Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations
New York, 9 December 2011
  • Introductory Note
  • Procedural History
  • Documents
F o r t h c o m i n g
Introductory note to be published

In resolution 66/100 of 9 December 2011, the General Assembly took note of the Articles on the Responsibility of International Organisations, the text of which was annexed to the resolution, and commended them to the attention of Governments and international organizations without prejudice to the question of their future adoption or other appropriate action.

At its fifty-second session, in 2000, the International Law Commission, on the basis of the recommendation of the Working Group on the long-term programme of work, concluded that the topic “Responsibility of international organizations” was appropriate for inclusion, and by resolution 56/82 of 12 December 2001, the General Assembly requested the Commission to begin its work on the topic. At its sixty-third session, in 2011, the Commission adopted, on second reading, a set of 67 draft articles, together with commentaries thereto, on the responsibility of international organizations.

The draft articles were divided into six parts, as follows: Part I entitled “Introduction” (articles 1 and 2); Part II entitled “The internationally wrongful act of an international organization” (articles 3 to 27); Part III entitled “Content of the international responsibility of an international organization” (articles 28 to 42); Part IV entitled “The implementation of the international responsibility of an international organization” (articles 43 to 57); Part V entitled “Responsibility of a State in connection with the conduct of an international organization” (articles 58 to 63); and Part VI entitled “General Provisions” (articles 64 to 67).


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At its fifty-second session, in 2000, the International Law Commission, on the basis of the recommendation of the Working Group on the long-term programme of work, concluded that the topic “Responsibility of international organizations” was appropriate for inclusion in its long-term programme of work (A/55/10, paras. 726-729). A syllabus describing the possible overall structure of, and approach to, the topic was annexed to that year’s report of the Commission (A/55/10, Annex I).

The General Assembly, in resolution 55/152 of 12 December 2000, took note of the Commission’s report concerning its long-term programme of work and the syllabus of the new topic annexed to the report. In resolution 56/82 of 12 December 2001, the Assembly requested the Commission to begin its work on the topic.

At its fifty-fourth session, in 2002, the Commission decided to include the topic in its programme of work, to appoint Mr. Giorgio Gaja as Special Rapporteur for the topic, and to establish a Working Group on the topic (A/57/10, paras. 10 (b), 18, 458-463, 517 and 519). The Working Group considered the following issues: (a) the scope of the topic, including the concepts of responsibility and international organizations; (b) relations between the topic of responsibility of international organizations and the articles on State responsibility; (c) questions of attribution; (d) questions of responsibility of member States for conduct that is attributed to an international organization; (e) other questions concerning the arising of responsibility for an international organization; (f) questions of content and implementation of international responsibility; (g) settlement of disputes; and (h) the practice to be taken into consideration. The Working Group recommended that the Secretariat approach international organizations with a view to collecting relevant materials, especially on questions of attribution and the responsibility of member States for conduct that is attributed to an international organization (A/57/10, paras. 465-488). The Commission subsequently adopted the report of the Working Group and approved its recommendation.

The General Assembly, in resolution 57/21 of 19 November 2002, took note of the Commission’s decision to include the topic in its programme of work. In resolution 58/77 of 9 December 2003, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to invite States and international organizations to submit information concerning their practice relevant to the topic, including cases in which States members of an international organization may be regarded as responsible for acts of the organization.

From its fifty-fifth to sixty-first sessions, held 2003 to 2009, the Commission had received and considered seven reports from the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/532; A/CN.4/541; A/CN.4/553; A/CN.4/564, Add.1 and Add.2; A/CN.4/583; A/CN.4/597; and A/CN.4/610), as well as comments and observations received from Governments and international organizations (A/CN.4/545; A/CN.4/547; A/CN.4/556; A/CN.4/568 and Add.1; A/CN.4/582; A/CN.4/593 and Add.1; and A/CN.4/609), and provisionally adopted draft articles 1 to 66, with commentaries thereto (A/61/10, para. 90; for commentaries to: draft articles 1 to 3, see A/58/10, para. 54; draft articles 4 to 7, see A/59/10, para. 72; draft articles 8 to 16, see A/60/10, para. 206; draft articles 17 to 30, see A/61/10, para. 91; draft articles 31 to 45, see A/62/10, para. 344; draft articles 46 to 53, see A/63/10, para. 165; and draft articles 54 to 66, as well as a consolidated version of commentaries on draft articles 1-53, including modifications and additions made to commentaries previously adopted, see A/64/10, para. 51). Working Groups were also established at the fifty-fifth session, in 2003, to consider the Special Rapporteur’s proposal for draft article 2, as well as to provide guidance to the Special Rapporteur on his next report (A/58/10, paras. 47-48 and 51), and at the fifty-seventh session, in 2005, to consider draft articles 8 and 16, as proposed by the Special Rapporteur (A/60/10, para. 201).

