GIMUN 2016 : Concrete Solutions for the Legal Committee

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The GIMUN 2016 Annual Conference, held from March 7th to 11th at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, gathered around 200 students for a model UN. In the next few days, we will have the honour of publishing reports on the six committees’ debates, brought to you by the journalists of the GIMUN Chronicles.

By Emilie Lopes Franco, translated by John Ryan-Mills

For the Legal Committee, the week proved itself to be rich in emotions. The first debates, about the judgement on peacekeepers who had committed offences while on mission, began with ups and downs. Each State had their own values which were often difficult to put aside. The compromises were the result of long discussions: the key issue was the addition of an independent body to judge the soldiers. On Tuesday evening, the President of the Commission had call the delegates to order: compromises had to be made in order to find a resolution, for the good of everyone. Each delegation aimed to remain open to change and growth. On Wednesday at midday, the resolution for the first subject was finally sent to the presidency.

 The second topic of the week was the famous Convention of Montego Bay, otherwise known as the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was entered into force in 1994. The delegates first debated the order in which it was appropriate to begin the discussion of important points. It quickly became apparent that border demarcation, piracy, and the environment were all critical issues for the Commission. Once again, the debates were fierce and it was difficult to reach a compromise. The arrival of Wednesday’s speaker, well-known legal expert Professor Boisson de Chazournes, however, revitalized the delegates, and they were then able to reframe their thinking while keeping their goals in mind. Once again, they managed to listen to one another and propose a rich and well thought-out resolution. The Legal Committee ended up voting on the two draft resolutions on Friday morning. The majority of the amendments were passed successfully.

 Finally, the week ended with a good-natured atmosphere and genuine smiles. The presidency was proud of the work that had been accomplished, and it’s no wonder! Professor Boisson de Chazournes, during her appearance at the UN, had been asked about the delegates’ first subject: “What would you do if the current jurisdiction for judging members of the UN who committed crimes when on mission was shown to be inefficient?”

The draft resolution that they had proposed only hours earlier matched the Professor’s response word-for-word! Its aims were to prevent crimes from remaining unpunished due to diplomatic immunity, and to guarantee a compulsory trial in case of crime. The resolution could also lead to strengthening legal systems at a national level in order to make them more efficient. Moreover, the committee proposed an amendment that would increase pressure on the State at a national level to investigate in the event of a crime. The delegation therefore knew how to offer concrete responses to real and complicated problems. Congratulations to the delegates and to the presidency, who managed to lead the discussion with interest and intelligence!

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