International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: August 1, 2017

About the Commission

Organization, programme and methods of work

Methods of work

Progressive development and codification

The drafters of article 13(1)(a) of the Charter of the United Nations, at the San Francisco Conference, in 1945, considered a proposal to make an explicit reference to “revision” of existing international rules, but opted for the words “progressive development” since “juxtaposed as they were with codification, they implied modifications of as well as additions to existing rules” so as to “establish a nice balance between stability and change, whereas ‘revision’ would lay too much emphasis on change".1

During the process of drafting the statute, the Committee of Seventeen recognized that the tasks that were to be entrusted to the Commission would vary in nature: some might involve the drafting of a convention on a subject which had not yet been regulated by international law or in regard to which the law had not yet been highly developed or formulated in the practice of States; while other tasks might involve the more precise formulation and systematization of the law in areas where there had been extensive State practice, precedent and doctrine. The former type of task was labelled, “for convenience of reference”, as “progressive development” and the latter “codification".2

The statute contemplates the progressive development of international law through the preparation of draft conventions (article 15), but envisages two further possible conclusions to its work when the Commission’s task is one of codification: (a) simple publication of its report; and (b) a resolution of the General Assembly, taking note of or adopting the report (article 23, paragraph 1).3 The statute also lays down the specific steps to be taken by the Commission in the course of its work on progressive development (articles 16 and 17) and on codification (articles 18 to 23).

Notwithstanding the distinction drawn between the two concepts, the Committee of Seventeen recognized that they were not mutually exclusive, as, for example, in cases where the formulation and systematization of the existing law may lead to the conclusion that some new rule should be suggested for adoption by States.4 This insight has been borne out by practice. The Commission has indicated that the distinctions drawn in its statute between the two processes have proved unworkable and could be eliminated in any review of the statute.5 Instead the Commission has proceeded on the basis of a composite idea of codification and progressive development.6 It has developed a consolidated procedure to its methods of work and applied that method in a flexible manner making adjustments that the specific features of the topic concerned or other circumstances demand.7

Process of consideration

The Commission does not necessarily begin consideration of a topic immediately after it has been included in the programme of work (since 1992, from the list of topics in the long-term programme of work). The Commission’s actual consideration of a topic on its programme results, rather, from a further decision of the Commission to place it on the agenda of its next session. The Commission’s decision to commence its work on a topic is mainly influenced by the status of the consideration of other topics and requests by the General Assembly (e.g., special assignments or requests to give priority to certain topics or to begin work on a certain topic).8 In some instances, the placing of a topic on the agenda has also been preceded by preliminary work undertaken by a subcommittee or working group established for that purpose.

The Commission has identified three different stages generally present in the consideration of a topic on its agenda: a preliminary stage, devoted mainly to the organization of work and the gathering of relevant materials and precedents; a second stage, during which the Commission proceeds to a first reading of the draft articles submitted by the Special Rapporteur; and a third and final stage, devoted to a second reading of the draft provisions provisionally adopted.9

The preliminary stage usually comprises the following: appointment of a Special Rapporteur; formulation of a plan of work; and, where necessary or desirable, requests for data and information from Governments10 as well as international organizations and for research projects, studies, surveys and compilations from the Secretariat.11

The second stage usually comprises the following: the consideration of the reports of the Special Rapporteur12 by the Commission in plenary, and of the proposed draft provisions in the plenary and in the Drafting Committee; the development of draft provisions with commentaries setting forth precedents, any divergences of views expressed in the Commission, and alternative solutions considered;13 the approval of the provisional draft provisions in the Drafting Committee and the draft provisions with commentaries afterwards in the plenary; and the issuance of the provisional draft with commentaries as a Commission document and its submission to the General Assembly, and also to Governments for their written observations.14 As experience has shown that a shorter period failed to elicit a sufficient number of replies, Governments are normally given one year or more in which to study the draft provisions adopted on first reading and present their written observations before the Commission begins the second reading.15

The third stage usually involves the study by the Special Rapporteur of the replies received from Governments, as well as by any institution invited to submit comments, together with any comments made in the debates of the Sixth Committee; submission of a further report to the Commission, recommending the changes in the provisional draft that seem appropriate; the consideration and approval of the revised draft in the Drafting Committee in the light of the written and oral observations from Governments; and adoption by the Commission in plenary of the final draft with commentaries,16 on second reading, and a recommendation regarding further action.17

