Fifty-seventh General Assembly
26th Meeting (PM)
DELEGATES DISCUSS OVEREXPENDITURES, HIGH VACANCY RATES IN RWANDA TRIBUNAL
The Rwanda Tribunal needed to strengthen its control over expenditures to avoid huge overspending, the representative of China told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon as it began its consideration of the financing of the two International Tribunals.
In 2001, the overexpenditure of 85 per cent, or some $6.55 million, had resulted mainly from increased defence costs, he said. The defence counsel cost appropriation for 2002 and 2003 had jumped to some $17.11 million, and if current patterns persisted, it was expected to go up by another $3.7 million. While some of the overexpenditures could be explained by the inability to make accurate forecasts at the time of budget preparation, others were the result of mismanagement. For instance, the overexpenditure for 2000 was due largely to poor monitoring and claims processing. The Tribunal should set up an effective monitoring and control mechanism to further strengthen expenditure structures, make use of existing resources and effectively rein in the upward spiral of defence counsel costs.
Also expressing concern over inadequate management of the expenses of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s (ICTR) legal aid system, the representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed disquiet at the continuing high vacancy rate in the ICTR. He was struck by the information in the Advisory Committee’s report that despite an abundance of qualified candidates, the crucial positions of Deputy Prosecutor and Chief of Prosecutions had remained vacant for 19 months and more than two years, respectively. The European Union was also eager to see a clear timetable for presentation of completion strategies for both Tribunals.
In that connection, Canada’s representative (also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand) stressed the importance of finalizing the Tribunals’ completion strategies, which needed to be fully integrated into the management of the two bodies. Coordinated direction and a focus on results were fundamental to success. The United Nations had mainstreamed results-based budgeting into other parts of its system, and he expected that effort to be replicated in the Tribunals’ next budget submissions.
He also stressed that the level of outstanding contributions to the Tribunals, currently exceeding $52 million, was unhealthy and unacceptable. The arrears situation continued to threaten the Tribunals’ stability, and he strongly
urged all Members who had not yet done so to remit their assessed contributions as soon as possible.
Also this afternoon, the Committee decided to recommend that the Assembly take note with appreciation of the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on its activities during the fifty-sixth session, and request the Secretary-General to bring the report to the attention of the executive heads of the specialized agencies and funds and programmes concerned. In other action, it also recommended that the Assembly take note of the chapters of the report of the Economic and Social Council allocated to the Fifth Committee.
Among other documents taken up at today’s meeting was a report on the proposed revisions to the financial rules of the Organization, as well as those on a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and rental rates for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The documents were introduced by the Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, Warren Sach; the Chairman of the ACABQ, Conrad S.M. Mselle; and United Nations Controller Jean-Pierre Halbwachs.
Also taking part in the discussion were representatives of the Republic of Korea, Cuba, Venezuela (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Pakistan, Nigeria and the United States.
The Committee will continue its consideration of the Tribunals’ financing at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, 21 November.
This afternoon, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was expected to take up financing of the two International Tribunals and begin its consideration of several requests for resources under the programme budget for 2002-2003. Also part of today’s work programme is consideration of the activities of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).
Financing of Tribunals
The first document before the Committee was the seventh financial performance report of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since 1991 for the period from
1 January to 31 December 2001 (document A/57/367).
In its resolution 55/225 A of 23 December 2000, the General Assembly decided to appropriate some $108.49 million gross ($96.44 million net) to the Special Account for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Additionally, in order to cover the cost of ad litem judges for six months in 2001, the Assembly, in its resolution 55/225 B of 12 April 2001, authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in an amount not exceeding $5.28 million gross ($4.9 million net), for a total sum of some $113.77 million gross ($101.34 million net).
The expenditures recorded during the period totalled some $108.9 million gross ($95.98 million net), resulting in a reduction in requirements of some
$4.87 million gross ($5.36 million net), which represents 4.3 and 5.3 per cent of the total gross and net, respectively. The Assembly is requested to take note of the utilization of the commitment authority and to further note that the associated financing for the unassessed expenditures in the amount of $413,600 would be drawn from the balance currently available in the Special Account.
The first performance report of the ICTY for 2002-2003 (document A/57/480) reflects a requirement for net additional appropriations of some $13.1 million, based on adverse experience in respect of exchange rates ($4.4 million), inflation ($5.8 million), and standard costs ($3.3 million). Income is estimated to rise by $1 million. Provision is also sought for two additional trial teams at a cost of $0.6 million. By a draft resolution contained in the document, the Assembly is requested to revise the appropriation for 2002-2003 and approve additional financing by utilizing the unencumbered balance available in the Special Account for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. By this text, the total revised appropriation for the biennium would amount to some $262.99 million gross ($236.07 million net).
Also before the Committee was a report on the results of the implementation of a review, which was conducted by the Expert Group in relation to the functioning of the International Tribunals (document A/56/853). The report of the Expert Group was submitted to the Secretary-General on 11 November 1999.
