

MARIANY BINTI MOHAMMAD YIT ( Malaysia), stressing the importance of international law to peace and global order, said international law also accorded a normative framework for the actions of States and contributed greatly to creating peace and enabling sustainable economic development.  It was the building block for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Therefore, it was not surprising that the Programme of Assistance had been gaining popularity and importance around the world, evidenced by the increase in the number of users of the Audiovisual Library which had more than tripled since 2011.

She went on to say that the Programme of Assistance, particularly the Library, had allowed people from all walks of life – practitioners and non-practitioners alike – to tap into the knowledge and experience of the application of international law throughout the years.  The Programme had and would continue to grow in relevance to contribute to human progress and greater governance.

She said her country welcomed the various legal publications, the maintenance of websites by the Office of Legal Affairs, and the successful convening of the International Law Fellowship Programme, among others.  In November, Malaysia would host the regional course in the Asia-Pacific.  In addition, increased funding for the Programme, especially through an increase in the Programme budget for the next and future bienniums, was necessary in order to ensure the continued effectiveness and future development of the Programme.

MATEUS KOWALSKI (Portugal), noting that Portugal was a member of the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance, said that the demand for training and access to sources of international law continued to increase.  He commended the Hague Fellowship Programme in that light.  The teaching and study of sovereignty issues, regionalization of international law, fragmentation of such law and overlapping of jurisdictions, the right to self-determination, international human rights law and other core areas contributed to removing underlying causes of conflict.  Commending the Codification Division, he encouraged it to keep considering options for revitalizing its training activity, in a way that could provide courses on a regular basis in the developing world.

He went on to praise the Audiovisual Library of International Law as another tool for study and dissemination, particularly in its online activities.  As well, the Treaty Section should continue to provide technical assistance on the registration of treaties and other activities.  However, with much work to be done within the Programme, he expressed concern over the decrease in fellowships awarded in recent years and underlined the need to reach potential beneficiaries of the Programme in all necessary ways, in particular with regard to language.  Trusting that the successful half-century old Programme would continue to make its needed contributions, he added that greater funding stability was needed.  In that regard, funding the Programme partly from the regular United Nations budget would be an important step in that direction.  The resources needed by the Programme were small compared to its enormous importance.

THIPHASONE SENGSOURINHA (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) welcomed the efforts of the Office of Legal Affairs to implement the Programme, particularly through the publication and dissemination of information on international law, and through the organization of regional training courses.  Considered a priority by his Government, international law education was an imperative subject of study in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of law schools, as well as the Police Academy and the National Academy of Politics and Public Administration.  Short-term training courses on international law also existed in his country.

His country’s International Law Project, he said, had been implemented with financial and technical support from development partners.  That Project, which aimed to enhance participation in the international legal system, had benefited several groups, including academic and research institutions, government officials, parliamentarians, judges, prosecutors, police, lawyers and local administrators.  It had also helped his country to meet its international obligations and to build a nation governed by the rule of law.  In closing, he expressed hope that candidates from Lao People’s Democratic Republic would be duly considered for admission in training courses organized under the Programme.

LI LINLIN ( China) said the teaching, study and dissemination of international law represented an indispensable tool for promoting the rule of law.  Numerous diplomats and young scholars had benefited from the United Nations International Law Fellowship, regional training courses and the Audiovisual Library.  Such programs had built capacity in the field of international law.

Noting that China had many students and researchers of international law, he said in the past year Chinese scholars had made lecture videos for the Audiovisual Library.  China had also decided to make donations to the Programme to support the International Law Fellowship, regional training courses and the Audiovisual Library.

DENISE MCQUADE ( Ireland) said her country placed great importance on the Programme of Assistance’s core goal to advance knowledge of international law, thereby strengthening international peace and security.  Commending the Office of Legal Affairs for its implementation and ongoing development of the Programme, her country welcomed the holding of a regional course in international law in Africa earlier this year and the forthcoming course for the Asia-Pacific, scheduled in November.  Efforts made to conduct the courses and the fellowship programme in a cost-effective way was also noted. 

Stressing that the Audiovisual Library of International Law provided a wealth of material on international law and international relations more broadly, she expressed hope for its further expansion in 2013.  The Programme had been a cornerstone of the United Nations’ efforts to promote international law since 1965.  It had consistently offered resources and training in an open and inclusive manner, to build legal knowledge and proficiency at all levels.  For that reason, her country had made modest contributions to the Programme in the past and would again make such voluntary contributions this year.  She encouraged other States to consider doing the same.

