24 November 2005
General Assembly Adopts Resolution Appropriating Funds to Boost Financing of Peace Operations in Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti
It also Extends Tenure of United Nations Environment Programme Chief, Fills Vacancies in Subsidiary Bodies
NEW YORK, 23 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following recent decisions by the Security Council to boost the strength of two United Nations peacekeeping operations, the General Assembly this morning appropriated, respectively, some $51.28 million for the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), for the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, and some $46.41 million for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Acting without a vote on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly adopted a resolution approving those amounts, which would be appropriated in addition to some $386.89 million for the UNOCI and $494.89 million for MINUSTAH already appropriated for the current financing period.
The Security Council had previously extended the UNOCI's mandate through 24 January 2006 and authorized an increase in its strength of up to 850 additional military personnel and 725 civilian police. The MINUSTAH's budget was reviewed due to the temporary increase in the Mission's strength to facilitate the country's presidential elections -- now set for late December -- and subsequent political transition.
Along with a number of decisions taken today to fill vacancies in several United Nations organs and administrative bodies, the Assembly extended through the end of March 2006 Klaus Töpfer's appointment as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The long-time head of the agency decided not to seek a further term in office once his current tenure expires on 31 January 2006, and the Assembly's decision will allow time to identify a suitable successor.
In other action, the Assembly adopted a resolution welcoming the 100th ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, by Mexico on 28 October. That text also encouraged State parties to the Statute to adopt national legislation to implement obligations and to cooperate with the Court in the exercise of its functions, recalling the provision of technical assistance in that respect.
Acting on a series of recommendations forwarded by its Sixth Committee (Legal), the Assembly adopted, without a vote, several draft resolutions, including one relating to a new instrument on the use of electronic communications in contracting. That text invited Governments to consider becoming parties to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in international contracts, which was intended to remove obstacles to such means of business, including those that might arise under existing international trade law regimes, most of which were negotiated long before the development of new technology, such as e-mail and the Internet. The Convention will be open for signature at United Nations Headquarters from 18 January 2006 to 16 January 2008.
By the other Sixth Committee-approved texts that it adopted today, the Assembly commended the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) for its progress on several fronts: the revision of its Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services; model legislative provisions on interim measures in international commercial arbitration; a draft instrument on transport law; and a draft legislative guide on secured transactions.
The Assembly also decided that the International Law Commission's next session shall be held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 1 May to 9 June and from 3 July to 11 August 2006.
Similarly, it decided that the next session of the Special Committee on the Charter and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization shall be from 3 to 13 April 2006. By other terms of that resolution, the Assembly recognized the important role of the International Court of Justice in adjudicating disputes among States, the Court's value, and the importance of recourse to it in the peaceful settlement of disputes. It also stressed the desirability of finding practical ways to strengthen the Court, which celebrates its sixtieth anniversary next year.
Adopting the text on the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, the Assembly took note of the Committee's anticipation that the United States, as host country to the United Nations, would enhance its efforts to ensure the timely issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States in accordance with the Headquarters Agreement.
The Assembly also granted the request by the following four intergovernmental bodies for participation in its sessions and work: the Latin American Integration Association; the Common Fund for Commodities; The Hague Conference on Private International Law and the Ibero-American Conference.
Acting further on reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly appointed the following as members of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for three-year terms of office beginning on 1 January 2006: Guillermo Kendall (Argentina); Igor Khalevinski (Russian Federation); Susan McLurg (United States); Tommo Monthe (Cameroon); and Christina Vasak (France).
As for vacancies on the Committee on Contributions, the Assembly appointed the following persons to three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2006: Sujata Ghorai (Germany); Vyacheslav Anatolievich Logutov (Russian Federation); Richard Moon (United Kingdom); Hae-yun Park (Republic of Korea); Henrique da Silveira Sardinha Pinto (Brazil); and Wu Gang (China).
The Assembly appointed the following persons to the Investments Committee for three year terms beginning on 1 January 2006: Madhav Dhar (India); Nemir Kirdar (Iraq); and Masakazu Arikawa (Japan). Also on the Fifth Committee's recommendation, the Assembly appointed South Africa's Auditor-General as a member of the United Nations Board of Auditors for a six-year term beginning on 1 July 2006.
Appointed to the International Civil Service Commission to serve four-year terms beginning 1 January 2006 were: Minoru Endo (Japan); Gilberto Paranhos Velloso (Brazil); Lucretia Myers (United States); Wolfgang Stockl (Germany); and Luigi Valenza (Italy).
Addressing the Assembly today were the representatives of the Netherlands, who introduced the draft resolution on the International Criminal Court, and the representative if the United States, who spoke in explanation of position prior to the adoption of that text.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10a.m. on Monday, 28 November, to take up matters related to oceans and the law of the sea, as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
The General Assembly met this morning to fill vacancies in several bodies, consider reports by its Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) and Sixth (Legal) Committees, and take up a resolution on the International Criminal Court.
