Sixth Committee (Legal) — 70th session

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-seventh session
(Agenda item 83)

Documentation

Summary of work

Background (source: A/70/100)

The International Law Commission was established by the General Assembly at its second session, in 1947, with a view to giving effect to Article 13, paragraph 1 (a), of the Charter of the United Nations and with the objective of promoting the progressive development of international law and its codification (resolution 174 (II)).

The statute of the Commission, annexed to resolution 174 (II), was subsequently amended (resolutions 485 (V), 984 (X), 985 (X) and 36/39). The Commission consists of 34 members elected for a term of five years. The last election was held at the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly (decision 66/506).

At its sixty-ninth session, the General Assembly recommended that the Commission continue its work on the topics in its current programme. The Assembly drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their views, by 31 January 2015, on the various aspects of the topics on the agenda of the Commission, in particular on all the specific issues identified in chapter III of its report, regarding the topics contained in paragraphs 5 (a) to 5 (g) of the resolution, and their comments and observations, by 1 January 2016, on the draft articles on the topic “Protection of persons in the event of disasters”, adopted on first reading by the Commission at its sixty-sixth session. The Assembly noted the inclusion of the topic “Crimes against humanity” in the programme of work of the Commission and encouraged it to continue the examination of the topics that were in its long-term programme of work and noted the inclusion of the topic “Jus cogens” in the long-term programme of work of the Commission and the request of the Commission that the Secretariat review the list of possible future topics established in 1996 and prepare for its consideration a list of potential topics accompanied by brief explanatory notes, by the end of the present quinquennium. The Assembly recalled that the seat of the Commission was at the United Nations Office at Geneva and noted that the Commission was considering the possibility of holding part of its future sessions in New York. It underlined, to that purpose, the importance of the Commission taking into account estimated costs and relevant administrative, organizational and other factors, and called upon the Commission to deliberate thoroughly the feasibility of holding part of its sixty-eighth session in New York. It decided, without prejudice to the output of the deliberations of the Commission, to revert to the consideration of the recommendation on the possibility of having one half session each quinquennium in New York so as to facilitate direct contact between the Commission and delegates of the Sixth Committee, contained in paragraph 388 of the report of the Commission on the work of its sixty-third session (A/66/10), during the seventieth session of the General Assembly (resolution 69/118).

Consideration at the seventieth session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 17th to 25th and 29th meetings, on 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 20 November 2015.

The Chair of the International Law Commission at the sixty-seventh session introduced the report of the Commission on the work of that session: Chapters I to V and XII at the 17th meeting, on 2 November, Chapters VI to VIII at the 19th meeting, on 4 November; and Chapters IX to XI at the 23rd meeting, on 9 November 2016.

Statements were made by the representatives of: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)), El Salvador, the European Union also on behalf of its Member States, Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Palau, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and Viet Nam. (See PaperSrmart portal for the seventieth session)

Mr. Shinya Murase, Special Rapporteur on the topic, Protection of the atmosphere, Ms. Marie Jacobsson, Special Rapporteur on the topic “protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts”, and Ms. Concepción Escobar-Hernández, Special Rapporteur on the topic “immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction”, made statements.

A summary of the discussions on this agenda item may be found in the Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, during its seventieth session, prepared by the Secretariat.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   17th meeting (2 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   18th meeting (3 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   19th meeting (4 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   20th meeting (4 November 2015, 3:00pm - 4:30pm)

Video   21st meeting (6 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   22nd meeting (6 November 2015, 3:00pm - 6:00pm)

Video   23rd meeting (9 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   24th meeting (10 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   25th meeting (11 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Video   29th meeting (20 November 2015, 10:00am - 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 29th meeting, on 20 November, the representative of Peru, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-seventh session” (A/C.6/70/L.13). At the same meeting, the Secretary of the Committee read out a statement on the budgetary implications of the draft resolution (see A/C.6/70/L.19).

At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/70/L.13 without a vote. After the adoption of the draft resolution, the representatives of the European Union (on behalf of its member States) and Canada made statements in explanation of position).

Under the draft resolution, the General Assembly would, among other things, express its appreciation to the Commission for the work accomplished at its sixty-seventh session, take note of the final report on the topic “The Most-Favoured-Nation clause” and encourage its widest possible dissemination. The Assembly would also take note of the decision of the International Law Commission to include the topic “Jus cogens” in its programme of work and recommend that it continue its work on the topics in its current programme. Furthermore, the Assembly would decide that the next session of the Commission be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 2 May to 10 June and from 4 July to 12 August 2016.

For more information on this agenda item see seventy-first session (2016).

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