I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), the associated countries of Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and an EFTA country belonging to the European Economic Area (Liechtenstein), align themselves with this statement.
I wish to thank Mr. Warren Sach, Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, and Ambassador Mselle, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for their reports.
The draft budgets submitted to us today for the two International Criminal Tribunals are the first, which correspond to a presentation on a biennial basis, which should, in accordance with the desire expressed by the General Assembly, include information on the volume of work and the objectives of the judicial activity envisaged. The European Union notes that this positive development should undoubtedly make it possible to provide a more complete and transparent justification of the resources requested, but it is still subject to a twofold need: it is important to carry out a check each year either internally or externally, and also to submit an annual report on the implementation of the budget and the programmes which meets the relevant requirements set by the ACABQ. Furthermore, the European Union also remains committed to the need to respect a timetable in fulfilling the mandate of these Tribunals.
The European Union is concerned about the extremely high vacancy rate for the posts already authorized in the two Tribunals and endorses the comments made by the ACABQ regarding the need to fill the vacant posts as quickly as possible. These vacancy rates make it difficult to give a specific pronouncement on the need for the new posts requested.
With regard to the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in particular, although the recent remarkable developments in the Tribunal’s activity are to be commended, the European Union points out that 54 additional posts have just been approved only six months ago and notes that 117 posts were still vacant three months ago. With regard to the Tribunal for Rwanda, the European Union notes that, with some 150 posts unfilled, there is also an extremely high vacancy rate. It fully shares the ACABQ’s concern regarding the vacancies at the highest level of the administrative hierarchy, which affects the effectiveness of the Tribunal’s prosecution and investigation activities. Furthermore, without prejudice to the decision to be taken by the Security Council on the proposal to establish a team of ad litem judges, the European Union wishes to stress that the first priority is to use to the full the considerable means already available to the Tribunal.
In any case, the European Union congratulates the ACABQ on its precise and detailed examination of the draft budgets and approves the recommendations made in these reports. It will, however, carefully examine the draft budgets on their merits, without losing sight of the need for the International Criminal Tribunals to fulfill their task as soon as possible. It notes, like the ACABQ, that no realistic strategy has been established for the completion of the Tribunals’ work and would at least like to see completion of the phase establishing all indictments by 2004 or 2005.
This 56th session should also enable the Fifth Commission to consider again the reports and observations which the Board of Auditors and the Office of Internal Oversight Services submitted to us at the last session.
The European Union welcomes the progress achieved in many areas, for example courtroom usage in the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and compliance with accounting rules by the Tribunal for Rwanda. It will also seek further clarification on the subjects examined by these monitoring bodies.
Moreover, while the measures taken by the Tribunal for Rwanda with a view to preventing abuses in fee sharing are also commendable, the European Union notes that there is as yet no sign of results in the implementation of these new measures. It emphasizes that it will continue to give careful attention to this matter, which should be examined by the Board of Auditors in accordance with the recommendations of the ACABQ.