LEGAL COMMITTEE ENDS DEBATE ON MERITS OF DIFFERING DRAFT TEXTS ON
Human Cloning, efforts to find consensus urged
Autor: ---- Fuente: United Nations International

Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Sixth Committee
11th & 12th Meetings (AM & PM)

Resolutions Approved on UNCITRAL, Administration of Justice at UN

The General Assembly would note with satisfaction the adoption of the Model Legislative Provisions on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, (UNCITRAL), by one of two draft resolutions on the Commission’s activities approved by the Sixth Committee (Legal) today.

The other would have the Secretary-General publish the Model Legislative Provisions, adopted at the recent thirty-sixth session of UNCITRAL, and to make all efforts to ensure that the instrument, along with the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Privately Financed Projects, become generally known and available. All States would be asked to consider the two texts when revising or adopting legislation on private participation in the development and operation of public infrastructures.

By both drafts, the Assembly would stress the importance of bringing into effect the conventions emanating from the Commission’s work for global unification and harmonization of international trade law. It would urge States to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to those conventions, according to the terms of one of the draft resolutions on UNCITRAL.

By a third draft approved by the Committee on the administration of justice at the United Nations -- the General Assembly would decide to amend a provision of the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal to ensure that its seven members “possess judicial experience in the field of administrative law or its equivalent within the member’s national jurisdiction”. The proposed amendment would take effect from 1 January 2004.

Also today, the Committee continued its debate on the question of cloning. Before the Committee are two draft resolutions. One sponsored by Costa Rica would have the Assembly urge elaboration of a comprehensive convention against all human cloning. The other, sponsored by Belgium, would have the Assembly urge elaboration of a specific Convention against the cloning of human beings for reproductive purposes.

Delegations today urged a consensus against the cloning of humans. The debate centres on the approach to banning human cloning. Some delegations advocate a step-by-step approach. They advocate the immediate elaboration of a convention against reproductive cloning, allowing the implications of scientific research to be studied and other instruments to be elaborated to cover those aspects. Other delegates held that a ban on reproductive cloning was not broad enough to cover the technology that ultimately led to the cloning of a human.

There were calls for consensus on one or the other approach. Some delegates said the urgency of the moral and ethical implications rendered consensus a secondary concern. Senegal’s representative warned of holding out for consensus on a comprehensive convention only to stand by and observe “a slippage into disaster”.

The Chairman announced that representatives of both sides would meet in an attempt to bridge the broad gap in views prior to the taking of action on either resolution.

Also speaking on that issue were the representatives of San Marino, Cuba, Liechtenstein, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile, United Republic of Tanzania, Monaco, Morocco, Gambia, Singapore, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Grenada, Thailand, Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Austria, China, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, United States, Philippines, Cyprus, Germany, Lesotho, Greece, Italy, Australia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malawi, Fiji and Nepal.

The Observer of the Holy See also spoke.

Also today, the Committee took up and finished its consideration of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property. Austria’s representative as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, introduced the report. He said significant progress had been made in the agreement on the five outstanding issues in the 22 draft articles which had been before the United Nations for 25 years.

Delegations called for the adoption of the articles as a convention by the General Assembly. They called for the reconvening of the Ad Hoc Committee in early spring, not for reopening of discussions, but for finalizing the preambular and concluding provisions of the articles.

Speaking on that matter were the representatives of Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Norway, Peru (on behalf of the Rio Group), Australia, Japan, China, Republic of Korea, United States and the Russian Federation.

Finally, the Committee today heard the introduction of a draft resolution on the International Criminal Court by the representative of the Netherlands, where the Court is based.

The Sixth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 23 October, to continue its debate on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property, to take action on drafts and to begin its debate on the scope of protection of United Nations and associated personnel.

Background

The Sixth Committee met this morning to continue debate on an international convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings. The Committee was also expected to take action on two draft resolutions concerning the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and on a draft resolution related to the administration of justice at the United Nations.

Drafts on Cloning Convention

The Committee has before it a draft resolution on an International Convention against human cloning (document A/C.6/58/L.2). By this resolution, the Assembly would request the Ad Hoc Committee on the matter to reconvene and prepare on an urgent basis a draft text of the convention, bearing in mind that it will not prohibit the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce DNA molecules and related matter other than human. It would recommend that work on the convention continue during the next Assembly session.

