Affirming Role of Legal Committee in Promoting International Law, Justice, General Assembly Unanimously Adopts 11 Resolutions

GA/11740
14 December 2015
Seventieth Session, 75th Meeting (AM)

Affirming Role of Legal Committee in Promoting International Law, Justice, General Assembly Unanimously Adopts 11 Resolutions

Text on El Niño Phenomenon, Budget Committee Resolutions Also Adopted without Vote

Affirming the role of the Sixth Committee (Legal) in promoting international law and justice and holding to that body’s tradition of approving texts without a vote, the General Assembly today unanimously adopted 11 resolutions and one decision on the programme of work, as recommended in 17 reports of the Committee.

The Assembly also deferred taking action on four decisions regarding Observer status until the seventy-first session, and postponed taking a decision on a draft resolution regarding the International Law Commission until the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budget) could consider the programme budget implications of that text.

During consideration on the draft resolution on international measures to eliminate terrorism, the representative of India voiced his disappointment on the lack of progress made during the Sixth Committee’s seventieth session.  Citing the text’s twenty-fifth paragraph just adopted, he encouraged all Member States to redouble their efforts towards resolving outstanding issues during the intersessional period.

Also unanimously adopted by the General Assembly was a draft resolution on the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon, by which the international community was called to urgently provide financial, technical and capacity-building support to countries affected by the weather occurrence.

The General Assembly also took action on various Fifth Committee draft texts, and adopted without a vote the confirmation of the reappointment of six members of the Investments Committee, a body which advises the Secretariat on the investments of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.

Acting without a vote, it further adopted three draft resolutions contained in reports of the Fifth Committee on matters as diverse as the administration of justice at the United Nations, financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

The General Assembly will meet again on Tuesday, December 15 at 10 a.m. to hold a High-level meeting on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.

Action on Draft Resolutions

Acting unanimously without a vote, the General Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled “The impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño phenomenon” (document A/70/L.7/Rev.1).

By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly called upon the international community to urgently provide financial, technical and capacity-building support to countries affected by the El Niño phenomenon between 2015 and 2016 for, among other things, strengthening national natural risk reduction institutions.

Action on Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) Texts

On recommendation from the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the General Assembly confirm the reappointment of six members of the Investments Committee, a body which advises the Secretariat on the investments of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, for which it had before it a report from the Fifth Committee (document A/70/597).

Reconfirmed as regular members of the Committee for a one-year term beginning 1 January 2016 were Masakazu Arikawa (Japan), Madhav Dhar (India), Nemir Kirdar (Iraq), Michael Klein (United States), Linah Mohohlo (Botswana) and Gumersindo Oliveros (Spain).

The Assembly then turned its attention to the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations and the report on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, for which it had before it a report of the Fifth Committee (document A/70/563).  A draft resolution titled “Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on its activities” (document A/C.5/70/L.5) was contained in paragraph 6 of the report.  The Assembly adopted the resolution without a vote.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote a draft resolution entitled “Administration of justice at the United Nations” (A/C.5/70/L.6), contained in paragraph 6 of the Fifth Committee report (document A/70/593).

The plenary body then turned its attention to a draft resolution on the “Financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali” (A/C.5/70/L.7), contained in paragraph 6 of the Fifth Committee report (document A/70/594).  The resolution was adopted without a vote.

Action on Sixth Committee (Legal) Reports

IDREES MOHAMMED ALI MOHAMMED SAEED (Sudan), Sixth Committee Rapporteur, introduced that body’s reports addressing 17 substantive and 3 procedural agenda items that had been allocated to the Committee.  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 143, “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.5/70/9.  Furthermore, there would be no report in respect of the agenda item, “Election of officers of the Main Committees”.  Consistent with previous practice, elections for the Sixth Committee’s seventy-first session would be taken up at a later stage in the course of the current session.

The Assembly commenced its consideration with the report, “Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission” (document A/70/506), adopting the draft resolution contained therein without a vote.  While the text largely reiterated General Assembly resolution 69/114 of 10 December 2014, the preamble and operative part had been substantially strengthened.  By the new text the Assembly, among other things, requested the Secretary-General to improve reporting methods and expand the scope of reporting by providing information on instances where credible allegations had been referred, as well as information received on all referrals since 1 July 2007.

Acting again without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution contained in the “Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the work of its forty-eighth session” (document A/70/507).  By its terms, the General Assembly, among other things, called on Governments, United Nations bodies, organizations and individuals to make voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund established to provide travel assistance to developing countries, for the purpose of increasing expert representation from those countries at the Commission’s sessions.  Such contributions would build local expertise and capacities to put in place an enabling environment for business, trade and investment.