The Commission may adopt its drafts in a variety of forms. While in the vast majority of cases, it has concluded its work on a topic with the adoption of draft articles and commentaries and has recommended the adoption of a convention on that basis, it has increasingly used other forms of provisions. Although article 20 of its statute only envisages that the Commission prepare its drafts in the form of articles, in some instances, the Commission has considered that the outcome of its work on a topic would not be the adoption of a binding instrument and it has instead adopted drafts in the form of draft principles, guidelines or conclusions. In other instances, the outcome of the work on a topic has been the adoption of a final report rather than draft provisions with commentaries thereto.18

The Commission has adopted final drafts in the form of draft principles in several instances.19 In the context of the formulation of the Nürnberg principles, it considered that its task “was not to express any appreciation of these principles as principles of international law but merely to formulate them.”20 Further, the commentary to the draft principles on the allocation of loss in the case of transboundary harm arising out of hazardous activities states that “[a]s the draft principles are general and residuary in character they are cast as a non-binding declaration of draft principles.”21

In the context of the topic “Reservation to treaties”, the Commission adopted draft guidelines; on that occasion it stated that “as the title and the word ‘guidelines’ indicate, it is not a binding instrument but a vade mecum, a ‘toolbox’ in which the negotiators of treaties and those responsible for implementing them should find answers to the practical questions raised by reservations, reactions to reservations and interpretative declarations, on the understanding that, under positive law, these answers may be more or less certain depending on the question, and that the commentaries indicate doubts that may exist as to the certainty or appropriateness of a solution.”22

The Commission has also adopted drafts in the form of draft conclusions.23 Conclusions have been used for topics intended to shed light on existing practice relating to a specific process.

The task of the Commission in relation to a given topic is completed when it presents to the General Assembly a final product on that topic, which is usually accompanied by the Commission’s recommendation on further action with respect to it.24 In some instances, the General Assembly has requested the Commission to undertake further work on a topic on which it has already submitted a final report.25

The Commission has generally considered that its drafts constitute both codification and progressive development of international law in the sense in which those concepts are defined in the statute, and has found it impracticable to systematically categorize each provision.26 The Commission has usually recommended that the General Assembly take action envisaged with respect to the codification of international law under its statute, namely: (a) to take no action, the report having already been published; (b) to take note of or adopt the report by resolution; (c) to recommend the draft to Members with a view to the conclusion of a convention; or (d) to convoke a conference to conclude a convention (article 23, paragraph 1).

As noted in Part III, the Commission recommended that the General Assembly take the following action with respect to the various drafts in the years indicated in parentheses: (a) take no action with respect to the draft article on the contiguous zone (1953) and the final report on the topic “Obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare)” (2014) since the report covering it had already been published; (b) adopt the reports containing drafts relating to the continental shelf and fisheries (1953),27 and the Model Rules on Arbitral Procedure (1958); (c) adopt the draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States in the form of a declaration (1999); (d) recommend the conclusion of a convention on arbitral procedure (1953), elimination and reduction of future statelessness (1954),28 diplomatic intercourse and immunities (1958), special missions (1967),29 most-favoured-nation clauses (1978), law of the non-navigational uses of international watercourses (1994),30 prevention of transboundary harm from hazardous activities (2001), diplomatic protection (2006); and protection of persons in the event of disasters (2016); (e) take note of the draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers (2008),31 the responsibility of international organizations (2011), and the effects of armed conflicts on treaties (2011), and expulsion of aliens (2014), which were to be annexed to the Assembly’s resolution, and consider, at a later stage, the elaboration of a convention on the basis of the draft articles; (f) convoke a conference to conclude a convention on the law of the sea (1956), consular intercourse and immunities (1961), law of treaties (1966), representation of States in their relations with international organizations (1971), succession of States in respect of treaties (1974), succession of States in respect of State property, archives and debts (1981), treaties concluded between States and international organizations or between two or more international organizations (1982), status of the diplomatic courier and the diplomatic bag not accompanied by diplomatic courier and two optional protocols thereto (1989), and jurisdictional immunities of States and their property (1991); (g) take note of the draft articles on responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts, which were to be annexed to the Assembly’s resolution, and subsequently consider convening a conference to conclude a convention (2001); and (h) endorse the draft principles on the allocation of loss in the case of transboundary harm arising out of hazardous activities (second part of the topic of international liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law) (2006) by a resolution.32 The Commission has also commended the Guiding principles applicable to unilateral declarations of States capable of creating legal obligations (2006) the conclusions of the Study Group on the fragmentation of international law (2006), and the final report on the Most-Favoured-Nation clause (2015) to the attention of the General Assembly, and recommended that the Assembly take note of the Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties (2011) and ensure its widest possible dissemination.33

