International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: January 23, 2017

Membership

Pursuant to the 2016 election, the Commission's membership for the 2017-2021 quinquennium is as follows:

Name Nationality
Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri Qatar
Carlos J. Argüello Gómez Nicaragua
Bogdan Aurescu Romania
Yacouba Cissé Côte d’Ivoire
Concepción Escobar Hernández Spain
Patrícia Galvão Teles Portugal
Juan Manuel Gómez-Robledo Mexico
Claudio Grossman Guiloff Chile
Hussein A. Hassouna Egypt
Mahmoud D. Hmoud Jordan
Huikang Huang China
Charles Chernor Jalloh Sierra Leone
Roman A. Kolodkin Russian Federation
Ahmed Laraba Algeria
Marja Lehto Finland
Shinya Murase Japan
Sean D. Murphy United States of America
Hong Thao Nguyen Viet Nam
Georg Nolte Germany
Nilüfer Oral Turkey
Hassan Ouazzani Chahdi Morocco
Ki Gab Park Republic of Korea
Chris Maina Peter United Republic of Tanzania
Ernest Petrič Slovenia
Aniruddha Rajput India
August Reinisch Austria
Juan José Ruda Santolaria Peru
Gilberto V. Saboia Brazil
Pavel Šturma Czech Republic
Dire D. Tladi South Africa
Eduardo Valencia-Ospina Colombia
Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez Ecuador
S. Amos Wako Kenya
Michael Wood United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Qualifications and nationality

Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Statute provides that the members of the Commission “shall be persons of recognized competence in international law”. The members of the Commission are persons who possess recognized competence and qualifications in both doctrinal and practical aspects of international law.1 The membership of the Commission often reflects a broad spectrum of expertise and practical experience within the field of international law, including international dispute settlement procedures.2 Members are drawn from the various segments of the international legal community, such as academia, the diplomatic corps, government ministries and international organizations.3 Since the members are often persons working in the academic and diplomatic fields with outside professional responsibilities, the Commission is able to proceed with its work not in an ivory tower but in close touch with the realities of international life.4 As in the case of the judges of the International Court of Justice, the members of the Commission sit in their individual capacity and not as representatives of their Governments.5 In addition, the members of the Commission cannot be replaced by alternates or advisers.6

No two members of the Commission may be nationals of the same State (article 2, paragraph 2).7 In case of dual nationality, a person is deemed to be a national of the State in which he or she ordinarily exercises civil and political rights (article 2, paragraph 3). Eligibility for election is not restricted to nationals of Member States of the United Nations, but no national of any non-member State has ever been elected to the Commission.8 This possibility would seem to be diminishing as the membership of the United Nations increases and becomes almost universal.9

Election

Election of the entire Commission

The Committee of Seventeen, which recommended the creation of the Commission, had suggested similarity between the International Court of Justice and the Commission with regard to the method of election.10 The General Assembly, however, rejected the suggestion for a system of election jointly by the General Assembly and by the Security Council since the Court was a special case which should not serve as a precedent for the appointment of the Commission and the work of codifying international law was entrusted to the General Assembly under Article 13 of the Charter of the United Nations.11 Instead, it decided that candidates should be nominated exclusively by the Governments of States Members of the United Nations and that the election should be by the General Assembly alone (article 3). Each Member State may nominate a maximum of four candidates, of whom only two may be nationals of the nominating State (article 4).12

The Secretary-General sends a letter to the Governments of Member States informing them of the upcoming election, indicating the geographical distribution of seats at the upcoming election, noting the relevant provisions of the Statute, and drawing attention to the deadline for the nomination of candidates. The names of candidates must be submitted in writing to the Secretary-General by the first of June of the election year (article 5).13

In exceptional circumstances a Government may substitute one candidate for another whom it has nominated not later than thirty days before the opening of the General Assembly (article 5).14 The Secretary-General communicates the names and the curricula vitae of the candidates to Governments of States Members (article 6). The Secretary-General also submits a list of all of the candidates duly nominated to the General Assembly for the purposes of the election (article 7).

Article 8 of the Statute (echoing Article 9 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice) provides that at the election the electors shall bear in mind that the persons to be elected to the Commission should individually possess the qualifications required (that is, recognized competence in international law as stated in article 2) and that in the Commission as a whole representation of the main forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems of the world should be assured (article 8).

