I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia and Turkey, the Country of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidate Serbia align themselves with this declaration.
The European Union would like to thank the Director of the Budget Division, for introducing the budget proposals of the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ITY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as well as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, Mr. Rajat Saha, for its report.
Before I go to the substance of the matter at hand, I would like to express the disappointment for receiving the ACABQ report at such a late stage. We understand the workload posed on the ACABQ, however due to many reports being received at this late time in the session, the Fifth Committee works under serious time pressure and can not properly study or discuss these items. We note the reasoning in the ACABQ report for delivering recommendations late, we have to however also note that the ACABQ recommendations for the programme budget 2008-09 were received also without the second performance reports submitted, and would like to understand why this is not possible for the budgets of the Tribunals.
The European Union reaffirms its strong support for the international tribunals. They play a vital part in ensuring that those who are guilty of the most serious violations of international humanitarian law are brought to justice. They have an important role too in post-conflict reconciliation, sustainable peace building and, more widely, in further entrenching the Rule of Law. Underpinning them are important principles: that justice should be applied fairly and impartially in the trials of all those accused.
The European Union notes that in both, ITY and ICTR, there is a gradual shift from the prosecution and first instance trials towards appellate phase of judicial work. We also note that the efforts are being made toward further improving efficiency to keep to the timetables set out in the Completion Strategies, through managing of trial chambers and through multiple-accused trials. However, we were following the debate in the Security Council a few days ago and noted that due to some late arrests in the ITY, the deadline of 2010 may not be achieved in current circumstances. We call on both Tribunals to continue measures for efficient conduct of trials.
As regards the provision for After-Service Health Insurance, the European Union agrees with the recommendation of the ACABQ that based on the resolution 61/264, the ASHI liabilities are to be considered in the context of the overall review of the issue in the 63rd session.
The European Union reiterates the call for prudent budgeting and the need for efficient and effective management. We considered the recommendations of the ACABQ and we look forward to informal consultations where we will discuss resource requirements.
I should like to conclude by recalling the statement made in the beginning of November to this Committee by the Comptroller of the United Nations, Mr. Warren Sach, on the financial situation of the Organisation. He alerted the Committee to the $64 million still owed by Member States to the budgets of Tribunals on 31 October 2007. In our opinion, it is unacceptable for Member States to neglect their obligations in this way and we echo the Comptrollers call for all members to pay their contributions in full.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.