Regarding the ICTY, the Secretary-General states that, as a general response to the report, a reform plan has been adopted to accelerate court proceedings. Trial capacity has been doubled with the addition of ad litem judges, as authorized by the Security Council in its resolution 1329 (2000) of 5 December 2000 and by the General Assembly in its resolution 55/225 B of 12 April 2001. In September 2001, six ad litem judges out of a pool of 27 started their work in the Trial Chambers. Subsequently, one more ad litem judge was recruited and has commenced duties.
Several new rules have also been adopted, which introduce, among other things, the possibility of delegation of pre-trial activities by the judges to the Senior Legal Officers, allowing the judges to concentrate on trials and judgements. Another change introduces admissibility of written evidence under certain circumstances. It is envisaged that, as a result of this rule, many witnesses will no longer be required to travel to The Hague to testify orally in court. These reforms may significantly reduce the period of operation of the Tribunal. It is anticipated that the trials will be completed by 2008 (and appeals by 2010), instead of the originally envisaged date of 2018. Accordingly, the cost-saving effect would be considerable.
Several important changes have also taken place in the operation and functioning of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The court’s heavy trial schedule is the result of a system of “twin-tracking” that has been introduced by the judges since 2001, in which each Trial Chamber is adjudicating at least two trials in rotation, and in the case of one Trial Chamber, three trials. Other important reforms include the assignment of two trial judges to the Appeals Chamber, bringing the total number of judges there to seven and strengthening its capacity to handle appeals. Among other changes is the adoption of new rules that provide for the disposal of motions on the basis of written briefs, as opposed to holding oral arguments for every motion.
The judges of the ICTR have developed greater control of judicial proceedings and have increasingly dismissed “frivolous” motions, the report states, which had been identified as “excessive lawyering” in the Expert Group report. The Tribunal also places much hope on the appointment of ad litem judges, in the belief that such additional judicial manpower would allow it to complete trials at first instance by 2008, instead of the originally envisaged date of 2017. These are the initial outlines of the Tribunal’s “exit strategy”, which will be further amplified based on the decision of the Security Council on the Tribunal’s request for additional judges.
Another Secretary-General’s report before the Committee was the seventh financial performance report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for 2001 (document A/57/368). In this document, the Secretary-General recalls that, by its resolution 55/226 of 23 December 2000, the General Assembly appropriated for that court an amount of $93.97 million gross ($85.61 million net) for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2000. Recorded expenditures for the period, however, amounted to $96.64 million gross ($87.49 million net), resulting in a deficit of some $2.66 million gross ($1.88 million net).
An overexpenditure of $6.56 million, or 85 per cent, was incurred under contractual services. This is the largest overexpenditure so far, which is mainly attributable to additional requirements for defence counsel fees, which total $5.97 million. Of that total, some $1.69 million relate to services rendered in 2000, but submitted and settled late in 2001, and $4.28 million to higher-than-projected costs for defence teams in 2001.
During the period under review, there were a total of 340 court-days during which the Trial Chambers disposed of 336 pre-trial and trial motions, oral applications and evidentiary objections. Four cases involving 10 accused persons opened in 2001, and at the end of the year seven cases were in progress. The year 2001 also saw the highest number of arrests made in any one year by the Investigations Division: 12 accused persons were located and arrested in several countries in Africa and Europe.
The period covered by the report has also been one of intense activity for the Witnesses and Victims Support Section - Prosecution. In Rwanda, there were more than 86 field missions for the purpose of making initial contact, preparing documentation, putting in place protective measures, carrying out threat assessments, addressing witness security concerns and carrying out post-trial monitoring.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s first performance report on the ICTR for the biennium 2002-2003 (documents A/57/481 and Corr.1), which reflects a requirement for net additional appropriations of $2.2 million based upon positive experience in respect of exchange rates ($13.3 million) and standard costs ($0.3 million), which are offset by adverse experience in respect of inflation ($12 million) and other expenses for defence counsel ($3.7 million). By a draft resolution in annex IV of the report, the General Assembly is requested to revise the appropriations for 2002-2003 and to apportion $53.3 million for 2003.
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on long-term financial obligations of the United Nations with regard to the enforcement of sentences (document A/57/347). In identifying the legal and financial elements relating to the long-term enforcement of sentences imposed by the International Tribunal for Rwanda, it is apparent that the United Nations will need to make adequate provisions, currently estimated at some $1.02 million annually, for costs that relate directly to the enforcement of sentences and for expenses that may arise during the period of enforcement, which pertain to the transfer, relocation and movement of prisoners, review of their convictions, consideration of their possible early release and inspection of their conditions of detention.