Also before the Committee is a draft on the International Convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings (document A/C.6/58/L.8). By this resolution, the Assembly would decide that the Ad Hoc Committee on the matter would reconvene and prepare on an urgent basis, and if possible by the end of 2004, a draft on the reproductive cloning of human beings. It would request the Ad Hoc Committee to include elements such as an obligation to ban reproductive cloning of humans and to take control of other forms of human cloning by adopting a ban, imposing a moratorium or adopting legislation.

The report of the Working Group on the International Convention (document A/C.6/58/L.9) summarizes the work of the session held from 29 September to 3 October.

Draft resolution on UNCITRAL report

The draft resolution entitled Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the work of its thirty-sixth session” (document A/C.6/58/L.11) would have the General Assembly take note with satisfaction the adoption by INCITRAL of a draft Model Legislative Provisions on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects at its recent thirty-sixth session.

By the text of draft resolution, the Assembly would commend the Commission for its approval in principle of the draft legislative guide text on insolvency law, elaborated in cooperation with other international organizations, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the International Bar Association and the International Federation of Insolvency Professionals. The Assembly would request that the draft legislative guide be made available for comment to Member States and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as to the private sector, regional organizations and individual experts.

By the text, the General Assembly would commend UNCITRAL for the progress made in the work on the draft legislative guide on secured transactions, on model legislative provisions on interim measures in international commercial arbitration, and on issues of electronic contracting and transport law.

The General Assembly would stress the importance of bringing into effect the conventions emanating from the Commission’s work for global unification and harmonization of international trade law, and to that end would urge States to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to those conventions.

Draft resolution on Model Legislative Provisions

By a draft resolution entitled “Model Legislative Provisions on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law” (document A/C.6/58/L.12) the General Assembly would express its appreciation to the Commission for adopting the instrument, the text of which is contained in annex 1 of the report of the Commission’s thirty-sixth session.

The General Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to publish the Model Legislative Provisions and to make all efforts to ensure that the instrument, along with the UNCITRAL legislative guide on privately financed projects, become generally known and available. The General Assembly would ask all States to consider the two texts when revising or adopting legislation on private participation in the development and operation of public infrastructures.

Draft resolution on the administration of justice

A draft resolution entitled Administration of justice at the United Nations” (document A/C.6/58/L.7) would have the General Assembly decide to amend the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal with effect from 1 January 2004, as follows:

Article 3, paragraph 1, shall be amended to read:

“The Tribunal shall be composed of seven members, no two of whom may be nationals of the same State. Members shall possess judicial experience in the field of administrative law or its equivalent within the member’s national jurisdiction. Only three members shall sit in any particular case”.

Statements on Human Cloning

GIAN NICOLA FILIPPI BALESTRA (San Marino) said he was a co-sponsor on the draft resolution, sponsored by Costa Rica, for a convention to ban all types of human cloning. He said his country insisted on a comprehensive ban on all human cloning and could not give approval to research that was adverse to the dignity of the human being, by creating humans or parts. Diversity was a hallmark of discussion. However, consensus on safeguarding the dignity of human life was essential.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said reproductive human cloning was an ethically unacceptable idea. Biotechnology should be used for good. Cloning was not yet within human control, but even if the technology were more advanced, he would vote against any text that allowed human cloning for reproductive purposes. However, regulation should not imply a restriction on science. Cloning could resolve problems such as brain degenerative diseases. He had co-sponsored the resolution introduced by Belgium that called for an urgent ban on reproductive cloning and control on other forms.

STEFAN BARRIGA (Liechtenstein) regretted the polarization in the Committee over the issue. It was regrettable, for the sake of progress in the elaboration of the convention, but also for the sake of the future work of the Sixth Committee, in general. There was great interest in the beginning of substantial negotiations on a legal instrument covering all aspects of human cloning. He supported the convening of an Ad Hoc Committee for the elaboration of a convention on human cloning with a broad mandate to reach consensus. The Ad Hoc Committee could provide a forum in the search of a consensus. In the absence of a consensus on the mandate, more informal ways of continuing the discussion would be advisable, such as through a facilitator.

