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1. (SBU) BEGIN SUMMARY: The Chairman of the General
Assembly's Sixth (Legal) Committee convened informal
consultations of the Committee on March 29 to exchange views
on ways to focus the Committee's debate under the new rule of
law agenda item. Delegations recommended that the Committee
focus on concrete, action-oriented sub-topics, and several
delegations supported sub-topics on capacity building and
technical assistance. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The Chairman, former Mexican Deputy Perm Rep, Gomez
Robledo, opened the meeting by explaining that he hoped the
discussion would generate ideas for possible sub-topics on
which the Sixth Committee could focus its rule of law
discussions in the future. He said he would brief the new
Chairman (who will take office in June) and hoped the
Committee members' informal proposals would help the next
Chairman select one or two sub-topics for the Committee's
discussions. Paragraph 5 of GA resolution 61/39 "recommends
that, as from the 62nd session and after consultations among
Member States, the Sixth Committee annually choose one or two
sub-topics to facilitate a focused discussion for the
subsequent session" (ref A).

3. (U) Several delegations, including Germany (on behalf of
the EU), USUN, Pakistan, and New Zealand, welcomed the
Committee's new agenda item on the rule of law but supported
narrowing the Committee's discussion to one or two concrete
sub-topics. A number of delegations, including Germany (on
behalf of the EU), USUN, Egypt, New Zealand, Indonesia, and
Guatemala, also cautioned that the Committee should avoid
duplication of discussions occurring in other UN bodies.

4. (SBU) USUN, per ref B, suggested that the Committee could
focus constructively on ways in which existing UN activities
and strategies for technical assistance related to the rule
of law might be better coordinated and made more effective.
Similarly, South Africa, on behalf of the African Group,
expressed its strong support for a focus on capacity building
and technical assistance. Other delegations, including
Liechtenstein, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, Morocco, Indonesia,
and the Sudan, concurred and voiced support for these two

5. (SBU) Germany (on behalf of the EU) proposed a focus on
strengthening criminal justice at the international and
national levels. Similarly, New Zealand suggested that the
Committee focus on international criminal justice, including
the legacy issues that will arise as international and hybrid
criminal courts and tribunals complete their work.

6. (U) In concluding, the Chairman said he would draft a
paper for the new Chairman summarizing Committee members'
comments. He suggested that the new Chairman might consider
inviting the new head of the Secretariat's rule of law
assistance unit to brief the Committee next fall.