Additional consideration will also be required for expenses that may arise upon the completion of sentences, estimated at $141,000, as a result of the relocation of prisoners to suitable destinations or the disposal of their remains if they pass away while serving sentences. The General Assembly may wish to take note of this report, and request the Secretary-General to ensure that due consideration continues to be given in future International Tribunal for Rwanda budget proposals for the provision of resources for the biennium concerned relating to the enforcement of sentences.
Another aspect of the ICTR financing concerns the revised estimates in respect of Security Council resolution 1431 (2002) on the establishment of ad litem judges in the International Tribunal for Rwanda (contained in document A/57/482). The Security Council, by its resolution 1431 (2002) of 24 August 2002, decided to establish a pool of ad litem judges in the International Tribunal for Rwanda. The report contains the resource requirements for 2003 for the use of a maximum of four ad litem judges in the International Tribunal for Rwanda. The estimated additional requirements would amount to some $5.06 million gross ($4.61 million net) with an additional 46 temporary posts, bringing the total resource requirements of the Tribunal for the biennium 2002-2003 to
$204.37 million gross ($183.22 million net). The General Assembly is requested to appropriate an amount of $5.06 million gross ($4.61 million net) for the resources required by the International Tribunal for Rwanda for ad litem judges.
In his report on the conditions of service for the ad litem judges of the ICTR, the Secretary-General (document A/57/587) proposes that the conditions of service approved by the Assembly for the ad litem judges of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia be applied to the ad litem judges of the International Tribunal for Rwanda.
In a related report (document A/57/593), the Advisory Committee considers the financial situation of both Tribunals. Regarding the ICTR, for the period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003, the ACABQ notes projected increased requirements of some $2.18 million over the initial appropriation of
$197.13 million. The Advisory Committee also notes that increases in expenditure for defence counsel for 2000 and 2001 amounted to $3.54 million and $5.97 million, respectively. For the period from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003, appropriations for defence counsel total $17.12 million, representing an increase of some $5.13 million. Based on current expenditure patterns, a further increase of $3.7 million over the appropriation is projected. Regarding this amount, the Advisory Committee notes that it is too tentative to warrant immediate authorization of funds.
The Advisory Committee is very concerned by this escalation in defence counsel costs. Having been informed that overexpenditure for defence counsel in 2000 was due largely to poor monitoring and claims processing, the Committee had recommended that the Board of Auditors carry out a special evaluation of the effectiveness of the means available to control the expenses of the Tribunal’s legal aid system. Thus far, the ACABQ has received no convincing information, either from the Board of Auditors or from the Tribunal itself, that the Tribunal has an effective capacity of “staff and non-staff assets to manage, monitor and control the expenses of the Tribunal’s legal aid system”. Unless this matter is properly addressed, defence expenses could continue to escalate for reasons other than those related to unavoidable expansion of the activities of the Tribunal.
The Advisory Committee also comments on the vacancy rates at the Tribunals. In particular, by the end of 2002, the post of Chief of Prosecution at the ICTR will have been vacant for more than two years, and that of Deputy Prosecutor for approximately 19 months. The Advisory Committee is not persuaded by the explanations provided by the representatives of the Secretary-General, nor is it convinced that a lack of qualified candidates to perform the functions as advertised is the main reason for the prolonged vacancies. Indeed, the ACABQ was informed that there was an abundance of qualified candidates in the region and elsewhere. As such a protracted absence of a Deputy Prosecutor and Chief of Prosecution adversely affects the work of the Tribunal, the ACABQ recommends that the Office of Internal Oversight Services conduct a management review of the Office of the Prosecutor, paying particular attention to the problems which have arisen in filling these two critical posts.
Regarding the ad litem judges, the Advisory Committee does not believe that all 46 additional support posts will be required and recommends that the number of support staff for the ad litem judges be reduced to 36. Additional requirements could be met through redeployment. The ACABQ, therefore, recommends a reduction of the estimate by $282,100 gross ($245,500 net). This is equivalent to one P-4, three General Service (other level) and six Local level posts. The related appropriation would thus be $4.79 million gross ($4.36 million net). Should future action by the Security Council increase the number of ad litem judges, the Secretary-General can, if necessary, submit a proposal for additional support staff. For 2001, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly approve the financing of the unassessed expenditure of $2.66 million gross ($1.88 million net) from the unencumbered balance in the Special Account for the Tribunal, as proposed.
The Advisory Committee notes that favourable exchange rates for the period from January to October 2002 have led to a projected reduction of $13.24 million (of which $10.17 million is under the Registry) in the estimates for the biennium 2002-2003, and the trend may continue. Accordingly, the amount of $2.18 million need neither be appropriated at this time, nor financed from the unencumbered balance in the Special Account. However, the Committee recommends that the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to incur commitments up to that amount, should it be deemed necessary, and report thereon in the context of the next performance report.
On the conditions of service of ad litem judges, the Advisory Committee recommends approval of the Secretary-General’s proposal that the conditions of service approved by the Assembly for the ad litem judges of the Yugoslavia Tribunal be applied to the ad litem judges of the ICTR.
