Chapter III. General review of the legal activities of the United Nations and related intergovernmental organizations


A. General review of the legal activities of the United Nations 1. Disarmament and related matters 125 2. Other political and security questions 132 3. Environmental, economic, social, humanitarian and cultural questions 142 4. Law of the Sea 186 5. International Court of Justice 188 6. International Law Commission 247 7. United Nations Commission on International Trade Law 249 8. Legal... (see full summary)


A. General review of the legal activities of the United Nations


    (a) Major trends and developments

    (i) Chemical weapons

    In 1992, the Conference on Disarmament concluded the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction,1 which was the first disarmament agreement negotiated within a multilateral framework that provided for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.

    Commending the Convention, the General Assembly, by its resolution 47/39 of 30 November 1992,2 also called upon all States to sign and to become partics to the Convention, and further called upon all States to ensure the effective implementation of the comprehensive and verifiable agreement, thereby enhancing cooperative multilateralism as a basis for international peace and security.

    (ii) Non-proliferation

    As regards the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the remaining two nuclearweapon States, China and France, acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,3 and an agreement was reached to begin preparations for the 1995 Conference. By its resolution 47/52 A of 9 December 1992," the General Assembly, noting the provisions of article X, paragraph 2, of the Treaty, requiring the holding of a conference twenty-five years after the entry into force of the Treaty, to decide whether the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely or shall be extended for an additional fixed period or periods, and recalling that the Treaty had entered into force on 5 March 1970, took note of the decision of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to form a preparatory committee for a conference to review the operation of the Treaty and to decide on its extension.

    On the question of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, no progress was made in 1992, mainly because of continuing differences of perception as to the real security interests and concerns of the few nuclear-weapon States and the large number of non-nuclear-weapon States. By its resolution 47/50 of 9 December 1992,s the General Assembly, noting the support expressed in the Conference on Disarmament and in the General Assembly for the

    elaboration of an international convention to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as the difficulties pointed out in evolving a common approach acceptable to all, appealed to all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character. As far as bacteriological (biological) weapons were concerned, and adoption and extension of confidence-building measures and the ongoing discussion on potential verification measures were seen as contributing to the effective implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention'1 and, thus, preventing the eventual proliferation of such weapons. The question of the transfer of chemical weapons and of components for the manufacturing of such weapons had been addressed extensively in the negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Convention and it was hoped that, after its entry into force, this issue would be effectively addressed by the mechanism (the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons) to be established under the Convention.

    (iii) Regional disarmament

    At its forty-seventh session, the General Assembly paid considerable attention to the question of regional disarmament and adopted five resolutions on the subject. By its resolution 47/52 G of 9 December 1992,7 the General Assembly affirmed that comprehensive political and peaceful settlement of regional conflicts and disputes could contribute to the reduction of tension and the promotion of regional peace, security and stability as well as of arms limitation and disarmament, and encouraged States of the sume region to examine the possibility of creating, on their own initiative, regional mechanisms and/or institutions for the establishment of measures in the framework of an effort of regional disarmament or for the prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts with the assistance, if requested, of the United Nations.

    The General Assembly affirmed, in its resolution 47/52 J of 9 December 1992," that global and regional approaches to disarmament complemented each other and should therefore be pursued simultaneously to promote regional and international peace and security, and called upon States to conclude agreements, wherever possible, for nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building measures at regional and subrcgional levels.

    Furthermore, by its resolution 47/52 I of 9 December 1992," the General Assembly, considering that, along with the new political situation in Europe, the positive results of the negotiations on confidence- and security-building measures, as well as those on conventional armaments and forces, had considerably increased confidence and security in Europe, thereby contributing to international peace and security, welcomed in particular: (a) the decision of the States signatories of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe'" to implement the Treaty, as well as the recent Concluding Act of the Negotiations on Personnel Strength of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe; (b) the signature of the Treaty on Open Skies, " with the adoption of the Declaration on the Treaty on Open Skies; (c) the adoption, by the States participating in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, of a new significant set of confidenceand security-building measures; and (d) the decision of the States participating in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, at the Helsinki sum-126

    mit meeting, to establish a Forum for Security Cooperation. In its resolution 47/53 B of 9 December 1992,12 the General Assembly endorsed the purposes and principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South-East Asia13 and its provisions for the pacific settlement of regional disputes and for regional cooperation in order to achieve peace, amity and friendship among the peoples of South-East Asia, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, which were consistent with the current climate of enhancing regional and international cooperation. Finally, by its resolution 47/53 F of 15 December 1992,14 the General Assembly, convinced that the resources released by disarmament, including regional disarmament, could be devoted to economic and social development and to the protection of the environment for the benefit of all peoples, in particular those of the developing countries, supported and encouraged efforts aimed at promoting confidence-building measures at regional and subregional levels in order to ease regional tensions and to further disarmament and nonproliferation measures at regional and subregional levels in Central Africa.

    (iv) Transparency, confidence-building and the Arms Register

    At its forty-seventh session the General Assembly adopted four resolutions on the subject. By its resolution 47/45 of 9 December 1992,IS the General Assembly took note of the report of the Secretary-General on actions to implement the recommendations in the in-depth study on the role of the United Nations in the field of verification, and encouraged Member States to continue to give active consideration to the recommendations contained in the concluding chapter of the study and to assist the Secretary-General in their implementation where appropriate.

    On the issue of transparency in armaments, by its resolution of 47/52 L of 15 December 1992,"" the General Assembly, continuing to take the view that an enhanced level of transparency in armaments contributed greatly to confidence-building and security among States and that the establishment of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, contained in the annex to resolution 46/36 L of December 1991, constituted an important step forward in the promotion of transparency in military matters, encouraged Member States to inform the Secretary-General of their national arms import and export policies, legislation and administrative procedures, both as regards authorization of arms transfers and prevention of illicit transfers, in conformity with its resolution 46/36 L, and reaffirmed its request to the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the Register and its further development with the assistance of a group of governmental experts convened in 1994 on the basis of equitable geographical representation.

    In its resolution 47/54 D of 9 December 1992,17 the General Assembly recommended the guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures to all States for implementation, taking fully into account the specific political, military and other conditions prevailing in a region, on the basis of initiatives and with the agreement and cooperation of the States of the region concerned, and appealed to all States to consider the widest possible use of confidence-building measures in their international relations, including bilateral, regional and global negotiations, as an important step towards prevention of conflict and, in times of political tension and crisis, as an instrument for peaceful settlement of conflicts.

    Finally, the General Assembly, in its resolution 47/54 B of 9 December 1992,IH endorsed the guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters as adopted by the Disarmament Commission at its 1992 substantive session, and recommended the guidelines and recommendations to all States for implementation, fully taking into account specific political, military and other...

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