Activities of the Legal Counsel of the
Visit by the United
Nations Legal Counsel to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Pristina and Mitrovica, Kosovo; Vienna, Austria; and Geneva,
22 June to 9 July 2017
22 June to 9 July 2017, the United Nations
Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, travelled
to Europe to visit Sarajevo, Pristina,
Mitrovica, Vienna and Geneva.
Visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 23 and 24 June 2017
On 23 and 24 June 2017, Mr. Serpa Soares participated in the last “legacy” conference of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) before it will formally close in December this year. Just like the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the ICTY took stock of its history and achievements through a series of conferences with the objective of fostering a dynamic discourse amongst international and national stakeholders on international criminal justice, the Tribunal, and its manifold legacies. Those events are essentially outreach activities bringing together ICTY officials, historians, academics, victims and witnesses and journalists. The Legal Counsel delivered the
alongside of the principals of the Tribunal. Against the historical
background of the establishment of the Tribunal, he focused on the moral legacy
of the ICTY and its pioneering role among the UN-established international
The United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, at the closing of the ICTY legacy conference
In the margins of his visit to Sarajevo, Mr. Serpa Soares held meetings with Judge Carmel Agius, the President of the Tribunal, as well as with other principals of the Tribunal, and with Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Visit to the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, 28 to 30 June 2017
From 28 to 30 June 2017, Mr. Serpa Soares visited the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). In the absence of SRSG Tanin, he was received by Mr. Christopher Coleman, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for UNMIK. A significant part of OLA’s work is to provide advice on a wide variety of legal issues arising in the area of peacekeeping. Against this background, Mr. Serpa Soares decided at the beginning of his tenure to visit at least one peacekeeping mission every year. Another reason to visit UNMIK was to get a first-hand impression of how the Secretary-General’s decision with regard to the follow-up to the findings and conclusions of the Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP) is being implemented on the ground. In this connection, Mr. Serpa Soares also expressed the wish to go on a field trip to Mitrovica to personally see the living conditions of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities and to inspect the sites of the former IDP camps where in particular members of the Roma community were located.
Mr. Serpa Soares and Mr. Coleman at a meeting with UNMIK Heads of Unit
Mr. Coleman and Ms. Hibling, Chief a.i. of UNMIK’s Office of Legal Affairs, accompanied Mr. Serpa Soares to Mitrovica where he was received and briefed by Mr. Danilo Rosales-Diaz, the Head of the UNMIK Mitrovica Regional Office. Considering the lengthy and controversial discussions that preceded the arrival at an executive decision regarding the issue of the claims by certain members of the Roma community in the Mitrovica region, Mr. Serpa Soares wanted to personally travel to that region to get first-hand information on how this decision is being implemented and how the decision and its implementation is being perceived on the ground.
Mr. Serpa Soares visits the site of the former IDP camp in Cesmin Lug
Visit to Vienna, Austria, 3 and 4 July 2017
In Vienna, Mr. Serpa Soares addressed the delegates at the opening of the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on 3 July 2017. The formal opening of the session was followed by a three-days Congress on the occasion of the anniversary which was entitled â€œModernizing International Trade Law to Support Innovation and Sustainable Developmentâ€ and which was convened on 4 July. Mr. Serpa Soares delivered the keynote address at the Congress. The Congress concluded that over the 50 years of its existence, UNCITRAL’s work stood out by remarkable achievements in a largely un-politicized environment. The significance that UNCITRAL’s work in facilitating trade has for the rule of law at the international level cannot be overestimated.
Mr. Serpa Soares addressed
the delegates at the opening of the 50th session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on 3 July 2017. The formal opening of the session was followed by a three-days Congress on the occasion of the anniversary which was entitled â€œModernizing International Trade Law to Support Innovation and Sustainable Development and which was convened on 4 July. Mr. Serpa Soares
delivered the keynote address at the Congress. The Congress concluded that over the 50 years of its existence, UNCITRAL’s work stood out by remarkable achievements in a largely un-politicized environment. The significance that UNCITRAL’s work in facilitating trade has for the rule of law at the international level cannot be overestimated.
Mr. Serpa Soares delivers the keynote address at a Congress on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of UNCITRAL
Visit to Geneva, Switzerland, 6 July 2017
The last stop on the Legal Counsel’s mission to Europe was Geneva in Switzerland, where he held his traditional annual meeting with the International Law Commission (ILC). At the invitation of ILC Chairman, Mr. Georg Nolte, Mr. Serpa Soares addressed the 69th session of the Commission. The ILC assists the General Assembly in the promotion and progressive development of international law and its codification. The objective of the annual meeting of the Legal Counsel with the ILC is to give its Members a sense of the legal issues with which the United Nations is currently confronted and to enable the Commission to perform its mandate in a more practice oriented manner. The briefing is traditionally followed by an exchange of views with the members of the Commission. The meeting provides the Legal Counsel with an opportunity to brief the ILC from a practitioner’s point of view on the latest trends and developments in international law and to get from the members of the Commission - all of them leading experts of international law - their views and expertise on a number of legal issues on the agenda.
The Legal Counsel addresses the 69th session of the International Law Commission