In 1956, the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly reached an agreement regarding the allocation of seats among the regional groups to ensure distribution between different forms of civilization and legal systems in connection with increasing the membership of the Commission from fifteen to twenty-one.15 In 1961, different views were expressed concerning the continuation of this arrangement when the membership of the Commission was increased from twenty-one to twenty-five.16 In 1981, the General Assembly decided to amend the Commission’s Statute in order to increase the membership of the Commission from twenty-five to thirty-four and to provide for the election of a maximum number of members for each regional group.17

The election is held by secret ballot.18 Those candidates, up to the maximum number prescribed for each regional group, receiving the greatest number of votes and not less than a majority of the votes of the Member States present and voting19 shall be declared elected (article 9, paragraph 1).20 More than one ballot may be held if necessary until all members have been elected by the required majority.21 In the case of a tie for a remaining seat, the General Assembly holds a special restricted ballot limited to those candidates (from the regional group to which the seat is allocated) who have obtained the required majority and an equal number of votes.22

Election to fill casual vacancies

International Law Commission, 2012–2016, with members of the Secretariat. Photograph taken at the sixty-fifth session, 2013.The Statute provides for a different election procedure to fill a vacancy that occurs during the interval between the regular elections by the General Assembly (the so-called “casual vacancies”). In such a situation, the Commission itself elects the new member to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term having due regard to the provisions contained in articles 2 and 8 of the Statute (article 11).23 Vacancies in the membership of the Commission may occur for various reasons, such as death, serious illness, appointment to a new position or election to the International Court of Justice.24 The Secretariat includes an item concerning the filling of one or more casual vacancies as the first item on the provisional agenda of the Commission.25 The Secretariat also issues a note announcing the existence of one or more casual vacancies and reproducing the relevant provisions of the Statute in the form of a document of the Commission for general distribution.

The Statute does not provide a nomination procedure for casual vacancies. In practice, the Secretariat may receive the submission of candidates from Governments of Member States or members of the Commission.26 The Secretariat gives advance notice to Commission members of the candidatures received in the form of an information circular which is sent to members before the opening of the session. The Secretariat also issues a note containing the list of candidates as well as the curricula vitae of candidates in the form of a document of the Commission for general distribution, which is issued as an addendum to its previous note announcing the vacancy.27 The Secretariat list of candidates includes the names of candidates28 (with an indication of their nationality) submitted by a Government of a Member State or by a member of the Commission.

The date of election is fixed by the Commission following consultations conducted by its Chairman.29 The Commission elects the new member to fill the vacancy by secret ballot30 in a private meeting.31 Since 1981, the Commission has elected members to fill vacancies following the geographical distribution provided for in resolution 36/39 of 18 November 1981.32 The Commission holds separate elections to fill vacancies in different regional groups.33 Votes for candidates not belonging to the regional group for which an election is held or for more candidates than there are vacancies in the regional group are considered invalid. The candidate who receives a majority of the votes of the members who are present and voting is elected.34 Members who abstain from voting35 are considered as not voting.36 When no candidate obtains the majority required as a result of the first ballot, subsequent ballots are held.37

The Chairman announces the result of the election in a public meeting, which is duly recorded in the summary records.38 The Chairman notifies the newly-elected members of the election results and invites them to participate in the Commission’s proceedings. Members elected to fill a casual vacancy serve for the remainder of their term and are eligible for re-election at the following election of the Commission.

In 1955, the General Assembly invited the Commission to give its opinion concerning a proposal to provide that a vacancy should be filled by the Assembly rather than the Commission in the light of the extension of the term of office of members from three to five years.39 The Commission decided not to recommend such a proposal since the General Assembly meets after the Commission’s session and the vacancy would therefore remain unfilled for at least one session.40

The names (and nationalities) of the present and former members of the Commission are listed in annex II.

