International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: July 28, 2017

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

Fragmentation of international law: difficulties arising from the diversification and expansion of international law

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

Studies undertaken by the Secretariat and Reports of the Secretary-General

None

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

  • 54th session of the International Law Commission (2002)
    • Report of the study group on the fragmentation of international law
  • 55th session of the International Law Commission (2003)
    • Report of the study group on the fragmentation of international law
  • 56th session of the International Law Commission (2004)
    • Report of the study group on the fragmentation of international law
  • 57th session of the International Law Commission (2005)
    • Report of the study group on the fragmentation of international law
  • 58th session of the International Law Commission (2006)
    • Report of the study group on the fragmentation of international law, finalized by Martti Koskenniemi
    • Conclusions of the work of the Study Group

Reports of the Special Rapporteur

None

Reports of the Drafting Committee

None

Comments by Governments

None

Other

None

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • 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
    • Decided to include the topic in its programme of work and to establish a Study Group on the topic, chaired by Bruno Simma. In its report, the Study Group made the following recommendations: to amend the title of the topic to its present wording; to prepare a series of studies on specific aspects of the topic to assist international judges and practitioners in coping with the consequences of the diversification of international law; and to provide a “toolbox” designed to assist in solving practical problems arising from incongruities and conflicts between existing legal norms and regimes.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2717th meeting (8 May 2002), 2741st and 2742nd meetings (6 and 7 August 2002)
  • 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
    • Appointed Martti Koskenniemi as Chairman of the Study Group, to succeed Bruno Simma who had resigned from the Commission. The Study Group established a tentative schedule of work for the remainder of the quinquennium (2003–2006), agreed upon the distribution among its members of the preparation of the studies on the remaining subjects approved by the Commission in 2002, decided upon the methodology to be adopted for the preparation of the studies, and held a preliminary discussion of an outline prepared by the new Chairman of the Study Group on the first subject identified for study, namely, “The function and scope of the lex specialis rule and the question of self-contained regimes”. The Study Group also indicated its intention to prepare a final study covering all topics which may include the elaboration of guidelines. The Commission took note of the report of the Study Group.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2758th meeting (16 May 2003), 2779th meetings (23 July 2003)
  • 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
    • Reconstituted the Study Group which held discussions on the study on the “Function and scope of the lex specialis rule and the question of ‘self-contained regimes’”, as well as discussions on the outlines prepared in respect of the other remaining studies. The Commission took note of the report of the Study Group.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2828th meeting (4 August 2004)
  • 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
    • The Study Group was reconstituted. It had before it the following: (a) a memorandum on regionalism in the context of the study on “the function and scope of the lex specialis rule and the question of self-contained regimes”; (b) a study on the interpretation of treaties in the light of “any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties” (article 31 (3) (c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties), in the context of general developments in international law and concerns of the international community; (c) a study on the application of successive treaties relating to the same subject matter (article 30 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties); (d) a study on the modification of multilateral treaties between certain of the parties only (article 41 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties); and (e) a study on hierarchy in international law: jus cogens, obligations erga omnes, Article 103 of the Charter of the United Nations, as conflict rules. The Study Group also had an informal paper on the “Disconnection Clause”. The Commission took note of the report of the Study Group.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2859th, 2860th, 2864th and 2865th meetings (28 and 29 July and 3 and 4 August 2005, respectively)
  • ILC Report, A/60/10, 2005, chap. XI, paras. 439 to 493
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/560)
  • 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
    • The Study Group was reconstituted. It had before it a study finalized by the Chairman of the Study Group, Mr. Martti Koskenniemi (A/CN.4/L.682 and Corr.1), as well as a set of draft conclusions based on that study (A/CN.4/L.682/Add.1). The former document summarized and analysed the phenomenon of fragmentation on the basis of the studies prepared by the various members of the Study Group and taking into account the comments made by members of the Study Group. The latter document incorporated the draft conclusions of the Study Group’s work between 2002 and 2005, as well as additional draft conclusions and a section on background. The substantive work of the Study Group during the session was focused on finalizing these conclusions. The Study Group completed its work and adopted its report containing 42 conclusions. The Study Group stressed the importance of the collective nature of its conclusions. It also emphasized that these conclusions had to be read in connection with the analytical study, finalized by the Chairman, on which they are based.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2901st and 2902nd meetings, held on 27 and 28 July 2006, and 2911th and 2912th meetings, held on 9 and 10 August 2006
  • ILC Report, A/61/10, 2006, chap. XII, paras. 233 to 251
  • Listen to the introduction of the report of the Study Group, by its Chairman, Mr. Martti Koskenniemi, at the 2901st and 2902nd meetings, held on 27 and 28 July 2006. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) — sound files (.wav format)
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/577 and Add.1 and Add.2)

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 57/21 of 19 November 2002
    • Took note of the Commission's decision to include the topic in its programme of work.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/529)

Final Outcome

International Law Commission (58th session, 2006)

  • The Study Group completed its work and adopted its report containing 42 conclusions. The Study Group stressed the importance of the collective nature of its conclusions. It also emphasized that these conclusions had to be read in connection with the analytical study, finalized by the Chairman, on which they are based.
 

General Assembly

  • Resolution 61/34 of 4 December 2006
    • Expressed its appreciation to the International Law Commission for the completion by its Study Group of the report and the conclusions on the topic “Fragmentation of international law: difficulties arising from diversification and expansion of international law”.
    • Took note of the forty-two conclusions of the Commission’s Study Group on the topic “Fragmentation of international law: difficulties arising from diversification and expansion of international law”, contained in paragraph 251 of the report of the International Law Commission, together with the analytical study on which they were based.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/577 and Add.1 and Add.2)