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        General Assembly
14 February 2005

Original: French

Fifty-ninth session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 26th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 27 October 2004, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Ms. Groux (Vice-Chairman) ................................................... (Switzerland)
later: Mr. Kuchinsky (Chairman) ...................................................................... (Ukraine)


Agenda item 105: Human rights questions (continued)

(a) Implementation of human rights instruments (continued)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms ( continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.

Agenda item 105: Human rights questions (continued ) (A/59/225, A/59/371 and A/59/425)


(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (continued ) (A/59/255, A/59/319, A/59/320, A/59/323, A/59/327, A/59/328, A/59/341, A/59/360, A/59/366, A/59/377, A/59/385, A/59/401, A/59/402, A/59/403, A/59/422, A/59/428, A/59/432, A/59/436 and A/59/525)


47. Mr. Elbadri (Egypt), referring to the methodology used in the preparation of the report (A/59/319), asked why certain States were mentioned by name and others not. He referred in that connection to paragraph 36 of the report, recounting certain events that had occurred in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and asked why the country that had carried out the extrajudicial executions in question had not been named. He expressed surprise that that paragraph mentioned the context of post-11 September counter-terrorism measures, when the problem dated back to 1948. Referring to another passage in the same paragraph, in which the Special Rapporteur stated that aerial bombing or targeted assassinations in areas populated by civilians resulting in deaths would constitute extrajudicial or summary executions, he said that giving new definitions in that way did not fall within the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and that he took issue with the implication that the same acts perpetrated in a less populated area would not constitute extrajudicial or summary executions. ...

48. Ms. Rasheed (Palestine) associated herself with the statement made by the representative of Egypt and asked why a linkage had been made in paragraph 36 between post-11 September counter-terrorism measures and the aerial bombing of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, potentially causing a dangerous confusion. She was also surprised that the Special Rapporteur had mentioned only one bombing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, had not classified it as an extrajudicial execution and had not named the State responsible for it. Over 400 Palestinians, including children, had died in the past four years as a result of extrajudicial executions, and she was astonished that the report had not mentioned Israel as a country that carried out such executions, even though it openly admitted to that practice. She criticized the wording of paragraph 36, which implied that targeted assassinations constituted extrajudicial or summary executions only when they were carried out in areas populated by civilians and resulted in deaths. That was totally incompatible with the rules and principles of international law, and she asked the Special Rapporteur to explain why the issue had been presented in such an ill-advised manner.

49. Ms. García-Matos (Venezuela) said that, like the representative of Egypt, she wondered what had prompted the Special Rapporteur to name only certain countries. ...


51. Mr. Alston (Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions), ...

52. Replying to the representative of Egypt concerning the methodology used in drafting the report, he said that its occasionally cryptic style could be explained by the limit on the number of pages and the myriad issues and countries covered. Delegations could consult the reports prepared for the Commission on Human Rights and their addenda in order to obtain further information. Regarding the question raised by the representatives of Egypt and Palestine concerning the failure to name Israel in paragraph 36 of the report, he said that his predecessor had issued a press release on the subject, which had been followed by an exchange of correspondence with Israel, and that there had been no particular reason for the failure to name that State. Concerning the terminology used, he referred the two representatives to paragraph 35 of the report, on the targeted assassination in Yemen. The Special Rapporteur had never meant to suggest that targeted assassinations committed outside areas populated by civilians might be acceptable. The reference to post-11 September counter-terrorism measures was not designed to delimit any particular period, but rather to draw attention to the sea changes that had occurred after that date, which were unacceptable insofar as they had opened the way for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.


59. Ms. Hastale (Islamic Republic of Iran) associated herself with the statement made by the representative of Egypt. On the question of methodology, she inquired about information sources, how information was selected, rated and disclosed and why certain countries were singled out for criticism. She asked the Special Rapporteur whether he felt he had the right or the duty to interpret his mandate and whether there was any particular reason why genocide had been added to the list of forms of violations of the right to life (paragraph 14 of the report) when it had not appeared in previous reports. She wished to know whether he saw his mandate as overlapping with those of other special mechanisms or as completely distinct from them. In her delegation’s view, the report encroached on the territory of other special rapporteurs, a situation which might create problems and cause confusion in the long term. Lastly, she asked whether the mention in paragraph 36 of both post-11 September measures and the assassination of the Hamas leader reflected a desire to link the two events; if not, she would like to know the reasons for their juxtaposition.


The meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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