Skip to main content

Sixth Committee


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.


Tackling the topic, “General principles of law”, the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its consideration of Cluster 3 of the International Law Commission’s report today — and thereby, its consideration of that report as a whole — as delegates delved into the complexity of achieving consensus on aspects of international law for which little to no uniform State practice exists.


As the Sixth Committee concluded Cluster 2 of the International Law Commission’s report, speakers tackled “Immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction”, debating the differentiated application of the immunity ratione personae and ratione materiae in the criminal jurisdiction of foreign States, while also underscoring the need of finding balance between protecting immunity and ensuring accountability for serious crimes.


As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded Cluster 1 from the International Law Commission’s report, delegates weighed in on the draft conclusions, “Protection of the environment in relations to armed conflict”, commending the work accomplished on the topic and providing additional suggestions of provisions that could be included in the texts.


Delegates wrestled with the duality inherent in the concept of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) ‑ which are a category of principles that, while cardinal to international law in theory, have proved elusive to identify in practice ‑ as the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its discussion of the first cluster of topics from the International Law Commission’s report today.