Special assignments

In performing special assignments, the question has arisen whether the Commission, should use the methods laid down in its statute for carrying out its normal work of progressive development and codification, or whether it was free to decide on the methods to be used in such cases. The Commission has always decided that it was free to adopt special methods for special tasks.34 The Commission often dispenses with the normal stages of its work and considers special assignments as a whole or in a working group without appointing a Special Rapporteur or holding first and second readings.35 In such cases, the Commission reports its conclusions simply for the consideration of the General Assembly, without recommending any of the courses of action listed in article 23, paragraph 1, of the statute. In other cases, the Commission has used virtually the same working methods for special assignments as for progressive development and codification with the result being the submission of draft articles accompanied by commentaries, and in some instances, a recommendation for action by the General Assembly.36

The Commission submitted its reports with respect to the following special assignments in the years indicated in parentheses: draft declaration on rights and duties of States (1949); formulation of the Nürnberg principles (1950); question of international criminal jurisdiction (1950); question of defining aggression (1951); reservations to multilateral conventions (1951); draft code of offences against the peace and security of mankind (1951, 1954, 199437 and 1996); extended participation in general multilateral treaties concluded under the auspices of the League of Nations (1963); question of the protection and inviolability of diplomatic agents and other persons entitled to special protection under international law (1972); and review of the multilateral treaty-making process (1979).

The Commission’s reports on the following special assignments contained draft articles with commentaries: draft declaration on rights and duties of States; formulation of the Nürnberg principles; draft code of offences against the peace and security of mankind; and question of the protection and inviolability of diplomatic agents and other persons entitled to special protection under international law. The conclusions reached by the Commission on the other special assignments did not lend themselves to the preparation of draft articles.

Review of methods of work

The Commission has periodically reviewed its methods of work, at the request of the General Assembly or on its own initiative, in the light of comments and suggestions made in the Sixth Committee or in the Commission itself.38 It has consequently introduced a number of changes aimed at expediting or streamlining its procedures to respond more readily to its tasks.39

At its tenth session, in 1958, the Commission considered various methods by which its work might be accelerated based on a working paper prepared by the Chairperson of its previous session in response to observations in the Sixth Committee.40 As a result of this review, the Commission made changes in its methods of work with respect to plenary meetings, the Drafting Committee and Government comments. The Commission concluded that it might be useful in the initial stages of preparing a draft on a difficult or complex subject to make greater use of committees or sub-committees so that less would be done in plenary. The Commission decided that in the future the Drafting Committee should be formally constituted as what it had long been in fact, namely, a committee to which could be referred not merely pure drafting points, but also points of substance which the full Commission had been unable to resolve, or which seemed likely to give rise to unduly protracted discussion. The Commission also decided to prepare its final draft at the second session following that in which the first draft had been prepared which would give more time for Governments to comment on the first drafts produced by the Commission, also for the members to consider those comments and for the Special Rapporteur to make recommendations concerning them.41

At its twentieth session, in 1968, the Commission reviewed its methods of work based on working papers prepared by the Secretariat.42 As a result of this review, the Commission recommended that: the term of office of its members be extended from five to six or seven years; an additional special allowance be made available to Special Rapporteurs to help defray expenses in connection with their work; and the staff of the Codification Division be increased so that it could provide additional assistance to the Commission and its Special Rapporteurs.43

At its twenty-seventh session, in 1975, the Commission established a Planning Group in the Enlarged Bureau to study the functioning of the Commission and formulate suggestions regarding its work. As an initial project, the Planning Group undertook a review of the existing workload of the Commission with a view to proposing general goals toward which the Commission might direct its efforts during its five-year term of office ending in 1981.44 The adoption by the Commission of general goals for completion of work on the topics under consideration was received with approval in the General Assembly.45 From 1977 on, the Commission has established a Planning Group46 for each of its annual sessions and entrusted it with the task of considering the programme, organization and methods of work of the Commission.