BENJAPORN NIYOMNAITHAM ( Thailand) said the work of the Programme of Assistance constituted a core activity of the United Nations in disseminating international law and promoting rule of law.  The publications and resources made available by the Codification Division had been useful for research and study in the field of international law.  As well, the International Fellowship Programme, study visits, regional courses and seminars had helped to increase the knowledge and expertise of legal practitioners around the world.  The interactive nature of the training allowed participants from different legal backgrounds to share experiences and exchange ideas, which promoted greater understanding and cooperation on legal matters in the region.

She said that Thailand would co-host for the third time the Asia-Pacific regional course in international law for three weeks in Bangkok.  This reflected Thailand’s continuing support of the Programme through direct contributions to the Organization’s regular budget and in the form of assistance by hosting seminars and regional courses.  To ensure the effective implementation of the Programme, it was crucial that it was provided with adequate resources from assessed and voluntary contributions.  Just as the Secretariat had the responsibility to carry out the activities under the Programme efficiently, Member States also had the responsibility to remain mindful of funding requirements and to contribute accordingly.

HELENE AWET WOLDEYOHANNES ( Eritrea) said she recognized the Programme’s significant role in advancing international law through its teaching and dissemination, particularly for mid-level government officials, lawyers and students in developing countries.  Furthermore, disseminating legal publications and information electronically and through the Internet allowed youth to acquire deeper expertise in international law. 

In that regard, she said the East Africa Youth Forum, which had sought to strengthen the Pan African Youth Union, was held in Asmara July of this year.  Different papers submitted at that forum addressed the nature and types of conflicts in the region, prospects for peace, security and regional integration in Eastern Africa.  Thus, understanding of international law could not be achieved through political means alone.  Rather, adequate training and dissemination was crucial.

As international law became more complex, she said it required more qualified professionals in different fields.  Member States, international and regional organizations, universities and institutions should therefore support the Programme.  It was her hope that regional courses would continue and that other African countries would be able to host them.  In closing, she reiterated the call for establishing a sustainable financial mechanism for the Programme. 

RIVKA TOPF-MAZEH ( Israel), stating her country’s support of the goals of the Programme of Assistance, said education in international law and its exposure to wide audiences was key to enhancing a culture of peace and tolerance.  In that regard, the Codification Division had done tireless work to keep the Programme on track, even in times of great financial difficulties.  The further expansion of the Audiovisual Library was also commendable, as it efficiently provided basic and advanced international law training, due to its high accessibility and its database that was free of charge. 

She noted the importance of regional courses as an effective and efficient means to facilitate and disseminate international law, especially in developing countries.  It was highly important that international law be learned in a regional context, and in a course that was adapted to the needs of the regional practitioners.  In that regard, her country hoped to see similar initiatives held more frequently and was ready to assist in providing training and scholars. 

In support of the Programme and its goals, she said her country had made another voluntary contribution of $5,000 to the Programme’s trust fund and in particular to the Audiovisual Library, with the hope that the donation would enable the Programme to continue performing its important and valuable activities and expand them in the years to come.

TANIA STEENKAMP ( South Africa) said the Programme should be widely supported as it played an important part in promoting the rule of law.  She specifically welcomed the scholarships that would be awarded to qualified candidates from developing countries to attend the International Law Fellowship Programme in The Hague, as well as the holding of regional courses.  She also commended the Secretary-General’s decision to award a minimum of one scholarship each in 2012 and 2013 under the Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.  It was her hope that contributions to the fellowship’s fund would enable more deserving candidates to garner scholarships. 

She said Member States should also continue to support the Audiovisual Library and was pleased that the United Nations legal publications were being distributed in developing countries.  In closing, she reiterated her call for Member States to consider innovative ways of supporting the Programme so that, at the very least, it could continue with its current programmes, and where possible, expand.  One possibility would be to introduce assessed contributions from Member States.

JOHN ARBOGAST ( United States) said his country was pleased to participate in the Programme’s Advisory Committee this year.  The Programme, established in 1965, had continued to make a great contribution to educating students and practitioners throughout the world in international law.  Knowledge of international law was a key component to furthering the rule of law at the national and international levels.  Through a firm understanding of international law, new generations of lawyers, judges and diplomats could gain a deeper understanding of the complex instruments that governed so many aspects of an interconnected world.  Thus the Programme was one of many important tools to strengthen the rule of law, person by person, country by country, region by region.

