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International Law Week during 75th UN General Assembly Session

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The International Law Week has traditionally been the highlight of the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee in New York, the primary focus of which is to encourage the progressive development of international law and its codification.

In response to measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event has taken on a slightly different, shortened format. On 26 October 2020, the International Law Day was held under the banner “International Law and the Future We Want”, followed by an interactive dialogue with members of the International Law Commission on 28 October 2020.

At the Session led by the Chair of the Sixth Committee, the Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations, Milenko Skoknic Tapia, the participants discussed the work of the UN, its contribution to the development of international law, and its future functioning. Representatives of a number of institutions related to the UN and international law were involved.

Speaking to the delegates in a video address, President of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir opened the proceedings. Later, the President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Abdulqavi A. Yusuf, presented a brief overview of the Court’s work and its contribution to the development of international law. He pointed out that, for the first time in history, the Charter had begun to enforce the rule of law at international level, and that the Court would have a critical role to play in the future.

There was consensus among the delegates on the UN’s contribution to the development of international law and its role in effective multilateralism and current environmental issues. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, highlighted the contribution to human rights. 

All of the speakers praised the outstanding work accomplished by the Sixth Committee and the International Law Commission in the progressive development of international law and its codification.

In the context of an interactive dialogue with International Law Commission members, four special rapporteurs outlined progress in their work on: jus cogens norms in general international law, environmental protection in relation to armed conflicts, immunity of civil servants in foreign jurisdictions, and progress achieved by the sea level rise task force in relation to international law. 

As part of this year’s session of the Sixth Committee, Slovenia is playing an active role in the formulation of both EU and national statements on topics that are among the priorities of Slovenian diplomacy. These concern the fight against impunity, particularly the rule of law, the criminal responsibility of UN officials and experts on missions, crimes against humanity, strengthening treaty framework, universal jurisdiction, and the report of the International Criminal Court.