51st Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 74th Session

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18-Dec-2019 01:24:59
General Assembly adopts 26 Legal Committee texts without vote, reaffirming role of international law in promoting peace, security and sustainable development at 51st plenary meeting.

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Credential Committee Resolution Also Adopted without Vote, but Representatives Note Disagreements with Text

Reaffirming the crucial role of international law and the United Nations efforts to promote those principles, the General Assembly today adopted, without a vote, 17 draft resolutions and 9 draft decisions recommended by its Sixth Committee (Legal), as well a text related to the work of the Credentials Committee.

Among the texts adopted today were two contained in the “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy‑first session”. By the text, the General Assembly expressed its appreciation to the International Law Commission for the work accomplished at its seventy‑first session and encouraged the International Law Commission to take particular account of the capacity and views of Member States, as well as the Commission’s workload, when including topics in its current programme of work.

The resolution on “Crimes against Humanity”, also from that report, was adopted without a vote. By its terms, the General Assembly expressed its appreciation to the International Law Commission for its continuing contribution to the codification and progressive development of international law. By its other terms, the Assembly took note of the draft articles on prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.

Yet another resolution adopted today concerned the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law. By its terms, the General Assembly authorized certain activities to be financed from provisions in the regular budget, including the International Law Fellowship Programme, United Nations regional courses in international law and the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law.

The resolution on the rule of law at the national and international levels was also adopted today. By its terms, the Assembly stressed the importance of adherence to the rule of law at the national level and the need to strengthen support to Member States — at their request — in the domestic implementation of their respective international obligations.

However, the representative of Syria disassociated his delegation from consensus on one of the paragraphs in the text on the rule of law. Expressing regret that the relevant report mentions the Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011, he stressed that his country did not accept the Mechanism or its mandate.

Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on the credentials of representatives to the seventy‑first session of the General Assembly, contained in a report of the Credentials Committee, which was introduced by the representative of Barbados in her capacity as Committee Chair.

Following that adoption, several delegations spoke in explanation of position, with the representative of Peru, speaking on behalf of several countries, saying that the adoption should not be interpreted as tacit recognition of the regime of Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Echoing that, the representative of Finland, speaking for the European Union, said the presidential elections of Venezuela were not credible and lacked democratic legitimacy.

However, Venezuela’s representative countered that the use of the Assembly to attack his State was an assault on multilateralism. He added that throughout the year, the United States Government has unleashed a campaign of political, economic and diplomatic coercion against Venezuela.

Cuba’s delegate echoed that, stressing that it was the will of the people and not recognition by foreign powers that determined the legitimacy of a Government.

In other matters, the General Assembly took up the agenda item on the Peacebuilding Commission and elected Slovakia, Peru, Egypt, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal as members of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, each for a two‑year term of office beginning 1 January 2020.

Also speaking today were representatives of Iran, Nicaragua, Syria and Indonesia.

The General Assembly will reconvene on Thursday, December 19 at 10 a.m. to consider the report of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

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