Size of the Commission

The size of the membership of the Commission has been enlarged three times: from fifteen to twenty-one in 1956, under General Assembly resolution 1103 (XI) of 18 December 1956; to twenty-five in 1961, under Assembly resolution 1647 (XVI) of 6 November 1961; and to the present thirty-four in 1981, under Assembly resolution 36/39 of 18 November 1981.41 Proposals for the enlargement were prompted by the progressive increase in the membership of the United Nations from the original fifty-one to eighty Member States in 1956, 104 Member States in 1961 and 157 Member States in 1981. A large majority of the General Assembly believed that the provision of article 8 of the Statute, requiring “in the Commission as a whole representation of the main forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems”, could be better assured by increasing the size of the Commission.42

Terms of office and service on a part-time basis

Article 10 of the Statute originally provided that the term of office of the members of the Commission should be three years, with the possibility of re-election. However, in practice a longer term has proved beneficial to the progress of the Commission’s work, and the term of office was extended to five years, first on an ad hoc and then on a permanent basis.43

At its twentieth session, in 1968, the Commission proposed to the General Assembly the extension of the term of office of the Commission’s members from five to six or seven years. In the view of the Commission, the experience had shown that, given the time-consuming nature of the codification process, a period of six or seven years was the minimum required for the completion of a programme of work.44 The Sixth Committee of the General Assembly has taken note of the proposal and deferred taking a decision on it to a later session.45

By decision of the General Assembly, the Commission meets only in annual sessions, and its members, unlike judges of the International Court of Justice, do not serve on a full-time, year-round basis, although the Committee of Seventeen recommended that service be full-time.46 Thus, the Commission is a permanent and part-time subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.47 Members of the Commission are paid travel expenses and receive a special allowance in accordance with article 1348 of the Commission’s Statute. 49

In compliance with a request by the General Assembly to review the Statute and make recommendations for its revision, the International Law Commission, in 1951, recommended that the Commission should be placed on a full-time basis with a view to expediting its work.50 When the matter was discussed in the Sixth Committee, however, most delegations believed that it was premature to make so fundamental a change in the structure of the Commission. They felt, inter alia, that a large increase in the Commission’s output would impose an excessive burden on the General Assembly and Governments asked to comment on draft texts; that it would be difficult to find suitable candidates who would accept full-time appointment; and that expense was a serious consideration.51 Accordingly, the Assembly, in resolution 600 (VI) of 31 January 1952, decided not to take any action on the matter for the time being. Suggestions for placing the Commission on a full-time basis have also been made in the debates of the Sixth Committee at various later dates, but have never been acted on by the Assembly.

Privileges and immunities

At its thirtieth session, in 1978, the Commission considered it necessary to define better the juridical status of the Commission at the place of its permanent seat in Switzerland, including the immunities, privileges and facilities to which it and its members were entitled.52 The Commission requested the Secretary-General to study this matter and to take appropriate measures in consultation with the Swiss authorities.53 In 1979, the Government of Switzerland decided to accord to members of the Commission for the duration of its session the same privileges and immunities to which judges of the International Court of Justice are entitled while present in Switzerland, namely, the privileges and immunities enjoyed by the heads of mission accredited to the international organizations at Geneva. The Commission as well as the General Assembly expressed appreciation for this decision which would facilitate the performance by its members of their functions during its sessions in Geneva.54

Basic duties of Commission members

Members of the International Law Commission enjoy the status of experts on mission. As such, their status, conduct and questions of accountability are regulated by a Secretary-General’s Bulletin,55 which requires,56 inter alia, that “[o]fficials and experts on mission shall not use their office or knowledge gained from their official functions for private gain, financial or otherwise, or for the gain of any third party ...”.57

1 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1974, vol. II (Part One), document A/9610/Rev.1, para. 207.

2 While the membership of the Commission, since its inception, has been overwhelmingly male (the first female candidates were nominated at the 1961 and 1991 elections), the General Assembly elected the first two female members of the Commission in 2001. Female members were elected in 2006 and 2011.

3 In 1976, a Member State put forward the candidature of a staff member of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees for election to a vacancy in the International Law Commission. The Legal Counsel of the United Nations indicated that the election of a staff member to the Commission would be incompatible with the staff rules and regulations of the United Nations. The Legal Counsel added that a similar position was taken by the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in a case involving membership in the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities. The question of incompatibility arose not under the provisions of the Commission’s Statute but rather from the provisions of the staff regulations and rules of the United Nations and the relevant practice. The staff member withdrew his candidature. A staff member of a specialized agency was elected to the Commission by the General Assembly in 1991 and by the Commission in 2000 to fill a casual vacancy. A staff member of the World Bank was nominated for election to the Commission, in 2006, but was not elected.