Regarding the ICTY, the Advisory Committee notes the under-expenditure for 2001, with a $413,600 difference between the assessed budget and expenditures. At the same time, it points out that the appropriation of some $14 million for defence counsel had been based on the assumption that the average number of detainees in 2001 would increase to 50, but the actual number of detainees was 36. The ACABQ trusts that the next estimate will be prepared more accurately. In the future, information should be provided on productivity, including savings, from the implementation of control and monitoring measures that have been introduced to improve the Tribunal’s legal aid programme.
Regarding French verbatim reporting, the ACABQ notes the Tribunal’s failure to secure a contract with a commercial firm and subsequent use of temporary assistance. The Committee requests that, in the next budget estimates, funds be requested for the most cost-effective means considered by the Registry to deliver this type of service. The Committee trusts that all available options will be explored, including off-site solutions and those using modern technology.
Further, according to the document, the first performance report for 2002-2003 includes a requirement for an additional appropriation in the amount of some $14 million gross. The Assembly is requested to approve a total revised appropriation of some $262.97 million gross and, taking into account the unencumbered balance available in the Special Account for the Tribunal of $14.47 million gross as at 31 December 2001, the unassessed expenditure in 2001 of $413,600 and the amount assessed for 2002 of $120.37 million gross, to approve the balance to be assessed for 2003 of $128.55 million gross.
The Advisory Committee recalls that when ad litem judges were approved for 2002-2003, one additional trial team had also been approved. In his report on the biennial budget for the Tribunal for the biennium 2002-2003, the Secretary-General requested two additional trial teams to bring the total to 12 trial teams. Taking into account the resources approved for the Prosecution Division for 2001 and the additional resources recommended for approval for other staff costs for 2002-2003, the ACABQ recommends approval of only one additional trial team. This would provide the Tribunal with a capacity of six trial and five preparatory teams. As the Office of the Prosecutor plans to complete investigations by 2004, the ACABQ is of the view that in 2003 the Tribunal should start to plan for a reduction or reallocation of investigation staff of the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly take note of the report of the Secretary-General, on the understanding that future budgetary requests on enforcement of sentences would be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the legal, administrative and financial justification provided in support of each request.
Under this agenda item, the Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General on the request for a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) resulting from the recommendations of the Board of Trustees of the Institute on the work programme for 2003 (document A/C.5/57/4). At its thirty-ninth session, the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, in its capacity as the Board of Trustees of UNIDIR, approved, for submission to the General Assembly, the Institute’s programme of work and estimated resource requirements for 2003. The report reflects the updated estimates that led to a request for a subvention of $227,600 for 2003 from the regular budget of the United Nations.
The Institute’s funds available at the beginning of 2002 amounted to some $1.01 million, including an amount of $124,500 required as operating cash reserve for 2002. Total income for 2002 is estimated at some $1.63 million. Total revised estimated expenditure for 2002 amounts to some $1.36 million, including a provision of $54,500 for programme support costs. Requirements for 2003 are estimated at some $1.16 million, inclusive of $44,200 for programme support costs. Available funds at the beginning of 2003 are estimated at $1.27 million, including an amount of $171,700 that would be required as operating cash reserve. Should the General Assembly decide to approve the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of UNIDIR, no additional provision would be required under section 4 of the programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003.
In a related report (document A/57/7/Add.7), the ACABQ recommends that the Fifth Committee approve the request of $227,600 for UNIDIR for 2003.
A further report of the Secretary-General deals with the proposed revisions to the financial regulations of the United Nations (document A/57/396), which are outlined in annex II of the report and include 16 additional regulations: 11 relating to the financial management of peacekeeping operations, three relating to tax equalization, one relating to internal audit, and one relating to procurement. Thus, all United Nations financial management policies and procedures approved by the General Assembly will be consolidated within a single document.
Draft Financial Rules were also presented to the ACABQ and the Board of Auditors, which expressed the opinion that the objectives of the revision exercise had largely been met. The objectives included creating a single-source document for all the financial management policies of the Organization, streamlining the Financial Rules to the point where they describe only those essential procedures required, and laying the foundations for a systematic revision of the delegation of financial management authority by establishing a clear and logically consistent delegation of authority.
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)(document A/57/479). In December 2001, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to clarify why UNITAR did not benefit from rental rates and maintenance costs similar to those enjoyed by other United Nations organizations, and to submit proposals on how to waive or reduce the rental rates and maintenance costs charged to UNITAR. To achieve that goal, the Assembly would need to make budgetary provision for the costs involved and override the provisions of paragraph 3 of its resolution 47/227, whereby the funding of all the administrative budget and the training programme of the Institute should be covered from voluntary contributions, donations, special-purpose grants and executing agency overheads.
