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Your guide to UN and UN documents and reports

International law commission

The International Law Commission (ICL) was established in 1947 by the General Assembly. Its mission is to promote the progressive development of international law and its codification, in accordance with article 13(1)(a) of the Charter of the United Nations.


The members of the Commission is elected by the General Assembly for a five-year term. The members are elected in their personal capacity as experts, not as representatives of their Governments.


The International Law Commission holds an annual session in Geneva for a period of ten to twelve weeks. The subjects for consideration are partly chosen by the ILC itself, partly through recommendations by the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council.

When the International Law Commission has completed a draft article, it is referred to the General Assembly for further action. The Assembly usually convenes a diplomatic conference of plenipotentiaries to incorporate it into multilateral agreements.

More on UN and International law commission

Individual documents from the International Law Commission carry the following symbols:

A/ General Assembly

-/CN.4 Commission no. 4 = International Law Commission

-/sequential number

Ex. A/CN.4/L.622 General Assembly, Commission no. 4, limited distribution (Limited), dokument 622.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus is a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions


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