GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECIDES TO INCLUDE ITEM ON REPRODUCTIVE CLONING IN ITS AGENDA FOR 59TH SESSION IN 2004

Autor: ---- Fuente: United Nations International

Legal Committee Issues Decisions Taken on 17 Texts Concerning
Terrorism, Protection of UN Workers, Justice Administration, International Trade Law

Following intensive negotiations among concerned delegations, the General Assembly this morning decided by consensus not to take action on two proposals before it on the question of an international convention on reproductive human cloning, and instead adopted a consensus agreement to include the item in the agenda of its fifty-ninth session in 2004.

The Assembly took the decision read by its President Julian R. Hunte, as it considered reports of its Sixth Committee (Legal). Those included 16 draft resolutions covering legal aspects of a wide range of issues such as protection of United Nations staff and humanitarian workers and administration of justice at the United Nations. The reports also contained the only draft decision approved by the Committee concerning future discussion of the progressive development of the principles and norms of international law relating to the new international economic order.

On the question of human cloning, the Assembly had before it the Committee’s recommendation to adjourn debate on the item until the Assembly’s sixtieth session in 2005. It also had a draft resolution by advocates of a ban on all forms of human cloning to have the Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on the subject reconvene during the Assembly’s fifty-ninth session. The item would have been included in the Assembly’s preliminary agenda as an international convention on human cloning, rather than specifying reproductive cloning.

By that resolution, the Assembly would also have solemnly declared that, pending the adoption of an international convention against human cloning, States would prohibit any research, experiment, development or application in their territories of any technique aimed at human cloning.

Speaking on the item, the United Kingdom representative said his country was “profoundly disappointed” by the actions of those who had sought to overturn the Committee’s vote on 6 November recommending the deferral of debate on the subject for two years. He said all types of stem cell research, including therapeutic cloning, should be encouraged. His country would never be party to any convention aimed to introduce a global ban on therapeutic cloning.

Egypt’s representative said he’d gone along with the consensus but had concerns about the plenary’s decision to not follow the Committee’s recommendation. The decision was procedurally questionable and could set a bad precedent.

In other actions this morning, the Assembly urged States to take all necessary measures to prevent crimes against United Nations staff and humanitarian workers and to ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice. Acting on a draft resolution relating to the scope of the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, the Assembly urged the Secretary-General and relevant bodies to continue to take practical measures to strengthen protection for those personnel, including locally recruited ones, who were most vulnerable to such attacks.

Adopting a resolution on measures to eliminate international terrorism, the Assembly urged all States to become party to the relevant conventions and protocols, as a matter of priority. It decided that its Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism should meet from 28 June to 2 July 2004 to continue urgently to elaborate a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The Committee was also to continue efforts to resolve the outstanding issues related to a draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.

Acting on other texts, the Assembly recommended that States should consider the Model Legislative Provisions on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects and its Legislative Guide when revising or adopting relevant legislation. Both had been elaborated by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the body charged with elaborating legal texts. In one of two drafts on the Commission’s 2003 session, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to publish the Model Legislative Provisions. It commended the Commission for approving in principle the draft legislative guide on insolvency law, worked out in close cooperation with other international organizations.

The host country of the United Nations Headquarters (United States) was asked by the Assembly to continue to take all measures to prevent any interference with the functioning of diplomatic missions, by a resolution covering the work of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. The Assembly welcomed the Committee’s decision to conduct a detailed review of the implementation of the year-old Parking Programme for Diplomatic Vehicles. Problems related to the programme dominated the Committee’s agenda during the year.

The representative of Cuba, speaking after the adoption of the resolution, said the host country continued to interfere with the work of her mission by, for example, delaying the issuance of visas for officials to attend sessions of the United Nations and meetings related to the Organization’s activities.

The Assembly, adopting one of two resolutions on the 2003 session of the Special Committee on the Charter and on Strengthening the Role of the Organization, decided that further elaboration of effective measures to implement the Charter provisions on assistance to third States affected by sanctions should be considered within the Committee, or a working group of it, at the Assembly’s next session.

Action on the other draft resolution in that report was postponed to a later date for the Fifth Committee (Administrative, and Budgetary) to review its programme budget implications. The draft resolution, among other things, would have the Assembly encourage the Secretary-General in efforts to eliminate the backlog in the publication of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, including by exploring options involving cooperation with academic institutions to achieve their timely publication.

A text adopted by the Assembly recommended that the International Law Commission should continue work on the topics in its current programme, such as responsibility of international organizations and shared natural resources and diplomatic protection, taking into account the comments of governments. It reiterated the invitation to governments to provide information on State practice on “unilateral acts” and some other specific topics on the Commission’s agenda.

