Billiar Kostiantyn. Organizational and procedural frameworks of a law-making activity of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The article is dedicated to examining organizational and procedural basis of a legislative activity of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO is a specialized UN agency which was created in accordance with the 1948 Convention on the International Maritime Organization. The principal advantage of the IMO membership for States is the possibility to participate in the legislative activity of the Organization, because the significance of IMO instruments towards the functioning of a maritime industry of a given State is hardly to overestimate.
While examining the IMO legislative activity it is important to take into account new approaches which link studies in the field of legislative activity of international organizations with their legitimacy. In such context it is important to observe that the source of legally binding character of the International Law is still in question. Ukrainian researchers consider that the nature of legally binding character rests with the doctrinal interpretation of the International Law in general, but hardly is a question of practice. In such capacity the researches within the context of legitimacy of international institutions provide for explanation of a legal force of decisions which are taken by a given Organization. One of the principal sources of legitimacy is to follow strictly the established procedures during the process of decisionmaking.
The article demonstrates the importance of such procedures following the results of researches which were done by Cleopatra Henri and Patricia Birni.
In such capacity a structure of the IMO is studied through the prism of adopting decisions within the IMO. The highest body of the International Maritime Organization is the Assembly.
It adopts the program of the IMO activity, the IMO budget and has the power to deal with all issues which are attributed to the IMO by the Convention on the International Maritime Organization. In particular the Assembly elects the IMO Council which guides the Organization during the period between Assembly’s sessions. There are five committees established at the IMO to study specific question within the remit of the Organization, namely – Maritime Safety Committee, Marine Environment Protection Committee, Legal Committee, Facilitation Committee and Technical Co-operation Committee. They’re assisted by seven sub-committees. According to the IMO Convention the IMO Assembly is empowered to convene any International Conference with the view of adopting any International Convention and amendments to it. The powers to adopt amendments to the IMO conventions are also vested in the IMO Committees.
Special attention is paid to procedures of adopting conventions, a sequence of stages of taking decision on adopting the IMO conventions is covered. There are six stages in adopting a new IMO instrument: a decision, as a matter of policy, to research some specific subject from the point of view of regulating it; establishing priorities; deciding upon the structure of the new instrument (whether the new convention or a protocol to the existing one); adopting a decision on the principles which should govern the new instrument; adopting a text of a draft; submitting the instrument to the IMO Council and Assembly with the view to convene a Diplomatic Conference. IMO instruments which define law-making activity are examined in details. Special attention is given to the process of planning IMO law-making activity. In particular, the IMO Council is charged with adopting a Strategic Plan of the Organization.
Such Plan sets general approaches and strategic goals of the IMO for a six-year period. On its basis a High-Level Action Plan is adopted for two-year period which corresponds to the IMO regular budget period and serves as a basis for planning the IMO budget. The IMO Council, committees and IMO Secretariat control the implementation of the High-Level Action Plan.
Key words: International Law, International Maritime Organization, law-making activity of international organizations, legitimacy of international organizations, binding character of the International Law, Convention on the International Maritime Organization, IMO Strategic Plan, IMO High-Level Action Plan.