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the rules, taking into account the points made in the debate, for final examination and adoption at its next session.
The Commission took note of the establishment by ECOSOC of the Commission on Transnational Corporations subsequent to the inscription of the topic on the UNCITRAL agenda. In light of this development it decided to defer preparing any program of work on the subject. In order to maintain coordination with the Commission on Transnational Corporations, however, it informed the new Commission of this decision and indicated that it was prepared to consider favorably any request by the latter that it examine specific legal issues falling within its mandate.
LIABILITY FOR DAMAGE CAUSED BY PRODUCTS INTENDED FOR
The Commission considered a report on this subject submitted by the Secretary General. The report summarized the work on the topic being done in a number of other organizations, pointing out the practical aspects of the problem as well as the difficulties that would be involved in preparing a set of legal rules acceptable within the framework of different legal systems. The Commission agreed that further information was necessary before it could take a final decision on the future course of its work in this area and requested the Secretary General to prepare such a report for consideration at its next session.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION
The Sixth Committee of the 30th General Assembly considered UNCITRAL'S report at nine meetings between September 30 and November 26; 33 states took part in the debate. As in previous years, the speakers generally stressed the importance of UNCITRAL's work, approved the flexible working methods it has used since its inception, and commended it and its working groups on their progress.
On November 25 Egypt introduced a draft resolution, sponsored by 26 states, that was for the most part similar to earlier resolutions on UNCITRAL. Inter alia, this draft noted various parts of the Commission's report and recommended that it (1) continue its work on
the subjects already on its agenda, (2) maintain close collaboration with UNCTAD and other international organizations concerned with international trade law, (3) maintain liaison with the Commission on Transnational Corporations with respect to the consideration of legal problems susceptible of action by it, and (4) continue to give special attention to the interests of developing countries, bearing in mind the special problems of landlocked countries.
However, the draft resolution also contained a paragraph calling on UNCITRAL to take account of the relevant provisions of the sixth and seventh special sessions of the General Assembly "that lay down the foundations of the new international economic order, bearing in mind the need for United Nations organs to participate in the implementation of those resolutions."
The United States, which maintains strong reservations on the resolutions adopted by the sixth special session, requested a separate vote on that paragraph, but the request was denied by a vote of 24 in favor to 67 opposed, with 12 abstentions. The United States then abstained on the resolution as a whole, which was approved by a rollcall vote of 98 to 0, with 4 abstentions (Federal Republic of Germany, Swaziland, United Kingdom, United States). Swaziland subsequently explained that it had intended to vote in favor, and a number of states that voted for the resolution explained that they would not have supported the paragraph in question had a separate vote been taken on it.
The Assembly adopted the resolution in plenary session on December 15 by a vote of 121 to 0, with 3 abstentions (U.S.).
HUMAN RIGHTS IN ARMED CONFLICTS
On September 19, 1975, the General Assembly included in the agenda of its 30th session, and allocated to its Sixth Committee, items entitled "Respect for human rights in armed conflicts: report of the Secretary General" and "Human rights in armed conflicts: protection of journalists engaged in dangerous missions in areas of armed conflict." These items were considered together by the Sixth Committee at three meet
between November 26 and December 1.
The report of the Secretary General referred to in the title of the first item related to the proceedings and results of the second session of the Diplomatic
Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts, convened by the Swiss Federal Council at Geneva from February 3 to April 18, 1975. That Conference was entrusted with the task of considering two draft Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 for the Protection of War Victims, one concerning international armed conflicts and the other concerning noninternational armed conflicts, and the question of the possible prohibition or restriction of specific conventional weapons alleged to cause unnecessary suffering or to have indiscriminate effects.
During the second session of the Conference, one of its committees adopted a draft resolution and a draft article concerning the protection of journalists in areas of armed conflict. The draft article would require that journalists be treated as civilians rather than combatants for the purpose of the Geneva Conventions, and it prescribed a model for identity cards to be issued to journalists. The draft article is intended to replace a separate convention on the subject, first proposed by France in the General Assembly's Third Committee in 1970. The draft resolution would inform the UN Secretary General of the adoption of the article.
