Sixth Committee

Sixth Committee

18 November 2021

Concluding its seventy-sixth session today, the Sixth Committee (Legal) upheld its tradition of consensus and approved without a vote 15 draft resolutions, along with a draft decision and a draft letter, marking the end of 29 socially distanced meetings over which members met — together but apart — to consider the evolving face of international law in a world still in the grips of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

10 November 2021

After deferring observer status requests to the seventy‑seventh session, delegates in the Sixth Committee (Legal) today, in the debate on revitalizing the work of the General Assembly, stressed the need to strengthen the Committee’s prized tradition of consensus by including substantive discussions and constructive dialogue.

9 November 2021

After approving three draft resolutions, the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country today, with many speakers stressing that visa and travel restrictions imposed on the delegations of certain States ‑ motivated by these States’ bilateral relations with the host country ‑ threaten their ability to participate fully in United Nations activities.

4 November 2021

Delegates in the Sixth Committee (Legal) today offered various proposals in response to concerns about the abuse of the Charter of the United Nations and the impact of sanctions, as the Committee concluded its debate on the report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, also known as the Special Charter Committee.

3 November 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its debate on the third cluster of topics from the International Law Commission’s report today — thus completing its consideration of the report as a whole — delegates pointed out the Commission’s work on succession of States in respect of State responsibility hinges on considerations of continued legal personality for which uniform State practice does not exist.

2 November 2021

Concluding the second cluster of topics from the International Law Commission report, the Sixth Committee (Legal) today took up the third and final cluster, with delegates welcoming the Special Rapporteur’s decision to replace “civilized nations” in the draft articles on “General Principles of Law”.

1 November 2021

Against the backdrop of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, speakers today in the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued their review of the International Law Commission report’s second cluster of topics, offering detailed accounts of both national and regional initiatives to address the urgent and life-threatening crisis posed by rising sea-levels.

29 October 2021

Stressing the importance of reflection over reflexive judgement, the President of the International Court of Justice told the Sixth Committee (Legal) today that it is the genuine airing of a variety of perspectives which makes that institution truly a world court.

28 October 2021

After taking action on a request for observer status in the General Assembly, the Sixth Committee (Legal) today concluded the first cluster of topics of the International Law Commission reports and took up the second cluster, with delegates debating what role the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea should play in addressing rising sea levels resulting from climate change, an existential threat to many island and low-lying States not contemplated when that Convention was signed in 1982.

27 October 2021

Continuing their consideration of the International Law Commission’s report today, delegates in the Sixth Committee (Legal) proposed changes to the Commission’s working methods and programme of work, while also considering the draft guidelines on the protection of atmosphere and provisional application of treaties.

26 October 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its consideration of the first cluster of topics from the International Law Commission’s report today, delegates, tackling “Provisional application of treaties,” highlighted the complex process of incorporating international treaty obligations into national law in the uncertain context of applying such instruments provisionally.  (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3643.)

25 October 2021

Opening International Law Week today, the Sixth Committee (Legal) began its consideration of the International Law Commission’s report, with delegates analysing the draft articles and guidelines on various topics, while calling for more inclusivity in the Commission’s composition and working methods.

22 October 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its debate on the scope and application of universal jurisdiction today, delegates wrestled with the challenging balance between State sovereignty — along with the primacy of national jurisdiction in prosecuting serious international crimes — and ensuring perpetrators of heinous crimes do not enjoy impunity.

21 October 2021

While commending the flexibility with which the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law responded to the COVID‑19 pandemic, speakers in the Sixth Committee (Legal) urged the Programme to incorporate more diversity — including different regions and legal systems — into its educational offerings, and called for the return of the in‑person trainings that foster deep bonds among the international legal community.

18 October 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) today took up the report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and then commenced the debate on the protection of persons in the event of disasters, speakers highlighted the need for the legal architecture governing both international trade and disaster relief to evolve alongside a rapidly changing world still wrestling with the fallout of COVID‑19.

15 October 2021

Concluding a fiercely contested debate on crimes against humanity, before also taking up treaty registrations, administration of justice and an observer status request, delegates of the Sixth Committee (Legal) stressed that any future convention on the matter would only be as successful as the consensus it can gather.  (For background, please see Press Release GA/L/3638.)

13 October 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) began its consideration of crimes against humanity today, delegates were divided on the timing and propriety of establishing an international convention based on the related International Law Commission’s draft articles — with some championing fighting impunity with international instruments, while others stressed States’ right to exercise national jurisdiction in such cases.

12 October 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its debate on the rule of law and commenced its consideration of criminal accountability for United Nations officials and experts on mission, delegates stressed the importance of administering justice and combating impunity, whether at the international or domestic level, or within the Organization’s missions.

8 October 2021

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) began its debate on the rule of law at the national and international levels today, many delegates championed rebuilding public institutional trust — eroded by rampant inequalities laid bare by COVID-19 — through a people-centered approach, while others stressed the need to respect State sovereignty in this arena.

7 October 2021

Amidst sharing lessons learned from counter-terrorism battles on old and new fronts, delegates, while noting that the vacuum created by the lack of a comprehensive convention was an overarching concern, cautioned against double standards and called for whole-society solutions, as the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.