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.
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.
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.
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 Releases GA/L/3638.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism today, with many delegates disagreeing on how to finalize a comprehensive convention on the matter and develop a global response to a threat that has yet to be defined, particularly when identifying State-sponsored actions.
As the Sixth Committee (Legal) met to approve its work programme for the seventy-sixth session and begin its consideration of the Secretary-General report on measures to eliminate international terrorism, delegates welcomed the Organization’s coordinating role in the fight against the global threat and praised its updated counter-terrorism strategy.