Before the Assembly were two of the Fifth Committee's reports on financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (document A/60/540) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (document A/60/541), each containing a recommendation that the Assembly adopt a resolution on a revised estimated budget for each operation. By these recommendations, some $51.28 million would be appropriated for the Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) above the $368.89 million already allocated; and some $46.41 million would be appropriated for the Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), beyond the $494.89 already allotted. The recommendations follow from a review of the two operations by the Security Council, which decided that they warranted strengthening.
Also before the Assembly were reports of its Sixth Committee, including the report on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/60/514), which contains a draft resolution by which the Assembly would approve the guidelines and recommendations on the Programme's activities as contained in the Secretary-General's report on the subject (document A/60/441). The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to publicize the Programme and to periodically invite voluntary contributions towards its financing and possible expansion. The Sixth Committee approved that text without a vote on 9 November.
The report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on the work of its thirty-eighth session (document A/60/515) contains two draft resolutions. By resolution I, the Assembly would commend the UNCITRAL's progress on several topics, including the revision of its Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services; model legislative provisions on interim measures in international commercial arbitration; a draft instrument on transport law; and a draft legislative guide on secured transactions. The Assembly would reaffirm the importance of the Commission's technical assistance programmes in international trade law reform and development.
By resolution II, entitled "United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts" and prepared by the UNCITRAL, the General Assembly would adopt the new instrument and call upon all Governments to consider becoming a party. The draft convention is intended to remove obstacles to the use of electronic communication in international contracting, including those that might arise under existing international trade law regimes. It complements and builds upon earlier texts prepared by the Commission, including the Model Law on Electronic Commerce and the Model Law on Electronic Signatures.
According to the report, the 25-article draft convention will be open for signature at United Nations Headquarters from 18 January 2006 to 16 January 2008. It will enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of deposit of the third instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The two draft resolutions were approved without a vote on 26 October.
The Sixth Committee's report on the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-seventh session (document A/60/516) contains a draft resolution by which the General Assembly would decide that the Commission's next session shall be held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 1 May to 9 June and from 3 July to 11 August 2006. The Assembly would recommend that the Commission continue and complete its work on topics in its current work programme. The Assembly would endorse its decision to include the topic "The obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedee aut judicare)" in its programme of work.
Also by that text, the attention of Governments would be drawn to the importance of the International Law Commission having their views on its draft articles and commentary on diplomatic protection; and the draft principles on allocation of loss in the case of transboundary harm arising out of hazardous activities. The draft resolution was approved without a vote on 16 November.
The report of the Special Committee on the Charter and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (document A/60/517) contains a draft resolution that would have the Assembly set the Special Committee's next session from 3 to 13 April 2006. The Assembly would request that body to give priority to the implementation of Charter provisions relating to assistance to third States affected by sanctions, as well as to ways and means to improve its working methods and enhance its efficiency. The Special Committee would be invited to identify at that session new subjects, which would contribute to the revitalization of the work of the United Nations.
The Assembly would, by other terms, recognize the important role of the International Court of Justice -- the principal judicial organ of the United Nations -- in adjudicating disputes among States and its value, as well as the importance of recourse to the Court in the peaceful settlement of disputes. It would stress the desirability of finding practical ways and means to strengthen the Court, which celebrates its sixtieth anniversary next year. Further, the Assembly would take note of the progress made in the preparation of studies of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and their posting on the Internet in three languages, as well as the progress made towards updating the Repertoire of the Security Council's Practice. The text was approved without a vote on 9 November.
Also before the Assembly was the Sixth Committee's report on the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/60/520), which contains a draft resolution by which the General Assembly would note that the Committee anticipates that the United States, as host country to the United Nations, will enhance its efforts to ensure the timely issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States in accordance with the Headquarters Agreement. The Assembly would note the removal by the host country during the reporting period of travel restrictions it had previously imposed on staff of certain missions and on Secretariat personnel of certain nationalities, and request the host country to consider removing the remaining restrictions. That draft was approved without a vote on 9 November.
Also before the Assembly were four reports containing draft resolutions that request observer status in the Assembly's work for the following intergovernmental organizations: the Latin American Integration Association (document A/60/521); the Common Fund for Commodities (document A/60/522); The Hague Conference on Private International Law (document A/60/533); and the Ibero-American Conference (document A/60/534). The first two drafts were approved without a vote on 10 October, and the other two on 2 and 3 November respectively.
The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on the report of the International Criminal Court (document A/60/25), by which the Assembly would welcome the 100th ratification of the Rome Statute by Mexico on 28 October and call upon States to consider becoming parties to the Agreement on the Court's Privileges and Immunities. It would encourage States parties to the Rome Statute to adopt national legislation, and cooperate with the Court in the exercise of its functions, recalling the provision of technical assistance in that respect.
Further by that text, the Assembly would look forward to the fourth session of the Assembly of States Parties in The Hague from 28 November to 3 December, and to the resumed fourth session in New York on 26 and 27 January 2006. It would encourage State participation in the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression and note the significance of the Relationship Agreement between the Court and the United Nations. It would also invite the Court to participate in the Assembly's work and continue its annual reporting to the Assembly.
