Elected by voting in the UN General Assembly, for the term of 2017-2021, 34 members will serve in the UN International Law Commission (ILC), established in 1947 for the purpose of encouraging the progressive development of international law. 51 candidates, comprised of eminent experts in international law competed in the voting which was held with the participation of 193 member states. Having received a majority of 144 votes, Dr. Nilüfer Oral, Member of İstanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Law, was elected as a member of the Commission.
Dr. Nilüfer Oral is one of the four female members of the newly-elected Commission. In the course of the Commission’s 70 years, only seven women, including Dr. Nilüfer Oral, have been elected as members. The most recent representation of Turkey in the Commission was in 1992-1996, by Ambassador Mehmet Güney. In previous terms, Former Minister of Justice Ali Suat Bilge (1972-1976) and Former Prime Minister Nihat Erim (1959-1961) served as ILC members.
Regarding her new office, Dr. Nilüfer Oral, who has expertise in the areas of international law of the sea, environmental law and climate change, commented: “Being elected as a member to the UN International Law Commission is a great honor. My main motivation for studying law was a keen interest in international law. The International Law Commission is an organ of the UN with the mandate of developing international law and has established the foundation of various international conventions. The Commission members include prominent professors and diplomats. The Commission’s work is an imperative resource for both lawyers and courts. Several members of the Commission went on to be elected as judges at the International Court of Justice. For these reasons, being elected as a member to the Commission is not only a great honor, personally and on behalf of İstanbul Bilgi University but also a significant responsibility. Behind this success, there is indeed a long-term personal effort. Undoubtedly, I also received extensive contribution and support from İstanbul Bilgi University Law Faculty. In addition, the great support from the Ministry of Justice has been crucial”.
BİLGİ Law Faculty’s Dean Prof. Turgut Tarhanlı expressed: “First and foremost, the participation of Turkish citizens in bodies that performs fundamental functions in a global organisation such as the UN is a remarkable honor.” Dean Prof Turgut Tarhanlı further commented that “from another perspective; BILGI Faculty of Law is an institution that endorses diverse aspects of international law in its programs and research activities. We are proud to have the opportunity to use this asset in order to contribute to the development of global law through our faculty members. I cordially congratulate Dr. Nilüfer Oral.”
Established as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly, the International Law Commission is primarily mandated with preparing draft conventions on subjects which have not yet been regulated by international law or in regard to which the law has not yet been sufficiently developed in the practice of States; developing a more precise and clear normative framework through the examination of state practices and the developments in customary law and doctrine.