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Anotated Agenda Items of the 63rd session:

129. Administration of justice at the United Nations

At its fifty-fifth session, in 2001, under the item entitled “Human resources management”, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to it on an annual basis on the outcome of the work of the Joint Appeals Board (resolution 55/258, sect. XI).

The General Assembly considered the item at its fifty-sixth to fifty-ninth sessions (resolutions 57/307 & 59/283; decisions 56/458 C & 58/576).

At its resumed fifty-seventh session, in April 2003, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to include statistics on the disposition of cases and information on the work of the Panel of Counsel in his annual report on the administration of justice in the Secretariat (resolution 57/307, para. 21).

At its resumed fifty-ninth session, in April 2005, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit information on the activities of the Ombudsman, including general statistical information and information on trends and comments on policies, procedures and practices that had come to the attention of the Ombudsman (resolution 59/283, sect. II).

Also at its resumed fifty-ninth session, in April 2005, the General Assembly decided that the Secretary-General should form a panel of external and independent experts to consider redesigning the system of administration of justice; and that the panel should submit its findings and recommendations by the end of July 2006 (resolution 59/283, sect. IV).

At its sixty-first session, the General Assembly decided to allocate the item to the Fifth Committee for its consideration, and to the Sixth Committee for the purpose of considering the legal aspects, both institutional and procedural, of the comments by the Secretary-General on the recommendations contained in the report of the Redesign Panel on the United Nations system of administration of justice (decision 61/503 A).

At its sixty-second session, the General Assembly decided to establish: (a) a two-tier formal system of administration of justice, comprising a first instance United Nations Dispute Tribunal and an appellate instance United Nations Appeals Tribunal as from 1 January 2009; (b) the Office of Administration of Justice, comprising the Office of the Executive Director and the new Office of Staff Legal Assistance and the Registries for the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal; (c) a single integrated and decentralized Office of the Ombudsman for the United Nations Secretariat, funds and programmes with branches in several duty stations and a new mediation division; (d) the Internal Justice Council; and the Management Evaluation Unit in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management; decided to revert to the issue of the mandate of the Office of Staff Legal Assistance at its sixty-third session; requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-third session on specific measures taken to address systemic issues, terms of reference for the Registries of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, possible options for delegation of authority for disciplinary measures, the revised terms of reference for the Ombudsman, cost-sharing arrangements for the system of administration of justice, and mechanisms for the formal removal of judges; also decided to revert to the issue of transitional arrangements at the second part of its resumed sixty-second session; requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at the second part of its resumed sixty-second session on a series of issues such as the draft statutes and the jurisdiction of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal; a proposal regarding the allocation of cases to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal; and mechanisms that could be envisaged to provide effective dispute settlement to non-staff personnel and also requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-third session on how information and communications technology could improve the functioning of the system of administration of justice (resolution 62/228).

Consideration of the item in the Sixth Committee

At its sixty-second session, the General Assembly took note of the conclusions of the Sixth Committee on the administration of justice at the United Nations (A/C.5/62/11, appendix I) following its consideration of the legal aspects of the report of the Secretary-General (A/62/294); decided to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations for the purpose of continuing the work on the legal aspects of the item, taking into account the results of the deliberations of the Sixth Committee on the item, previous decisions of the Assembly and any further decisions that the Assembly might take during its sixty-second session prior to the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee; and requested the Secretary-General to respond to the requests for information contained in the conclusions of the Sixth Committee, taking into account any further decisions that the Assembly might take during its sixty-second session prior to the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee (decision 62/519).

The Ad Hoc Committee met from 10 to 18, 21 and 24 April 2008 and will report to the General Assembly at its sixty-third session.

At its resumed sixty-second session, in July 2008. the General Assembly decided to re-establish the Ad Hoc Committee on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations for one meeting for the sole purpose of taking note of the oral report of the coordinator on the informal intersessional consultations and to request the Secretary-General to issue the coordinator’s summary entitled “Coordinator’s summary of the preliminary observations made in the informal consultations on the draft statutes of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal” as an addendum to the report of the Ad Hoc Committee (decision 62/551). Pursuant to that decision of the General Assembly, the Ad Hoc Committee was re-established for one meeting on 5 August 2008.

Consideration of the item in the Fifth Committee

At its resumed sixty-first session, in April 2007, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report on a series of issues regarding the establishment of the new system of administration of justice; also requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly a report on resources required for the implementation of the resolution; invited the Sixth Committee to consider the legal aspects of the reports to be submitted by the Secretary-General without prejudice to the role of the Fifth Committee as the Main Committee entrusted with responsibilities for administrative and budgetary matters; and decided to continue consideration of the item during its sixty-second session as a matter of priority with the objective of implementing the new system of administration of justice no later than January 2009 (resolution 61/261).

At its resumed sixty-first session, in March 2007, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to provide more details on a proposal to strengthen the functions of the Office of the Ombudsman, including mediation, and draft elements of a statute or statutes of the first instance and the appellate instance, taking into account the points set out in appendix I to the letter from the Vice-Chairman of the Sixth Committee to the President of the General Assembly (A/C.5/61/21, annex) (decision 61/511 B).

At its resumed sixty-second session, in May 2008, the Fifth Committee did not consider the item on the administration of justice. The documents prepared for the consideration of the Fifth Committee during the second part of its resumed sixty-second session, as well as the documents requested for the sixty-third session, will be considered during the sixty-third session.

DOCUMENTS:
a Reports of the Secretary-General:
i Administration of justice in the Secretariat: outcome of the work of the Joint Appeals Board during 2006 and 2007 and statistics on the disposition of cases and work of the Panel of Counsel (resolution 55/258, sect. XI), A/63/211
ii Activities of the Ombudsman (resolution 59/283, para. 22), A/63/283
iii Practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour, 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 (resolution 59/287) (issued under item 126), A/63/202
iv Administration of justice at the United Nations (resolution 62/228), A/63/314
v Measures taken to address seven systemic human resources issues raised in the context of the reform of the internal system of administration of justice (resolution 62/228) (issued under item 126), A/63/132
vi Administration of justice (resolution 62/228), A/62/782
b Note by the Secretary-General on the administration of justice: further information requested by the General Assembly (decision 62/519), A/62/748 & Corr.1
c Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations (10-18, 21 and 24 April and 5 August 2008): Supplement No. 55 (A/63/55 & Add.1)
d Report of the Internal Justice Council (resolution 62/228)
e Letter dated 18 July 2008 from the President of the Administrative Tribunal to the President of the General Assembly, A/63/253
f Reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions

 

REFERENCES:
...for the sixty-second session (agenda item 137)
  Reports of the Secretary-General:
  Outcome of the work of the Joint Appeals Board during 2005 and 2006 and statistics on the disposition of cases and work of the Panel of Counsel (A/62/179)
Administration of justice (A/62/294)
Activities of the Ombudsman (A/62/311)
Administration of justice (A/62/782)
Note by the Secretary-General on the administration of justice: further information requested by the General Assembly (A/62/748 & Corr.1)
Letter dated 9 July 2008 from the Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations addressed to the President of the General Assembly (A/62/914)
Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (A/62/7/Add.7)
  Summary records A/C.5/62/SR.15 & 26
A/C.6/62/SR.2, 17 & 28
Report of the Fifth Committee A/62/597
Report of the Sixth Committee A/62/458
Plenary meetings A/62/PV.62, 79 & 116
Resolutions 62/228
Decisions 62/519 & 62/551