4 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1974, vol. II (Part One), document A/9610/Rev.1, para. 210.

5 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 4.

6 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1974, vol. II (Part One), document A/9610/Rev.1, para. 210.

7 The Statute does not address situations in which the nationality of a member of the Commission changes after the election. In one instance, the Commission had two members who both became nationals of the United Arab Republic after the first session of the quinquennium as a result of the formation of a union between Egypt and Syria on 22 February 1958, following the election of both members by the General Assembly in 1956. One of the members resigned. In another instance, the Commission had two members who both became nationals of Germany after the fourth session of the quinquennium as a result of the accession of the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany with effect from 3 October 1990, following the election of both members by the General Assembly in 1986. Both members continued to serve during the last year of the quinquennium and completed the term of office for which they were elected. Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, as of 1 January 1993, the sitting member from Czechoslovakia continued to serve as a national of the Czech Republic.

8 A national of Switzerland was nominated at the 1968 election (but not elected), even though Switzerland was not a member of the United Nations at the time.

9 As of 31 December 2011, there were 193 States Members of the United Nations.

10 See the report of the Committee on the Progressive Development of International Law and its Codification, Official Records of the General Assembly, Second Session, Sixth Committee, Annex 1, para. 5.

11 See document A/C.6/193, para. 7.

12 While “double” nominations (i.e. a Member State nominating two of its nationals) were common in the earlier elections of the Commission (in 1948, 1953, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971 and 1976), this option has not been exercised since then. At the first election, in 1948, article 4 was interpreted as permitting the nomination of a maximum of two nationals and two non-nationals. However, more than two non-nationals were nominated by some States at the elections held in every election from 1953 to 1991 and in 2001.

13 In connection with the elections held in 1976, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, the General Assembly decided to include the names of several individuals, whose nominations were received after the 1 June deadline, into a consolidated list of candidates for election to the Commission. See documents A/31/PV.60, A/51/PV.52, A/56/PV.31, A/61/PV.41 and A/66/PV.35.

14 The General Assembly begins its regular session on the Tuesday of the third week in September, counting from the first week that contains at least one working day. Rule 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, document A/520/Rev.17. The substitution of a candidate has occurred twice in the history of the Commission. In 1981, the United States of America substituted its nomination of Mr. George Aldrich with that of Mr. Stephen McCaffrey. In 2011, Ecuador substituted its nomination of Mr. Vázquez- Bermúdez with that of Mr. Carlos Oswaldo Salgado Espinoza.

15 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Eleventh Session, Annexes, agenda item 59, document A/3427, para. 13; and ibid., Sixteenth session, Annexes, agenda item 17, document A/4779, paras. 4 and 5.

16 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixteenth Session, Annexes, agenda item 77, document A/4939, paras. 9–12; and document A/36/371, paras. 4–6.

17 General Assembly resolution 36/39 of 18 November 1981 provides that the members of the Commission shall be elected according to the following pattern: eight nationals from African States; seven nationals from Asian States; three nationals from Eastern European States; six nationals from Latin American States; eight nationals from Western European and other States; one national from African States or Eastern European States in rotation; and one national from Asian States or Latin American States in rotation. (The name of the regional group of Latin American States was subsequently changed to Latin American and Caribbean States. See United Nations Journals No. 88/19 of 1 February 1988, No. 88/23 of 5 February 1988 and 88/24 of 8 February 1988. The Asian States regional group was subsequently changed to Asia-Pacific States. See United Nations Journal No. 2011/168 of 31 August 2011.) The two rotational seats were allocated to a national of an African State and a national of an Asian State at the election held in 2011. See document A/66/88, paras. 6–8, and General Assembly decision 66/413 of 17 November 2011.

18 Rule 92 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly. The ballot paper is constituted of five sheets—one per regional group—containing the names of the candidates eligible for that round of balloting. Votes may only be cast for the candidates appearing on each sheet, and only up to the number of seats allocated to each region (i.e. a ballot containing less than that number would still be considered valid). A blank sheet is considered an abstention in relation to that regional group. A ballot containing more votes than the number of seats allocated to a regional group is considered invalid.

