I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU. The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.
Please allow me to thank the director of the Budget Division, Mr Sach, for introducing the reports before us today, and Mr. Kuznetsov for introducing the related ACABQ report.
1. The EU has expressed its concerns on many previous occasions about the consistently rising budgets of both the ICTY and ICTR and the slow progress of the important work of these institutions. In the 58th session, the General Assembly deferred consideration of the resources for the Investigations Division due, amongst other reasons, to the need for the Tribunals to demonstrate that resource bids were being made in conformity with their completion strategies. In considering the first performance reports of ICTY and ICTR, we are pleased to say that both administrations seem to have taken on board our concerns. We welcome the restructuring and realignment of the investigations division at ICTY, as a result of the completion of all pre-indictment investigations by the end of this year. We also very much welcome the fact that the ICTR is closely studying the system of lump-sum remuneration for defence counsel, which appears to be working well in ICTY. Like the ACABQ, we encourage the ICTR in its efforts to introduce such a system, especially given the increased number of trials that will be ongoing over the next few years. We also commend the Tribunals for the savings they have achieved during 2004, owing to the economy measures put in place, and hope that such efforts will continue even after the financial constraints on the Tribunals have eased.
2. It is clear that the Tribunals still have some way to go in order to achieve their completion strategies and will face further challenges in the future. A key example of this is the question of appeals, where the complexity of the work and the propensity for new witnesses and documentation to emerge is elaborated in the report on the ICTY. This is a point also highlighted by the Board of Auditors which calls for a combined completion strategy for the Appeals Chamber to put in place measures that will streamline this process as far as possible and within judicial constraints. We fully concur with this advice.
3. With regard to the ICTR, it is a worrying scenario that most of the 16 indictees may never be brought to trial before the Arusha courts. We urge all Member States that might host indictees to co-operate actively with the Tribunal.
4. The EU also notes with concern the findings of the Board of Auditors concerning the ability to make use of ad-litem judges in the ICTR. Last year, the General Assembly authorised nine ad-litem judges to speed up the trial work. However, we have now learned that four of those nine have been unused throughout the year. The resulting loss of trial days is very regrettable, considering the amount of work that is before the Tribunal, without even taking into account the huge increase of expected appeals in the foreseeable future. We also expect the ICTR to follow up expeditiously on the recommendation of the Board of Auditors to establish a comprehensive and formal fraud prevention strategy.
5. During our statement on the financial situation of the organisation, the EU expressed great concern regarding the arrears of contributions for both Tribunals. We noted the severe strain the arrears placed on the operations of the organisations, and the possible consequences for the completion strategies. We are therefore very pleased to have learned that several Member States have paid substantive parts of their arrears to improve the financial situation, and that outstanding arrears have dropped since we last discussed them. However, we reiterate our call on all Member States to pay their contributions in full and on time, as the amount of outstanding contributions remains considerable and is still causing significant difficulties for the effective functioning of the two Tribunals.
6. In light of the improvement of the financial situation, we would like to know whether it will be enough to lift the current recruitment freeze. In his statement for the General Assembly, the President of the ICTY made clear the difficulties the freeze has imposed on the Tribunals. The Board of Auditors commented along the same lines, stating that the freeze has had a negative impact on efficiency and effectiveness, and might negatively affect the completion strategy. We share their concerns. Equally, the inability to hire new security experts after several experienced officers left the organisations, potentially affecting the security of staff and operations, is of concern to us.
7. We understand that the recruitment freeze has had a particular impact on the prosecution divisions. We will come back to this during informals, where we will seek further clarification on how this has been taken into account in the required staff proposals for both investigations divisions.
8. Regarding the report on biennial budgeting at the Tribunals, we note that the two-yearly cycle apparently provides greater scope for planning, management and co-ordination of activities. We also understand from the ACABQs report that returning to one year budget cycles, and thus one-year contracts, might result in lower staff morale and greater difficulties in retaining staff. We therefore approve the proposal to maintain the biennial format for the budgets.
9. The EU is ready to endorse the reports in front of us today. We will have some observations and questions, which we intend to bring up in the course of the informal negotiations on these items. Let me conclude by reiterating the European Unions strong support for the work of the Tribunals.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.