International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: July 15, 2015

About the Commission

Other activities

1998 Seminar to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Commission

A seminar, entitled "The International Law Commission fifty years after: An evaluation" was held in Geneva on 21 and 22 April 1998. The seminar focused on the following topics:

Colloquium on the Progressive Development and Codification of International Law (1997)

Following a request by the General Assembly (res. 51/160 of 16 December 1996), a Colloquium on the progressive development and codification of international law was held in New York on 28 and 29 October 1997 to mark the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the International Law Commission. The purpose of the Colloquium was to generate concrete and practical suggestions for enhancing the working capacity of the Commission and for making international law more effective and relevant to decision-making.

The themes of the Colloquium were: an overview of the international law-making process and the role of the International Law Commission; major complexities encountered in contemporary international law-making; selection of topics for codification and progressive development by the Commission and its working methods; the Commission's work and the shaping of international law; enhancing the Commission's relationship with other law-making bodies and relevant academic and professional institutions; and making international law more relevant and readily available.

The Colloquium's aim was to identify problem areas and generate concrete and practical suggestions for enhancing the capability of the Commission to that process. Some 150 ideas and suggestions were identified.

Participants included legal advisers of States, representatives to the Sixth Committee (Legal) of the General Assembly, current members of the Commission, and invited experts from universities, research institutions and other organizations worldwide.

Mr. Hans Corell, The Legal Counsel of the U.N., opened the Colloquium. The President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Hennadiy Udovenko, also made a statement giving his assessment of the achievement of the work of the Commission.

The following is a list of the Panels. (Open-floor discussions followed each Panel presentation)

At the working luncheon, H.E. Mr. Stephen Schwebel, President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), delivered a speech, entitled "The influence of the ICJ on the work of the ILC and the influence of the ILC on the work of the ICJ".

The Legal Counsel read a statement from the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and closed the Colloquium.

The papers presented to the Colloquium, as well as the proceedings, will be incorporated into a book.

The proceedings of the Colloquium are contained in the publication entitled "Making Better International Law: The International Law Commission at 50", published by the United Nations (ISBN 92-1-033076-5). In addition, the event was videotaped to be used to produce a 30-minute videotape for teaching purposes.


No formal internship programme currently exists with the International Law Commission. Interested candidates may instead wish to consider the United Nations Headquarters Internship Programme.