19 Rule 125 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly. For purposes of the election of the International Law Commission, “present and voting” means the number of valid ballot papers cast by Member States less invalid ballots and abstentions. See rule 126 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, applied mutatis mutandis.

20 If more than one national of the same State receives a sufficient number of votes to be elected, then the candidate who receives the largest number of votes or, if the votes are equally divided, the elder or eldest candidate shall be elected (article 9, para. 2). This situation has never arisen in practice.

21 Under rule 94 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, applied mutatis mutandis, further rounds of balloting are restricted to the candidates having obtained the greatest number of votes in the previous ballot and to a number not more than twice the number of seats remaining to be filled. Multiple rounds were held only at the elections in 1948 (2 rounds, held at the 154th and 155th plenary meetings), 1953 (4 rounds, 453rd and 454th plenary meetings), 1991 (2 rounds, see document A/46/PV.47), (2 rounds, see document A/56/PV.39) and in 2011 (2 rounds, see document A/66/PV.59).

22 See rules 92–94 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, applied mutatis mutandis. A second round of balloting was held at the 2011 election, restricted to the two candidates who were tied for the remaining seat in the Latin American and Carribean States Group. The candidate from Costa Rica subsequently obtained the required majority and the greatest number of votes, and was accordingly elected. See document A/66/PV.59. A second round of balloting was also held at the 2001 election, restricted to the two candidates who were tied for the remaining seat in the Asian Group. The candidate from Iran (Islamic Rep. of) subsequently obtained the required majority and the greatest number of votes, and was accordingly elected. See document A/56/PV.39. A tie also occurred in 1976, where two candidates were tied for the remaining seat in the Commission after the first round. The tie was broken through the withdrawal of one of the two candidates so as to honour a “gentleman’s agreement” concerning the regional distribution of seats. The President of the General Assembly promptly declared the remaining candidate as having been duly elected to the Commission. See document A/31/PV.68.

23 Elections to fill casual vacancies on the Commission were held at the sessions in: 1952, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

24 In some instances, the Commission member has given written notice of resignation usually in the form of a letter addressed to the Chairman and transmitted to the Chairman through the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This has often been the case when Commission members have been elected as judges of the International Court of Justice. Commission members have also submitted letters of resignation without indicating a reason. In other instances, the Commission has taken note of the factual events resulting in a vacancy and the Chairman has declared the existence of a vacancy. Even without an express determination by the Commission of the existence of a casual vacancy, the inclusion of such an item on the agenda adopted by the Commission may be seen as an implied determination by the Commission of the existence of a casual vacancy in the membership of the Commission at that particular session. No general rule or practice has developed in the context of the Commission as to the necessity to vacate a seat on the Commission upon election or appointment to another entity. The practice on this point has varied. For example, while in several instances, as mentioned above, Commission members have vacated their seats upon election to the International Court of Justice, a member who was elected to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, as of 1 October 2005, continued to serve as a member of the International Law Commission for the remainder of his term (until the end of 2006). Generally, the propriety of a member retaining his or her seat on the Commission following election to another entity is governed by the conditions of service as an United Nations expert on mission (see document ST/SGB/2002/9); the rules or practice of the other entity; and the nature of the service in the other entity (for example, whether it is full-time or part-time).

25 This is the practice when a vacancy occurs before the session, as has often been the case. If a vacancy occurs during the session, the Commission may decide to include an item concerning filling a casual vacancy in the agenda for that session or defer action to the following session.

26 At the fourth session, in 1952, the three persons elected by the Commission to fill casual vacancies were each proposed by a Commission member. The elections were held at public meetings. See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1952, vol. I, 136th meeting, paras. 5 and 10, and 183rd meeting, para. 1. At the eleventh session, in 1959, candidates were proposed by Commission members during the election to fill a casual vacancy. In a private meeting at that session, the Commission noted that article 11 of the Statute concerning casual vacancies contains no reference to article 3 requiring nominations by Governments for regular elections and therefore decided that it could consider candidatures submitted by a member of the Commission. The election to fill the casual vacancy was held at a private meeting. At the thirty-seventh session, in 1985, one candidate was proposed by a Commission member. Another individual whose name was put forward by a Commission member sent a letter to the Legal Counsel requesting that his name be withdrawn. The individual’s name did not appear in the list of candidates. The election to fill casual vacancies was again held at a private meeting.