At its thirtieth and thirty-first sessions, in 1978 and 1979, respectively, the Commission examined its methods of work in the context of its consideration of the topic “Review of the multilateral treaty-making process” pursuant to General Assembly resolution 32/48 of 8 December 1977.47 The Commission established a working group to consider preliminary questions raised by the topic and to recommend to the Commission the action to be taken in response to the General Assembly’s request. The Commission subsequently adopted the report of the Working Group48 which contained detailed observations on the following: (1) the International Law Commission as a United Nations body; (2) the object and functions of the Commission; (3) the role of the Commission and its contribution to the treaty-making process through the preparation of draft articles; (4) the consolidated methods and techniques of work of the Commission as applied in general to the preparation of draft articles (without distinguishing between the progressive development of international law and its codification), including the functions performed by the Special Rapporteur, the Drafting Committee and the Commission during the three stages of consideration of a topic; (5) other methods and techniques employed by the Commission (for example, with respect to special assignments); (6) the relationship between the Commission and the General Assembly; and (7) the elaboration and conclusion of conventions based on draft articles prepared by the Commission following a General Assembly decision to that effect The Commission concluded, inter alia, that the techniques and procedures provided in the statute, as they had evolved over three decades, were well adapted for the object of the Commission set forth in article 1 of the statute, namely, the progressive development of international law and its codification. The Commission noted that it might be necessary to provide more assistance and facilities to Special Rapporteurs to enable them to perform their duties in the future and to make more use of questionnaires addressed to Governments than in the past. The Commission did not, however, recommend any major changes in its methods of work.

At its thirty-ninth session, in 1987, the Commission considered thoroughly its methods of work in all their aspects in response to General Assembly resolution 41/81 of 3 December 1986. The Planning Group established a Working Group on Methods of Work for this purpose. As a result, the Commission, while maintaining the view that tested methods should not be radically or hastily altered, agreed that some specific aspects of its procedures could usefully be reviewed. The Commission believed that the Drafting Committee, which played a key role in harmonizing the various viewpoints and working out generally acceptable solutions, should work in optimum conditions. As regards the composition of the Drafting Committee, the Commission was aware that a proper balance must be kept, notwithstanding practical constraints, between two legitimate concerns, namely that the principal legal systems and the various languages should be equitably represented in the Committee and that the size of the Committee should be kept within limits compatible with its drafting responsibilities. To facilitate the work of the Drafting Committee, the Chairperson of the Commission should, whenever possible, indicate the main trends of opinion revealed by the debate in plenary. The Commission was aware that premature referral of draft articles to the Drafting Committee, and excessive time-lags between such referral and actual consideration of draft articles in the Committee, have counter-productive effects.49

At its forty-fourth session, in 1992, the Commission considered thoroughly its methods of work in all their aspects as requested by the General Assembly in resolution 46/54 of 9 December 1991. On the recommendation of the Planning Group, the Commission adopted guidelines with respect to the Drafting Committee and the Commission’s report. The guidelines concerning the composition and working methods of the Drafting Committee provide as follows: (a) the Drafting Committee shall continue to be a single body, under one Chairperson, but may have a different membership for each topic; (b) the Drafting Committee should, as a general rule, concentrate its work on two to three topics at each session to attain greater efficiency; (c) the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee, in consultation with the other officers of the Commission, shall recommend the membership for each topic; (d) membership for each topic shall be limited to no more than fourteen members and shall ensure as far as possible representation of the different working languages; (e) members who are not serving on the Drafting Committee for a given topic may attend the meetings and occasionally be authorized to speak, but should exercise restraint; (f) the Drafting Committee shall be given the necessary time for the timely completion of the tasks entrusted to it; (g) when necessary, the Drafting Committee may be given additional time for concentrated work, preferably at the beginning of a session; and (h) the Drafting Committee shall present a report to the Commission as early as possible after the conclusion of its consideration of each topic. The guidelines concerning the preparation and content of the Commission’s annual report provide, inter alia, as follows: (a) the General Rapporteur should play an active part in the preparation of the report to provide the necessary coordination and consistency, bearing in mind continuing efforts to avoid an excessively long report; and (b) the report should include a summary of the work of the session as well as a list of questions on which the views of the Sixth Committee would be particularly helpful.50

