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GA/11600
10 December 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 68th Meeting (AM)

At Recommendation of Legal Committee, General Assembly Adopts without Vote 17 Resolutions, Two Decisions Promoting International Law, Justice

Meeting Tackles Varied Agenda Items, Including Election of Judge to Appeals Tribunal, Budget Committee Reports

Highlighting the role of the Sixth Committee (Legal) in promoting justice and international law, the General Assembly today, without a vote, adopted 17 resolutions and took two decisions recommended in 19 reports from the Committee.

Introducing the reports, Salvatore Zappalà (Italy), Sixth Committee Rapporteur, said the documents represented the Organization’s priorities in the legal sphere on a broad range of issues from measures to eliminate international terrorism, to international trade, and professional training and dissemination of information on international law.

In adopting those texts, delegations both acknowledged the great diversity of issues debated by the Sixth Committee and underscored that body’s achievements.  By way of two resolutions from the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the Assembly adopted a United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration and noted with appreciation that the Commission’s secretariat had taken steps to establish and operate the repository of published information under the Rules of Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration.

However, through the resolution adopted on measures to eliminate international terrorism, the Assembly also expressed grave concern at the acute and growing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and urged States to ensure that their nationals or others within their territory who committed, attempted to commit or aided in the commission of such acts would be appropriately punished,.

The Assembly also, in two resolutions adopted without a vote, commended the overall work of the International Law Commission, whose numerous topics had been discussed in the Sixth Committee for nearly two weeks.  In particularly, it commended the Commission for the completion of work on the topic “The obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare)”, encouraging the final report on the matter to be disseminated as widely as possible.  In addition, it welcomed the Commission’s conclusion of work on the expulsion of aliens and the adoption of draft articles and detailed commentary on the subject.

As it had in previous years, the General Assembly reaffirmed the core role played by the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, and expressed serious concern, through the adopted resolution, that provisions of past resolutions on the Programme had not been implemented and so decided to revisit the matter of funding the Programme under the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.

Because of the Programme’s invaluable promotion of the rule of law and the tenets of international legal regimes, the Assembly further requested the Secretary-General to include additional resources under the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 specifically for the organization of the Regional Courses in International Law for Africa, for Asia-Pacific and for Latin America and the Caribbean each year, and for the continuation and further development of the United Nations Audiovisual Library.

In other business, the Assembly took up a range of agenda items.  It declared Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States elected as members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2015.  It then adopted three draft resolutions on cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, the Economic Cooperation Organization and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

After considering two reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), it then elected Deborah Thomas-Felix of Trinidad and Tobago as a judge of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal.

Speaking today were representatives of Myanmar, Iran, Cyprus, Pakistan and Fiji.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 11 December to consider a variety of items on its agenda.

Background

The General Assembly had before it a note from the Secretary-General on the Election of twenty members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (document A/69/291/Add.1), as well as draft resolutions regarding Cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (document A/69/L.31); Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.11/Rev.1); and Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/69/L.15).

It would also consider two Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) reports on the Organization of work, adoption of the agenda and allocation of items (document A/69/565/Add.1); and on the United Nations pension system (document A/69/637).

Taking up the agenda item on the appointment of the judges of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, it would consider a Memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/69/555); Report of the Internal Justice Council (document A/69/373); and a Note by the President of the General Assembly (document A/69/373/Add.1).

The Assembly would then take action on nineteen reports from the Sixth Committee (Legal), including the following:  Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (document A/69/495); Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its forty-seventh session (document A/69/496); United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/69/497); Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-sixth session (document A/69/498); and Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts (document A/69/499).

Other Sixth Committee reports that would be acted upon included Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives (document A/69/500); Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (document A/69/501); The rule of law at the national and international levels (document A/69/502); The scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction (document A/69/503); Effects of armed conflicts on treaties (document A/69/504); Responsibility of international organizations (document A/69/505); and Measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/69/506).

The final set of Sixth Committee reports awaiting action included Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/69/507); Programme Planning (document A/69/508); Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/69/510); Observer Status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in the General Assembly (document A/69/511); Observer Status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly (document A/69/512); Observer status for the Developing Eight Countries Organization for Economic Cooperation in the General Assembly (document A/69/513); and Observer status for the Pacific Community in the General Assembly (document A/69/514).

Committee for Programme and Coordination

The General Assembly took note that by its decision 2014/210 B of 17 November 2014 the Economic and Social Council had nominated Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America for election by the General Assembly to the Committee for Programme and Coordination for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2015 and expiring on 31 December 2017, as indicated in a note from the Secretary-General on those elections. 

