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Sixth Committee of the 54th General Assembly

Address of the Consular Department (Visa section) of the Czech Embassy: Fritzners gate 14, 0244 Oslo Opening hours at the Visa Section: Monday - Friday 10.00 - 12.00 am Telephone: (+47) 22121034 Fax: (+47) 22553395 e-mail:  oslo@embassy.mzv.cz   The Embassy of the

  • Statement by Mr. Milan Dufek, Director of International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on the Report of the International Law Commission, Chapter VIII, Unilateral Acts of States
    New York, November 4, 1999

  • Statement by Mr. Milan Dufek, Director of International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on the Report of the International Law Commission, Chapter VI, Reservation to Treaties
    New York, November 3, 1999

  • Statement by Mr. Jiri Malenovsky, Director-General for Legal and Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on Agenda Item 158: Establishment of an International Criminal Court
    New York, October 21, 1999

  • Statement by Mr. Milan Dufek, Director of International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on the Report of the International Law Commission, Chapter V, State Responsibility
    New York, October 1, 1999


Statement by Mr. Milan Dufek, Director of International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on the Report of the International Law Commission, Chapter VIII, Unilateral Acts of States

Mr. Chairman,

In this statement the Czech delegation would like to focus on the Chapter VIII of the ILC Report concerning unilateral acts of States.

In the light of jurisprudence of international judicial organs and State practice there is no doubt that unilateral acts exist as a phenomen in international law. States frequently carry out unilateral acts and by means of them enter into political and legal commitments. Therefore unilateral acts are often of considerable importance in the conduct of international relations. Unfortunately, in spite of many legal writings and some judgments of international courts this phenomen in international law remains to be blurred and for this reason present efforts of the ILC to bring some certainty, predictability and stability of the functioning of unilateral acts in international relations are very valuable.

My delegation has studied with interest the work of the ILC on this subject and wishes to express its appreciation to the Special Rapporteur and other members of the Commission for productive results of their deliberations. My delegation also notes with satisfaction that Secretariat has recently distributed a guestionnaire to Governments requesting about their practice in the area of unilateral acts. My delegation is convinced that materials on state practice in this field are necessarry for productive results of the Commission's work and we believe that comments of States will have a positive impact on the quality of other Commission's study on this subject-matter.

Mr. Chairman,

The Czech delegation agrees with the Commission that at this stage the scope of the study on this topic should remain to be confined to unilateral acts carried out by States. There is no doubt that other subjects of international law and, in particular, international organizations are also able to elaborate unilateral acts and create legal obligations through these acts. In spite of some common features there would be, however, a very difficult task to formulate general principles relating to both States and international organizations. As pointed out in the second report of the Special Rapporteur, there is the lack of a legal regime common to international organizations, that is, a general constitutional law of international organizations. Specific elements of individual international organizations make it dificult to systematize and define general rules even with respect to organizations themselves.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation favours that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969 serves as a source of inspiration for drafting articles on unilateral acts. The law of treaties contains principles which must be taken into account in considering this topic. Some problems are similar for both these subjects and from this point of view it is desirable, in the view of my delegation, to follow the methodology of the Vienna Convention in drafting rules. The pattern of the law of treaties seems to be especially useful with respect to draft articles 4 and 7, as submitted by the special Rapporteur.

On the other hand my delegation has misgivings about article 6. Rules on the means and moment of expressing consent to be bound by an obligation are no doubt very important. We are not, however, convinced that in this issue it is necessary to strictly abide by the Vienna Convention and include a broader variation of article 11 of the Vienna Convention to the draft articles on unilateral acts. In our view all essential rules on expression of consent can be derived from the definition of unilateral legal acts in article 2 and no specific provision is necessary in this regard.

Mr. Chairman,

As regards article 2, my delegation prefers the term "unilateral act" to the expression "unilateral declaration". My delegation comprehends the word "act" as more general expression than the word "declaration". A declaration we take as the form in which an act is elaborated.

