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Committee to Examine Criminal Accountability of UN

General Assembly Committee to Examine Criminal Accountability of UN Staff

New York, Dec 5 2006 6:00PM

The United Nations General Assembly has agreed to set up to a committee to consider the criminal accountability of UN officials and experts serving on peacekeeping missions.

In a day-long meeting yesterday, the Assembly adopted more than 15 resolutions and decisions as it took up the reports of its Legal (Sixth) Committee, on topics ranging from the diamond trade and its role in fuelling conflicts to the restitution of cultural property to the relationship between the UN and regional organizations.

The Assembly authorized an ad hoc committee to meet in April to examine a report from a group of experts appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on how best to ensure that UN staff and experts on mission are neither unjustly penalized nor effectively exempted from the consequences of any criminal acts.

Members also took note of a decision by the Sixth Committee to resume hearings in March on the legal aspects of a report by a re-design panel on the administration of justice in the UN. The panel, established by Mr. Annan in January, has described the current process as outmoded and ineffective and proposed a new system that is independent, more decentralized and entirely consistent with international human rights standards.

By another text, the Assembly strongly condemned all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, and called on the ad hoc committee on terrorism to reconvene in February to expedite the creation of a comprehensive international convention on terrorism and to discuss the possibility of a high-level conference, under UN auspices, on the subject.

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Assembly members also: welcomed the universal acceptance of Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts; condemned violent attacks against diplomatic and consular missions and their representatives; and urged the United States as host country to UN Headquarters to remove travel restrictions on the personnel of some diplomatic missions and Secretariat staff of certain nationalities.

Some of the other resolutions related to the work of the International Law Commission, the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In the only text submitted to a recorded vote, the Assembly adopted by 133 votes to one (the US), with no abstentions, a resolution on cooperation between the UN and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.


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