At its forty-sixth and forty-seventh sessions, in 1994 and 1995, respectively, the Commission considered its working methods with respect to the commentaries to draft articles. The Commission reviewed the conditions under which the commentaries to draft articles are discussed and adopted. The Commission agreed that the commentaries should be taken up as soon as possible at each session in order to receive the requisite degree of attention and should be discussed separately rather than in the framework of the adoption of the annual report. The Commission noted that the content and length of the commentaries accompanying draft articles depend partly on the nature of the topic and the extent of the precedents and other relevant data. Nonetheless, the Commission encouraged its Special Rapporteurs to draft the briefest possible commentaries and pay due attention to the desirability of having the commentaries to the draft articles on the various topics as uniform as possible in presentation and length.51

At its forty-eighth session, in 1996, the Commission examined the procedures of its work for the purpose of further enhancing its contribution to the progressive development and codification of international law in response to General Assembly resolution 50/45 of 11 December 1995. The Commission adopted the report of the Planning Group52 which contained the following recommendations with respect to plenary meetings, the Drafting Committee, working groups, Special Rapporteurs and the Commission’s annual report: (a) the plenary debates should be reformed to provide more structure and to allow for an indicative summary of conclusions by the Chairperson at the end of the debate, based if necessary on an indicative vote; (b) the Drafting Committee should continue to have a different membership for different topics; (c) working groups should be used more extensively to resolve particular disagreements and, in appropriate cases, as an expeditious way of dealing with whole topics, in the latter case normally acting in place of the Drafting Committee; (d) Special Rapporteurs should specify the nature and scope of work planned for the next session, work with a consultative group of members, produce draft commentaries or notes to accompany their draft articles, which should be revised in the light of changes made in the Drafting Committee and made available at the time of the debate in plenary, and the Special Rapporteur’s reports should be available sufficiently in advance of the session; (e) the Commission should identify specific issues for comment by the Sixth Committee before the adoption of draft articles, where possible, and the Commission’s report should be shorter, more thematic and should highlight and explain key issues to assist in structuring the debate on the report in the Sixth Committee.53 The Commission also recommended that goals should be set at the beginning and reviewed at the end of each quinquennium, together with any preparations that should be made to facilitate adopting the plan for the next quinquennium at the beginning of its first year.54 The General Assembly welcomed with appreciation the steps taken by the Commission in relation to its internal matters to enhance its efficiency and productivity and invited the Commission to continue taking such measures.55

At its sixty-third session, in 2011, the Commission reviewed its working methods and, on the basis of the report of the Planning Group, adopted several recommendations (supplementing the recommendations adopted during previous reviews of its methods of work) pertaining to: the role of the Special Rapporteurs, the convening of study groups, the work of the Drafting Committee as well as the role of the Planning Group, the preparation of commentaries, the final form of texts being elaborated by the Commission, the Commission’s report and the relationship with the Sixth Committee.56 The General Assembly welcomed the work of the Commission to improve its methods of work.57

1 Document 848; II/2/46, The United Nations Conference on International Organization, [1945], vol. 9, pp. 177–178.

2 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, paras. 7. See also article 15 of the statute of the Commission.

3 Such distinction between possible outcomes in the context of progressive development of international law, as opposed to its codification, has not always met with agreement in the Commission. See, for example, the debate, at the fifty-third session, in 2001, on the recommendation of the Commission to the General Assembly on the occasion of the adoption of the draft articles on responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts (Yearbook … 2001, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 61–67). See also the debate held at the sixty-eighth session in relation to the topic “Protection of persons in the event of disasters” (document A/CN.4/SR.3295).