The Assembly also noted that by the same decision, the Council decided to further postpone the nomination of several members from Western European and other States and one member from Asia-Pacific States for varying terms.  The Assembly then declared Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States elected as members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2015.

Action on Draft Resolutions

Turning to a series of plenary-generated drafts, the Assembly first heard an introduction of the draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (document A/69/L.31) by the representative of Myanmar, on behalf of ASEAN.  He said the draft text was based on General Assembly resolution 67/110 of 17 December 2012 with updates reflecting important developments over the past two years.

By that text, the Assembly would welcome efforts by ASEAN and the United Nations to strengthen the level and framework for their cooperation through implementation of the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between them and encouraged them to continue to work closely to achieve the common goals set out in the Declaration.  It would also encourage cooperation in the field of human rights and to ensure an effective response and management of natural disasters, among other measures.

The Assembly then heard the introduction of the draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/69/L.11/Rev.1) by the representative of Iran.  He said the draft text was based on General Assembly resolution A/RES/67/14.  In the context of the implementation of international development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, the text invited the United Nations development system and other international economic and financial institutions to consider supporting the Organization in its capacity-building for the follow up and implementation of those goals and priorities.

The Assembly, by the terms of that text, would also invite the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre to develop strategies for the member States of the Economic Cooperation Organization for trade liberalization and the promotion of foreign direct investment to facilitate the global and regional integration of their economies.  Further, it would highlight the importance of cooperation between the Economic cooperation Organization and the specialized agencies of the United Nations on health-related Millennium Development Goals, as well as the importance of high-quality statistics as a tool for the implementation of development goals, and would encourage the Statistics Division to extend technical and financial support towards that end.

The Assembly then took up the draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/69/L.15).  By that text, the Assembly would decide to include the topic as a sub-item in the provisional agenda of its seventy-first session, under the item, “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations”.

The Assembly then adopted “L.31” and “L.11/Rev.1” without a vote

In explanation of position after the action, the representative of Cyprus said that in regards to “L.11/Rev.1” his delegation had disassociated itself from the consensus on that resolution for several reasons.  In operative paragraph 2, the text took note of the Baku Declaration, which “endorses” the Council of Minister’s report at its twentieth meeting.  His delegation had been informed that the report contained a recommendation that the “Turkish Cypriot State” had been given the status of Observer to the Economic Cooperation Organization.  The Baku Declaration was, in effect, calling on the Secretary-General of the Organization to act against Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Cyprus.  He strongly urged that the Economic Cooperation Organization to not act against United Nations resolutions by implementing the recommendation to accord Observer status to a secessionist entity.  He also called on the facilitator and sponsors of the text to demonstrate more flexibility and transparency in future discussions on the substance of the text, as unfortunately that was not the case with this year’s consultations.

The Assembly then adopted “L.15” without a vote.

Action on Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) Texts

The Assembly then took up two reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).  Having decided not to discuss the first report, entitled Appointment to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments: appointment of members of the Committee on Contributions (document A/69/565/Add.1), the Assembly decided to appoint Toshiro Ozawa (Japan) as a member of that Committee for a term of office beginning on 21 December 2014 and ending on 31 December 2015, as recommended therein.

By the terms of the second report on the United Nations pension system (document A/69/637), which was adopted without a vote, the Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and emphasized the importance of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund meeting its target annual real rate of return of 3.5 per cent over the long term.  It further stressed the need for the Fund to address the weaknesses identified by the Board of Auditors.

Appeals Tribunal

Taking up its agenda item on the appointment of the judges of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal in Geneva, the Assembly considered a memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/69/555), which indicated that the Assembly was required to appoint a judge to serve the remainder of the seven-year term of Judge Jean Courtial (France).  His term had commenced on 1 July 2012 and expired 30 June 2019.  He had resigned his position effective 31 December 2013.

Three candidates were recommended by the Internal Justice Council, as noted in document A/69/373.  Sabine Knierim (Germany) had served as a judge in a Court of Administrative Law in Hamburg since 1994 and as a judge of the Appeals Court of Administrative Law in Hamburg since 2011.  Manuel Mazuelos Fernandez-Figueroa (Spain), appointed a judge of the Court of First Instance in Arucas (Spain), had held a number of judicial appointments culminating in an appointment to the Andalusian High Court of Justice in 2009.  Deborah Thomas-Felix (Trinidad and Tobago) was currently President of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago and had been exercising judicial functions in many different courts, including specialist labour courts, since 1990.  She has been President of the Industrial (Labour) Court since 2011.

