Statement by Darin Johnson, Attorney Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, Department of State, on Agenda Item 84: Report of the Special Committee on the UN Charter and the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, in the 6th Committee

Darin Johnson, Attorney Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, Department of State
New York, NY
October 18, 2010


Thank you, Madame Chairperson.

We appreciate the Sixth Committee’s interest in the work of the Charter Committee, and we welcome consideration of the report of the Charter Committee, which last met in March of this year. We would like to provide a few thoughts on its recent work.

One crucial issue is the question of Committee efficiency. We urge that the Committee remain focused on ways to improve its productivity throughout its sessions. In addition, the Charter Committee has a number of longstanding proposals before it. We believe many of the issues they consider have been taken up and addressed elsewhere in the United Nations. For these reasons, we are cautious about proceeding to add any new items to the Committee’s agenda at this time.

With regard to items on the Committee’s agenda concerning international peace and security, the United States continues to believe that the Committee should not pursue activities in this area that would be duplicative or inconsistent with the roles of the principal organs of the United Nations as set forth in the Charter. This includes questions relating to sanctions. It would, for example, be inappropriate for the Charter Committee to devise norms concerning the design and implementation of sanctions.

We note that positive developments have occurred elsewhere in the United Nations that are designed to ensure that the UN system of targeted sanctions remains a robust tool for combating threats to international peace and security. As stated in the Secretary-General’s report A/65/217, during this most recent reporting period, no states approached sanctions committees with special economic problems arising from the implementation of sanctions.

On the question of requesting an opinion from the International Court of Justice, we have consistently stated that the United States does not support the proposal that the General Assembly request an advisory opinion on the use of force.

We note that there have been proposals by some Member States regarding new subjects that might warrant consideration by the Special Committee. As I stated earlier, we are cautious about adding new items to the Committee. While the United States is not opposed in principle to exploring new items, it is our position that they should be practical, non-political, and not duplicate efforts elsewhere in the UN system. For these reasons, we are not convinced that these two recent proposals are appropriate topics for consideration by the Committee.

To summarize, we believe that the Charter Committee is most useful when it efficiently considers proposals that are clear, realistic, and take into account the appropriate role of the various organs of the United Nations.

Finally, we welcome the Secretary-General’s report A/65/214, regarding the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. We commend the Secretary-General’s ongoing efforts to reduce the backlog in preparing these works. Both publications provide a useful resource on the practice of United Nations organs, and we appreciate the Secretariat’s hard work on them.

Thank you, Madame Chairperson.


PRN: 2010/231