International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: June 30, 2020

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

General principles of law

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

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

  • 72nd session of the International Law Commission (2020)
    • Memorandum prepared by the Secretariat

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

None

Reports of the Special Rapporteur

  • Discussion on the scope and outcome of the topic and methodological approach. Description of previous work of the Commission. Question of the development of general principles of law over time. Consideration of the elements and origins of general principle of law. Proposals for three draft conclusions.
    • First report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez (71st session of the ILC (2019))
  • Discussion of the identification of general principles of law in the sense of Article 38, paragraph 1(c), of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Proposal for six draft conclusions on: identification of general principles of law derived from national legal systems, determination of the existence of a principle common to the principal legal systems of the world, ascertainment of transposition to the international legal system, identification of general principles of law formed within the international legal system, decisions of courts and tribunals, and teachings of the most highly qualified publicists.
    • Second report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Marcelo Vázquez-Bermúdez (72nd session of the ILC (2020))

Reports of the Drafting Committee

 

Comments by Governments

 

Other

None

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy-first session, 29 April–7 June and 8 July–9 August 2019
    • The Commission had before it the first report of the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/732).
    • The Commission considered the report at its 3488th to 3494th meetings, from 23 to 30 July 2019.
    • At its 3494th meeting, on 30 July 2019, the Commission decided to refer draft conclusions 1 to 3, as contained in the Special Rapporteur’s first report, to the Drafting Committee, taking into account the views expressed in the plenary.
    • At its 3503rdmeeting, on 7 August 2019, the Chair of the Drafting Committee presented an interim oral report of the Drafting Committee on draft conclusion 1, provisionally adopted by the Drafting Committee. The report was presented for information only.
    • At its 3507thmeeting, on 9 August 2019, the Commission requested the Secretariat to prepare a memorandum surveying the case law of inter-State arbitral tribunals and international criminal courts and tribunals of a universal character, as well as treaties, which would be particularly relevant for its future work on the topic.
  • Discussion in Plenary: 3488th, 3489th, 3490th, 3491st, 3492nd, 3493rd, 3494th (from 23 to 30 July 2019), 3503rd (7 August 2019) and 3507th (9 August 2019) meetings.
  • ILC Report, A/74/10, 2019, chap. IX, paras. 202–262
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (forthcoming)

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 74/186 of 18 December 2019
    • Drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the International Law Commission of having their views by 31 December 2019 on the various aspects of the topics on the agenda of the Commission, in particular on all the specific issues identified in chapter III of its report, regarding general principles of law.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/734)

Final Outcome

Work in progress