Sixth Committee (Legal) — 75th session

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy-second session (Agenda item 80)

Documentation

Summary of work

Background (source: A/75/100)

At its second session, the General Assembly, under the agenda item entitled “Establishment of an International Law Commission”, resolved to establish the International Law Commission, 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) (subsequently amended in resolutions 485 (V), 984 (X), 985 (X) and 36/39), provides that the Commission should submit reports to the Assembly.

At its fourth session, the Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Approval of part I of the report of the International Law Commission covering its first session” (resolution 373 (IV)). The Assembly had the item entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its … session” on its agenda at its sixth, seventh and twelfth to eighteenth sessions and has had the item on its agenda annually since its twentieth session (resolutions 601 (VI), 683 (VII), 1185 (XII), 1290 (XIII), 1399 (XIV), 1504 (XV), 1686 (XVI), 1765 (XVII), 1902 (XVIII), 2045 (XX), 2167 (XXI), 2272 (XXII), 2400 (XXIII), 2501 (XXIV), 2634 (XXV), 2780 (XXVI), 2926 (XXVII), 3071 (XXVIII), 3315 (XXIX), 3495 (XXX), 31/97, 32/151, 33/139, 34/141, 35/163, 36/113, 36/114, 37/111, 37/112, 38/138, 39/85, 40/75, 41/81, 42/156, 43/169, 44/35, 44/36, 45/41, 46/54, 46/55, 47/33, 48/31, 49/51 to 49/53, 50/45, 51/160, 52/156, 53/102, 54/111, 54/112, 55/152, 56/82, 56/83, 57/21, 58/77, 59/41, 60/22, 61/34 to 61/36, 62/66, 63/123, 63/124, 64/114, 65/26, 66/98 to 66/100, 67/92, 68/111, 68/112, 69/118, 69/119, 70/236, 71/140, 71/141, 72/116, 73/202, 73/203, 73/265 and 74/186 and decision 74/545).

At its seventy-fourth session, the Assembly allocated the item entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy-first session” to the Sixth Committee, where statements in the debate were made by 80 delegations (see A/C.6/74/SR.2333). The Assembly decided that the next session of the International Law Commission would be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 27 April to 5 June and from 6 July to 7 August 2020. The Assembly recommended that the debate on the report of the International Law Commission at its seventy-fifth session commence on 26 October 2020 (resolution 74/186). At the same session, the Assembly decided that the first part of the seventy-second session of the Commission, scheduled to be held from 27 April to 5 June 2020, should be postponed to the earliest possible available date to be decided by the Assembly, and that the second part of the seventy-second session of the Commission should be extended by one week such that it would be held from 29 June to 7 August 2020 (decision 74/545).

Consideration at the seventy-fifth session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 13th and 19th meetings, on 5 and 19 November 2020. The views of the representatives who spoke during the Committee’s consideration of the item are reflected in the relevant summary records (See A/C.6/75/SR.13 and 19). Bearing in mind the postponement of the seventy-second session of the International Law Commission to 2021, pursuant to General Assembly decisions 74/545 of 2 April 2020, 74/559 of 23 June 2020 and 74/566 of 12 August 2020, the Committee had no report of the Commission before it.

The Chair-designate for the seventy-second session of the International Law Commission delivered an oral report [in English] to the Committee, pursuant to General Assembly decision 74/566 of 12 August 2020. The Committee also received an oral report of the Secretary of the Commission, also pursuant to General Assembly decision 74/566.

Statements were made by the representatives of Sierra Leone (on behalf of the African Group), Tuvalu (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), Belize (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)), Singapore, the  United States of AmericaEl SalvadorSierra LeonePapua New Guinea, the Russian FederationChileNew ZealandJapanViet NamFiji (on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States), Micronesia (Federated States of)MaldivesTongaTurkeyCyprus, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandPortugal, the Republic of Korea, India, Armenia and Solomon Islands.

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 seventy-fifth session, prepared by the Secretariat.

Archived videos and summaries of plenary meetings

Video   13th meeting (5 November 2020, 10:00am – 1:00pm) | Summary

Video   19th meeting (19 November 2020, 3:00pm – 6:00pm) | Summary

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 19th meeting, on 19 November, the representative of Colombia, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy-second session” (A/C.6/75/L.12). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/75/L.12 without a vote.

In light of the fact that the Assembly decided to postpone the seventy-second session of the International Law Commission to 2021, under the draft resolution entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy-second session”, the General Assembly would, inter alia, take note once more of the report of the Commission at its seventy-first session, while deciding that the postponed  session of the Commission shall be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 26 April to 4 June and from 5 July to 6 August 2021.

Subsequent action taken by the General Assembly

This agenda item will be considered at the seventy-sixth session (2021).

Related links

Quick Links

Key Documents

Resources