At its sixty-first session, in 2009, the Commission adopted a set of 66 draft articles on the responsibility of international organizations on first reading, together with commentaries (A/64/10, paras. 46-47 and 50-51). The Commission decided, in accordance with articles 16 to 21 of its Statute, to transmit the draft articles, through the Secretary-General, to Governments and international organizations for comments and observations, with the request that such comments and observations be submitted to the Secretary-General by 1 January 2011 (A/64/10, para. 48).

At the sixty-third session, in 2011, the Commission adopted, on second reading, a set of 67 draft articles, together with commentaries thereto, on the responsibility of international organizations (A/66/10 and Add.1, paras. 82-83 and 87-88). In so doing, the Commission had before it the eighth report of the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/640) surveying the comments made by Governments (A/CN.4/636 and Add.1) and international organizations (A/CN.4/637 and Add.1) on the draft articles adopted on first reading in 2009, and making recommendations for consideration by the Commission during the second reading. The draft articles were divided into six parts, as follows: Part I entitled “Introduction” (articles 1 and 2); Part II entitled “The internationally wrongful act of an international organization” (articles 3 to 27); Part III entitled “Content of the international responsibility of an international organization” (articles 28 to 42); Part IV entitled “The implementation of the international responsibility of an international organization” (articles 43 to 57); Part V entitled “Responsibility of a State in connection with the conduct of an international organization” (articles 58 to 63); and Part VI entitled “General Provisions” (articles 64 to 67).

In accordance with article 23 of its Statute, the Commission recommended to the General Assembly to take note of the draft articles in a resolution, and to annex them to the resolution, and to consider, at a later stage, the elaboration of a convention on the basis of the draft articles (A/66/10 and Add.1, para. 85).

In resolution 66/100 of 9 December 2011, the General Assembly took note of the articles on the responsibility of international organizations, the text of which was annexed to the resolution, and commended them to the attention of Governments and international organizations without prejudice to the question of their future adoption or other appropriate action. It further decided to return to the topic at its sixty-ninth session, in 2014, with a view to examining, inter alia, the question of the form that might be given to the draft articles.

Documents

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-second session, 1 May to 9 June and 10 July to 18 August 2000 (A/55/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2000, vol. II, Part Two (A/CN.4/SER.A/2000/Add.1 (Part 2)/Rev.1)

General Assembly resolution 55/152 of 12 December 2000 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-second session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its fifty-fifth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/513, 15 February 2001)

General Assembly resolution 56/82 of 12 December 2001 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-third session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its fifty-sixth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/521, 21 January 2002)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-fourth session, 29 April to 7 June and 22 July to 16 August 2002 (A/57/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2002, vol. II, Part Two (A/CN.4/SER.A/2002/Add.1 (Part 2)))

International Law Commission, fifty-fourth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2717 and 2740, held on 8 May and 2 August 2002 (A/CN.4/SR.2717 and A/CN.4/SR.2740, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2002, vol. I (A/CN.4/SER.A/2002))

General Assembly resolution 57/21 of 19 November 2002 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-fourth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its fifty-seventh session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/529, 14 January 2003)

First report on responsibility of international organizations by Mr. Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/532, 26 March 2003)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-fifth session, 5 May to 6 June and 7 July to 8 August 2003 (A/58/10)

International Law Commission, fifty-fifth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2751 to 2756, 2763, 2776 and 2784, held on 5 to 9, 13 and 27 May, 16 July and 4 August 2003 (A/CN.4/SR.2751, A/CN.4/SR.2752, A/CN.4/SR.2753, A/CN.4/SR.2754, A/CN.4/SR.2755, A/CN.4/SR.2756, A/CN.4/SR.2763, A/CN.4/SR.2776 and A/CN.4/SR.2784, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2003, vol. I (A/CN.4/SER.A/2003))