ELIZABETH WOODESON (United Kingdom) said her country was totally opposed to reproductive cloning, and was one of the first to introduce specific legislation to ban the possibility of the creation of a living human child. However, in its view, therapeutic cloning was a different matter. It involved the creation of an embryo through cell nuclear replacement for the purpose of research into serious disease. The United Kingdom would not be party to any convention which aimed to introduce a global ban on therapeutic cloning. However, it would work at the United Nations to achieve a worldwide ban on reproductive cloning. It would like to see a way forward that accommodated the different viewpoints on therapeutic cloning. It therefore co-sponsored the Belgian resolution, which called for a ban on reproductive cloning, but allowed countries to control therapeutic cloning.

JÜRG LAUBER (Switzerland) said his country believed the issue was urgent, requiring action to ban human cloning, which was contrary to human dignity. Its delegation had noted a consensus within the international community for an immediate ban on human reproductive cloning. That consensus should have enabled the working group to complete its task. That was why Switzerland regretted that the working group’s work was not successful. His country supported the Belgian text, which seemed to be a compromise.

MANUEL ACOSTA BONILLA (Honduras) said his country did not have specific legislation on human reproductive cloning. He fully agreed with a statement a representative of the Holy See had made in the working group, calling for a ban on human reproductive cloning. Honduras considered that a complete ban was the way to go.

PEDRO ORTUZAR (Chile) reiterated his country’s opposition to human reproductive and therapeutic cloning. His country had deep respect for human dignity and believed that it could not be rendered void by any other type of interest or reasoning, such as scientific or medical research, which could perfectly be undertaken using other techniques. Chile would co-sponsor the Costa Rica text.

ANDY MWANDEMBWA (United Republic of Tanzania) said his country favoured the elaboration of an international convention calling for a comprehensive ban on both reproductive human cloning and human cloning for therapeutic and experimental purposes. Since the technology involved was the same, he added, a partial ban on reproductive cloning would not be effective and would send the wrong signal by implicitly authorizing the creation and destruction of human embryos for experimentation.

He noted, that trying to distinguish between reproductive cloning and research or therapeutic cloning, was only an attempt to hide the fact that a human being was being created for the purpose of destroying it, in order to produce embryonic stem cells or to carry out other scientific experiments. The substantial resources, which were expended on cloning, should be diverted to the real crises, such as HIV/AIDS, faced by developing countries.

MICHEL BORGHINI (Monaco) said his country had banned all forms of human cloning, but there were countries that had no legislation against it. Those countries would leave the loopholes enabling the unscrupulous to attempt to clone humans. While he would be in favour of a total ban on all forms of human cloning, he could join a consensus on the convention banning reproductive cloning at least to prevent that.

KARIM MEDREK (Morocco) said the international community must act urgently and without delay to avoid the occurrence of any deviance in human society. Cloning represented a risk that could cause the deterioration of mankind. There was a consensus on recognizing that human cloning was a troublesome aspect of biotechnology but there was divergence about the approach to take. Some favoured the comprehensive approach of total banning, while others favoured a targeted step-by-step approach, immediately banning reproductive cloning. He said an urgent text was needed to fill the legal vacuum that could lead to the cloning of a human being. A binding consensual document was needed to penalize the activity. Above all, the Committee must avoid a vote; only consensus would send a clear message to all those who would take advantage of the legal vacuum. The Ad Hoc Committee should be reconvened to achieve that consensus.

CRISPIN GREY-JOHNSON (Gambia) said all forms of cloning should be resisted by all. Scientific and technological research must be conducted in a way that took into account the essence of humanity and protected its dignity. It was more important to take the time to make sure there was no violation to the dignity of humanity, than to be precipitate and to open the door to a grave error.

KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said he had made his position clear: humans could experiment with animals, but not with humans. There was unanimous agreement on human life being separate from animal life. There was also unanimous agreement that human cloning was wrong. It was time for all to come together and say that reproductive cloning was wrong. The issue before the Committee was ethical, not political. The grand scale of the ethical implications called for other issues to be put aside. While, all were agreed on the sacredness of life, there was no unanimous agreement on when it began. While, some held that cloning for therapeutic purposes was not dealing with human life, it was high time to state that reproductive cloning must be banned while other aspects were worked out.

ELANA GEDDIS (New Zealand) said reproductive cloning of human individuals by artificial means was ethically unacceptable and contrary to human dignity. Legislation prohibiting reproductive cloning was currently under consideration in New Zealand’s parliament.

She said her country had not yet had the opportunity to conclude consideration of the advantages and disadvantages presented by the use of cloning for therapeutic and research purposes, and it planned to consult with scientific and ethical experts, and also the public, about non-reproductive cloning and embryo-splitting. For this reason, New Zealand was unable to support the commencement of negotiations on a broader ban on all forms of cloning at this stage.

