|Headquarters||New York, United States|
|United Nations General Assembly|
The United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee (also known as the Legal Committee or C6) is one of six main committees of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It deals primarily with legal matters and is the primary forum for the consideration of international law and other legal matters concerning the United Nations.
The United Nations General Assembly has an express mandate to promote the progressive development of public international law as laid out in the Charter of the United Nations. Specifically, Article 13 of the Carter states that the General Assembly has the authority to "initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of: (a) promoting international co-operation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification."
Subsequent practice has interpreted this provision as a broad authorization to elaborate new treaties on the widest range of issues, to adopt them, and to recommend them to states for their subsequent signature, ratification or accession. While international law-making negotiations take place in a variety of specialized bodies of the United Nations, depending on their actual subject-matter, those negotiations related to general international law are usually held at the Sixth Committee.
The Sixth Committee has universal membership, as such all United Nations Member States are entitled to representation in its proceedings. Non-member states with observer status may also attend and participate in the discussions of the Committee.
The Sixth Committee meets every year for six weeks in parallel with the General Assembly’s annual session, with its work beginning after the general debate and finishing by mid-November. Occasionally, the Committee may also be reconvened upon request of the General Assembly to address substantive questions. Before the work of the Committee begins, the General Assembly assigns to it a list of agenda items to be discussed. Common agenda items include:
The Committee also hears the annual reports of its reporting bodies, as well as considers requests for observer status in the General Assembly.
The Committee does not hold a general debate at the start of its session, instead discussing its agenda items one by one, following a program of work adopted at its first meeting. Following formal discussions and negotiations, any adopted proposals are submitted to the Plenary of the General Assembly for final adoption. If a particular issue proves too complex for the Committee, it may refer it to the International Law Commission, or it may create an ad hoc committee to discuss it.
The highlight of the Sixth Committee’s work is the "International Law Week" beginning at the end of October, when top Legal Advisers from Member States meet in New York to consider the report of the International Law Commission. Additionally, during the week, the reports of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are also presented to the Plenary of the General Assembly.
The following bodies all report to the General Assembly through the Sixth Committee:
|H.E. Michal Mlynár||Slovakia||Chairperson|
|Pablo Arrocha Olabuenaga||Mexico||Vice-Chair|
|Mohamed Hamad Al-Thani||Qatar||Rapporteur|
Since 2000 the Sixth Committee has been elaborating a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to complement the existing counter-terrorism instruments. That proposed treaty has not yet been adopted.