27 The practice of issuing a Secretariat list of candidates began in 1960. Prior to then, information on candidatures received was circulated to members of the Commission and an informal list of candidates was prepared by the Secretariat for consideration by Commission members. (At times, the members of the Commission were also informed of candidatures by oral statements made by the Commission’s Secretary.) In accordance with the decision of the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Mr. Stavropoulos, in 1973, the Secretariat list of candidates contains the following information: names, nationalities and curricula vitae of candidates. The source of submission of the candidates is not indicated in the list. In accordance with the same decision, the Secretariat issues another document setting out the texts of communications received submitting or supporting candidatures in the form of a conference room document of the Commission restricted to Commission members. These communications are usually from Governments. In 1985, the Secretariat also published the text of a communication received from a member of the Commission submitting the name of a candidate. In some instances, information concerning the source of submission of candidates has been provided orally to Governments upon request prior to the election. In 1985, the Legal Counsel, Mr. Fleischhauer, decided that the Secretariat could not follow this practice in a particular case because it was under a constraint of confidentiality due to the request of the member who had submitted the candidature not to disclose its source other than to Commission members prior to the election.

28 The list of candidates prepared by the Secretariat is for information purposes only and is not necessarily determinative of which names will appear on the ballot. For example, in advance of the 2002 election to fill a casual vacancy for a single seat the Secretariat issued an addendum to its previous note (announcing the vacancy, document A/CN.4/522) containing the name of a single candidate (document A/CN.4/522/Add.1). Subsequently, a further nomination was received shortly prior to the election. As there was no time to issue a further addendum, the second nomination was announced orally by the Chairman, and a copy of the communication was circulated to the members of the Commission. At the election, both names appeared on the ballot and the second candidate was subsequently elected.

29 The Commission may hold an election to fill a casual vacancy arising during the session at a later time or at its next session.

30 This practice is similar to that of the General Assembly which holds elections by secret ballot. See rule 92 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly. In 1979, the General Assembly decided that “The practice of dispensing with the secret ballot for elections to subsidiary organs when the number of candidates corresponds to the number of seats to be filled should become standard and the same practice should apply to the election of the President and Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly, unless a delegation specifically requests a vote on a given election.” See Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, annex VI, para. 16. The Commission considered the question of following this practice in filling casual vacancies in 1985 (in the context of the vacancy arising out of the election of Ni Jhengyu to the International Court of Justice), 1995, 2003 (for the casual vacancy arising out of the resignation of Robert Rosenstock) and in 2006. In the first instance, in 1985, the Commission nonetheless decided to proceed by secret ballot partly out of the concern that a distinction could be drawn between a member elected by acclamation and those elected by secret ballot (through which procedure three other members were elected at the same meeting to fill casual vacancies in another regional group). A similar approach was taken at the elections held at the 1999 and 2000 sessions, also involving several seats spanning more than one regional group, some of which only had one candidate, while others were contested by multiple candidates: a secret ballot was held (the possibility of an accalamation procedure was not considered). At the elections in 1995, 2003 and 2006, the Commission decided to follow the acclamation procedure where only one nomination had been received for one open seat and on the basis of a request (even if implicit, as was the case of the election in 1995), made from the floor, that resort to a secret ballot be dispensed with in favour of election by acclamation.

31 Before 1954, the Commission filled casual vacancies by election in public meetings after consideration of candidates in private meetings. Since 1954, it has been the Commission’s consistent practice to fill the vacancies by election (or in a few instances by acclamation) in private meetings (except in 1995 where a member was elected in a public meeting, See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1995, vol. I, 2378th meeting, paras. 7–9). There are no summary records of private meetings.

