|Statement by Mr. Huang Huikang, Director-General, Department of Treaty and Law Ministry of Foreign Affairs of ChinaAt the Sixth Committee of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly On Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of its 63rd Session (Part I: Chapters I-III, IV&V)|
Today is the first time that I take the floor in Sixth Committee. At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you on your election as the Chairman of the Sixth Committee. I am convinced that under your leadership, the work of the Committee will achieve an fruitful result. My congratulation also goes to the other members of the Bureau for their elections.
Yesterday, Mr. Kamto, Chairman of the 63rd session of the International Law Commission made an excellent introduction to the work of the Commission, for which I want to thank him. Meanwhile, I also want to thank Mr. Perera, the Special Rapporteur who prepared the Report on the work of the ILC.
This year is the last year of the current term of members of the ILC. During this term, the Commission adopted the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations and the associated commentaries, the Draft Articles on the Effects of Armed Conflicts on Treaties and the Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties. It also initiated discussions on protection of persons in the event of disasters, immunity of state officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction, treaties over time and the most-favored-nations clause. It is fair to say that in general the Chinese delegation is satisfied with the work of the Commission. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the Commission for investing their wisdom and energy in the work. Meanwhile, it shall be pointed out that some highlighted problems exist in the work of the Commission. For example, certain topics have costed too much time and energy of the Commission, some outcome documents are too long and over academic. It's necessary for the Commission to further improve its working methods and enhance efficiency in the future, and to ensure its outcome documents both practical and pragmatic while maintaining academic rigor. After the creation of the new Commission, the General Assembly should strengthen its political guidance to the Commission, in particular on the selection of new topics.
The Chinese delegation has noted that the Commission has added five new items to its long term program of work, namely, formation and evidence of customary international law, protection of the atmosphere, provisional application of treaties, the fair and equitable treatment standard in international investment law and protection of environment in relation to armed conflicts. The Chinese delegation welcomes the study of new topics by the Commission which are of significance in providing guidance to practice. We hope that the Commission could benefit from the comments of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, fulfill its mandate granted by the General Assembly, and make greater contribution to the codification and progressive development of international law.
With respect to the topic of Reservations to Treaties, the Chinese delegation welcomes the adoption of the Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties and its commentaries by the Commission this year. I have the honor to Congratulate Mr. Alain Pellet and thank him for the continuous work done on the Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties. From a general point of view, this document sorted out a large amount of theories and cases, which is conducive to academic study and practice in this field. However, we are concerned about some guidelines which intend to develop the current rules. For example, the approach of affirmative presumption adopted by guideline 4.5.3 perhaps is not compatible with the principle of state consent in treaty law. In addition, the Guide is too complicated in terms of contents to be used in practice. As to the establishment of reservation assistance mechanism, the Chinese delegation concurs with the comments of other delegations in doubting the necessity of establishing of such a mechanism. The Chinese delegation will present further concrete comments during the 67th Session of the General Assembly in next year.
As to the topic of the Responsibility of International Organizations, the Chinese delegation welcomes the adoption by the 63rd session of the International Law Commission of the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations and their commentaries on second reading and thanks Mr.Giorgio Gaja for his work. This set of Draft Articles, in our view, represents another major progress in the codification and development of international law relating to international responsibility following the adoption of the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States. It is also a significant outcome of the Commission’s work in recent years.
The Chinese delegation has taken note of the comments made in accordance with relevant GA resolutions by a large number of countries and over 20 international organizations including the United Nations on the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations after its first reading. Some comments pointed out that the overall structure of these Draft Articles should not be identical with that of the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States since international organizations are different from states. In addition, different international organizations have different rules and purposes and their relationship with their members and non-members also varies. Therefore, it is doubtful if uniform rules of international responsibility are applicable to all of them.
Responsibility of international organizations is a relatively new issue in international law, and there is not yet sufficient practice in this aspect. The comments made by governments and international organizations also demonstrate that the international community has not yet reached a consensus on the relevant rules of responsibility of international organizations. The Chinese delegation is of the view that, while imperfect, the current draft articles sorted out practice, cases and literature, which is conductive to the practical work and academic research in this area, and has laid a good foundation for us to discuss further the responsibility of international organizations and provide guidance to the activities of international organizations. Therefore, the Chinese delegation is in favor of putting the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations and their commentaries adopted by the Commission on 2nd reading in the annex of the relevant GA resolution. We’re ready to work together with other delegations to discuss further the issue of responsibility of international organizations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.