If the General Assembly were to approve free rent and maintenance for UNITAR, an additional biennial appropriation of $293,000 would be required under the regular budget of the United Nations in the current biennium.
In a related report (document A/57/7/Add.15), the ACABQ takes note of the report of the Secretary-General.
The Committee also had before it the report of the Economic and Social Council (document A/57/3), in particular highlighting chapter I, which lists matters calling for action or brought to the attention of the General Assembly, chapter VII, sections B and C, relating to coordination, programme and other questions, and chapter IX on organizational matters.
Activities of ACABQ
And the last document to be introduced to the Committee today was the report on the activities of the ACABQ during the fifty-sixth session of the Assembly (document A/57/7). The mandate of the Advisory Committee is to examine the budget submitted to the General Assembly; advise the Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it; examine administrative budgets of specialized agencies and proposals for financial arrangements with such agencies; and consider the auditors’ reports on the accounts of the United Nations and of its specialized agencies.
The report presents general observations and matters that were before the Committee at various locations away from Headquarters. During the fifty-sixth session, the meetings of the Advisory Committee were organized into three sessions, held in New York. During the year, the ACABQ also met in Geneva,
The Hague, Arusha, Asmara, Assab, Eritrea, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Paris.
During its sessions in New York, the Advisory Committee considered a number of reports related to the United Nations regular budget, United Nations peacekeeping operations, and other administrative and budgetary matters of the United Nations and its funds and programmes. In the course of its consideration of the reports, the Committee met with representatives of the Secretary-General and of the executive heads of funds and programmes. The document contains a list of all the reports issued by the ACABQ in the course of the session.
In the course of its meetings away from Headquarters, the Advisory Committee sought information on the effects of across-the-board budget cuts on the activities of the entities it visited. In many instances, it was informed that budget cuts had necessitated a halt or paring down of planned improvements and innovations in the area of information technology. The Committee expresses its concern that delays in the implementation of these activities could have a negative impact on efforts to improve efficiency and, in the longer term, to achieve savings. The Advisory Committee also stresses the desirability of coordination among specialized agencies in such areas as security, printing and procurement.
Delegation of authority and the granting of increased flexibility to programme managers continue to be issues of concern throughout the system. The Advisory Committee notes, for example, that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern regarding the fact that, as an integral part of the United Nations Secretariat, it does not have delegated financial authority, and that, therefore, all requests for allotments must be channelled through the United Nations Office at Geneva, at times causing delays in funding that are perceived as diminishing the operational effectiveness of the Office. The Committee maintains the view that the key to effective delegation is a concomitant reinforcement of accountability.
The report of the Board of Auditors on the ICTY (document A/57/5/Add.12) was also before the Committee. The Board of Auditors has reviewed the operations of the International Tribunal and audited the financial statements of the Tribunal for the biennium ended 31 December 2001.
Among its findings, the Board discovered that the legal aid system does not allow for sufficient control over defence expenditures, and its provisions contribute to the risk of fee-splitting practices. It also found that some of the witnesses requested to travel to The Hague are sent back home without having been called to testify.
Furthermore, neither the staff rules nor the Rules of Procedure and Evidence prevented a key staff member from being recruited by defence counsel while he was still on duty, at the risk of jeopardizing the independence and image of the institution. The Board also remarks that the Tribunal pays a full salary to a former judge of the International Court of Justice, who also receives a full pension from the Court.
The Board made recommendations to formalize and monitor a completion strategy; to improve the legal aid system while limiting its cost; explicitly to forbid fee-splitting practices and penalize any abuse of frivolous motions; and to improve the monitoring of obligations, especially those related to defence charges. Recommendations have also been made on the safekeeping of assets and a number of minor administrative matters.
Yet, another document before the Committee was the Board of Auditors’ report on the operations of the ICTR and its financial statements for the biennium ended 31 December 2001 (document A/57/5/Add.11). The Board found that the Tribunal had no completion strategy for meeting its objectives in an efficient manner and that defence counsel costs for 2000-2001 amounted to some $23.1 million, exceeding the approved allocation by 91 per cent.
There were no financial thresholds to determine whether an accused qualified for legal aid, which was provided on the basis of information provided by the accused. Applicants for legal aid had an option of electing defence counsel, which could create opportunities for fee-splitting, the Board discovered, and a total of 22 lead counsel and 24 co-counsel changes occurred during the biennium. Lastly, it was found that the Tribunal could not provide a final report containing an overview of the activities performed through the trust fund of a complete financial account on the utilization of funds provided by the donor country.
The Board made recommendations to formalize and monitor a completion strategy; improve the legal aid system while limiting its cost; explicitly to forbid fee-splitting; and improve the monitoring of obligations, especially those related to defence charges. Recommendations have also been made on the safekeeping of assets and a number of administrative matters.