On November 26, Mali introduced a draft resolution that was eventually sponsored by 20 states from all geographic areas. In two of its preambular paragraphs the draft (1) welcomed the substantial progress made at the second session of the Diplomatic Conference, and (2) noted that the Conference would continue its consideration of the use of specific conventional weapons, including any that might be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects, and it's search for agreement for humanitarian reasons on possible rules prohibiting or restricting the use of such weapons. In its operative paragraphs the draft, inter alia, (1) called upon all parties to armed conflicts to acknowledge and comply with their obligations under various international instruments and rules, including the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions, the 1925 Geneva Protocol, and the 1949 Geneva Conventions; (2) urged all participants in the Conference to do their utmost to reach agreement on additional rules to alleviate suffering and to protect noncombatants; and (3) took note with appreciation of the actions taken at the second session of the Conference concerning the protection of journalists.
In a statement on November 28 the U.S. Representative, Ambassador Bennett, reaffirmed the U.S. interest in improving existing rules regarding human rights in armed conflicts and in seeing that the rules were effectively implemented. He noted that the progress achieved at the second session of the Diplomatic Conference gave reason to believe that new protocols would be adopted within a reasonable period of time. He noted in particular the "impressive progress" with respect to the protection of journalists and he predicted that final action on this aspect of the problem would be achieved in 1976 at the next session of the Conference.
On December 1 the Sixth Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote, and on December 15 the General Assembly adopted it by consensus in plenary session.
Pursuant to a resolution adopted by the 29th General Assembly on the initiative of Australia, 25 states, including the United States, submitted to the Secretary General their views on the question of diplomatic asylum.
The U.S. submission, on September 8, 1975, reaffirmed the comments of the U.S. Representative in the Sixth Committee during the 29th General Assembly, specifically maintaining the basic propositions that (1) diplomatic and territorial asylum are two completely different notions; (2) the principles asserted as underlying the concept of diplomatic asylum are numerous, are not always articulated in a consistent manner by advocates of the concept, and do not, in fundamental regards, comport with universally accepted norms of international law; and (3) the noteworthy practice of diplomatic asylum that has existed in Latin America has operated in large measure not merely through treaties, but by common unarticulated understandings. As a consequence, the United States did not believe the Latin American practice could be generalized to extend over the international community.
The Sixth Committee of the 30th General Assembly considered the question of diplomatic asylum at eight meetings between October 28 and November 10, 1975. Over 50 states took part in the debate, during which the Committee had before it the Secretary General's analytical report on the subject.
Opening the debate on October 28, the Australian Representative said that his government had initiated the item in 1974 in order to foster what it regarded as a beneficial concept.
He said that there were a number of factors involved in the institution of diplomatic asylum, the foremost being the humanitarian element. In his view, granting asylum was performing an immediately valuable social function, which might, in a particular case, result in saving a life that could otherwise be lost. He said that his delegation believed that the institution of diplomatic asylum had become recognized in international law, but acknowledged that there were differences of opinion with regard to its legality and extent. He noted that in the report of the Secretary General it was stated that the official position of a state regarding diplomatic asylum might not necessarily coincide with its actual attitude. He expressed the hope that the Sixth Committee would be a forum for the expression of a state's true attitude on the question.
Speaking on October 31, the U.S. Representative expressed gratitude to the Government of Australia for the manner in which it had focussed UN concern on issues which, since they involved human rights, needed to be thought about. However, a number of countries, including the United States, did not believe it would be productive for the Committee to study the matter further at the present time. After reiterating the U.S. position on diplomatic asylum, he said that those agreeing with the United States that universalizing diplomatic asylum was not the appropriate way to respond globally to humanitarian needs were duty bound to be particularly vigilant in their concern for the rights of individuals and for political and civil liberties, including the right of due process of law and the right to leave and return to one's country of origin.
On November 4, Australia introduced a draft resolution, ultimately sponsored by 21 states, that (1) thanked the Secretary General for his report on the question of diplomatic asylum, (2) invited states to communicate to the Secretary General their views on the question by December 31, 1976, and (3) decided that the General Assembly would give further consideration to the question "at a future session." The Australian Representative said that the discussion in the Committee had been both instructive and encouraging, and he noted that no specific date had been given for further consideration since it was believed that any real progress must necessarily be gradual.
The Sixth Committee approved the draft resolution by consensus on November 10, and the General Assembly adopted it, also by consensus, on December 15.