Information on the withdrawal of Mr. Fernandez-Figueroa (Spain) was contained in the Note by the President of the General Assembly (document A/69/373/Add.1).

The Assembly agreed to a proposal in the Secretary-General’s memorandum indicating that it would invite Member States to take due consideration of geographical distribution and gender balance and then proceeded to the election.  The candidate obtaining the largest number of votes and a majority of the votes of those present and voting would be considered to be elected and thereby appointed by the Assembly to the Appeals Tribunal.

The result of the vote was as follows:

 

Sabine Knierim (Germany)

53

Deborah Thomas-Felix (Trinidad and Tobago)

103

 

The Assembly then appointed Ms. Thomas-Felix as a judge of the Appeals Tribunal.

Action on Sixth Committee (Legal) Reports

SALVATORE ZAPPALÀ (Italy), Sixth Committee Rapporteur, introduced that body’s 19 reports addressing 18 substantive and three procedural agenda items.  With the exception of the election of officers, they represented the Organization’s priorities in the legal sphere, namely the promotion of justice and international law; drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and organizational matters and administration.  The reports were then introduced in the order under which they fell under those headings.

He noted that the views of the Sixth Committee on agenda item 144, “Administration of justice at the United Nations”, which had been allocated to both the Fifth and Sixth Committees had been transmitted to the former as an annex to document A/C.5/69/10.  Furthermore there would be no report in respect of agenda item 5, “Election of officers of the Main Committees”.  Consistent with previous practice, elections for the Sixth Committee’s sixty-ninth session would be taken up at a later stage in the course of the current session.

Following the presentation by the Rapporteur, the Assembly commenced its consideration with the report, Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (document A/69/495), adopting the resolution contained therein without a vote.  By that text, the Assembly affirmed the various measures adopted in previous resolutions aimed at ensuring the criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission, and reiterated its decision to form a working group of the Committee during its seventieth session.

The Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the work of its forty-seventh session (document A/69/496), next under consideration, contained two draft resolutions, both adopted without a vote.  By the text of the first, eponymously named, the Assembly, among other things, noted with appreciation that the Commission’s secretariat had taken steps to establish and operate the repository of published information under the Rules of Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration, as a pilot project, and requested the Secretary-General to keep the Assembly informed of developments regarding the funding and budgetary situation of the repository.

By Draft Resolution II, entitled United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration, the Assembly adopted that Convention, the text of which was annexed to the resolution, and called upon those Governments and regional economic integration organizations that wished to make the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration applicable to arbitrations under their existing investment treaties to consider becoming party to the Convention.  It further authorized a ceremony for the opening for signature of the Convention in Port Louis on 17 March 2015.

The Assembly next adopted without a vote the resolution contained therein the report, United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/69/497).  By that text, the Assembly reaffirmed that the Programme constituted a core activity of the United Nations and recognized the Programme’s important contribution to the furtherance of the United Nations rule of law programmes and activities.  Further by the text, the Assembly noted with serious concern that the provisions of paragraph 7 of resolutions 66/97, 67/91 and 68/110 had not been implemented and therefore decided to revisit the matter of funding the Programme under the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015, in particular the Regional Courses in International Law and the Audiovisual Library of International Law for 2015.

In addition, by the terms of the resolution, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to include additional resources under the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 for the organization of the Regional Courses in International Law for Africa, for Asia-Pacific and for Latin America and the Caribbean each year, and for the continuation and further development of the United Nations Audiovisual Library.  The Secretary General was also requested to include in the regular budget the necessary funding for the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea with effect from the biennium 2016-2017, should voluntary contributions be insufficient for granting at least one fellowship a year.

Turning next to the Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-sixth session (document A/69/498), the Assembly adopted the two resolutions contained therein without a vote.  By the text of the first, the Assembly, among other things, expressed appreciation for its work during its sixty-sixth session, including its completion of work on the topic “The obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare)” and took note of the final report on the matter, encouraging its widest possible dissemination.  The Assembly also recommended that the Commission continue work on the topics in its current programme and decided that the Commission’s next session would be held in Geneva from 4 May to 5 June and from 6 July to 7 August 2015.

By the text of Resolution II, “Expulsion of aliens”, the Assembly welcomed the Commission’s conclusion of work on the topic and its adoption of the draft articles and detailed commentary on the subject.  The Assembly also decided to further consider the Commission’s recommendation on the matter at its seventy-second session.

