The Legal Committee

A Brief Introduction to the Legal Committee

What is the Legal Committee, the sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly? What does it do in the broader institutional framework of the UN? What are the Committee’s tasks? TEIMUN’s Deputy Secretary-General, Nathan Lauer, explains.

On the Legal Council’s Agenda: Crimes Without Borders – The Question of Universal Jurisdiction

“It would be a travesty of law and a betrayal of the universal need for justice, should the concept of State sovereignty be allowed to be raised successfully against human rights. Borders should not be considered as a shield against the reach of the law and as a protection for those who trample underfoot the most elementary rights of humanity.”

This statement by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Tadic case emphasizes the importance of preventing impunity for serious crimes. Universal Jurisdiction is based on the premise that some crimes are so horrific that they engender jurisdiction by any state regardless of a territorial or national link to the crime.

However, to what extent is this principle applicable? Is there absolutely no requirement for a territorial link? To what crimes should it apply? When should it apply? Is the principle in accordance with state sovereignty? These are all questions that lead to controversial answers, and will be the questions the debate in this committee revolves around.


On the Legal Council’s Agenda: The Question of Statehood – The Sinking Islands

The four criteria for statehood under the Montevideo Convention are: a defined territory, a permanent population, an effective government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other states. However, what is the fate of statehood for a nation that sinks, effectively losing its territory?

The case of the sinking islands deals with the negative effects of global warming on islands such as Fiji and the Maldives. Rising sea levels that result from global warming are projected to submerge these islands within our lifetime, making them potentially the first nations to relocate their populations as refugees of the climate crisis.

What happens to these island states and their population? Are the islands deemed extinct and their population stateless? If not, how do they maintain statehood when no longer fulfilling the uncontested criteria of a defined territory? These questions are of contemporary importance and are what the committee’s debate will address.


Meet Your Chair:
Youmna Osama

Hello! Youmna here, a second-year International and European Law student at the University of Groningen. I am really passionate about what I study (at least the international law part, ahem) and I am really excited to show you how interesting international law can be. Trust me, debating legal topics can be just as lively as debating political ones! 😉

I have been doing MUNs since I was 13 years old, with TEIMUN being my 21st conference! I would say my favorite part is meeting new people and watching the fiery debates (excited to see some in our committee).

I am originally Egyptian but I have lived for most of my life in Saudi Arabia (I would still say I am 100% Egyptian though). When I am not debating, you would probably find me reading, conducting some research, or organizing a UNICEF event! I am really excited to see you all (physically, I hope) at the TEIMUN 2021 conference!

Fun Fact: I can get my tongue to touch my nose.

Meet Your Chair:
Natalie Viktoria Bichler

Hi, my name is Natalie. I started my MUN career in 2017, not knowing what I was signing up for. I became obsessed with MUNs and travelled the last three years to places such as New York and Regensburg. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to chair at several MUNs before in committees such as the ICJ, UNEP and the HRC. I founded and was the head of the MUN club at my high school. This will be my first time at TEIMUN, so I am looking forward to it!

I’m currently in my first year of the International and European Law degree at the University of Groningen. The fields I am most interested in vary from human rights law to environmental law and international economic law. In my free time, I like to read, write and go out with my friends.

Fun Fact: The Office, Season 5, Episode 11, at 11:34-11:39.

Meet Your Chair:
Maria Podzegunova

Hello there! My name is Maria and I will be one of the chairs for the Legal Committee. Having been part of the MUN club back at my high school, I’ve gotten acquainted with different styles of debating and have attended some very interesting conferences in the past years. This will be my first TEIMUN conference, however, and I’m very much looking forward to it!

Currently, I’m in my second year of the International and European Law LLB programme at the University of Groningen. One of my inspirations for choosing my degree programme was actually MUN, along with my passion for history and international politics. In particular, I’m very interested in global history of the 20th century (from the Civil Rights Movement to the Cold War – you name it!). Besides being buried in law books, I absolutely love horse riding, reading (especially EJILTalk!) and listening to vinyl records.

Fun Fact: I’m a very musical person – I’ve been playing classical piano since I was 7, guitar since I was 12, I’ve also learned to play the ukulele, and I currently own an unhealthy amount of vinyls!