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of the draft articles 1, 2 and 3 adopted by the Drafting Committee (A/CN.4/L.632, 4 June 2003)

General Assembly resolution 58/77 of 9 December 2003 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-fifth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its fifty-eighth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/537, 21 January 2004) Second report on responsibility of international organizations by Mr. Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/541, 2 April 2004)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-sixth session, 3 May to 4 June and 5 July to 6 August 2004 (A/59/10)

International Law Commission, fifty-sixth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2800 to 2803, 2810, 2826 and 2827, held on 18 to 25 May, 4 June and 3 August 2004 (A/CN.4/SR.2800, A/CN.4/SR.2801, A/CN.4/SR.2802, A/CN.4/SR.2803, A/CN.4/SR.2810, A/CN.4/SR.2826 and A/CN.4/SR.2827, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2004, vol. I (A/CN.4/SER.A/2004))

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of the draft articles 4, 5, 6, and 7 adopted by the Drafting Committee (A/CN.4/L.648 and Corr.1, 27 May and 2 June 2004)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/545, 25 June 2004)

Comments and observations received from Governments (A/CN.4/547, 6 August 2004)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its fifty-ninth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/549 and Add.1, 31 January and 7 May 2005)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-seventh session, 2 May to 3 June and 11 July to 5 August 2005 (A/60/10)

Comments and observations received from Governments and international organizations (A/CN.4/556, 12 May 2005)

Third report on responsibility of international organizations by Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/553, 13 May 2005)

International Law Commission, fifty-seventh session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2839 to 2844, 2848, 2862 and 2863, held on 17 to 25 May, 3 June and 2 and 3 August 2005 (A/CN.4/SR.2839, A/CN.4/SR.2840, A/CN.4/SR.2841, A/CN.4/SR.2842, A/CN.4/SR.2843, A/CN.4/SR.2844, A/CN.4/SR.2848, A/CN.4/SR.2862 and A/CN.4/SR.2863)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of the draft articles adopted by the Drafting Committee on 27 May 2005 (A/CN.4/L.666/Rev.1, 1 June 2005)

General Assembly resolution 60/22 of 23 November 2005 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-seventh session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixtieth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/560, 13 January 2006)

Fourth report on responsibility of international organizations by Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/564, Add.1 and Add.2, 28 February, 12 April and 20 April 2006)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/568 and Add.1, 17 March and 12 May 2006)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-eighth session, 1 May to 9 June and 3 July to 11 August 2006 (A/61/10)

International Law Commission, fifty-eighth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2876 to 2879, 2884, 2891 to 2895, 2902 and 2910, held on 16 to 19 May, 8 June, 11 to 14 July, 28 July and 8 August 2006 (A/CN.4/SR.2876, A/CN.4/SR.2877, A/CN.4/SR.2878, A/CN.4/SR.2879, A/CN.4/SR.2884, A/CN.4/SR.2891, A/CN.4/SR.2892, A/CN.4/SR.2893, A/CN.4/SR.2894, A/CN.4/SR.2895, A/CN.4/SR.2902 and A/CN.4/SR.2910)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of the draft articles adopted by the Drafting Committee on 31 May 2006 (A/CN.4/L.687, Add.1 and Corr.1, 31 May, 19 and 21 July 2006)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-first session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/577, Add.1 and Add.2, 19 and 23 January and 20 February 2007)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/582, 1 May 2007)

Fifth report on responsibility of international organizations by Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/583, 2 May 2007)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-ninth session, 7 May to 5 June and 9 July to 10 August 2007 (A/62/10)

International Law Commission, fifty-ninth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2932 to 2935 and 2938, held on 9 to 12 and 18 July 2007 (A/CN.4/SR.2932, A/CN.4/SR.2933, A/CN.4/SR.2934, A/CN.4/SR.2935 and A/CN.4/SR.2938)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of draft articles 31 to 45 [44] adopted by the Drafting Committee on 18, 19, 20 and 25 July 2007 (A/CN.4/L.720, 25 July 2007)