ANDRZEJ MAKAREWICZ (Poland) supported a ban on all cloning of human embryos, both for reproductive and therapeutic or experimental purposes. He said that banning reproductive cloning only, without prohibiting research cloning, would be to allow the production of individual human lives with the intention of destroying these lives in order to use them for scientific research.

He noted that the current discussion on ethics and legal regulations on human cloning seemed to be taking place before there were accomplished facts, and he emphasized his delegation’s readiness to search for a broad consensus to deal with the problem of human cloning.

ALVARO ALBACETE (Spain) said the mere postponement of action on the issue would tarnish the credibility of the United Nations in fulfilling the tasks entrusted to it. There was an urgent need for the issue to be addressed now. Spain supported the Costa Rica text which was gaining wide support. His delegation would continue to work towards a convention that would satisfy the entire international community.

SEBASTÃO JOSÉ POVOAS (Portugal) said that only by banning all forms of cloning could the international community prevent risks to the dignity of women, and provide the world with confidence and protection of human values.

LAMUEL STANISLAUS (Grenada), said his country was in favour of the elaboration of a comprehensive international convention banning human embryonic cloning, both for reproductive and for therapeutic or experimental purposes. Instead, Grenada supported the less problematic research into the procurement of adult stem cells from blood and brain tissues, human placentas and fetuses from spontaneous abortion and stillbirths.

He said that adult stem cell research did not provoke the ethical, scientific, philosophical, legal and moral considerations posed by the procurement of embryonic stem cells.

PHUCHPHOP MONGKOLNAVIN (Thailand) said the Committee’s aim was to elaborate a convention to ban the cloning of human beings. There must be consensus, and delegates should spare no effort to come to a consensus on that ban.

ELIN MILLER (Sweden) said the outcome of the deliberations in the working group and the continuing discussions in the Committee had been a disappointment. The discussions, she added, had reflected different backgrounds and different moral, ethical and religious values. In addition, the complexity of this scientifically advanced and fast developing issue had not helped, and the group had not been able to reach a common view on matters regarding cloning.

She emphasized that a negotiating mandate should reflect the diversities of the world today and should be based on consensus. A mandate not based on consensus could never produce universally binding norms, and would defeat its own purpose.

KENICHI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said his delegation co-sponsored the Belgian draft resolution because it believed that text was most likely to produce a broad base, on which a convention with universal adherence could be negotiated. It believed that text also allowed for choice rather than imposition of a particular viewpoint. The Committee should continue to explore ways to achieve consensus. Therefore, no premature action should be taken on the matter.

ALFONSO ASCENCIO (Mexico) believed that the Sixth Committee should act with resolve on the question, protecting the integrity of the human being. The freedom of scientific research should not be restricted, but respect for human dignity should be protected. The issue should remain on the United Nations agenda; Mexico rejected the idea of its being switched to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Compromises and consensus were the only way to go. His delegation would consider any initiatives which would provide a balance leading to a consensus.

ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria) said he fully supported the efforts to achieve a worldwide comprehensive ban on the cloning of human beings. Austria, he added, was flexible on how to achieve this goal and was willing to start negotiating a comprehensive ban immediately, or to start by negotiating a ban on reproductive cloning first and subsequently to negotiate a total ban.

He said an international convention would constitute a positive result only if it were signed, ratified and implemented by as many States as possible. Austria hoped that a way forward would be identified on which the Committee as a whole could agree.

GUAN JIAN (China) said he supported the immediate adoption of a convention to ban reproductive cloning.

JOSÉ LUÍS GUTERRES (Timor-Leste) said he firmly believed that the cloning of human beings for reproductive or experimental purposes, was unethical and morally unacceptable, and it could not, under any circumstances, be justified.

He said scientific research had contributed to the good of humanity, but the balance between the need for research and the need to respect human dignity could be jeopardized by biotechnological cloning techniques.

ARIF HAVAS OEGROSENO (Indonesia) said that it would be irresponsible for the international community not to address, as a matter of urgency, the lack of an internationally binding instrument on the banning of reproductive cloning of human beings.

He remarked that the different approaches to therapeutic cloning reflected different ethical, social, legal, religious and philosophical views, and it would, therefore, be unwise to impose one’s own beliefs upon others. Indonesia, he added, was of the view that research on therapeutic cloning should be undertaken only under the strictest regulations and control.