Mr. Chairman,

As far as article 3 is concerned, we do not cast any doubts upon the validity of the fact that all States possess capacity to formulate unilateral legal acts. Although article 3 is absolutely correct from the general international law point of view, we find its content self-evident and in our view there is no need for this provision.

In conclusion, allow me to say that the Czech delegation supports the majority view in the Commission that it is not appropriate to deal with the issue of reservations in connection with deliberations on the topic of unilateral acts. Reservations represent a specific kind of unilateral acts which can be discussed only in the context of the law of treaties where they have its place.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Statement by Mr. Milan Dufek, Director of International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on the Report of the International Law Commission, Chapter VI, Reservations to Treaties

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, the Czech delegation would like to express its appreciation to the ILC for its efforts in completing a set of draft guidelines pertaining to the first Chapter of the Guide to practice on reservations to treaties. In this connection, my delegation expresses its admiration to the Special Rapporteur for his excellent in-depth study of this topic.

It is obvious that the main purpose of the Guide to practice on reservations to treaties is to make a clear distinction between reservations on the one hand, and interpretative declarations on the other. The clear division line between these two types of unilateral statements in the context of the law of treaties is so far very blurred due to inconsistent practice of states but also terminological uncertainties in all conventions codifying the law of treaties. The present efforts of the ILC to bring some certainty and stability in this issue are therefore very valuable, and already at this stage they very significantly contribute to progressive development of international law of the treaties.

Mr. Chairman,

Last year my delegation mentioned some difficulties about the wording of the draft definition of reservations which seemed to be in some parts too vague and did not provide a reliable criterion which would enable to achieve the above-mentioned clear distinction between reservations and interpretative declarations. In this regard, my delegation is very pleased with the results of other deliberations and drafting efforts of the Commission within the framework of its fifty-first session. In the view of the Czech delegation the current wording of the definitons of reservations and interpretative declarations is satisfactory and these definitions represent a good basis for drafting other secondary rules on this subject-matter.

My delegation also supports the inclusion of the cluster of rules dealing with the method of implementation of the distinction between reservations and interpretative declarations to the Guide to practice. Bearing in mind the aforementioned main purpose of this Guide, these rules can be very helpful. As mentioned in the commentary of the ILC report, the general rule is set out in draft guideline 1. 3. 1. and the remaining two guidelines supplement this general rule. My delegation is in agreement with this categorization but in our view the distinction between the general rule on the one hand, and supplement rules on the other, should also be properly emphasized in the text of these guidelines.

Mr. Chairman,

The commentary to guideline 1. 2. 1. concerning conditional interpretative declarations contains convincing arguments in support of this kind of interpretative declarations. In spite of the fact that this kind of unilateral statement, in produced legal affects, approaches reservations and some members of the ILC therefore recommended that it shall be treated as reservations, my delegation supports the final decision of the Commission to rank this kind of unilateral statement among interpretative declarations.

The Czech delegation also appreciates that the ILC reconsidered its approach with respect to so called statements of non-recognition and shares the view expressed in guideline 1. 4. 3. that these statements can not be taken for reservations or interpretative declarations. As pointedly stressed out by some members of the ILC, such statements, unlike reservations, do not concern the treaty itself or its provisions, but rather the capacity of the non-recognized entity to be bound by the treaty.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation also shares the views of the ILC concerning the application of reservations and interpretative declarations with respect to bilateral treaties. In the commentary the Commission took, in our view, the correct view that a "reservation" to a bilateral treaty does not have the same legal effects as when made to a multilateral treaty. The conclusion of the ILC, that in the context of a bilateral treaty a "reservation" is a proposal to amend or renegotiate the treaty in question, seems to be the only possible one. Unlike the ILC, however, my delegation is of the opinion that this clear conclusion should be reflected in the text of guideline 1.5. 1. The current wording of guideline 1.5.1. is not sufficiently balanced with the commentary and could be misleading. In our view, guideline 1.5.1. could be drafted along the lines of guideline 1.4.2.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Statement by Mr. Jiri Malenovsky, Director-General for Legal and Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on Agenda Item 158: Establishment of an International Criminal Court

Mr. Chairman,

Since my delegation is taking the floor for the first time in the current session of the Sixth Committee, let me start with congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your elections. We also express our thanks to Mr. Philippe Kirsch, Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court, for his excellent efforts in handling the two Preparatory Commission meetings held in February and August this year. Our thanks go also to the other members of the Bureau for their contribution in this respect.