The Assembly next adopted, again 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/70/508).  By that text, the Secretary-General was authorized to carry out in 2016 and in 2017 the activities of the International Law Fellowship Programme, the United Nations Regional Courses in International Law for Africa, for Asia-Pacific and for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law.  Those activities would be financed from the regular budget, as well as from voluntary contributions, when necessary.

Turning next to the “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-seventh session” (document A/70/509), the General Assembly would, among other things, encourage the widest possible dissemination of the final report on the topic “The Most-Favoured-Nation clause”.  It would also take note of paragraph 309 of the Commission’s report and decided that the next session of the Commission would be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva for a period of 12 weeks.  The additional two weeks of meetings in 2016 would require an additional $232,100 under section 8 of the proposed programme budget for the biennium not foreseen.  The Assembly would take action on the resolution contained within the report following the Fifth Committee’s consideration of that programme budgeting implication.

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/70/510).  By that text, the General Assembly, among other things, requested the Special Committee to continue its consideration of all proposals concerning the question of the maintenance of international peace and security in all its aspects and to consider other proposals on the matter that might be submitted at its session in 2016.  The Assembly also reiterate its call for voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund for the Elimination of the Backlog in the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, as well as for voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund for Updating the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council.

A draft resolution, titled “The rule of law at the national and international levels” (document A/70/511) had the Assembly, among other things, invite Member States to focus their comments during the Sixth Committee debate at the seventy-first session under that agenda item on the subtopics:  “Sharing national practices of States in the implementation of multilateral treaties” and “Practical measures to facilitate access to justice for all, including for the poorest and most vulnerable”.  The text was adopted without a vote.

Pressing ahead, the Assembly considered the report on “The scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction” (document A/70/512), in which it decided that the Sixth Committee should continue its deliberations on the topic without prejudice to such consideration and related issues in other forums of the United Nations.  In addition, a working group of the Sixth Committee at its seventy-first session would be established and be open to all Member States.

Taking up the report, “Measures to eliminate international terrorism” (document A/70/513) the Assembly adopted without a vote the eponymous 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 first, second, third and fourth biennial reviews of the Strategy.  In addition it had the Sixth Committee at the Assembly’s seventy-first session establish a working group with a view to finalizing the process on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

The representative of India, in explanation of position, expressed disappointment with the lack of progress in the Committee.  The Working Group had held five meetings and the Chair had organized many informal consultations.  Although that had generated momentum, no progress had been achieved on the long pending matter in the Committee.  Welcoming the announcement on 20 November that the Bureau had decided to hold informal meetings during the intersessional period next year, he cited the text’s twenty-fifth paragraph just adopted which encouraged all Member States to redouble their efforts during the intersessional period.

The Assembly then took up the “Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country” (document A/70/515).  With its adoption of the similarly titled draft resolution the Assembly, among other things, requested that the host country consider removing the remaining travel restrictions imposed on staff of certain missions and Secretariat staff of certain nationalities.  It also noted the Committee’s anticipation that the host country would continue enhancing its efforts to ensure the issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States in a timely manner.  As well, it acknowledged progress made with regards to the provision of suitable banking services to all permanent missions.

Turning to the granting of Observer status, the Assembly adopted the Committee’s decision to defer until its seventy-first session consideration on the request for “Observer status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in the General Assembly” (document A/70/530) as recommended in the Sixth Committee report of that name. 

The Assembly also adopted the Committee’s decision to defer until its seventy-first session the request as contained in the report, “Observer Status for the Eurasian Economic Union in the General Assembly” (document A/70/531).

The Assembly then proceeded to adopt without a vote the Committee’s decision on “Observer status for the Community of Democracies in the General Assembly” (document A/70/532), deferring until the seventy-first session the request for observer status.

The Assembly then adopted a text, “Observer status for the International Civil Defence Organization in the General Assembly” (document A/70/533), by which it invited that body to participate in its sessions and work as an Observer.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution on the granting of Observer status for the Indian Ocean Rim Association in the General Assembly (document A/70/534), as recommended by the Committee.  That text invited the Association’s participation in its work as an Observer.

However, the request for “Observer status for the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in the General Assembly” (document A/70/535) would be deferred to the seventy-first session, according to the decision adopted by the Assembly.

A resolution granting “Observer status for the Union for the Mediterranean in the General Assembly” (document A/70/536) was also adopted by the Assembly without a vote.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote the draft decision, “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/70/526).  By that text, the Assembly took note of the provisional programme for the next session adopted by the Committee.

The Assembly also took note of the report on Programme Planning (document A/70/527), which required no further action by the Assembly.

For information media. Not an official record.