CAROLYN L. WILLSON (United States) said she opposed all forms of human cloning for any purpose. There were other ways of accomplishing the scientific ends that did not present the ethical problems of working with human clones. A convention banning all forms of human cloning would send a strong message. Some would want to condone some forms of cloning, so as to make a windfall in the biotechnology field. Should those States sway the Committee for commercial purposes? The convention, not consensus, was the goal, she said. If a delegation requested a vote, it would not be the first time. The draft resolution of Costa Rica was the road to banning all cloning of humans.

ANACLETO REI A. LACANILAO (Philippines) said he fully supported the draft on the comprehensive convention banning all cloning. That was the only way to go beyond paying lip service to the dignity of the human. The cloning of a human was a single process; there was not one way of cloning for science and another for reproduction. The science was the same. There were also no two ways about cloning; delegations could either ban or condone it. Banning one form of human cloning gave the impression that others were acceptable. If research cloning was permitted, it was just a matter of time before a human embryo was implanted and became a human.

ANDREW J. JACOVIDES (Cyprus) said his country was firmly opposed to human reproductive cloning. At the national level, it had been banned. Reproductive cloning was unethical and illegal. He expressed sincere appreciation to France and Germany for their original initiative on the convention on the banning of human reproductive cloning. He noted that the Belgian text was intended as a compromise. He was convinced that a mandate for a convention, which aimed at universality, could only be based on consensus if it were to prove effective. While, recognizing the divergent points of view that existed, he urged that a way should be found to avoid voting and reaching consensus.

CHRISTIAN MUCH (Germany), speaking also for France, said the two countries had twice modified their initiative of two years ago, in an attempt to accommodate other delegations. They had been arguing in favour of solutions that could achieve worldwide consensus, rather than attempting to elevate national laws. They continued to believe that for the United Nations, consensus was the right approach on the question of cloning. He urged the exploration of solutions that could be adopted by consensus.

LINEO KHIBA MATEKANE (Lesotho) supported a complete ban on reproductive cloning, noting that there were serious moral questions involved in therapeutic cloning. She hoped that a prudent conclusion would be reached at, over the issue.

MARIA TELALIAN (Greece) said she strongly believed that the United Nations should take the lead, and proceed with the early elaboration of a universal comprehensive convention banning reproductive human cloning. Greece respected the divergent views on the question, but the practice of arriving at decisions by consensus, should be preserved.

GIUSEPPE NESI (Italy) favoured a total ban on human cloning and on all other forms of cloning. Italy could not accept a distinction between reproductive and therapeutic cloning. It had co-sponsored draft resolution A/C6/58/L2 and would continue to support and vote for it.

CHEIKH TIDIANE THIAM (Senegal) said he concurred with the delegations that had submitted papers on the human reproductive cloning convention. He hoped those urging consensus would break out of, what seemed to be, an impasse. If consensus were to be embraced, it could only be hoped the Committee would not need to stand by and observe a slippage into a disaster. In other words, the silence of the laboratory could give rise to millions of cloned human embryos. Then, it was a matter of time before it was found implanted and grown into a human. For those who were concerned about the future of science, a protocol could be added to the convention, so as to keep technology aligned with moral and ethical values.

MICHAEL BLISS (Australia) said he continued to support the elaboration of a convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings. Australia, he added, was working towards a convention consistent with its domestic legislative approach, as contained in the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002, which banned reproductive cloning and other forms of human cloning.

He said the Belgian draft resolution would allow an early international ban on human reproductive cloning, and would also allow States to support proposals for a ban or moratorium on -- or strict regulation of -- other forms of human cloning, while leaving some flexibility as to the exact manner in which that was done. He urged all States to continue to work together to find a mutually acceptable solution.

ALLIEU IBRAHIM KANU (Sierra Leone) said he supported the comprehensive cloning resolution unequivocally. In fact, the people he represented felt so strongly about the issue that he had received explicit instructions on the matter this morning. Delegations were agreed that human cloning was wrong, but there was no guarantee that therapeutic cloning would not be misused by the unscrupulous to do just that. The women who would be the objects for those people would, as usual, be the poor ones. There was no point in a convention that left the door open for disaster.

