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REMARKS 

BY 

MR. NUGROHO WISNUMURTI

CHAIRMAN OF THE   INTERNATIONAL LAW COMMISSION BEFORE THE MEETING OF THE ASIAN-AFRICAN LEGAL CONSULTATIVE  ORGANIZATION (AALCO)

 

New York, 1 November 2010

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

It is indeed a privilege for me to be invited to the meeting of the Asian-African Legal Consultative 0rganization today. Since its inception as the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC) in 1956 as an important part of the outcome of the 1955 Asian-African Bandung Conference, the Organization has succeeded in establising itself as a prominent legal organization representing the developing countries from Asia and Africa, serving as an advisory body to its Member States in the field of international law and as a forum for cooperation on legal matters among its Member States.

 

The Organization has made important contribution to the development of international law. As we recall, its early valuable contribution was in particular in the work on the law of the sea, in conjuction with the UN Third Conference of the Law of the Sea. It was in Cairo Meeting in 1969 that the AALCC took up in its agenda the law of the sea issues. The AALCC then commenced the consideration of the subject in the Colombo Meeting in 1970. The meeting discussed among others the issue of the water column beyond national jurisdictionI that later developed into the regime of exclusive economic zone, and also the archipelagic State principles that later became the regime of archipelagic State. I attended that meeting as a member of the Indonesian Delegation. It was an effective forum where Member States conducted  consultations, exchange of views and foster coordinated efforts. The work of the AALCC on the law of the sea issues in subsequent meetings had helped Member States to formulate their respective position on different issues on the law of the sea being considered in the Conference of the Law of the Sea. This personal experience is an added source of my satisfaction in returning today to AALCO.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

It is heartening to note that cooperation between of the AALCO and the International Law Commission through the Joint AALCO – ILC Annual Meetings and  through the regular meetings of the AALCO Secretary-General with the ILC in Geneva has proven to be useful. In this connection we very much appreciate the visit of the Secretary-General, Prof. Dr. Rahmat Mohamad to the Commission last July where he briefed us on the development of the work of the Organization and in particular on its consideration of the current work of the Commission. The Secretary-General’s presentation during which he conveyed the views and observations of Member States on certain topics being considered in the ILC. This and the that ensued was a testimony of the strong bond between the two institutions.

 

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for his enlightening statement that we have just heard on the result of the Forty-ninth Annual Session of the AALCO held in Dar es Salaam last August. I particularly welcome the result of the discussion on the work of the ILC at that meeting.

 

Reviewing the progress in cooperation between the two institutions, I firmly believe that there are room for improvement that would further enhance the common efforts to promote progressive development of international law and its codification. I do understand that the AALCO is continuously working to achieve such an important goal, including by holding a thematic debate entitled “Making AALCO’s participation in the work  of International Law Commission more effective and meaningful”. It is to be noted that the Secretary-General in his regular meetings with the ILC has always been kind enough to brief the Commission on the views and observations of Member States on topics being considered by the Commission. It would be unrealistic to expect that given the limited time available for the meeting, the Secretary-General would be in position to elaborate in detail the views and observations of the the Member States on various topics in the ILC agenda. This situation has not in my view effectively helped the ILC to take into account those views and observations in in the preparation of draft articles.

 

It is therefore important in my view that a mechanisam could be found that would enable the concrete views and observations of the AALCO and the Member States to be taken into account by the Commission, and in particular by the Special Rapporteur of different relevant topics. In this connection, one possible option that could be considered to acheve this goal is for the AALCO to submit to the ILC written comments, observations and proposals of on specific aspects of the work on topics for the considerations of the Commission. Ideally such written contribution could be submitted to the Commission after the session of the Commission in time for their consideration by the Commission. This written comments and observations submitted to the ILC should complement the briefings of the AALCC Secretary-General to the ILC where he would inform the progress of the deliberation of the ILC topics. In this regard, it would be useful if the time of the convening of the Annual Meetngs of AALCO do not coincide with the time of the ILC sessions. In this connection, I welcome the suggestion made in the Dar es Salaam meeting that AALCO should establish a Working Group to help enhance the contribution of the AALCO to the work of the ILC.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

As regards the work of the sixty-second session of the ILC, this morning I have completed the third or the last part of my introduction to the Report of the International Law Commission to the Legal Committee. It is therefore not my intention to review in detail the work of the Commission in this year’s session.  

 

I wish only to state that the Commission this year have made important progress in different topics in its agenda, such as the progress attained on the topic “Reservation to treaties” and “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties”. On “Resertvations to treaties”, we hope that we will be able complete the final version of the draft on the Guide to Practice by the end of the quinquinnium, next year. On the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties”, we hope that the Commision will complete the second reading of the draft articles on the topic also next year. Likewise, the Commission has made important progress on the topic “Protection of persons in the event of disasters”, a topic which has considerable relevance in today’s world as we face natural disasters that have struck in many  parts of the world, including in my own country, Indonesia.

 

Another important progress worth mentioning relates to the work on the topic “Responsibility of international organizations”.  As we have reported to the Sixth Committee last year, the Commission had completed the first reading of the 66 draft articles on the topic. We hope that we would complete the second reading by the end of the quinquinnium, next year.  

 

Mr. President/Mr. Chairman,

 

Before I conclude, allow me to reiterate what I have raised in the Informal Meeting of Legal Advisors on 25 October and in the interactive dialogue in the Sixth Committee held on 27 October. It concerns the long-term programme of work of the Commission. The Planning Group decided on 4 May 2010 to reconstitute the Working Group on the Long-term Programme of Work. The Working Group under its mandate continued the consideration of various possible topics for the Commission’s future work. In this context, while the Commission is very much responsible to propose new topics to the Member States, it would be very helpful in my personal opinion for the Member States to also propose possible topics. This will better ensure that the final product on the topic will really serve the interest of the international community.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333,   Fax: 1.212.972.9780   -   www.indonesiamission-ny.org

 

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