4 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. 7.

5 See Yearbook … 1996, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 147 (a) and 156–159.

6 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 13.

7 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 16.

8 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 22.

9 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 35.

10 For example, Governments may be requested to furnish the texts of laws, decrees, judicial decisions, treaties, diplomatic correspondence and other relevant documents under article 19 of the statute.

11 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, paras. 36–43.

12 At the Commission’s request or on his initiative, the Special Rapporteur’s initial presentation may be of a general and exploratory character, in the form of a working paper or preliminary report. See ibid., para. 39.

13 The content of the commentary to draft articles is addressed in article 20 of the statute. A distinction can be drawn between commentaries written on first reading, which may include minority views within the Commission, as well as a description of alternative solutions sought; and commentaries to draft articles adopted on second reading, which reflect only the decisions and positions taken by the Commission as a whole.

14 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, paras. 44–49.

15 See Yearbook … 1958, vol. II, document A/3859, paras. 60 and 61.

16 The commentaries are amended to explain the final version of the draft provisions, including the solutions adopted with respect to any controversial issues, and updated to include the most recent precedents.

17 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, paras. 50–56.

18 In such cases, the Commission has typically proceeded to adopt its final report after one single reading.

19 See Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal and in the Judgement of the Tribunal (Yearbook … 1950, vol. II, para. 97); Guiding Principles applicable to unilateral declarations of States capable of creating legal obligations (Yearbook … 2006, vol. II, Part Two, para. 176) and Draft principles on the allocation of loss in the case of transboundary harm arising out of hazardous activities (Yearbook … 2006, vol. II, Part Two, paras. 66-67).

20 Yearbook … 1950, vol. II, para. 96.

21 Paragraph (11) of the General commentary (See Yearbook … 2006, vol. II (Part Two), para. 67).

22 See paragraph (4) of the introduction to the Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties (Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/66/10 and Add.1).

23 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-first Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/71/10), paras. 62 and 75 containing, respectively, the draft conclusions on customary international law and the draft conclusions on subsequent agreements and subsequent practice in relation to the interpretation of treaties adopted by the Commission on first reading.

24 In 2011, the Commission recommended that a “preliminary indication as to the final form of the work undertaken on a specific topic (draft articles which might be embodied in a convention, declaration of principles, guidelines, expository study with conclusions and recommendations, etc.) should, as far as possible, be made at an early stage by Special Rapporteurs or Study Groups, subject to review and later adjustment as the work develops”. See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/66/10 and Add.1), para. 383.

25 The General Assembly may refer drafts back to the Commission for reconsideration or redrafting under article 23, paragraph 2, of the statute. The General Assembly took such action with respect to the draft articles on arbitral procedure submitted by the Commission to the General Assembly in 1953 (General Assembly resolution 989 (X) of 14 December 1955), as well as aspects of the draft articles on the jurisdictional immunities of States and their property (General Assembly, in resolution 53/98 of 8 December 1998).

26 See, for instance, Yearbook … 1951, vol. I. pp. 123 and 132–135; 1953, Yearbook … vol. II, document A/2456, para. 54; Yearbook … 1956, vol. II, document A/3159, paras. 25 and 26; Yearbook … 1961, vol. II, document A/4843, para. 32; Yearbook … 1966, vol. II, document A/6309/Rev.1, para. 35; Yearbook … 1967, vol. II, document A/6709/Rev.1 and Rev.1/Corr.l, para. 23; Yearbook … 1971, vol. II (Part One), document A/8410/Rev.l, para. 50; Yearbook … 1974, vol. II (Part One), document A/9610/Rev.1, para. 83; Yearbook … 1978, vol. II (Part Two), para. 72; Yearbook … 1982, vol. II (Part Two), para. 55 and Yearbook … 1996, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 156 and 157.

27 These drafts, later included in the all-embracing draft on the law of the sea, became the basis for two conventions adopted by the first United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1958).

28 The recommendation of the Commission was implicit in the identical provision of article 12 of the two draft conventions on the subject submitted to the General Assembly, which read: “The present Convention, having been approved by the General Assembly, shall ... be open for signature ... and shall be ratified”.