Elections and Appointments
The Assembly took up the report on the election of an Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (document A/60/553), adopting a recommendation to extend the term of Executive Director Klaus Töpfer's term by a two-month period until 31 March 2006 without a vote.
It then took up the reports of the Fifth Committee containing recommendations for appointments to: the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (document A/60/542); Committee on Contributions (document A/60/543); Investments Committee (document A/60/544); Board of Auditors (document A/60/545); and the International Civil Service Commission (document A/60/546), adopting them all without a vote.
Turning to the Fifth Committee's reports on financing the UNOCI (document A/59/540) and MINUSTAH (document A/60/541), the Assembly adopted the recommendations contained in both reports without a vote.
Introduction of Sixth Committee Reports and Action on Draft Resolutions
SHERMAIN JEREMY (Antigua and Barbuda), Rapporteur of the Sixth Committee, introduced that body's reports, saying the agenda item on "Measures to eliminate terrorism" remained open, and the report on it would be introduced at a later date. The report on "Scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel", as well as that on a procedural item, "Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly", would also be considered later.
Taking up the draft resolution contained in the report on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/60/514), the Assembly adopted the text without a vote.
It then took up two drafts contained in the report of the UNCITRAL on the work of its thirty-eighth session (document A/60/515). It adopted draft resolution I (document A/C.6/60/L.7), on the Commission's report, as well as resolution II (document A/C.6/60/L.8), on the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, without a vote.
Acting again without a vote, the Assembly then adopted draft resolution A/C.6/60/L.14 contained in the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-seventh session (document A/60/516).
It then adopted, without a vote, draft resolution A/C.6/60/L.15, contained in the Sixth Committee's report on the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (document A/60/520).
The Assembly next adopted draft resolutions concerning the granting of observer status in its sessions and work to four intergovernmental organizations: the Latin American Integration Association (document A/C.6/60/L.13); the Common Fund for Commodities (document A/C.6/60/L.2); The Hague Conference on Private International Law (document A/C.6/60/L.9); and the Ibero-American Conference (document A/C.6/60/L.10).
Action on International Criminal Court Draft Resolution
The Assembly then turned to the report of the International Criminal Court (document A/60/L.25), which it had debated in plenary meetings of the Assembly on 8 and 9 November.
The representative of the Netherlands, introducing the text, recalled that the Court's first annual report had been presented to the Assembly during its current session, and that the debate on the Court had underlined its important role in the common multilateral system aimed at ending impunity and establishing the rule of law. The Court's establishment was the most significant recent development in the long struggle to eradicate impunity. Already, at the start of the judicial phase of operations, in both the field and the court room, significant successes included the issuance of arrest warrants against five leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army and the referral of the situation in Darfur to the Court by the Security Council last spring. The direct or indirect support of all Council members had been welcome proof of growing support for the Court.
He said the draft resolution served three objectives: first, it indicated political support for the Court, its aims and its work; second, it underlined the importance of the Court's relationship agreement with the United Nations that served as a framework for close cooperation; and third, it reminded States of the need to cooperate with the Court in carrying out its work. Adoption of the text should lead to even greater support for the Court and for its work in fighting impunity and holding accountable for their actions all those accused of very serious crimes.
Explanation of Position
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position before action on the draft resolution, said that her country's well known concerns included the Court's assertion of jurisdiction over nationals of States that were not parties to the Rome Statute, including those of the United States, and the lack of adequate oversight of the Court's activities, including those of its Prosecutor, who might initiate cases without first seeking the Security Council's approval. As in past years, those concerns required the United States to dissociate itself from the consensus on the text.
She said that while her country's concerns had not changed, the United States wished to move beyond divisiveness on the issue. It shared the commitment of parties to the Rome Statute to bring to justice those who perpetrated genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. While there were honest differences of view on how accountability was best achieved, States must work together to ensure that perpetrators of atrocities were held accountable for their actions. The actions of the United States demonstrated clearly that it had been, and continued to be, among the most forceful advocates of the principles of accountability for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
The United States had demonstrated its willingness to work constructively on those matters in connection with Darfur, where it had concluded that genocide had occurred, she said. It was the United States that had called for and supported the creation of the International Commission of Inquiry. While it would have preferred an alternative mechanism, the United States believed that it was sufficiently important for the international community to speak with one voice and to act decisively, and that was why it had accepted the referral of the Darfur situation. That demonstrated that there could be common ground when both sides were willing to work constructively.
She emphasized that the United States respected the right of other States to become parties to the Rome Statute, and asked in return that other States respect its decision not to do so. The United States was pleased that the principle adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 58/318 -- that the costs of any assistance or services provided to the Court by the United Nations must be fully reimbursed to the Organization -- had been made clear by the sponsors of the draft resolution.
The Assembly then adopted the text without a vote.
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