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November 9, 2006  

Fifty-first Session (3 May to 23 July 1999)
last update: 30 June 2005
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Agenda for the 51st session:    
(A/CN.4/495 (
E, F, S, R, C, A))  

1. Filling of casual vacancies   

2. Organization of the work of the session    

3. State responsibility    

4. International Liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law (prevention of transboundary damage from hazardous activities)    

5. Reservations to treaties

6. Nationality in relation to the succession of States    

7. Diplomatic protection

8. Unilateral acts of States    

9. Jurisdictional immunities of States and their properties

10. Programme, procedures and working methods of the Commission and its documentation    

11. Cooperation with other bodies    

12. Date and place of the fifty-second session     

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List of documents

DAILY BULLETIN
1999 ILC Report (A/54/10 (E, F, S, R, C, A))
Topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee on the 1999 ILC Report (A/CN.4/504 (E, F, S, R, C, A) and Add.1 (E, F, S, R, C, A))
1999 Yearbook
Summary of consideration

The International Law Commission held its fifty-first session at Geneva, Switzerland, from 3 May to 23 July 1999 in accordance with General Assembly resolution 53/102 of 8 December 1998 (E, F, S, R, C, A).

  • Members of the Commission:
    • Mr. Emmanuel Akwei Addo (Ghana); Mr. Husain Al-Baharna (Bahrain); Mr. Awn Al-Khasawneh (Jordan); Mr. João Clemente Baena Soares (Brazil); Mr. Ian Brownlie (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); Mr. Enrique Candioti (Argentina); Mr. James Crawford (Australia); Mr. Christopher John Robert Dugard (South Africa); Mr. Constantin Economides (Greece); Mr. Nabil Elaraby (Egypt); Mr. Giorgio Gaja (Italy)*; Mr. Zdzislaw Galicki (Poland); Mr. Raul Goco (Philippines); Mr. Gerhard Hafner (Austria); Mr. Qizhi He (China); Mr. Mauricio Herdocia Sacasa (Nicaragua); Mr. Jorge Illueca (Panama); Mr. Peter Kabatsi (Uganda); Mr. Maurice Kamto
      (Cameroon)*; Mr. James Lutabanzibwa Kateka (United Republic of Tanzania); Mr. Mochtar Kusuma-Atmadja (Indonesia); Mr. Igor Ivanovich Lukashuk (Russian Federation); Mr. Teodor Viorel Melescanu (Romania); Mr. Didier Opertti Badan (Uruguay); Mr. Guillaume Pambou-Tchivounda (Gabon); Mr. Alain Pellet (France); Mr. Pemmaraju Sreenivasa Rao (India); Mr. Víctor Rodríguez Cedeño (Venezuela); Mr. Robert Rosenstock (United States of America); Mr. Bernardo Sepúlveda (Mexico); Mr. Bruno Simma (Germany); Mr. Doudou Thiam (Senegal); Mr. Peter Tomka (Slovakia)*; and Mr. Chusei Yamada (Japan).


    * elected to fill the casual vacancies caused by the election of Mr. Luigi Ferrari Bravo to the European Court of Human Rights, of Mr. Mohamed Bennouna to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and of the appointment of Mr. Václav Mikulka as the Director of the Codification
    Division, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations.

  • Officers:
    • Chairman: Mr. Zdzislaw Galicki (Poland)
    • First Vice-Chairman: Mr. Raul Goco (Philippines)
    • Second Vice- Chairman: Mr. Emmanuel Akwei Addo (Ghana)
    • Rapporteur: Mr. Robert Rosenstock (United States of America)
    • Chairman of the Drafting Committee: Mr. Enrique Candioti (Argentina)
  • Cooperation with other bodies
    • Representing the Inter-American Juridical Committee, Ambassador Luis Marchand Stens informed the Commission of the activities and recent developments on the work of the Committee, at the Commission's 2573rd meeting, held on 18 May 1999.
    • The Secretary-General of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee, Mr. Tang Chengyuan, informed the Commission, at its 2576th meeting held on 25 May 1999, of the activities and recent developments on the work of the Committee.
    • His Excellency Jusge Stephen Schwebel, President of the International Court of Justice, addressed the Commission at its 2585th meeting held on 10 June 1999. He gave a detailed exposé of the work of the International Court of Justice, which was followed by a series of questions and answers.
    • The representative of the Council of Europe's Ad Hoc Committee of Legal Advisors on Public International Law (CAHDI) addressed the Commission at the Commission's 2604th meeting on 16 July 1999.
  • Tribute to the memory of Mr. Dodou Thiam
    • At the Commission's 2598th meeting, the Chairman paid tribute to Mr. Doudou Thiam.
  • Other activities:

Consideration of topics on the agenda of the 51st session

State responsibility (top)

    The Commission considered the second report (document A/CN.4/498 and Add.1, Add.2, Add.3 and Add.4 (see documents list)) of the Special Rapporteur which dealt with Chapters III, IV and V of Part One of the draft articles.  The Commission decided to refer the articles in Chapters III (Breach of an international obligation), IV (Implication of a State in the internationally wrongful act of another State) and V (Circumstances precluding wrongfulness) to the Drafting Committee, and subsequently took note of the report of the Drafting Committee (document A/CN.4/L.574 and Corr. 1, 2 (French only), 3, 4 (Spanish only) (see documents list)) on those chapters. The Commission also undertook a preliminary consideration of the question of countermeasures in Chapter III of Part Two of the draft articles.