Mr. Chairman, The Czech Republic has aligned itself with the Statement of the European Union, therefore, at this stage I would like to add only a few words expressing our view on the latest development of the process of the establishment of the ICC.

In July 1998, after years of preparatory work and five weeks of negotiations in Rome, 120 states voted to approve the Statute of the International Criminal Court. The adoption of the Rome Statute has been a long awaited moment and it no doubt constitutes a breaktrough in terms of international law. One year after the Rome achievement we can still be optimistic. 88 states signed the Statute and 4 states even ratified it. On the other hand, as we all know, this is not the end of the road. The Statute will remain a dead letter until at least 60 states have ratified the Treaty and until other necessary instruments, namely the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the Elements of Crimes have not been completed. My delegation would also like to underline the importance of having the Court as universal as possible. States which have not still joined the idea of the lCC must not be excluded from the process of its establishment and we should try help these states in getting over their fears. As pointedly expressed yesterday by the representative of Japan, we should not consider anybody as a kind of outsider.

June 30, 2000, by which the work on the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the Elements of the Crimes must be finished, is a new challenge, another significant step which we must make before we reach our common goal. In this connection, the Czech Republic is very pleased by the progress being made in the Working Groups on Elements of Crimes and Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Mr. Chairman, As regards the Elements of Crimes, the Preparatory Commission mainly concentrated on the elements of war crimes. From legal point of view, war crimes represent the most difficult part of the jurisdiction of the Court. Their definition in the Statute is elaborated in great detail and therefore also the creation of sentencing guidelines with respect to this category of crimes is a very difficult assignment. In spite of the fact the progress on the elements of war crimes is worth noting. Despite some points on which the discussion still continues, the wording of the elements, in principle, is shaping up. The Czech delegation is also satisfied that the wording of the elements abides by the definitions of war crimes, as contained in the Rome Statute and that these guidelines for judges do not add new elements which could extend or reduce the jurisdiction of the future Court.

In this connection, my delegation would also like to express its gratitude to the ICRC for elaboration of high quality expert studies on war crimes. Their work significantly contributed to the success of the previous two sessions of the Preparatory Commission.

Mr. Chairman, A significant progress was also made as regards the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. My delegation appreciates the constructive atmosphere in which delegations focused their efforts on search for consensus and finalization of texts of individual rules.

The Czech delegation notes with satisfaction that the procedural part of the Rome Statute and the Rules Procedure and Evidence do not focus only on the traditional principles of fair trial, but also try to do justice for victims of crimes. This is, in our view, what will make the ICC significantly different from its predecessors.

In this regard the Czech delegation would like to express its gratitude to all participating experts of the international seminar on victim's access to the ICC which took place in Paris at the end of April. The results of this seminar, as contained in this report, became a valuable source of inspiration for the Commission at its August deliberations on this issue.

Mr. Chairman, The Commission has still a difficult task before it since there is still a number of issues where more or less serious differences of positions exist among delegations. However, the Czech delegation believes that the work on problems which have not yet been resolved may be succesfully completed during next sessions of the Commission before 30 June, 2000. There is not much time left, but the remaining time should suffice, if the Commission continues its work with the same commitment and discipline as so far.

Mr. Chairman, In conclusion, allow me to touch briefly upon the ratification process in the Czech Republic.