Considering next 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/69/499), the Assembly adopted the corresponding draft resolution without a vote.  In that text, the Assembly, among other things, affirmed the need to make implementation of international humanitarian law more effective, and supported its further strengthening and development.

By the text of a resolution on Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives contained in document A/69/500, also adopted without a vote, the Assembly strongly condemned acts of violence against such entities, as well as against missions and representatives to international intergovernmental organizations and officials of such organizations.  It also urged States to ensure, in conformity with their international obligations, the protection, security and safety of the missions, representatives and officials mentioned above, among other things.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote, a resolution on the Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (document A/69/501).  Through that text, among other provisions, the Assembly requested the Special Committee to continue its consideration of all proposals being considered under the various clusters of issues on its programme.  It also invited the Special Committee to consider the question of an appropriate commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the Charter, among other measures.

By way of a resolution on The rule of law at the national and international levels found in document A/69/502, the Assembly invited Member States to focus their comments in the upcoming Sixth Committee debates during its seventieth session on the sub-topic “The role of multilateral treaty processes in promoting and advancing the rule of law”.

Continuing, the Assembly considered the report, The scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction (document A/69/503), containing one draft resolution that was then adopted without a vote.  It decided that the Committee should continue its consideration of the matter next year, including in the context of a working group, which would further undertake a thorough discussion of the item.

The Assembly next adopted without a vote a resolution contained in the report on Effects of armed conflicts on treaties (document A/69/504), which commended the articles on the matter to the attention of Governments, invited Governments to submit written comments on any future action in that regard and decided to include the item in the provisional agenda of its seventy-second session with a view to examining the form that might be given to the articles.

Through further adoption without a vote of a resolution on the Responsibility of international organizations (document A/69/505), the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare an initial compilation of decisions of international courts, tribunals and other bodies referring to the articles and to invite Governments and international organizations to submit information on their practice in that regard, as well as written comments on any future action regarding the articles, among other measures.

Taking up the report on Measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/69/506 ) the Assembly adopted without a vote the similarly titled resolution contained within, by which it called upon all Member States, the United Nations and other appropriate international, regional and subregional organizations to implement the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as the resolutions relating to the four biennial reviews of the Strategy.  It further expressed grave concern at the acute and growing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and urged States to ensure that their nationals or others within their territory who committed, attempted to commit or aided in the commission of such acts would be appropriately punished.

Through the text, the Assembly also called upon all States to cooperate to prevent and suppress terrorist acts and recommended that, at the seventieth plenary session, the Sixth Committee establish a working group with a view to finalizing the process on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism as well as discussions concerning the convening of a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations on the matter.

The Assembly then took up the Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/69/510).  The similarly titled draft resolution within it was adopted without a vote.  Among the text’s provisions, the host country was requested to continue negotiations to solve problems that might hinder the work of delegations and missions to the United Nations.  The Committee was also requested to continue its work in conformity with Assembly resolution 2910 (XXVI).

Turning to the granting of Observer status, the Assembly adopted the Committee’s decision to defer consideration on the request for Observer status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in the General Assembly (document A/69/511) as recommended in the Sixth Committee report of that name.  It then took note of the report on the granting of Observer Status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly (document A/69/512), in which the Committee had concluded its consideration of the item without taking action.

The Assembly then proceeded to adopt without a vote a resolution on Observer status for the Developing Eight Countries Organization for Economic Cooperation in the General Assembly (document A/69/513).  By that text the status was granted.

Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Pakistan said he was grateful to all Member States for unanimously adopting the text.  The objectives of the “D-8” were synergistic with the objectives of the United Nations.  Such observer status would help the Organization further its goals.  Its links with the United Nations would also yield benefits for the two entities.

The Assembly then adopted a text on Observer status for the Pacific Community in the General Assembly (document A/69/514), by which it similarly invited the Community to participate in its sessions and work as an Observer.

Fiji’s representative, speaking in explanation of position, stated that the adoption of the resolution was a step in the right direction towards sustainable development as the Pacific Community was among the most important in the region for supporting development.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote the resolution entitled “Provisional programme of work of the Sixth Committee for the seventieth session of the General Assembly” contained in the report, Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/69/507).  By that text, the Assembly took note of the provisional programme for the next session adopted by the Committee.

Pressing ahead, the Assembly took note of the report on Programme Planning (document A/69/508), which required no further action by the Assembly.

For information media. Not an official record.