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Sixth Committee


​​​​​​​Concluding its resumed session today debating on whether to codify the International Law Commission’s draft articles on crimes against humanity into a convention, the Sixth Committee (Legal) heard oral reports from co-facilitators on the draft articles’ five Thematic Clusters, as speakers emphasized the need to end such crimes, with some expressing readiness to negotiate a new international instrument.


Recommendations by the International Law Commission are not binding and accepting them is “entirely in the hands of Member States”, a United Nations senior principal legal officer told the Sixth Committee (Legal) today during its resumed session, as he briefed delegates on the Commission’s procedure with the General Assembly and its process in drafting the articles on prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.


As the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its resumed session today to consider the International Law Commission’s recommendation to codify a convention on crimes against humanity, speakers deliberated over two clusters of draft articles addressing measures States should take on national platforms regarding those crimes, while also exploring the methods of international cooperation between countries when considering extradition of alleged offenders.


As the Sixth Committee’s (Legal) resumed session on its agenda item “Crimes against humanity” entered its second day, delegates grappled with the challenge of defining such crimes in a way that balances facilitating future development on the one hand and establishing legal certainty on the other — all in service of preventing and punishing some of the most serious international crimes.


As the Sixth Committee (Legal) resumed its session on agenda item, “Crimes against humanity”, delegates debated whether a new convention on such crimes would close gaps in the current international legal framework and if that instrument, based on the draft articles by the International Law Commission, should be inspired by existing texts, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and international conventions addressing genocide and torture.


Acting on the recommendations of its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) and Sixth Committee (Legal), the General Assembly today adopted a total of 86 resolutions and 17 decisions on items ranging from the threat posed by nuclear weapons in a deteriorating international security environment to the restoration of confidence in the rule of law as a key element of multilateral and transitional justice.


​​​​​​​Concluding its seventy-seventh session today, the Sixth Committee (Legal) upheld its tradition of consensus and approved without a vote 12 draft resolutions, a draft decision and a draft letter, even as some delegates spotlighted the emerging trend of that mechanism’s failure to adequately represent substantive — albeit diverging — discussions in the Committee concerning the future of international law.


After taking action on eight requests for observer status and one draft resolution, the Sixth Committee (Legal) heard oral reports of four Working Groups and took up the “Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly”, with delegates underscoring the paramount importance of consensus in the Committee’s aims and presenting suggestions on improving its work during the upcoming sessions.


Along with taking action on several draft resolutions today, the Sixth Committee (Legal) also took up the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, as many speakers expressed concern that bilateral political considerations have impacted the host country’s discharge of its multilateral duties under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement.


After taking action on requests for observer status in the General Assembly and considering the report “Diplomatic protection”, the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the “Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”, with speakers underlining the importance of that Committee and urging that discussions therein can proceed in a technical and legal fashion, free of politicization.