Introduction of Documents
The Director of Programme Planning and Budget Division, WARREN SACH, introduced seven Secretary-General’s reports on the financing of the two international Tribunals, presenting the budget figures, expenditures and projected requirements for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
A related ACABQ report was introduced by the Chairman of that body, CONRAD S.M. MSELLE, who said that the Advisory Committee welcomed the changes in the presentation of the courts’ performance reports. Regarding the increase in expenses of defence counsel for the Tribunals, he said that it could not be avoided if there was an increase in arrests and trials. However, that was not clear from the reports before the Committee. It was important to manage those costs more effectively. Another source of concern was the vacancy situation at the ICTR. As for requests for additional posts to support ad litem judges at the ICTR, at this stage the Advisory Committee was supporting 36 of the 46 proposed posts.
Regarding the ICTY, he said that the Secretary-General had requested two additional trial teams. The Advisory Committee reiterated its previous recommendation that one additional team be approved. Among other recommendations, there was also a suggestion regarding the need to clarify the upgrading of prison facilities, for which the funds had not yet been utilized.
PETER HAMMERSCMIDT (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that while the achievements of the Tribunals were encouraging, they needed to be built upon. For example, the level of outstanding contributions to the Tribunals, currently exceeding $52 million, was unhealthy and unacceptable. The arrears situation continued to threaten the Tribunals’ stability, and the countries for whom he spoke strongly urged all Member States which had not yet done so to remit their assessed contributions as soon as possible. The vacancies situation was also in desperate need of improvement. The current rate of vacancy and the continued absence of key personnel undermined the ICTR’s efforts to undertake its work, and could not be sustained for much longer.
As noted by the Board of Auditors, he continued, the Tribunals’ frameworks for establishing indigence were severely flawed, and in the case of the ICTR a framework barely existed. Given the sums involved, it was scarcely surprising that defence counsel costs had run well over budget for the past three years. It was also clear that there were a number of short- and long-term financial implications of the Tribunals’ work that needed to be examined in greater detail. In that regard, he asked how the cost estimates for maintaining prisoners were determined and requested further information on the anticipated long-term financial and other requirements once the Tribunals had completed their mandates.
It was also important, he said, for the Tribunals’ exit strategies to be finalized and fully integrated into the management of the two bodies. Coordinated direction and a focus on results were fundamental to success. In that regard, the United Nations had mainstreamed results-based budgeting into other parts of its system, and he expected that effort to be replicated in the Tribunals’ next budget submissions.
The Tribunals’ budgets needed to outline near-term objectives and completion targets, should reflect an administratively proactive approach, and should outlines initiative for addressing anticipated and potential pitfalls, he continued. They should also reflect steps taken to maximize outcomes within existing resources. Ultimately, he wished to see budgets against which the Tribunals’ progress and value-for-money could be assessed. The fiscal circumstances at both Tribunals, the tentative nature of projected costs, and the inability to adequately control the legal aid system led him to believe that the above recommendations were a prudent course of action at this time.
XUDONG SUN (China) said that the ICTR needed to strengthen its control over expenditures to avoid huge overspending. From the Tribunal’s first performance report for 2002-2003, it was clear that the Tribunal had now listed its overall expenditure by items of expenditure and main determining factors and performance indicators. His delegation appreciated that practice, since it would promote the rational use of resources. In the performance report for 2001, however, his delegation noted with concern the overexpenditure of 85 per cent, or some
$6.55 million, under contractual services, mainly due to increased defence counsel costs.
The defence counsel cost appropriation for 2002 and 2003 had jumped to some $17.11 million, he continued, and if current expenditure patterns persisted, it was expected to go up by another $3.7 million. The rates of overexpenditure for 2000, 2001 and 2002 were 67, 98 and 47 per cent, respectively. While some of the overexpenditures could be explained by the inability to make accurate forecasts at the time of budget preparation, others were the result of mismanagement. For instance, the overexpenditure for defence counsel costs for 2000 was due largely to poor monitoring and claims processing. His delegation hoped that the Tribunal would set up an effective monitoring and control mechanism to further strengthen expenditure structures, make use of existing resources and effectively rein in the upward spiral of defence counsel costs.
He went on to note with concern the 26 per cent actual vacancy rate of the Tribunal at the end of 2001. The ACABQ had learned upon inquiry that that figure would be reduced to 15 per cent by the end of this year. By the end of 2002, the post of the Chief of Prosecution would have been vacant for two years. Was he to understand that no suitable candidate could be found for that post? He would like to know the real reason for that extremely abnormal situation. Taking into account the present status of vacancies not filled in the Tribunal, his delegation could go along with the recommendation of the ACABQ to approve 36 out of the proposed 46 posts in support of ad litem judges. As for other additional requirements, they could be met through redeployment.
THURE CRISTIANSEN (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed disquiet at the continuing high vacancy rate in the ICTR and the inadequate management of the expenses of its legal aid system. He was also eager to learn of progress and a clear timetable for presentation of completion strategy, in line with the Board of Auditors’ recommendations. Key to achieving that would be the effective use of ad litem judges to be approved this session. The European Union would seek assurances that the extra resources would be used to the full in pursuit of that objective, and that the working practices of the Tribunal would be adapted accordingly.
