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The Sixth Committee. Bradford Smith. The General Assembly. Main Committees Procedural Committees - (General Committee, Credentials Committee) Standing Committees - (ACABQ, Committee on Contributions)

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The sixth committee l.jpg

The Sixth Committee

Bradford Smith


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The General Assembly

  • Main Committees

  • Procedural Committees -(General Committee, Credentials Committee)

  • Standing Committees-(ACABQ, Committee on Contributions)

  • Subsidiary and Ad Hoc Bodies(Committee on Relations with the Host Country, Conference on Disarmament, Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Advisory Bodies, Expert Bodies (International Law Commission))


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The Main CommitteesAn Overview

  • Main Committees correspond to the major fields of responsibility of the GA.

  • Main Committees consider agenda items (referred by the GA), prepare recommendations and draft resolutions for submission to GA plenary.

  • All UN members have the right to be represented on these committees.

  • Each Committee elects its own officers.

  • Decisions are made by a majority of the members present and voting, a majority of the committee constituting a quorum.


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Six Main Committees

  • First Committee (Disarmament and International Security)

  • Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee)

  • Second Committee (Economic and Financial)

  • Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural)

  • Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary)

  • Sixth Committee (Legal)


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Rules of Procedure

Rule 99(b) of the rules of procedure

of the GA:

  • Each Main Committee, taking into account the closing date of the GA, adopts its own priorities;

  • Meets as necessary;

  • Must adopt a programme of work with a target date for the conclusion of the work, approximate dates of consideration of items and the number of meetings to be allocated to each item;

  • GA provides suggested timetable.


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The Sixth Committee57th Session

  • GA allocated 17 items to the Sixth Committee;

  • Secretariat identifies documentation relating to such items to assist the Sixth Committee in its work;

  • Establishment of Working Groups;

  • Draft resolutions with financial implications must be approved by the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee.


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Agenda Items

  • Sixth Committee Agenda Items for the 57th Session included, for example:

    • Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives;

    • Scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel;

    • Measures to eliminate international terrorism;

    • Establishment of the ICC;

    • International convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings;

    • Report of the ILC.


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Establishment of the International Criminal Court

  • GA established an Ad Hoc Committee in 1994 to review draft statute for an international criminal court;

  • GA, at its fiftieth session, established the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court;

  • Statute was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in 1998;

  • The GA continued its consideration of this item from its 52nd to 55th sessions;

  • At its 56th session, the GA decided that the Preparatory Committee should be reconvened and the Assembly of States Parties should be convened during the 57th session;


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Establishment of the International Criminal Court

  • During the 57th session, the Assembly of States Parties adopted various instruments by consensus, including:

    • Rules of Procedure and Evidence,

    • Elements of Crime,

    • Rules of procedure of the Assembly,

    • Financial regulations and rules,

    • Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of ICC,

    • Resolution on the procedure for the nomination and election of judges, the Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutors, etc.);


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Establishment of the International Criminal Court

  • Item was considered by the Sixth Committee;

  • Sixth Committee made recommendations to the GA, which were adopted:

    • Committee recognized the important work of the Preparatory Commission and the Assembly,

    • Requested that the Secretariat provide resources and services for the Assembly to discharge its functions,

    • To make the necessary preparations for the meeting on the Committee on Budget and Finance, and

    • Recommended that the item be included in the provisional agenda of the GA’s 58th session.


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Measures to eliminate international terrorism

  • GA established an Ad Hoc Committee at its 51st session, which has been renewed annually;

  • The Ad Hoc Committee negotiated several texts resulting in the adoption of two treaties (Committee continued its work within the framework of a Working Group of the Sixth Committee):

    • International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and

    • International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

  • The Ad Hoc Committee also negotiated a draft International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism and a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.


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Measures to eliminate international terrorism

  • During the 57th session, the Sixth Committee considered the item;

    • Views were divided over the scope of the draft Nuclear Terrorism Convention, and the definition of “terrorism” with regard to the draft Comprehensive Convention.

  • The Sixth Committee established a Working Group, which continued its work on the elaboration of both draft texts;

  • The Working Group reported to the Committee the results of informal consultations;

    • Views were likewise divided concerning the same issues in the Working Group.


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Measures to eliminate international terrorism

  • The Sixth Committee adopted a resolution, which in turn was adopted by the GA;

  • The GA resolution called for the Ad Hoc Committee:

    • to continue to elaborate a comprehensive convention on international terrorism; and

    • continue its efforts to resolve outstanding issues relating to the elaboration of a draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.

  • The resolution also included the item in the provisional agenda of its 58th session.


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International Convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings

  • GA, at its 56th session, established an Ad Hoc Committee for the purpose of considering the elaboration of an international convention;

  • At the 57th session, the Sixth Committee established a Working Group to continue the work of the Ad Hoc Committee;

  • The Working Group held a general exchange of views at its first three meetings. The Working Group then referred its report to the Sixth Committee (and recommended that the Committee continue the consideration of the elaboration of a negotiation mandate during the 57th session);


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International Convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings

  • The item was discussed in the Plenary of the Sixth Committee. Views continued to be divided over the scope of the proposed convention.

  • The Committee adopted a decision and recommended to the GA to adopt the draft decision, which called for a working group of the Sixth Committee to be convened during the 58th session of the GA (to continue the elaboration of an international convention), and to include in the provisional agenda of the 58th session the said item.


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Sixth Committee58th SessionTentative Schedule of Meetings

  • 22/9: Informal consultations

  • 29/9: Elections, organization of work

  • 29-3/10: WG on International Convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings

  • 6/10: Report of UNCITRAL

  • 6-10/10: WG on Measures to eliminate international terrorism

  • 9-10/10: Report of the Committee on the Charter of the UN

  • 9/10: Requests for observer status

  • 9/10: Principles of international law concerning new economic order

  • 13-17/10: Scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel (Working Group)


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Sixth Committee58th SessionTentative Schedule of Meetings

  • 15-16/10: Measures to eliminate international terrorism

  • 20/10: Establishment of the ICC

  • 20-21/10: International Convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings (report of the WG)

  • 21-22/10: Convention on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property

  • 23/10: Scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel (report of the WG)

  • 27/10-4/11: Report of the ILC

  • 5/11: Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country

  • 5/11: Programme of assistance in teaching international law


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General Information

  • Secretariat of the Sixth Committee

    • Mr. Vaclav MIKULKA, Secretary

    • Ms. Mahnoush ARSANJANI, Deputy Secretary

    • Ms. Anne FOSTY, Deputy Secretary

  • Telephone: 212 963-5345

  • United Nations International Law Website:

    • English: http://www.un.org/law/

    • French: http://www.un.org/french/law/index.html

    • Sixth Committee - Summaries of work and related documents.