The Commission was established by the General Assembly, in 1947 for the "promotion of the progressive development of international law and its codification".
The International Law Commission's work has led to the creation of a number of treaties and other works of international law that are key to the present international legal order like for example the Vienna Convention.
In 1949, the Commission drew up a provisional list of fourteen topics selected for codification. This list of topics constituted the Commission's basic long-term programme of work for more than fifty years. The list was supplemented and, for the sixty-ninth session, the main topics are:
Pursuant to the 2016 election, the Commission's membership for the 2017-2021 quinquennium consists of 34 members who all must be experts on international law, elected to the position by the General Assembly from a list of candidates nominated by UN member states. The chairman of the sixty-ninth session is Mr. Georg Nolte (Germany)
The photograph Abbas Attar has dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. He has covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East including Iran revolution, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. He took this photo during the Gulf War in 1991. This photo highlights the importance of one of main topics of Sixty-ninth session of International Commission as protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts.