62nd Session of the General Assembly - Sixth Committee - Item 83- "Diplomatic Protection" Statement by Mr. Luís Serradas Tavares, Director, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Portugal, New York, 19 October 2007
62nd Session of the General Assembly
Statement by Mr. Luís Serradas Tavares
Department of Legal Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
New York, 19 October 2007
Since it is the first time I am taking the floor, allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Sixth Committee. I would also like to congratulate the other members of the Bureau and to assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation for a successful Sixth Committee outcome during this 62nd General Assembly.
Portugal would like to initiate its comments on the topic of Diplomatic Protection by taking the opportunity to congratulate once again the International Law Commission on its work and, in particular, to commend the Special Rapporteur, Professor John Dugard, who guided the Commission throughout this exercise.
The completion of 19 draft articles on Diplomatic Protection in less than 10 years since the topic was first identified as suitable for codification and progressive development proves that the topic indeed was ripe and adequate for that purpose and that it is an institute of great actuality and usefulness in contemporary international relations.
Portugal welcomes this development as well as the recommendation by the International Law Commission for the elaboration of a convention on the basis of the draft articles.
We welcome last year’s General Assembly Resolution 61/35 that took note of the draft articles on Diplomatic Protection and invited Governments to submit comments concerning the recommendation by the ILC to elaborate a convention on the basis of these articles.
Portugal is in agreement with the draft articles in general and with their suitability for an international convention, regardless of the fact that during the debates of the Sixth Committee where the topic has been discussed we voiced disagreement with regard to certain aspects, concerning both the scope of the draft articles as well as its particular contents. This is was namely the case of the high threshold set by draft article 8 and of draft articles 11 and 12 on the protection of shareholders as autonomous subject of diplomatic protection.
We note that Member States have different views as to the future of this topic, reflected in the written comments that delegations, including our own, submitted during the course of this year and that are compiled in document A/62/118. These views range from supporting a convention, postponing consideration of the matter and keeping it in the agenda of the General Assembly, adoption in a GA resolution, to no convention at all. Many of the written comments also point to the link between this topic and that of State Responsibility for Wrongful Acts which this Committee will have an opportunity to discuss next week.
The written comments made by States are very useful for seriously debating this issue, but were of a very limited number and we therefore call upon all UN Members to actively participate in this discussion by expressing their views in written or oral form before this Committee.
It is our view that an Ad Hoc Committee within the framework of the Sixth Committee could be established to further discuss this issue, with a mandate to elaborate an international convention on the matter of diplomatic protection on the basis of the draft articles adopted by the International Law Commission.
Our hope is that soon, together with the draft articles on State Responsibility, these draft articles could form part of parallel conventions, since they traditionally go hand in hand, as recognised by the International Law Commission itself. This would represent a major step for the consolidation of the law of international responsibility.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.