ARCHBISHOP CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Observer of the Holy See, reaffirmed that only a comprehensive convention on human cloning could address all the related issues and respond to the challenges on this topic. While, a partial convention might address temporarily, some issues related to human cloning, it could subsequently generate greater problems. Hence, he added, the most durable solution should be an all-inclusive legal instrument. Such an instrument could guide and enable States to formulate appropriate domestic legislation on human cloning.

He said that while the science surrounding cloning might be complex, the issue was simple and straightforward. He added that if reproductive cloning of human beings contravened the law of nature, a principle with which all delegations appeared to agree, so did the cloning of the same human embryo that was slated for research purposes.

When the Committee met again this afternoon, FELIX E. AWANBOR (Nigeria) said his country considered the issue of human cloning as morally repugnant and an undeserved assault on human dignity, and should therefore be banned in all its forms. Nigeria was concerned that developing countries, particularly in Africa, were most likely to be at risk as easy targets to source the billions of embryos required for embryonic stem cells experimentation, and cloning procedures, which he described as “scientific misadventure”. As a result of prevalent poverty and ignorance, women from those societies were likely to be used as guinea pigs in experiments. Nigeria believed that the enormous resources invested in those experiments should, instead, be redirected to facilitate sustainable development efforts.

HASTINGS AMURANI-PHIRI (Malawi) said reproductive cloning should not be allowed. Malawi recognized the potential benefit in therapeutic cloning. However, research and therapeutic activities should be carefully controlled. Although, the human cloning technology had not yet been introduced in his country, the Malawi Government requested the United Nations to assist Member States, particularly those from developing countries, including his own, in developing the capacity to monitor human cloning activities.

ASENACA ULUIVITI (Fiji) said she supported the resolution urging a comprehensive ban on cloning. The rights of children, women and the disabled, were at stake. He said only the rich, developed, industrialized countries would benefit from cloning; developing countries would bear the burden. Science must not be a dictator but, a servant to humankind. The aims of science must be brought into balance by social scientists, indigenous people and morality. The resolution on a comprehensive ban was a well-balanced document that protected human dignity, and yet allowed room for scientific concerns.

RAM BABU DHAKAL (Nepal) encouraged all countries to find common ground on protecting people and advancing science. He said reproductive cloning must be banned. Stem cell research continued to show promise but, it was an uncertain area. There must be a binding convention. While, his country supported scientific effort, there must not be tampering with nature and nothing must ever impact negatively on human dignity. Negotiations should go forward on those areas where there was agreement. Reproductive cloning should be banned immediately while other considerations of the question were examined.

Jurisdictional immunities of States and their property

Before the Committee this afternoon was a report on the jurisdictional immunities of states and their property, (document A/58/22), by the Ad Hoc Committee on the matter. It concerns a projected convention on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property based on 22 draft articles the International Law Commission adopted in 1991.

According to the report, agreement was reached on all the remaining issues at the Committee’s latest session at Headquarters from 24 to 28 February. The text and understandings of some provisions were subsequently adopted. The Ad Hoc Committee recommends that the General Assembly should decide on the form of the draft articles. If adopted as a convention, a preamble and final clauses would be needed, as well as a general provision on the relationship between the articles and other related international agreements.

The outstanding issues which were resolved included the criteria for determining the commercial character of a contract or transaction undertaken under State authority, and the concept of an independent State enterprise or other entity in relation to commercial transactions. Other issues covered, concerned contracts of employment of individuals exercising governmental authority and the question of non-applicability of the draft articles to criminal proceedings, and their relationship with other agreements. Pending issues also resolved concerned ownership, possession and use of property; intellectual and industrial property; effect of an arbitration agreement, and State immunity from pre-judgement measures of constraint.

GERHARD HAFNER (Austria), Chairman of the Working Group of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their property, introducing the report, said it made significant progress. It resolved all outstanding issues on the draft articles, which had not been settled within the United Nations for about 25 years. The successful outcome represented an important step. It was the willingness of all delegations to compromise that paved the way for the positive outcome, he stressed.

LAURO LIBOON BAJA, Chairman of the Sixth Committee, said the fact that the Ad Hoc Committee was able to resolve all outstanding issues concerning the draft articles was a remarkable achievement.

Statements on Jurisdictional Immunities

GIUSEPPE NESI (Italy), speaking for the European Union and associated countries, said the adoption of the draft articles and understandings was a successful outcome, concluding a long process of difficult negotiations. The time was ripe for incorporating them into a legally binding instrument to provide legal certainty on the complex issue. An Ad Hoc Committee should be given the mandate to elaborate the preamble and final clauses without reopening the agreed texts, which should form an integral part of the convention, as an annex, for example.

