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Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts (Agenda item 75)

Intervention by  Sérgio Carvalho, Legal Adviser of Portugal

November 20


Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to deliver this Explanation of Position on behalf of Argentina, Mexico, Sierra Leone and my own delegation - Portugal.

We would like to start by thanking Ms. Maitê Schmitz for her efforts to ensure a balanced text and reach consensus on the Resolution entitled “Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts”.

While our delegations join consensus on the final text of this Resolution, we would like to put on record that in our view this Resolution perpetuates a status quo that we deem unbalanced and hindering a serious and more in-depth discussion on this issue. Nearly 20 years after the draft articles were brought to the attention of the General Assembly, this Resolution continues to significantly ignore and fail to accurately reflect not only the views of a large number of delegations in this Hall from all regional groups that have expresses support for a Convention, but also the full extent of the Recommendations made by the ILC to the General Assembly in 2001, which include “the consideration at a later stage, in the light of the importance of the topic, of the possibility of convening an international conference of plenipotentiaries to examine the draft articles with a view to concluding a convention on the topic”.


Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate that promoting a better and more substantive discussion on this issue is different from embarking on an exercise that undermines the status of the draft articles, and is without prejudice of any future decision. On the contrary, we think that a better and more substantive discussion can only contribute to strengthening the draft articles, and that by rejecting a discussion that goes beyond the traditional binary debate on the topic, the GA is sending a negative signal about its engagement on this issue, one that risks being detrimental to the draft articles themselves.

Equally worrisome for our delegations is the fact that this Resolution also signals the uneasiness of this body (or, even worse, the unwillingness or lack of capacity of the 6C in light of its methods of work) to openly debate difficult legal questions, thus shying away from its role and responsibility under the UN Charter, as well as risking negative systemic impacts with respect to its relationship with the ILC and the way it considers its products.


Mr. Chairman,

We remain ready to engage with all delegations, both intersessionally and in the context of this body, with a view to finding ways to work together and bridging the existing differences on this matter, as well as in order to reenergize the role of the General Assembly and the 6C as a vital platform for debating the progressive development of international law and its codification.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.  



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