The Board of Auditors, he continued, in their report on the ICTY, had made several recommendations with regard to a completion strategy, and he was pleased to note from the Tribunal’s response that 120 performance indicators had already been established to follow the performance and development of the Tribunal’s judicial process. The European Union believed that a logical development would be for the ICTY to prepare its budget for 2004-2005 in a results-based budgeting format.
A further area of concern to the European Union was that of audit and investigation services. Posts had not been filled for those functions, despite the fact that authorization had been granted by the General Assembly last year. Finding solutions to problems related to the enforcement of sentences must also be an urgent priority so that the Tribunals could complete their mandates effectively and within an appropriate time frame.
KANG JEONG-SIK (Republic of Korea) said that his delegation attached great importance to the role of the International Criminal Tribunals. However, there were still many associated problems. He was concerned that the Tribunals still did not have firm, realistic and achievable strategies for the completion of their missions, and he wished to see a comprehensive framework of completion plans. His delegation agreed with the recommendations of the Board of Auditors in document A/57/5/Add.12, which had recommended the implementation of budget ceilings, related indicators and palliatives to roadblocks. In formulating completion strategy, a balance between judicial ambition and project constraints should be struck.
The implementation of completion strategies should be regularly reviewed and should have clear set performance indicators, he said. With regard to the ICTR, defence counsel costs had been steadily increasing, and that expense would continue to escalate unless the capacity of the ICTR was properly addressed. For example, clear and quantitative criteria were needed to determine whether or not a person qualified for legal aid. He was also concerned with the high vacancy rate in the ICTR, and felt that a management review should be conducted.
Comments from Secretariat
Responding to questions, Mr. SACH said that the core issues in the Tribunals related to vacancies, defence expenses, enforcement of sentences, payments of assessed contributions and future budget presentations. Regarding vacancies, there had been a slight improvement to that chronic problem. Regarding the vacancy of the deputy prosecutor in Kigali, he acknowledged that the speaker’s point was well taken. It was regrettable that it had taken so long to fill that vacancy, but interviews had been scheduled for the second week of December, and the Prosecutor would be making recommendations on the candidacy for the post by the end of the year. As for the Chief of Prosecution, the post had been recently re-advertized, because because none of the applicants possessed the qualifications required.
On the question of defence counsel costs for the ICTR, he said they were a significant component of expenditures, and the current Registrar had established a review panel to make recommendations on the matter. Now, he was going to hire consultants to follow up on the complex issue. Other administrative actions were also being taken.
Regarding the daily maintenance of prisoners, which had been indicated at $20 a day in the report, he said that the figures provided reflected agreements by the ICTR with several countries in the region. Further details could be provided in informal consultations.
Timely payment of assessments continued to present a problem, he continued. In the past, failure to pay had resulted in cross-borrowing from peacekeeping. The issue of timely payment needed to be addressed, particularly in view of the fact that the overall financial situation of the Organization made further cross-borrowing problematic. As for results-based indicators for 2004-2005, those could be followed through on several items of the budget. Specific objectives with regard to judicial aspects should be handled carefully, however. The exit strategy and planning also needed to be looked at from the point of view of results-based budgeting.
Introduction of Further Reports
Presenting the Secretary-General’s report on the proposed revisions to the financial regulations of the Organization, United Nations Controller JEAN-PIERRE HALBWACHS said that through its Financial Regulations, the Assembly had issued the broad policy directive governing the financial management of the United Nations. The Secretary-General had outlined the manner in which the Financial Regulations were to be implemented and defined parameters within which staff must exercise their responsibilities. The sequence and structure of the existing Financial Regulations and rules were the results of a series of partial and often haphazard revisions to a document that had first been introduced in 1960 and revised and reissued in 1985. Thus, the primary goal for the current exercise had been to simplify and reorganize the Financial Regulations and rules under subject-relevant articles, and to order them in accordance with the sequence of financial management actions that they defined.
Also, for the first time, all relevant General Assembly resolutions and other provisions pertaining to the financial management of peacekeeping operations had been incorporated in the proposed Financial Regulations, he continued. Also incorporated in the revision were the regulations governing procurement, prepared by the inter-agency task force on common services.
The number of articles in the Regulations had been consolidated to better reflect the sequence of financial management actions they defined, he said. The number of Financial Regulations had increased mainly as a result of the inclusion of new regulations dealing with the management of peacekeeping operations, reflecting primarily the fundamental provisions adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 49/233. Those revisions provided the foundation for a systematic overview of the delegation of financial management authority, by establishing a clear and logically consistent delegation of authority.
