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 63 2. Other political and security questions 74 3. Economic, social, humanitarian and cultural questions 78 4. Law of the Sea 96 5. International Court of Justice 98 6. International Law Commission 130 7. United Nations Commission on International Trade Law 132 8. Legal questions dealt with... (see full summary)



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


      (a) Comprehensive approaches to disarmament

      (i) Follow-up of the special sessions of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament

      States Members of the United Nations continued to recognize in 1986 that the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly,' the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, remained a document of irreducible significance. At the same time, Member States expressed disappointment that the specific goals set in the Final Document and adopted by consensus were far from being achieved, despite their reaffirmation at the second special session devoted to disarmament in 1982.

      In 1986 the General Assembly adopted 28 resolutions and one decision on the two agenda items concerning the follow-up of the special sessions. Some of the resolutions concerning follow-up questions in a general sense are presented below.

      By its resolution 41/60 C of 3 December 1986,2 the Assembly took note of the "Draft guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures and for the implementation of such measures on a global or regional level" reproduced in the report of the Disarmament Commission.3 By its resolution 41/60 G of the same date,4 the Assembly decided to convene its third special session on disarmament in 1988 and to establish an open-ended Preparatory Committee for the Third Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament; and requested the Preparatory Committee to prepare a draft agenda for the special session to examine all relevant questions relating to that session and to submit to the General Assembly at its forty-second session its recommendations thereon. By its resolution 41/60 H of the same date,5 the General Assembly reaffirmed its decisions contained in annex IV to the Concluding Document of the Twelfth Special Session of the General Assembly6 and the report of the Secretary-General7 approved by resolution 33/71 E of 14 December 1978. Moreover, by its resolution 41/86 K of 4 December 1986,8 the General Assembly invited all States to increase cooperation and to strive actively for meaningful disarmament negotiations on the basis of reciprocity, equality, undiminished security and the nonuse of force in international relations, so that they might prevent qualitative enhancement and quantitative accumulation of weapons, as well as the development of new types and systems of weaponry, especially weapons of mass

      destruction; stressed the importance of strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations in fulfilling its central role and primary responsibility in the sphere of disarmament; and emphasized the necessity of refraining from the dissemination of any doctrines and concepts endangering international peace and justifying the leashing of nuclear war, which led to the deterioration of the international situation and to the further intensification of the arms race and which were detrimental to the generally recognized necessity of international cooperation for disarmament. And by its resolution 41/86 O of the same date,9

      the Assembly invited all States, particularly nuclear-weapon States, and especially those among them which possessed the most important nuclear arsenals, to take urgent measures with a view to implementing the recommendations and décisions contained in the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly; called upon the two leading nuclear-weapon States to pursue their negotiations with renewed determination and taking into account the interest of the entire international community in order to halt the arms race, particularly the nuclear-arms race, reduce substantially their nuclear arsenals, prevent the arms race in outer space and undertake effective measures of nuclear disarmament; called upon the Conference on Disarmament to proceed urgently to negotiations on the cessation of the nuclear-arms race and nuclear disarmament and on the prevention of nuclear war, to intensify negotiations on the prevention of an arms race in outer space and to elaborate drafts of treaties on a nuclear-test ban and on a complete and effective prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of all chemical weapons and on their destruction; and invited all States engaged in disarmament and arms limitation negotiations outside the framework of the United Nations to keep the General Assembly and the Conference on Disarmament informed on the status and/or results of such negotiations, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session. And in addition, in its resolution 41/86 Q, also of the same date,10 the General Assembly called upon Member States to intensify their efforts towards achieving agreements on balanced, mutually acceptable, comprehensively verifiable and effective arms limitation and disarmament measures; took note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General containing the views and suggestions of Member States on verification principles, procedures and techniques;1 ' and requested the Disarmament Commission to consider at its 1987 session, in the context of pursuing general and complete disarmament under effective international control, verification in all its aspects, including principles, provisions and techniques to promote the inclusion of adequate verification in arms limitation and disarmament agreements and the role of the United Nations and its Member States in the field of verification, and to report on its deliberations, conclusions and recommendations to the General Assembly at its forty-second session.

      (ii) General and complete disarmament

      States representing all political and geographical groups stated in 1986 that general and complete disarmament under effective international control remained their ultimate goal. In discussion of the concept, the need for a comprehensive programme, one which would make it possible to begin a process of global disarmament negotiations, was reaffirmed.

      By its resolution 41/59 B of 3 December 1986,12 the General Assembly reaffirmed its conviction that a better flow of objective information on military


      capabilities could help relieve international tension and contribute to the building of confidence among States on a global, regional or subregional level and to the conclusion of concrete disarmament agreements; urged those global, regional and subregional organizations that had already expressed support for the principle of practical and concrete confidence-building measures of a military nature on a global, regional or subregional level to intensify their efforts with a view to adopting such measures at the earliest possible date; urged all States, in particular nuclear-weapon States and other militarily significant States, to consider implementing additional measures based on the principles of openness and transparency, with the aim of facilitating the availability of objective information on, as well as objective assessment of, military capabilities; and expressed its thanks to the Secretary-General for his report13 prepared in conformity with resolution 40/94 K of 12 December 1985. Furthermore, by its resolution 41/59 J of the same date,14 the General Assembly urged all States parties to arms limitation and disarmament agreements to implement and comply with the entirety of the provisions of such agreements; and called upon all Member States to support efforts aimed at the resolution of non-compliance questions, with a view to encouraging strict observance by all parties of the provisions of arms limitation and disarmament agreements and maintaining or restoring the integrity of such agreements.

      (iii) World disarmament conference

      In 1986, as in previous years, there was no agreement among the nuclearweapon States on convening a world disarmament conference. By its resolution 41/61 of 3 December 1986,15 the General Assembly renewed the mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee on the World Disarmament Conference, deferring the question of convening meetings of the Committee to the forty-second session of the Assembly, and recommended that the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee undertake consultations with the nuclear-weapon States, as well as with all other States, in order to remain informed of the development of their positions on the question of convening a world disarmament conference.

      (Jb) Nuclear disarmament

      (i) Nuclear arms limitation and disarmament

      Within the multilateral framework—the Disarmament Commission, the Conference on Disarmament and the General Assembly at its forty-first session—no major substantive progress was achieved on nuclear arms limitation and disarmament.

      By its resolution 41/86 F of 4 December 1986,16 The General Assembly affirmed that the existence of bilateral negotiations on nuclear and space arms in no way diminished the urgent need to initiate multilateral negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on the cessation of the nuclear-arms race and nuclear disarmament; and again requested the Conference on Disarmament to establish an ad hoc committee at the beginning of its 1987 session to elaborate on paragraph 50 of the Final Document of the Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly and to submit recommendations to the Conference as to how it could best initiate multilateral negotiations of agreements, with adequate measures of verification, in appropriate stages for (a) cessation of the qualitative improve-65

      ment and development of nuclear-weapon systems; (¿>) cessation of the production of all types of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery and of the production of fissionable material for weapons purposes; and (c)...

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