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Report Subcommittee Applications

Represented by Miriam Müller

The third Subcommittee of the United Nations World Conference was supposed to check the results of the first two committees and to judge the effectiveness and applicability of their ideas. More precisely, our task was to analyze “past and current examples of unilateral acts”. By applying general international law and the newly proposed draft articles, we examined the shortcomings of the results proposed by the other subcommittee. Our conclusions and recommendations were sent back to the other subcommittees.

At the beginning of the Conference, it was difficult for the delegations to agree on a set of cases to work with. Moreover, we had not yet received a definition from the Definitions subcommittee which could serve as a basis for our work. In retrospective, it would have been more productive to start the work of the applications committee only after having agreed on a general definition of unilateral acts. Additionally, some delegations were not aware of the fact that unilateral actions and wrongful acts were not supposed to be the subject of our treaty. On Friday, we received countless drafts, memoranda and notes to work on and thus were finally able to start our task.

Unfortunately, now, time was running out and it was not possible to look through all cases. The management of three committees, working simultaneously on the same topic had exceeded the capabilities of the organizing staff as well as of the delegates.

However, I still tried to find partners who would support Bangladesh’s interests, i.e. rapid reaction mechanism to remedy harmful consequences of unilateral acts and assistance to affected third states. As most Least Developed Countries were not represented in the committee, coalition building was difficult. Eventually, Bangladesh and Pakistan worked together for the rest of the conference. This alliance also found resonance in the other committees and in the plenary session on Saturday, in which all subcommittees convened in order to sign the treaty.

Unfortunately, due to some unclear formulations and legal inaccuracies, Bangladesh had to sign the treaty with reservations. Nevertheless it was an instructive experience.

Miriam Müller