General Assembly resolution 62/66 of 6 December 2007 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-ninth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-second session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/588, 24 January 2008)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/593 and Add.1, 31 March and 28 April 2008)

Sixth report on responsibility of international organizations by Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/597, 1 April 2008)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixtieth session, 5 May to 6 June and 7 July to 8 August 2008 (A/63/10)

International Law Commission, sixtieth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2960 to 2964, 2968, 2971, 2978, 2989 and 2993, held on 9 to 16 and 29 May, 4 June, 15 July and 4 to 6 August 2008 (A/CN.4/SR.2960, A/CN.4/SR.2961, A/CN.4/SR.2962, A/CN.4/SR.2963, A/CN.4/SR.2964, A/CN.4/SR.2968, A/CN.4/SR.2971, A/CN.4/SR.2978, A/CN.4/SR.2989 and A/CN.4/SR.2993)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of articles 46, 47, 48, 49 [48], 50 [49], 51 [50], 52 [51] and 53 provisionally adopted by the Drafting Committee on 21, 22, 28, 29 and 30 May 2008 (A/CN.4/L.725, 30 May 2008)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of Part Three, Chapter I, Chapter II and draft articles 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 60 provisionally adopted by the Drafting Committee on 16 July 2008 (A/CN.4/L.725/Add.1, 16 July 2008)

General Assembly resolution 63/123 of 11 December 2008 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixtieth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-third session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/606 and Add.1, 21 January 2009)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/609, 13 March 2009)

Seventh report on responsibility of international organizations by Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/610, 27 March 2009)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-first session, 4 May to 5 June and 6 July to 7 August 2009 (A/64/10)

International Law Commission, sixty-first session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2998 to 3002, 3006 to 3009, 3014 to 3015 and 3030 to 3032, held on 4 to 8 and 15 to 22 May, 5 June, 15 July and 3 to 5 August 2009 (A/CN.4/SR.2998, A/CN.4/SR.2999, A/CN.4/SR.3000, A/CN.4/SR.3001, A/CN.4/SR.3002, A/CN.4/SR.3006, A/CN.4/SR.3007, A/CN.4/SR.3008, A/CN.4/SR.3009, A/CN.4/SR.3014, A/CN.4/SR.3015, A/CN.4/SR.3030, A/CN.4/SR.3031 and A/CN.4/SR.3032)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Restructuring of the draft articles and text of draft articles 2, 4, 8, 15, paragraph 2, (b), 15 bis, 18, 19 and 55, adopted by the Drafting Committee on 25, 26, 27 May and 2 June 2009 (A/CN.4/L.743, 2 June 2009)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Text of draft articles 3, 3 bis, 28, paragraph 1, 61, 62, 63 and 64 adopted by the Drafting Committee on 2 June 2009 (A/CN.4/L.743/Add.1, 2 June 2009)

General Assembly resolution 64/114 of 16 December 2009 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-first session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-fourth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/620 and Add.1, 26 January 2010)

Comments and observations received from Governments (A/CN.4/636 and Add.1, 14 February and 13 April 2011)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/637 and Add.1, 14 and 17 February 2011)

Eighth report on responsibility of international organizations by Giorgio Gaja, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/640, 14 March 2011)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third session, 26 April to 3 June and 4 July to 12 August 2011 (A/66/10 and Add.1)

International Law Commission, sixty-third session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 3080 to 3085, 3097, 3118, 3119 and 3124, held on 26 April to 6 May, 3 June, 5, 8 and 10 August 2011 (A/CN.4/SR.3080, A/CN.4/SR.3081, A/CN.4/SR.3082, A/CN.4/SR.3083, A/CN.4/SR.3084, A/CN.4/SR.3085, A/CN.4/SR.3097, A/CN.4/SR.3118, A/CN.4/SR.3119 and A/CN.4/SR.3124)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Texts and titles of draft articles 1 to 67 adopted by the Drafting Committee on second reading in 2011 (A/CN.4/L.778, 30 May 2011)

General Assembly resolution 66/98 of 9 December 2011 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third session)

General Assembly resolution 66/100 of 9 December 2011 (Responsibility of international organizations)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-sixth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/650 and Add.1, 20 January 2012)