NEW YORK, 8 NOVEMBER 2004
STATEMENT BY Ms. PATRÍCIA GALVÃO TELES, DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, TO THE SIXTH COMMITTEE OF THE 59th SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (Agenda Item 144 - Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its Fifty-Sixth Session on Chapter VIII: Unilateral Acts of States; Chapter IX: Reservations to Treaties; Chapter X: Fragmentation of International Law; Chapters I and XI: Introduction and Other Decisions and Conclusions of the Commission)
My Delegation requested the floor today to comment on the remaining three topics on the agenda: Unilateral Acts of States, Reservations to Treaties and Fragmentation of International Law.
And with your permission, I will also make at the end - and as indicated before - some comments of a more general nature on the work of the International Law Commission (ILC) and on its interaction with the Sixth Committee.
Unilateral Acts of States (Chapter VIII of the Report)
My Delegation continues to believe that the role played by unilateral acts of States is very rich and full of varied effects, meeting the needs of States and of the international community.
Although we expressed last year our support for the study of this topic by the ILC, we also emphasised the need concentrate on gathering information on State practice.
We notice that some progress was made in this regard and take note of the grid that was established to treat the survey of practice in a uniform and analytical way.
We agree in general with this way of proceeding with the topic and think that the Commission should conclude its study and soon present the possible results.
Reservations to Treaties (Chapter IX of the Report)
Let me turn now to the issue of Reservations to Treaties.
As the Special Rapporteur recognised himself, not much progress in the topic was achieved since last year.
takes note of the new five guidelines adopted this year that are useful for State practice in this regard. New and further guidelines are always welcome. However, we feel that the work undertaken so far would greatly benefit from being concluded as soon as possible and submitted for the consideration of States as a complete set, and we shall therefore reserve any further comments for that moment. Portugal
Let me just point out that my Delegation continues to have doubts on the necessity to define what is an objection to a reservation. We continue to be of the view that the Commission should continue to work on the practice of States, rather than to try to codify a definition of "objection of reservation".
submits again that the Vienna Convention is sufficient in this regard. Portugal
Commenting now on the issue that the Special Rapporteur intends to tackle next, we are seriously concerned whether there is any added-value of having a qualification as that of "validity/invalidity" of the reservations. The practice also shows that the Vienna Convention regime is sufficient in this respect and that emphasis should be put on the scope of the effects of the reservation rather than on the qualification issue.
In conclusion, we believe that the Commission is now on an excellent position to come forward in the very near future with a complete set of guidelines for the purpose above mentioned.
Fragmentation of International Law (Chapter X of the Report)
I will now address the increasingly fascinating topic of "Fragmentation of International Law".
We welcome the innovative way in which the Commission is dealing with this as well as the new choice of subjects that was made, which we find very stimulating.
We share the view that the role of the ILC should not be limited - although it is a fundamental role - to drafting conventions for the approval of States, but that the Commission can and should explore new avenues and working methods that may also produce a significant contribution to the progressive development of international law.
We look forward to the progress of the work to be presented to the Commission and in this regard we invite and encourage the Commission to give soon the opportunity to States to participate in these discussions in a more close and interactive way, in the framework of the Sixth Committee or eventually in other settings such as a panel or a seminar.
would be very much interested to cooperate in the organisation of such an event. Portugal
Introduction and Other Decisions and Conclusions of the Commission (Chapters I and XI of the Report)
I would like to end
's statement by making some comments on the work of the ILC and on its interaction with the Sixth Committee. Portugal
We commend the ILC for having included in its current programme of work two new topics on the "effect of armed conflicts on treaties" and on the "expulsion of aliens", which we expect to address in due time. It is always interesting to assist to the birth of new subjects for codification and progressive development, but it seems to us that it is still too early to make any more substantive remarks and we prefer to wait for the initial presentations of the new Special Rapporteurs. We also note the inclusion of the topic on the "obligation to extradite or prosecute" in the long term programme of work.
would like to add its voice to the others that suggested new topics that in the future could be dealt by the Commission. Portugal
One of such topics that come to our mind and that has been increasingly discussed and analysed in several academic and institutional forums, including the UN, is that of whether and in what conditions the international community as a whole and States have a responsibility to protect in cases of massive violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In due course, we suggest that it would be an appropriate subject to add to the agenda of the ILC.
As other Delegations, and in spite of concrete efforts already made in the matter, we would like to see an increasing interaction between the Commission and States, which would include, for example, taking more into account the statements delivered in the Sixth Committee.
Practical measures could be thought to enhance this interactivity, such as a system of compilation and quotation of the statements. A verbatim record in electronic form provided by Delegations to the Secretariat with the content of their interventions, instead of having summary records, could be put into practice. Moreover, efficiency in the allocation of time by each topic of the ILC Report and proper progression in the scheduled agenda would benefit the purpose of the proposal made by
and Austria last year to revitalise the debate of the ILC Report. Sweden
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.