32 Although there is no requirement in the Statute that a candidate for a casual vacancy should be from the same regional group of its previous occupant, since the establishment of the regional group distribution in 1956, nominations to fill a casual vacancy have always been for individuals from the same regional group. Accordingly, article 11 has been applied as also being subject to article 9, paragraph 1, in that it has consistently been understood that the casual vacancy election procedure cannot be used to circumvent the regional group distribution most recently established by General Assembly resolution 36/39. The Secretariat notes announcing the casual vacancies at the 1985 and 1990 elections (documents A/CN.4/386 and A/CN.4/433, respectively) made this explicit by including a reference to the regional group distribution. This practice has been discontinued as compliance with the regional group distribution is now well established as a matter of practice.

33 In the early years, the Commission normally held a separate election for each vacancy in the alphabetical order of the name of the vacating member. In 1973, the Commission decided to vote together on two vacancies in the same regional group. The same practice was followed in 1985 with respect to three vacancies in the same regional group; a separate election was held to fill a single vacancy in a different regional group. The procedure was followed again in 2003 in relation to two vacancies in the Eastern European Group, which had arisen simultaneously. In contrast, two vacancies in another regional group arose at different times that year (one before and one during the second part of the session). Two separate elections were held to fill those vacancies.

34 See rule 125 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly.

35 A blank ballot paper constitutes an abstention.

36 See rule 126 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly.

37 See rule 132 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly.

38 The Chairman’s announcement does not mention the results of the ballot or ballots taken at the private meeting nor make reference to the persons considered. No announcement is made until all vacancies have been filled.

39 General Assembly resolution 986 (X) of 3 December 1955. See also Official Records of the General Assembly, Tenth Session, Annexes, agenda item 50, document A/3028, paras. 21–26.

40 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1956, vol. II, document A/3159, para. 38. See also Official Records of the General Assembly, Eleventh Session, Annexes, agenda item 53, document A/3520, paras. 94–100.

41 See article 2, paragraph 1, of the Statute.

42 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Eleventh Session, Annexes, agenda item 59, document A/3427; ibid., Sixteenth Session, Annexes, agenda item 77, document A/4939; ibid., Thirty-sixth Session, Plenary Meetings, 63rd meeting, paras. 145–172, and ibid., Annexes, agenda item 137, document A/36/244 and Add.l.

43 By resolution 486 (V) of 12 December 1950, the General Assembly extended the term of the Commission’s members elected in 1948 to five years. In 1955, the Commission recommended a formal amendment to article 10 of its Statute, to take effect from 1 January 1957, which was accepted by the General Assembly in resolution 985 (X) of 3 December 1955. Accordingly, elections have taken place in 1948, 1953, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

44 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1968, vol. II, document A/7209/Rev.1, para. 98 (a).

45 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-fourth Session, Annexes, agenda items 86 and 94 (b), document A/7746, para. 117.

46 See the report of the Committee on the Progressive Development of International Law and its Codification, Official Records of the General Assembly, Second Session, Sixth Committee, Annex 1, para. 5 (d).

47 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 4.

48 As amended by General Assembly resolution 485 (V) of 12 December 1950. The members of the Commission were paid travel expenses and received a per diem allowance under article 13 of the Statute as originally adopted. In 1950, the General Assembly noted the inadequacy of the emoluments paid to Commission members and decided to amend this provision of the Statute to provide for the payment of travel expenses and a special allowance to Commission members bearing in mind the importance of the Commission’s work, the eminence of its members and the method of their election as well as considering the nature and scope of the Commission’s work which requires its members to devote considerable time in attendance at its necessarily long sessions.