At present, my country has been dealing with the evaluation of implications of the Rome Statute upon our domestic law and preparation of relevant legislative measures necessary for the implemenation of the Treaty in the Czech Republic. The creation of such legal norms is a very complex manner which does not relate solely to criminal law but makes us deal with some provisions of our Constitution too (which is, by the way, reviewed also for other reasons at this time). Despite the difficulty of this task the Czech Republic is prepared to live up to its reputation, as one of so called like-minded states, and at this stage I can promise that all our responsible organs will do their best in order to put the Czech Republic on the list of States Parties of the Rome Statute as soon as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Statement by Mr. Milan Dufek, Director of International Law Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on the Report of the International Law Commission, Chapter V, State Responsibility

Mr. Chairman,

The Czech Government follows with interest contemporary considerations of the International Law Commission on State responsibility which ranks among the most significant topics in international law and is of paramount importance for the whole international community. The ILC selected this issue as suitable for codification already at its first session, in 1949 and since has devoted a large amount of time to this topic and made a great deal of work on it. On this occassion, the Czech delegation would like to express its deep appreciation to all experts involved in this codification process during previous decades.

Mr. Chairman,

Further efforts are expected, however, to be made to complete the exercise of codifying in this important area, because a lot of problems remain to be tackled. In this connection, the Czech delegation wishes to commend the new Special Rapporteur, Mr. James Crawford, for impressive deep analysis of this subject matter in the first two reports and express its satisfaction and agreement with new directions and approaches which Mr. Crawford uses at his extremely difficult task.

My delegation carefully studied the second report of the Special Rapporteur and the results of the discussion of the Commission on it and would like to make at this stage some preliminary comments.

Mr. Chairman,

The Czech delegation appreciates that the Commission tries to link together provisions and articles concerning the same substance and to delete all those provisions which seem to be superfluous for adding nothing new. My delegation is convinced that this way of work will contribute to useful simplification and clearly organized structure of the draft articles on State responsibility.

From this point of view we support the approach of the special Rapporteur that articles 16, 17 and 19 (1) be merged into a single article. Also combination of the essential elements of articles 18 (3) to (5) and 24 to 26 in two articles seems to be the right solution.

Mr. Chairman,

Articles 18, 24 to 26 were also considered by some Governments too vague and some States were of the view that they defined acts of States with more analytical precision than necessary. My delegation is aware that characterization of an act of a State as a continuting or composite act appears to be too abstract and at first sight such definitions are not very helpful at determination of responsibility. On the other hand, as analyzed in great detail by the the Special Rapporteur in his second report, a rich jurisprudence proves that these theoretical problems have its undelible value in practice and may have considerable bearing on the determination of responsibility and the establishment of adequate reparation. The Czech delegation therefore supports retention of these provisions in the draft articles. Their unavoidable abstractness can be balanced by guidance in the commentary.

On the other hand, deletion of articles 20 and 21 dealing with the distinction between obligations of conduct and obligations of result seems to be a good decision. This classification of obligations has no bearing on the consequences of their breach and therefore there is no reason to entertain these questions within the realm of responsibility.

Mr. Chairman,

As far as article 27 is concerned, the Czech delegation is in favour of its retention but it is clear that changes in its wording are necessary.

First of all, it is not possible to accept the concept of State responsibility for aid and assistance to another State for the commission of an internationally wrongful act without the specification of mental element. Knowledge of engaging in an internationally wrongful act as the degree of awaraness required for the assisting State is satisfactory for my delegation. For reasons mentioned by the Special Rapporteur in his second report we also fully agree with the new element according to which responsibility of an assisting State be confined to such a completed act in question that would have been wrongful had it been committed by the assisting State itself.

Mr. Chairman,

As regards article 31 dealing with force majeure, my delegation supports the decision of the Commission to delete the feature of the knowledge of wrongfulness from this provision which was misleading and contradictory with the concept of general elements required for the establishment of State responsibility.

As far as article 32 is concerned, my delegation is not in favour of widening the scope of the excuse of distress to cases where honour of moral integrity are at stake. We agree with those members of the Commission who find the expansion in this regard too dangerous for it could lead to situations of abuse. Distress should be accepted as a defence only in cases when human life is threatened.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.