The 2016 International Law Week, which was organized by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held in the last week of October. The Legal Counsel met with the legal advisers from the capitals and from the Permanent Missions, and discussed with them certain current legal issues that the United Nations is facing. In his opening remarks during the inauguration of the 27th Meeting of the Legal Advisers of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Legal Counsel addressed three topical issues, namely accountability in South Sudan, respect for the privileges and immunities of the United Nations, the latest developments in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea, and the legal dimensions of the concept of climate justice. Panel discussions during such meeting also deliberated on reforming investor-State dispute settlement systems, strengthening the legal regime to counter terrorism and international law issues regarding cyberspace.
At the official opening of the International Court of Justice 70th anniversary Exhibition
The Legal Counsel also attended the official opening of the exhibition on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the inaugural sitting of the International Court of Justice, entitled, “70 years in the service of Peace and Justice”. The opening was graced by the presence of Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the President of the Court, Judge Ronny Abraham, four distinguished Members of the Court (namely, Vice-President Yusuf and Judges Cançado Trindade, Greenwood and Bhandari) and the Registrar of the Court, Mr. Couvreur.
The Legal Counsel with the President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Ronny Abraham
The exhibition provided a general overview of the Court’s role, its functions and history, as well as the institutional framework in which it operates. It will no doubt help increase awareness about the work of the Court among the general public and most importantly among students groups, but also among lawyers and diplomats. Over the course of its history, the Court has been called upon, in both its contentious and advisory functions, to hear cases of a diverse nature, concerning situations involving in particular breaches of the peace between States, diplomatic protection, immunities, human rights, environmental protection, and the delimitation of land or maritime boundaries.
The Legal Counsel was also part of the opening panel during the International Law Weekend (ILW). The theme this year was International Law 5.0, which considered the changes and challenges facing international law as a field. ILW is sponsored and organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) – which welcomes new members from academia, the practicing bar, and the diplomatic world. The Legal Counsel discussed the challenges in international humanitarian law and international criminal justice and accountability amongst other current topics.