49 The Chairman, the Special Rapporteurs and the other members of the Commission have historically also been paid honorariums. The basic principle governing the payment of honorariums enunciated by the General Assembly in resolution 2489 (XXIII) of 21 December 1968 and reaffirmed in resolutions 3536 (XXX) of 17 December 1975 and 35/218 of 17 December 1980 was that neither a fee nor any other remuneration in addition to subsistence allowances at the standard rate would normally be paid to members of organs or subsidiary organs of the United Nations unless expressly decided upon by the General Assembly. Payment of honorariums to the members of the Commission was authorized by the General Assembly on an exceptional basis, with the rates being kept under review by the Secretary-General and occasionally revised. In 1981, the revised rates of honorariums payable to members of the Commission were as follows: Chairman — 5,000; other members — 3,000; and Special Rapporteurs who prepared reports between sessions — an additional 2,500 United States dollars. In 1998, the Secretary-General submitted a report indicating that the General Assembly might wish to consider increasing the rates of honorariums by 25 per cent, effective 1 January 1999 (document A/53/643). The General Assembly, in resolution 56/272 of 27 March 2002, decided to set at a level of one United States dollar per year the honorariums payable to the Commission, with a view to utilizing the savings to restore Internet services to permanent missions in New York, which were provided by the United Nations Secretariat but which were to be halted owing to budgetary constraints (see General Assembly resolution 56/254 D of 27 March 2002). At its fifty-fourth session, in 2002, the Commission noted that resolution 56/272 was adopted after the election of its members by the General Assembly and that the decision was taken without consulting the Commission; considered that the decision was not consistent in procedure or substance with either the principles of fairness on which the United Nations conducts its affairs or with the spirit of service with which members of the Commission contribute their time and approach their work; stressed that the resolution especially affected Special Rapporteurs, particularly those from developing countries, by compromising support for their research work; and decided not to collect the honorariums due to concerns about the administrative costs involved in the payment of the symbolic honorariums (see Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 2002, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 525–531). The Commission continued this practice of not collecting the symbolic honorariums at its fifty-fifth to sixty-third sessions, from 2003 to 2011, respectively. The Chairman of the Commission sent a letter to the Chairman of the Sixth Committee bringing this matter to his attention (document A/C.6/57/INF/2). The Commission reiterated its concerns in the reports on its fifty-fifth to sixty-third sessions. See, Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 2003, vol. II (Part Two), para. 447; Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-ninth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/59/10), para. 369; ibid., Sixtieth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/60/10), para. 501; ibid., Sixty-first Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/61/10), para. 269; ibid., Sixty-second Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/62/10), para. 379; ibid., Sixty-third Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/63/10), para. 358; ibid., Sixty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/64/10), para. 240; ibid., Sixty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/65/10), para. 396; and ibid., Sixty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/66/10 and Add.1), para. 399. In 2006, the Commission urged the General Assembly to reconsider the matter, with a view to restoring the honorariums for Special Rapporteurs. See ibid., Sixty-first Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/61/10), para. 269. It reiterated this appeal at its 2007 and 2008 sessions, ibid., Sixty-second Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/62/10), para. 379, and ibid., Sixty-third Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/63/10), para. 358. For further information see documents A/64/283 and A/65/186.

50 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1951, vol. II, document A/1858, paras. 60–71.

51 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixth Session, Annexes, agenda item 49, document A/2088.

52 The members of the Commission would be entitled to the privileges and immunities of experts on mission when the Commission meets at the United Nations Headquarters in New York or in a Member State which is a party to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (article VI). United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1, pp. 15, 26.

53 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1978, vol. II (Part Two), para. 199.

54 See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1979, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 11–13, and General Assembly resolution 34/141 of 17 December 1979.

55 Document ST/SGB/2002/9, of 18 June 2002.

56 Ibid., regulation 1 (b). Since 2007, all newly-elected members of the Commission have been asked to sign the declaration.

57 Regulation 2(e). In 2007, the Commission had occasion to consider the implications of such duty in the context of the external publication of International Law Commission documents. Upon the recommendation of a special Working Group of the Planning Group established to consider the matter, the Commission endorsed the following guidelines:

Guidelines on the publication of Commission documents:

In order to ensure the proper attribution of the work of the International Law Commission, the following policy guidelines apply when present or former members of the Commission seek to publish documents relating to the work of the Commission:

1. Documents of the Commission should be appropriately attributed, with a clear indication whether the author is the Commission as a whole, a body established by the Commission, a Special Rapporteur or any other member of the Commission;

2. When the publication reproduces in whole or in part a document of the Commission this should be appropriately acknowledged;

3. If the document to be published relates to a subject on which the Commission has come to some collective conclusion, even if provisional, reference should be made in the publication to that conclusion;

4. Documents of the Commission which are intended for publication by the United Nations should not be published, on the initiative of individual members, before the documents have been officially released, including through the website on the work of the Commission;

5. A copy of the publication should be provided to the Commission.”

See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-second session, Supplement No. 10 (A/62/10), para. 381.