He thanked the Office of Legal Affairs and the Codification Division for its efforts in implementing the Programme of Assistance, as well as the other entities at the United Nations that furthered the wider appreciation of international law.  His country very much appreciated the creative ways in which the Division had been able to keep important programs going in the face of limited resources and encouraged it to continue those most commendable efforts.  He expressed hope that the rule of law exercise would serve to produce new opportunities for appropriate resource support for the regional courses in international law, the audiovisual library and the Programme’s other important activities.

HASSAN ALI HASSAN ALI ( Sudan) said he was honoured that Sudan had become a member of the Advisory Committee on the Programme.  The Programme’s efforts through its publications, legal networks, the Library and regional courses were the subject of praise.  Such progress was particularly commendable, given the lack of stable support. 

He welcomed the announcement of the upcoming regional course to be held in Ethiopia, and commended efforts of the African Union in that regard.  He also paid tribute to Ethiopia for hosting those regional courses, and said that such courses, as well as fellowship programmes should receive the support of all partners.  The importance of international law and its dissemination in this contemporary world made the Programme a necessity for developing countries, and for United Nations agencies and programmes.

DIANA TARATUKHINA ( Russian Federation) noted the Office of Legal Affairs’ success in implementing various activities of the Programme and the personal contributions of its staff members to its development.  The fellowship programmes, especially at The Hague Academy, as well as regional courses in international law, had been successfully launched within the available resources.  The Codification Division, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, the International Trade Law Division, and the Treaty Section of the Department had actively participated in the preparation of legal publications.  Such publications were of high-quality and practical value. 

She went on to say that the series of materials published this year on the responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts was particularly interesting.  It was the most complete compilation of the decisions by various courts that referred to the articles of the International Law Commission on the responsibility of States.  One of the most promising areas of activity of the Programme was the Audiovisual Library, adding that Russian international legal experts were using its resources more and more actively.  The preparatory materials of major international treaties were especially popular.  Work should continue in that direction.   

It was important, she stated, to support the creation of an archive of historic audiovisual materials and records of the lectures by leading international law experts.  It was also important to maintain a balanced approach to historical events, especially those taking place in the second half of the twentieth century, when the United Nations system was created and developed.  Her country also highly valued the activity of the Treaty Section on issues of participation in multilateral treaties, their registration, and study of depositary practice of the Secretary-General.  Troubled by the lack of financial resources for the Programme, it was necessary to think about possible options for strengthening financial support, in addition to voluntary contributions by States.

JANE GASU ( Ghana ) said that a compatriot, the late Ambassador Ken Dadzie, had been a pioneer of this agenda item.  Thus, it held special meaning to her delegation, beyond its innate importance of promoting the primary pillars of the Charter.  She hoped the Programme would continue for many years to come.

“The Programme of Assistance continues to be plagued with difficulties, especially that of limited resources,” she said, further commending the Codification Division for its creativity in keeping the Programme going despite those difficulties.  However, the time had come to make adequate funding for the Programme under the regular budget a priority.  At the last Bureau meeting, all agreed that the best solution to that perennial problem was to seek a regular budgetary provision for the activities of the Programme of Assistance.

ELISHA E. SUKU (United Republic of Tanzania) noted with appreciation the regional seminar on international law organized in Addis Ababa in early 2012 for French-speaking lawyers from countries in Africa.  It also welcomed the offer of the Ethiopian Government to host regional courses on international law, including the one proposed to be held in Addis Ababa in April 2013.  The African Union and those States that had voluntarily contributed toward that important task had enabled the Programme’s implementation in his region.  The regional courses had provided high-quality training on a range of topics of international law. 

It was encouraging, he said, to see that the African Union had taken a practical step in supporting the Programme.  In January of this year, the African Union had established the African Institute of International Law in Arusha, Tanzania.  The Institute was mandated to advance the teaching and development of international law in Africa.  He called for greater partnership with the Codification Division, noting that such partnership would contribute immensely in strengthening the teaching, studying, and development of international law in Africa.

Citing the Secretary-General’s report which had indicated the Programme’s resource constraints, he said it was crucial that Member States’ revisit the issue of financing by exploring the possibilities of meeting those financial requirements through the United Nations’ regular budget in order to guarantee the Programme’s continuation, which had been unstable for years.  He encouraged support by Member States, stressing that the Programme served the interest of the international community as a whole.

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