Magazine article UN Chronicle

Law Commission Ends 1995 Session: Progress Made on Code of Crimes

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Law Commission Ends 1995 Session: Progress Made on Code of Crimes

Article excerpt

Work continued on a draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind at the forty-seventh session of the International Law Commission (2 May-21 July, Geneva). The 34-member body decided to submit its final draft to the General Assembly in 1996. Draft articles for the Code had been provisionally adopted on final reading in 1991 by the Commission and transmitted to Governments for comments and observation.

After reviewing reports from Member States on what crimes they felt should be included in the Code, Special Rapporteur Doudou Thiam pointed to a clear consensus on four: aggression; genocide; war crimes; and crimes against humanity. Proposed articles on intervention, threat of aggression and the use of mercenaries should not be retained, as there were "no strong grounds" advanced in their favour, he said.

Despite progress, differences of opinion persisted, notably with regard to the content of the future Code. Some members wanted to reduce the number of crimes to a minimum, while others advocated a wider approach which would include, for example, intervention, colonial domination and illicit drug trafficking.

Other items on the Commission's 1995 agenda were: State succession and its impact on the nationality of natural and legal persons; State responsibility; international liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law; and law and practice relating to reservations to treaties.

In other action, Igor Ivanovich Lukashuk of the Russian Federation was elected to the Commission, replacing Vladlen Vereshchetin who had been elected to the International Court of Justice.

A set of articles on settlement of disputes relating to the legal consequences of a delict - for inclusion in Part III of a future instrument on State responsibility - was adopted on first reading.

Various methods of settlement were proposed, such as: negotiation; good offices and mediation; conciliation; and arbitration. Models for a conciliatory commission and an arbitral tribunal were also prepared.

The notion of a "State crime", however, remained controversial. Draft articles were to be considered further in light of proposals made during the session.

A general plan for a treaty on State responsibility, endorsed by the Commission in 1975, envisaged a three-part structure: the origin of international responsibility; its content, forms and degrees; and settlement of disputes and the implementation of international responsibility.

Part I was provisionally adopted on first reading in 1980. …

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