By a resolution on the newly operational International Criminal Court, the General Assembly called upon States to consider ratifying or acceding without delay to the Rome Statute of the Court. States were also called upon to consider becoming parties to the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court. The Assembly, by the text, invited the Secretary-General to take steps to ensure the conclusion of a relationship agreement between the United Nations and the Court, based at The Hague.

Explaining its position, the representative of the United States said that, for reasons already stated in the Committee, her country would not be part of the consensus adoption of the resolution.

By a text on the administration of justice at the United Nations, the Assembly decided to amend the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal with effect from 1 January 2004, to ensure that the Tribunal’s seven members “possess judicial or other relevant legal experience in the field of administrative law or its equivalent within the member’s national jurisdiction”.

The General Assembly approved guidelines and recommendations on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law embodied in a report of the Secretary-General, and authorized him to carry out the activities listed for 2004-2005, including the award of fellowships, scholarships and travel grants. The Assembly requested him to publicize the Programme and to invite voluntary contributions.

The Assembly also decided that the Ad Hoc Committee on the Convention on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property should be reconvened from 1 to 5 March 2004 with a mandate to formulate a preamble and final clauses of the instrument. The Ad Hoc Committee completed work on the instrument’s draft articles this year.

By four texts also adopted this morning, the Assembly decided to invite the following organizations to participate in its sessions and work as observers: the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance; the Eurasian Economic Community (comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation and Tajikistan, with Armenia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova as observers); GUUAM (comprising Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan); and the East African Community (grouping Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania).

Speaking on that item, the representative of Sierra Leone said his delegation had not joined an earlier consensus in the Sixth Committee on the request of the Eurasian Economic Community because of lack of information about the organization. Since then, he had received information and would join the consensus in the plenary. The representative of Kazakhstan thanked the Assembly for its action and the organization’s Secretary-General also spoke.

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to consider the reports of its Sixth Committee (Legal) containing recommendations on issues ranging from administration of justice at the United Nations to reproductive cloning of human beings. On the issue of cloning, the Assembly would have before it the Sixth Committee’s recommendation that consideration of the item be deferred for two years until the Assembly’s sixtieth session in 2005, as well as a new draft resolution to be presented today by which the Assembly would, inter alia, request that the Ad Hoc Committee on the topic reconvene for a week during the Assembly’s fifty-ninth session.

The Sixth Committee’s other reports covered topics such as measures to eliminate international terrorism, international trade law, the establishment of the International Criminal Court and the scope of legal protection and safety of United Nations staff on missions and humanitarian workers.

Sixth Committee Reports

By a draft decision on the Progressive development of the principles and norms of international law relating to the new international economic order (document A/58/510), the General Assembly would take note of the item, and would further note that it could be considered in the future.

The Sixth Committee approved the draft decision without a vote on 4 November.

Under the terms of a draft resolution on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/58/511), the General Assembly would approve guidelines and recommendations for the Programme’s implementation in the biennium 2004-2005 specified in a report of the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General would be asked to publicize the Programme and invite voluntary contributions for its financing. The Secretary-General would be asked to report on the Programme’s implementation at the Assembly’s sixtieth session.

The Assembly would decide to appoint 25 Member States as members of the Programme’s Advisory Committee for a period of four years beginning on 1 January 2004.

The Sixth Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote on 4 November.

By a draft resolution on the Convention on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property (document A/58/512), the General Assembly would decide that its Ad Hoc Committee on the question should be reconvened from 1 to 5 March 2004 with a mandate to formulate a preamble and final clauses with a view to completing the instrument.

The Ad Hoc Committee, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 55/150 of 12 December 2000, is elaborating an instrument based on the draft articles on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property adopted by the International Law Commission at its forty-third session in 1991. The Ad Hoc Committee completed work on the 24 draft articles during its session this year.
The Sixth Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote on 4 November.

The Sixth Committee’s report on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the work of its thirty-sixth session (document A/58/513) contains two draft resolutions.

Draft Resolution I

By the terms of the text entitled Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the work of its thirty-sixth session, the General Assembly would, among other things, request the Commission and its secretariat to take the lead in assuring cooperation and coordination with relevant international institutions and organizations in the preparation of international legal texts.

It would request the Secretary-General to keep under review the level of resources available to the Commission to ensure its ability to carry out its mandate. The Assembly would appeal to governments, the relevant United Nations bodies, organizations, institutions and individuals to support the Commission’s training and legislative technical assistance programme, particularly in the developing countries, and to make voluntary contributions to the relevant trust funds.

It would commend the Commission for its approval in principle of the draft legislative guide on insolvency law, elaborated in close cooperation with other international organizations, including the World Bank, the International.
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