This essay analyzes the outcome of the International Law Commission (ILC)’s seventy- first session, held from April 29 to June 7 and from July 8 to August 9, 2019 in Geneva, under the chairmanship of Pavel Šturma (Czech Republic). Notably, the Commission completed the first reading of its topic on peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens). The Commission also completed the first reading of its topic on protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict and completed the second reading of its topic on crimes against humanity. Progress was also made in developing draft articles on succession of states with respect to state responsibility, draft articles on immunity of state officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction, and draft conclusions on general principles of law. Additionally, the Commission held informal consultations concerning model clauses for its topic on provisional application of treaties, the first reading of which was completed in the seventieth session and the second reading of which is expected during the seventy-second session in 2020.
The Commission added to its agenda a topic on sea-level rise in relation to international law, which is being addressed in the context of a study group rather than by use of a special rapporteur. It also added two new topics to its long-term work program: (1) reparation to individuals for gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law; and (2) prevention and repression of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
GW Paper Series
Murphy, Sean D., Peremptory Norms of General International Law (Jus Cogens) and Other Topics: The Seventy-First Session of the International Law Commission, American Journal of International Law, vol. 114, p. 68 (forthcoming 2020).