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, chapter V)

International Liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law (prevention of transboundary damage from hazardous activities)  (top)
    The Commission considered the second report of the Special Rapporteur (document A/CN.4/501 (E, F, S, R, C, A)) with respect to its future work on the topic.  The Commission decided to defer consideration of the question of international liability, pending completion of the second reading of the draft articles on the prevention of transboundary damage from hazardous activities.

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, chapter IX)

Reservations to treaties (top)
    The Commission continued its consideration of the third report of the Special Rapporteur (document A/CN.4/491 (Corr.1), and Add.1, Add.2 (Corr.1), Add.3, Add.4 (Corr.1), Add.5 and Add.6 (Corr. 1) (see documents list)) concerning the definition of reservations and interpretative declarations which it had not completed at the previous session due to lack of time. The Commission adopted twenty draft guidelines pertaining to the first chapter of the Guide to practice (with commentaries - forthcoming). The Commission decided to restructure this first chapter which is divided into six sections concerning: a) Definition of reservations (Section 1); b) Definition of interpretative declarations (Section 2); c) Distinction between reservations and interpretative declarations (Section 3); d) Unilateral statements other than reservations and interpretative declarations (Section 4); e) Unilateral statements in respect of bilateral treaties (Section 5), and f) Scope of definitions (Section 6). The Commission also had before it the first part of the fourth report of the Special Rapporteur (document A/CN.4/499 (E, F, S, R, C, A)).

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, chapter VI)

Nationality in relation to the succession of States (top)
    The Commission had before it a Memorandum by the Secretariat (document A/CN.4/497 (E, F, S, R, C, A)).  It decided to establish a Working Group to review the text adopted on first reading taking into account comments by Governments. On the basis of the report of the Chairman of the Working Group, the Commission decided to refer the draft preamble and a set of 26 draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States to the Drafting Committee. Having considered the report of the Drafting Committee, the Commission adopted the draft preamble and the set of draft articles on second reading (document A/CN.4/L.573 and Corr.1 (see documents list)) and decided to recommend to the General Assembly their adoption in the form of a declaration. It also decided to recommend to the General Assembly that the work on the Commission on the topic "Nationality in relation to the succession of States" be considered concluded.

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, chapter IV)

Diplomatic protection (top)
    The Commission appointed Mr. Christopher J. R. Dugard Special Rapporteur for the topic. 

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session)

Unilateral acts of States (top)
    The Commission examined the second report of the Special Rapporteur (document A/CN.4/500 and Add.1 (see documents list)). The discussion centered mostly on the 7 articles submitted by the Special Rapporteur dealing with the scope of the draft articles (article 1), definition of unilateral acts (article 2), capacity of the State for formulating unilateral acts (article 3), representatives of a State for formulating unilateral acts (article 4), subsequent confirmation of a unilateral act formulated without authorization (article 5), expression of consent (article 6) and invalidity of unilateral acts (article 7).  The Commission agreed to take as the basic focus for its study on the topic and, as a starting point for the gathering of State practice thereon, the following concept: "A unilateral statement by a State by which such State intends to produce legal effects in its relations to one or more States or international organizations and which is notified or otherwise made known to the State of organization concerned". The Secretariat was requested to send questionnaire to Governments inquiring about their practice and position concerning certain aspects of unilateral acts.

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, chapter VIII)

Jurisdictional immunities of States and their property (top)
    The General Assembly in resolution 53/98 of 8 December 1998 invited the International Law Commission to present any preliminary comments it may have regarding outstanding substantive issues related to the draft articles by 31 August 1999, in the light of the results of the informal consultations held pursuant to General Assembly decision 48/413 of 9 December 1993 and taking into account the recent developments of State practice and other factors related to this issue since the adoption of the draft articles.

    At its fifty-first session, the Commission established a Working Group on the topic and entrusted it with the task of preparing preliminary comments as requested by General Assembly resolution 53/98. The Commission took note of the report of the Working Group and decided to annex it to the report of the Commission. It also adopted the suggestions of the Working Group contained in its report and dealing with the following five areas: 1) Concept of State for purpose of immunity; 2) Criteria for determining the commercial character of a contract or transaction; 3) Concept of a State enterprise or other entity in relation to commercial transactions; 4) Contracts of employment and 5) Measures of constraint against State property.

    (see: Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, chapter VII)


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