WEGGER STROMMEN (Norway) said his delegation was among those which did not have a tradition of legislating the extent of State immunities. Instead of relying on a national Sovereign Immunities Act, national courts interpreted international law with a view to deciding the limitations on the application of national laws with regard to a foreign State. Concluding a treaty regulating those important issues would significantly assist the Courts and promote clarity and legal certainty. He favoured adopting the convention on the basis of the careful compromise achieved. It should not be a difficult or time-consuming task.

MARCO BALAREZO (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group of countries, said the Group was satisfied that their concerns and aspirations had been taken into consideration. Agreement on approving the draft articles was itself a significant milestone. It was the first step in the right direction. Now, efforts must be consistently turned towards the needed agreement on defining the instrument to contain the articles. The Group was in favour of adopting them as an international convention. The legal statute of an instrument in that category would strengthen its acceptance by States.

MICHAEL BLISS (Australia) said his delegation supported the timely adoption of a convention, by the General Assembly, on the basis of the revised text of the draft articles and the understandings reached on certain provisions of the draft articles. Given outstanding questions concerning those clauses, his delegation would support the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee with a mandate to prepare a preamble and final clauses acceptable to all States.

CHUSEI YAMADA (Japan) said the Assembly should endorse the draft substantive articles. Japan, in principle, favoured their adoption as a convention. It hoped that the Ad Hoc Committee would be reconvened with a mandate to formulate a preamble, final clauses and possibly a simple dispute-settlement provision.

LIU ZHENMIN (China) said the text was not satisfactory and perfect, as expected. However, China was fully aware that the text, as it now stood, represented the best possible result that could be achieved. The subject was an important one of international law. China favoured an international convention, based on the draft articles.

HAHN MYUNG-JAE (Republic of Korea) said an Ad Hoc Committee should convene next spring, not for the sake of opening up areas already resolved, but to prepare a draft preamble and closing provisions.

ERIC ROSAND (United States) said that while views varied on domestic applications of the issue, there was no question on areas touching the international aspects. The draft articles were not without drawbacks. There was some question as to whether they were specific enough in certain difficult areas of international law. Uncertainty was strongest with regard to remedies, immunity to liability and definition and scope. Perhaps the Assembly should continue imposing principles in a nonbinding way. In any event, adequate time should be taken to make sure the preambular work covered concerns.

VLADIMIR TARABRIN (Russian Federation) said the Ad Hoc Committee session had been productive. The articles should become a convention that could already be adopted at the current Assembly session. However, given the circumstances, he would support convening the Ad Hoc Committee in the spring to conclude the work and not to reopen discussion. Only the draft preamble and closing provisions were under consideration. The convention should be endowed with interstate dispute settlement provisions, such as options for being referred to the International Court of Justice or a tribunal.

Introduction of draft on International Criminal Court

The representative of the Netherlands introduced a draft resolution on the International Criminal Court. The draft (document A/C.6/58/L.14) would have the General Assembly invite the Secretary-General to take steps to conclude a relationship agreement between the United Nations and the International Criminal Court and to present the negotiated draft agreement to the Assembly for approval.

By the draft text, the Assembly would call upon States to consider, without delay, ratifying or acceding to the Rome Statute of the Court. All States would also be called upon to consider becoming party to the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court, without delay. The Assembly would also encourage efforts to promote awareness of the results of the 1998 United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rome, which led to the establishment of the Court, with headquarters at The Hague, Netherlands.

Introduction and action on UNCITRAL drafts

The representative of Austria introduced the omnibus draft on UNCITRAL’s report (A/C.6/58/L.11). The Committee approved the draft on the text, by consensus, without a vote.

The draft resolution on “Model Legislative Provisions on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law” contained in document A/C.6/58/12 was also introduced by the representative of Austria. The draft was approved by consensus without a vote.

Action on administration of justice

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on “Administration of justice at the United Nations” (document A/C.6/58/L.7). The Chairman of the Committee recalled that the representative of Syria had, at an earlier meeting, raised a procedural point regarding the form the Sixth Committee action on the draft would take. The Chairman noted, in response, that today’s action on the text would be communicated to the Chairman of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). The draft was approved without a vote.
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