Press Releases

     

    GA/L/3235
    21 October 2003

    LEGAL COMMITTEE HEARS CALLS FOR ESTABLISHMENT
    OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS
    AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

    Delegates Urge Mandate for Secretary-General; Debate on

    Terrorism Concluded, Implications of Human Cloning Taken Up

     

    NEW YORK, 20 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General must be given a mandate to conclude a relationship agreement between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, the Netherlands delegate told the Sixth Committee (Legal) today as it met twice to take up the debate on the Court.  The Committee also completed its debate on terrorism, considered the administration of justice at the United Nations and began its debate on cloning.

    The Court was here to stay, the Netherlands delegate continued, and it was growing stronger every day.  He said open dialogue would continue with countries which still hesitated to give the Court the power to investigate and bring about justice for the most heinous crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

    Nigeria’s representative noted that 91 States were now members of the Court, in contrast to the 60 recorded at its inauguration on 1 July of last year.  He said the encouraging growth was indicative of the international community’s increasing confidence in the Court’s usefulness to fight impunity.

    China’s representative said the Court needed time to grow.  History and reality would test its ability to observe the principle of complementarity and its ability to prosecute in an objective and fair manner free from political bias and double standards.

    With the possibility that the Court would be looking into events that had happened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as one of its first mandates, that country’s representative said those who would cover their actions or rewrite them would no longer be able to do so.

    Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute which established the Court, said the universality of the Statute remained a realizable goal.  Its increasing acceptance was a firm indication of continuing interest in the Court and an affirmation of support for its purposes and objectives.  He urged early conclusion of the relationship agreement between the Court and the United Nations.

    Also speaking in the discussion on the Court were the representatives of Norway, Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Liechtenstein, United Republic of Tanzania, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru (speaking on behalf of the Rio Group), Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Gabon, Argentina, Australia, San Marino, Japan, Sierra Leone, New Zealand, Jordan, Ukraine, Senegal and Lesotho.

    Also speaking on that issue was the Observer of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

                                                                                                                                                 

    On the debate regarding measures to eliminate international terrorism, statements were made by the representatives of Gabon, Ghana, Thailand, Israel, Nigeria, Mexico, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Colombia, Cameroon, Azerbaijan (on behalf of the regional GUUAM group of countries), Nepal, Indonesia and Senegal.

    Speaking in exercise of the right of reply on that matter were the delegations of Israel and Syria.

    With regard to the administration of justice at the United Nations, a draft resolution was introduced with action expected tomorrow.  That would amend a provision of the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal on qualifications of Tribunal members.

    Finally today, the Committee began its debate on the International Convention against the Cloning of Human Beings.  The representatives of Costa Rica and Belgium introduced draft resolutions on that matter.

    Speaking on that issue were the representatives of Panama, Kenya and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, 21 October, to complete its consideration of the International Criminal Court.

     

    Background

                                                                                                                                                 

    The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to complete its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.  [For details, see Press Release GA/L/3233 of 15 October].  It was also to start discussions of two new items concerning the administration of justice at the United Nations and the newly established International Criminal Court based at The Hague, the Netherlands.  This afternoon, the Committee was expected to continue debate on the International Criminal Court and to begin deliberations on the question of an international convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings.

    Administration of Justice

    The agenda item on the administration of justice at the United Nations was allocated to the Fifth Committee by the General Assembly and also to the Sixth Committee, but for the sole purpose of considering the question of an amendment to the Statute of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal.  At its fifty-seventh session, the General Assembly, in its resolution 57/307, agreed that the United Nations Administrative Tribunal should be strengthened through an amendment to its Statute.

                                                                                                                                                 

     The amendment would require that the candidates for the Tribunal possess judicial experience in the field of administrative law or its equivalent within the candidate’s national jurisdiction (Article 3 paragraph 1), as recommended in paragraph 13 of the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (document A/57/736).  The General Assembly decided to take a decision on the matter at its fifty-eighth session.  (At its fifty-fifth session, the General Assembly by resolution 55/159 amended a number of articles of the Statute including the original Article 3 paragraph 1.  The amended version of Article 3 paragraph, which took effect from 1 January 2001, read as follows:  “The Tribunal shall be composed of seven members, no two of whom may be nationals of the same State.  Members shall possess the requisite qualifications and experience, including, as appropriate, legal qualifications and experience.  Only three members shall sit in any particular case.”)

    By a draft resolution on the administration of justice at the United Nations (document A/C.6/58/L.7), the paragraph would 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.”

    International Criminal Court

    A report of the Secretary-General on the International Criminal Court (document A/58/372) provides a brief account of the two sessions of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the Court.  It also focuses on activities relating to the United Nations Secretariat in its capacity as provisional secretariat for the Assembly of States Parties.

    According to the report, the 18 judges of the Court and the prosecutor had been elected by the Assembly of States Parties.  The deputy prosecutor and the Court’s Registrar have also been appointed, and the programme budget for the Court for fiscal year 2004 adopted.  Also adopted were resolutions concerning, inter alia, the committee on budget and finance and the recognition of the coordinating and facilitating role of the non-governmental organization, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.  Staff regulations of the Court had been approved and a decision has been taken to establish a permanent secretariat for the Assembly of States Parties.

    The Court’s Registrar had been asked to establish a trust fund under the authority of the Assembly’s secretariat for the participation of the least developed countries in the work of the Assembly and its subsidiary bodies.  Consequently, the Secretary-General was asked by the Assembly of States Parties to close the special fund established by the General Assembly for that purpose and to take steps to transfer any funds remaining in the account to the new trust fund, for which voluntary contributions had been sought.

    Another resolution adopted by the Assembly of States Parties acknowledged the important role played by the United Nations in the establishment of the International Criminal Court.  It expressed deep appreciation to the Secretary-General and the United Nations Secretariat for their outstanding support in the Court’s establishment.  It also acknowledged with satisfaction the dedication and professionalism of the staff of the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs, which served, it said, in an exemplary manner as secretariat, and in particular of the Ad Hoc Committee and Preparatory Committee on the establishment of the Court.

     

    International Convention Against Human Cloning

    The Committee had before it a report by the working group on the international convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings (document A/C.6/58/L.9).  Also before the Committee are two resolutions offering approaches to the convention -- one submitted by sponsors associated with the delegation of the United Kingdom (document A/C.6/58/L.8), and the other offered by delegations associated with the final sponsor of the United States (document A/C.6/58/L.2).

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