Following its term as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (2014-2016), Vietnam is bidding to become a member of the UN International Law Commission in the 2017-2021 term reflecting Vietnam’s determination to contribute more to the UN.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Nguyen Hong Thao is representing Vietnam’s bid for one of the seven seats assigned to the Asia-Pacific region on the Commission. Ambassador Thao is an expert in international law and has been Vice Chairman of the National Border Committee, head of negotiation teams for border agreements with Vietnam’s neighboring countries, and an adviser on the 2012 Law of the Sea. He has spent 40 years working as a diplomat.
|Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Nguyen Hong Thao (Photo: Vietnamplus)
ILC - the most prestigious international legal forum
Founded in 1946, the International Law Commission’s mandate was to codify and promote international law. The Commission plays a crucial role in drafting international conventions and initiatives and guiding the enforcement of international law. The commission is the author of the 1958 Convention on the Law of the Sea whose concepts are included in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Commission comprises of 34 members who are elected every five years and assigned to different regions according to their locations. Asia has 6 seats at the Commission and most of its elected members are famous Professors, diplomats, and lawyers who have experience in researching, lecturing, and applying international law. Like other legal agencies, the Commission operates on the basis of objectivity focusing on interests and rights of all countries. All countries have the right to nominate their candidates but a strict election will be held prior to the UN General Assembly. Those who have a majority of votes and have the highest votes will be elected.
Vietnam prepares thoroughly for its bid
The campaign to lobby Associate Professor Doctor Nguyen Hong Thao to run for a seat at the ILC was officially launched in February 2016 after the Vietnamese delegation at the UN, the WTO, and other international organizations in Geneva sent a diplomatic note nominating him to other delegations. Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao says he found the nomination an honor and great responsibility: “Vietnam decided to run for the membership at a time when a new term has begun with the Vietnamese Party and State’s external relation policy on comprehensive integration, not just economic, cultural, and social integration, but also legal integration. This is an audacious and smart decision of the Vietnamese Party and State. We will participate in more legal judicial agencies”.
The ambassador promised if he is elected, he will prioritizes issues suitable for Asia-Pacific and developing nations in Asia and Africa and other issues of the Commission’s concerns, particularly respect for international law and peaceful settlement of disputes between nations: “Upholding the rule of law is the primary task for all international legal agencies. The Commission is tasked of coding and promoting international law. Vietnam’s bid to become a member of the Commission demonstrates our wish to contribute to the building of legal principles and settling new arising problems of international law”.
Confident to take international responsibilities
Amidst increasingly global fluctuations, countries around the world are facing with traditional and non-traditional challenges like military conflicts, migrations, crimes against humanity, terrorism, and climate change. In such a context, countries need to find a common ground in developing and systemizing international law which is used as a tool to manage the world order.
Vietnam is experienced in managing challenges and difficulties thanks to efforts for peace, security, poverty relief and sustainable development. Over the past years, Vietnam has fulfilled the role of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and a member in many other UN organizations and institutions. VOV
Vietnam is holding ASEAN Secretary General, running to become the UNESCO General Director and for a seat at the International Law Commission. These moves demonstrate Vietnam’s confidence and capability to take international responsibility.