29 The Commission recommended to the General Assembly that appropriate measures be taken for the conclusion of a convention on special missions.

30 The Commission recommended that a convention be elaborated by the Assembly or an international conference of plenipotentiaries.

31 The Commission further recommended to the General Assembly that it recommend that States concerned make appropriate bilateral and regional arrangements for the proper management of their transboundary aquifers on the basis of the principles enunciated in the draft articles. See Yearbook … 2008, vol. II (Part Two), para. 49(b).

32 The Commission further recommended that the General Assembly urge States to take national and international action to implement the draft principles. See Yearbook … 2006, vol. II (Part Two), para. 63.

33 With respect to the topic “Ways and means for making the evidence of customary international law more readily available” no recommendation by the Commission in accordance with article 23, para. 1, of the statute was required because of the nature of the work on the topic.

34 See, for example, the discussion at the Commission’s first session concerning the procedure to be followed in its work on the draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States, in Yearbook … 1949, Report to the General Assembly, para. 53. The General Assembly, in taking note of the draft Declaration and in commending it to the continuing attention of Member States and jurists of all nations (resolution 375 (IV) of 6 December 1949), appeared to accept without question the thesis stated in the Commission’s report that it was within the competence of the Commission to adopt such procedure as it might deem conducive to the effectiveness of its work in respect of a special assignment even though such procedure differed from the procedures set forth in the statute for progressive development or codification. See also Yearbook … 1977, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 116 and 117.

35 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, paras. 57–61.

36 With respect to the draft Statute for an International Criminal Court submitted by the Commission to the General Assembly in 1994, the Commission recommended that the General Assembly convene an international conference of plenipotentiaries to study the draft Statute and to conclude a convention on the establishment of an international criminal court. With respect to the draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind submitted by the Commission to the General Assembly in 1996, the Commission recommended that the General Assembly select the most appropriate form which would ensure the widest possible acceptance of the draft Code.

37 In this year, the Commission submitted its report containing the final text of the draft Statute for an International Criminal Court.

38 At its twenty-ninth session, in 1977, the Commission, stated its intention to keep constantly under review the possibility of improving its methods of work and procedures in the light of the specific features presented by the individual topics under consideration. See Yearbook … 1977, vol. II (Part Two), para. 120. This was reiterated at the Commission’s thirty-first session, in 1979, when the Commission conducted a comprehensive review of its methods of work, while preparing its observations on the item “Review of the multilateral treaty-making process”, as well as at its next session, in 1980. See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 16, and Yearbook … 1980, vol. II (Part Two), para. 185, respectively.

39 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325, para. 16. However, in 1973, the Commission noted that “whatever improvements it may be possible to make in the methods of work of the Commission, it is clear that there is an inbuilt periodicity at work that places certain limits on the Commission’s ability to respond promptly to urgent requests”. See Yearbook … 1973, vol. II, document A/9010/Rev.1, para. 166.

40 Document A/CN.4/L.76.

41 See Yearbook … 1958, vol. II, document A/3859, paras. 59–62 and 65.

42 See Yearbook … 1968, vol. II, document A/7209/Rev.1, paras. 95–102 and annex.

43 See ibid., para. 98.

44 See Yearbook … 1975, vol. II, document A/10010/Rev.l, paras. 139–147.

45 See General Assembly resolution 3495 (XXX) of 15 December 1975.

46 As mentioned previously, the Commission’s current practice is to establish the Planning Group as a subsidiary body of the Commission.

47 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 184–195.

48 See Yearbook … 1979, vol. II (Part One), document A/CN.4/325.

49 See Yearbook … 1987, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 235–239.

50 See Yearbook … 1992, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 371 and 373.

51 See Yearbook … 1995, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 504–508.

52 See Yearbook … 1996, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 142–243.

53 For the complete list of specific recommendations, see Yearbook … 1996, vol. II (Part Two), para. 148.

54 See Yearbook … 1996, vol. II (Part Two), paras. 148 (l) and 221.

55 See General Assembly resolution 52/156 of 15 December 1997.

56 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/66/10 and Add.1), paras 370–388.

57 See General Assembly resolution 66/98 of 9 December 2011.