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Last update: August 25, 2015

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

Special missions

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

In submitting its final draft on diplomatic intercourse and immunities to the General Assembly at its thirteenth session, in 1958, the Commission stated that, although the draft dealt only with permanent diplomatic missions, diplomatic relations also assumed other forms that might be placed under the heading of "ad hoc diplomacy", covering itinerant envoys, diplomatic conferences and special missions sent to a State for limited purposes. In 1958, the Commission considered that these forms of diplomacy should also be studied.

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

  • 14th session of the International Law Commission (1962)
    • Working Paper prepared by the Secretariat
  • 15th session of the International Law Commission (1963)
    • Working Paper prepared by the Secretariat

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

None

Reports of the Special Rapporteur

  • First report on the topic covering the question of, special missions; itinerant envoys, congresses and conferences, the place and form of the draft articles, and including a set of proposed draft articles.
    • Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. A. E. F. Sandström (12th session of the ILC (1960))
  • Discussions on preliminary questions, special aspects of special missions, etc. Includes draft articles 1–36.
    • First Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Milan Bartoš (16th session of the ILC (1964))
  • Draft articles prepared at the Commission's 16th session (arts. 1–16) and draft articles which were not considered by the Commission at its 16th session (arts. 17–40).
    • Second Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Milan Bartoš (17th session of the ILC (1965))
  • Draft articles 1–44. Includes discussion on the question whether special rules of law should or should not be drafted for so-called "high-level" special missions.
    • Third Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Milan Bartoš (18th session of the ILC (1966))
  • Should the rules governing special missions cover the regulation of the legal status of delegations and delegates to international conferences and congresses? With respect to special missions, should there or should there not be an additional protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or a special draft linked to that Convention by a reference clause? Relationship with other international agreements. Body competent to adopt the instruments relating to special missions. Possibility of seeking historical continuity. Are there any rules of positive public international law concerning special missions? Legal status of the articles relating to special missions. Controversies concerning the concept of special missions. Some special aspects of special missions.
    • Fourth Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Milan Bartoš (19th session of the ILC (1967))

Reports of the Drafting Committee

  • 19th session of the International Law Commission (1967)
    • Articles 1 to 44 and text of preamble adopted by the Drafting Committee
  • Draft articles 1 to 15 adopted by the Drafting Committee on second reading
  • Articles 1 to 11 adopted by the Drafting Committee on third reading
  • Modifications proposed by the Drafting Committee to the text of articles 6, 16, 27, 32 and 39 which had been referred back to the Committee by the Commission

Comments by Governments

  • 19th session of the International Law Commission (1967)
    • Comments by Governments on the draft articles on special missions adopted by the Commission in 1965

Other

  • 12th session of the International Law Commission (1960)
    • New alternative proposal submitted by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. A. E. F. Sandström
  • Provisions proposed by Mr. Jiménez de Aréchaga for insertion in the draft articles on diplomatic intercourse and immunities prepared by the International Law Commission at its tenth session
  • Memorandum by Mr. Jiménez de Aréchaga in explanation of his proposal concerning ad hoc diplomacy
  • 19th session of the International Law Commission (1967)
    • Article 23 bis: proposal by Mr. Jiménez de Aréchaga

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its tenth session, 28 April to 4 July 1958
    • The Commission considered that the question of ad hoc diplomacy should be studied, in order to bring out the rules of law governing them, and requested the Special Rapporteur for the topic Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities, Mr. A.E.F. Sandström, to make a study of the question and to submit his report at a future session.
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its eleventh session, 20 April to 26 June 1959
    • The Special Rapporteur, Mr. A. E. F. Sandström announced his intention of submitting his report on this subject to the Commission prior to the next session, so that the Commission would be in a position to take up this subject at that session, if this were desirable. The Commission noted, however, that the desirability of considering the topic at its next session could be affected by the General Assembly's decision at its fourteenth session to be taken with regard to the Draft Articles on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities.
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twelfth session, 25 April to 1 July 1960
    • On the basis of the report of the Special Rapporteur, the Commission adopted a set of draft articles on special missions, together with a commentary. However, due to the relatively small amount of time allotted to its consideration of the topic, the Commission cautioned that the draft articles should be regarded as constituting only a preliminary survey which it carried out mainly in order to put forward certain ideas and suggestions which could be taken into account at the forthcoming Vienna Conference on Diplomatic Immunities.
    • Discussion in plenary: 565th and 567th meetings (17 and 21 June 1960), 569th meeting (22 June 1960), 576th and 577th meetings (29 and 30 June 1960)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fourteenth session, 24 April to 29 June 1962
    • The Commission decided to place the question of special missions on the agenda of its next session.
    • Discussion in plenary: 669th meeting (27 June 1962)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifteenth session, 6 May to 12 July 1963
    • Following the codification of the rules regarding permanent missions in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Commission expressed the belief that it should now draw up the rules applicable to special missions to supplement the codification of the law relating to diplomatic relations among States. It discussed further the scope of the topic and the approach to its codification. It appointed Mr. Milan Bartoš as Special Rapporteur for the topic.
    • Discussion in plenary: 711th a nd 712th meetings (1 and 2 July 1963)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixteenth session, 11 May to 24 July 1964
    • Considered the Special Rapporteur's report and adopted sixteen articles with commentaries which it submitted to the General Assembly and to the Governments of Member States for information.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 723rd, 724th and 725th meetings (13 to 15 May 1964), 757th and 758th meetings (2 and 3 July 1964), 760th, 761st, 762nd and 763rd meetings (7 to 10 July 1964), 768th, 769th and 770th meetings (17 to 20 July 1964)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventeenth session, 3 May to 9 July 1965
    • Considered the Special Rapporteur's second report and adopted 28 articles of that draft with commentaries, which follow on from the sixteen articles adopted at the sixteenth session.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 804th, 805th, 806th, 807th, 808th and 809th meetings (17 to 23 June 1965), 817th meeting (5 July 1965), and 819th and 820th meetings (7 and 20 July 1965)
  • Reports of the International Law Commission on the second part of its seventeenth session 3 to 28 January 1966 and on its eighteenth session 4 May to 19 July 1966
    • Examined certain questions of a general nature affecting special missions but did not have time to consider the comments of Governments on the draft articles. The Commission further requested that State Members continue to submit their comments until 1 March 1967.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 845th meeting (5 May 1966); 877th and 878th meetings (24 and 27 June 1966); 881st, 882nd and 883rd meetings (30 June to 4 July 1966)

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 1504 (XV) of 12 December 1960
    • Decided to refer the draft articles adopted by the Commission in 1960 on special missions to the United Nations Conference of Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities, held at Vienna in 1961, so that they may be considered together with the draft articles on diplomatic intercourse and immunities adopted by the Commission at its tenth session.1
 
  • Resolution 1687 (XVI) of 18 December 1961
    • Requested the Commission to study further the subject of special missions and to report thereon to the Assembly.
 
  • Resolution 2167 (XXI) of 5 December 1966
    • The General Assembly requested the Commission to continue its work relating to special missions and to present a final draft on the topic in its next report.
 

Final Outcome

International Law Commission (19th session, 1967)

General Assembly:

 

1 After considering the draft articles, the Vienna Conference adopted a resolution recommending to the General Assembly that it refer the topic back to the International Law Commission for further study.