Concerning the delegation of authority, he said that the assignment of authority had been revised based on the fundamental premise that authority flowed from the Chief Administrative Officer to the Under-Secretary General for Management, and from there to other officials of the Department of Management. The assumption was that the rules were the means by which the Secretary-General delegated authority and accountability for the Financial Regulations to the Under-Secretary-General for Management.
Administrative responsibility in accordance with individual financial rules would be delegated by the Under-Secretary-General for Management, in further instruments of delegations, to the three senior officials responsible and accountable for the main functional areas of the Department of Management: the Controller, the Assistant Secretary-General for Support Services, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management. That straight-line delegation conformed precisely to the clear and hierarchical structure required for accountability and good management.
He concluded that adoption of concise and logically consistent Financial Regulations would be a further step in the efforts to develop simpler and more straight-forward administrative processes.
Mr. MSELLE, Chairman of the ACABQ, presented orally the observations of the Advisory Committee on the Secretary-General’s report on proposed revisions to the Financial Regulations of the United Nations.
The Fifth Committee then decided to request the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision on the proposed revisions to the Financial Regulations.
Mr. SACH then introduced the Secretary-General’s note on the subvention to the United Nations Institute on Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), saying that it was a routine request for 2003. The provision for the amount required had already been made in the programme budget, and approval of the request would not require any additional appropriations.
Mr. MSELLE introduced a related ACABQ report.
Turning to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Mr. SACH introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the matter. The report pointed out that if the General Assembly were to grant preferential rates to UNITAR, there would be financial implications for the regular budget in the amount of some $293,000 for the current biennium. As a charge against the contingency fund, the appropriation would have to be handled as such. Introduction of a preferential rate would also necessitate changing the wording of the statute of UNITAR. The financial situation of UNITAR was not precarious, however. The UNITAR also had an outstanding debt to the United Nations in the amount of $310,974 relating to unpaid rental and maintenance costs.
Presenting an ACABQ report, Mr. MSELLE said that the Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly first decide that the Institute should get rent-free office space from the United Nations. The financial implications would be in the amount of some $293,000 for the current biennium, charged to the contingency fund.
ASDRUBAL PULIDO LEON (Venezuela) pointed out that in the Second Committee the issue of training and research was also being discussed, while the “Group of 77” developing countries was considering it in the context of a resolution being presented. He said he would like to express the Group’s opinion in a further formal meeting.
AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY (Pakistan) said that training and research were of crucial importance and immense value, not only to the Organization but to Member States, in particular, developing countries. The UNITAR had emerged as a leading forum and many had benefited a great deal from its focused and interactive courses.
The UNITAR was living up to its mandate, yet had not been able to contribute to strengthening its financial situation. While UNITAR continued to provide free services to Member States, the United Nations was not even prepared to provide UNITAR with rent-free space, although others enjoyed that privilege. That was discriminatory treatment. It was time to recognize the valuable services being
rendered by UNITAR, and space should be provided on a rent-free and maintenance-free basis.
EVA SILOT BRAVO (Cuba) and NONYE UDO (Nigeria) agreed with the delegate of Pakistan on the need for free rent and maintenance to be provided for UNITAR in New York.
Report of ACABQ
The report was introduced by Mr. MSELLE, who said that the document provided a brief account of the work of the Advisory Committee during the fifty-sixth session of the Assembly. There had been requests that the ACABQ, in meetings away from New York, should take into account the programme of work of the Fifth Committee, and he assured the delegates that the ACABQ had always complied with that request. Its missions to other duty stations provided valuable information and afforded an opportunity to host duty stations to find out more about the financial functioning of the Organization.
Ms. ATTWALL (United States) commended the ACABQ for its efforts and thanked it for its hard work and diligence.
The Committee then decided to recommend to the Assembly to take note with appreciation of the report of the ACABQ on its activities during the fifty-sixth session. It further decided to request the Secretary-General to bring the report to the attention of the executive heads of the specialized agencies and funds and programmes concerned.
The Committee then decided to recommend that the General Assembly take note of the chapters of the report of the Economic and Social Council allocated to the Fifth Committee (Chapters I, VII, sections B and C, and Chapter IX).
Mr. PULIDO LEON (Venezuela) requested a clarification from the Secretariat as to why the Committee was not considering the Secretary-General’s report on the administration of justice during this session, as had been requested by resolution 56/258. It had been pending for two years and no clarification had been received.
JOSEPH ACAKPO-SATCHIVI, Secretary of the Fifth Committee, said that the Assembly had decided to make the question of administration of justice a separate agenda item from other issues relating to personnel. It was not on the agenda this session because all the reports on the item had not yet been published.
Mr. MSELLE said that the Advisory Committee had reviewed the report of the Secretary-General on the administration of justice and was also waiting for related replies from the specialized agencies. It was a very important item and justice would not be done if it was to be rushed through. In view of additional information, the ACABQ had requested that its related report would not be issued before the end of the year.
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