FIFTH COMMITTEE INFORMS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CREATION OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION WILL NOT ENTAIL ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURES UNDER 2006-2007 BUDGET

GA/AB/3717
20 December 2005

FIFTH COMMITTEE INFORMS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CREATION OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION WILL NOT ENTAIL ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURES UNDER 2006-2007 BUDGET

20/12/2005
General Assembly
GA/AB/3717
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixtieth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

34th Meeting (AM)


FIFTH COMMITTEE INFORMS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CREATION OF PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION


WILL NOT ENTAIL ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURES UNDER 2006-2007 BUDGET


With a draft resolution on the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, due to come before the General Assembly plenary and Security Council today, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning decided to inform the Assembly that, at the present stage, the adoption of the text would not give rise to any additional requirements under the proposed budget for 2006-2007.


Approving, without a vote, a draft decision on the matter, the Committee decided that any additional resources, as may be necessary for the conference servicing of the new body, should be presented in the performance report next year.  Further, in view of the requirement –- contained in the September Summit Outcome -- that the support office to assist the Commission be staffed from within existing resources, the Committee concluded that there should be no additional appropriation for that purpose at this stage.  The Assembly should request the Secretary-General to report back to it pursuant to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.


Following action on the draft, the representative of Rwanda, speaking on behalf of the African Group, expressed regret that “due to non-provision of resources”, the Secretary-General would not be able to establish the peacebuilding support office.  While congratulating themselves on the milestone that would be achieved today, members of the Committee had a responsibility to reflect further on the resource requirements of the support office.  The Group did not accept the concept of operating within existing resources for that crucial activity, and he trusted that in March the Committee would be able to address the Secretariat’s report on the matter. 


As the Committee turned to the financing of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, several speakers noted the progress achieved in the implementation of their completion strategies, and the efforts to optimize the use of human and financial resources, speed up trials and implement efficiency measures.  However, the representative of the United States expressed concern over the fact that the proposed budget for the Rwanda Tribunal contained a real resource growth of over 2 per cent and inquired about the reasons for that situation.


Introducing the Tribunals’ budgets, Chief of the Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service of the Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, Dennis Thatchaichawalit, said that in 2006-2007 the Yugoslav Tribunal would continue to undertake measures to reduce the length of trials and improve on judicial efficiency.  Court time would be saved as a result of the decision to join cases with a similar crime base and conduct trials with multiple accused.  Early in 2006, the court would be launching the e-court system for all trials, which would streamline the handling of exhibits and transcripts during trials and expedite future proceedings. 


Regarding the Rwanda Tribunal, he said that the 2006-2007 biennium would be a very busy one for that court.  The Tribunal anticipated that a total of 956 witnesses would be brought before it.  Owing to the shift of focus from investigations and arrests to trials, the Prosecution Division would be restructured and the Investigations Division would undergo a reduction from 106 to 60 posts.  Some 15 posts would be redeployed to strengthen the Judicial and Legal services Division, and 31 posts would be redeployed within the Office of the Prosecutor.  A high number of appeals would require the upgrading of the Appeals Section, in the Office of the Prosecutor, to an Appeals and Legal Advisory Division.  Some 31 posts would be redeployed to the judicial and appeal functions. 


Concerning the efforts to ease the staffing situation at the two courts, the representative of Japan said that the proposal to introduce a retention bonus to the personnel needed to fulfil the completion strategies should be further explored.  As for the legacy issues that would be faced by the Tribunals after the completion of their mandates, he believed they might belong in the Security Council.  Therefore, he suggested that the discussion of the report on the staff retention and legacy issues be deferred, given the circumstances the Committee was facing.


Also presented to the Committee today were the final estimates for 2004-2005, which amount to $3.7 billion for expenditure sections and $470 million for income sections.  Those figures are contained in the Organization’s second performance report for the current biennium, which reflects actual experience in the implementation of the budget and takes into account unforeseen and extraordinary expenses, as well as changes in inflation, exchange rates and the cost of living. 


And finally, Mr. Moffat, of the Office of Programme Planning Budget and Accounts, introduced to the Committee four statements of programme budget implications of several drafts, which related to the establishment of an outreach programme on Rwanda genocide; the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Disabilities Convention; conference servicing of meetings on international migration and development; and the programme of action of the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.


The Advisory Committee’s reports were introduced by the Acting Chairman of that body, Rajat Saha.  Responding to questions from the floor was Vladimir Belov, Chief of the Common Services Unit, Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts.


Also participating in the debate were representatives of Nigeria, the United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union), Namibia (on behalf of the African Group) and the United Republic of Tanzania.


Committee will meet again at a time to be announced.


Background


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to consider the budget implications of the draft before the Assembly on the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission (see Press Release GA/AB/3716 of 19 December) and take up the financing of the two International Tribunals.  Also before the Committee were programme budget implication statements on several other drafts before the Assembly, and reports on the second performance report on the 2004-2004 programme report (see introduction of that report below).


Financing of the Tribunals


The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the budget for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the biennium 2006-2007 (document A/60/265), according to which, the court’s requirements for the coming biennium, before recosting, total $261.64 million gross.  That includes a jump of 2.5 per cent, or $5.78 million net, over the revised appropriation for the biennium 2004-2005.


The overall level of resources will provide for the continuation of 1,042 temporary posts and reflects, among others, increased requirements under the Chambers ($453,800) and the Registry ($10.87 million), offset by reductions under the Office of the Prosecutor ($5.61 million).  It is estimated that during the biennium 2006-2007, there will be 18 cases in trial:  11 new cases and seven existing cases involving 34 accused.


In its conclusion, the report said the Government of Rwanda may wish to consider housing the provincial information centres that the Tribunal plans to create outside Kigali.  The Member States should be sensitized to provide the Tribunal with adequate resources that will enable the sustainable implementation of the Tribunal’s outreach programmes in Rwanda.  And an active outreach policy within United Nations bodies should be pursued to fully support the Tribunal’s outreach programme and completion strategy, especially in relation to witness support measures.


The second performance report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the biennium 2004-2005 (document A/60/573) reflects a decrease in requirements of some $3.31 million gross as compared with the revised appropriation for 2004-2005.  The reduction in requirements includes changes with respect to the combined effect of exchange rates and inflation ($1.28 million gross) and decreases in post incumbency and other changes ($4.59 million gross).


Thus, the Assembly is requested to revise the appropriation for 2004-2005 to $252.6 million gross for the Special Account for the Tribunal.


On the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Committee had before it the proposed budget for 2006-2007 (document A/60/264), which indicates estimated resource requirements for the biennium at $320.84 million gross, as compared with $329.5 million revised appropriation for the current biennium.  The proposed final appropriation for 2004-2005 (see document A/60/575) amounts to $308.31 million gross.  


The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on staff retention and legacy issues (document A/60/436) regarding financing of the International Criminal Tribunals.  In resolutions 59/273 and 59/274 of 23 December 2004, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit proposals on ways to ease the staffing situation at the Tribunals in the context of the proposed budget for the biennium 2006-2007.


The first part of the report deals with the financing request and proposed that the General Assembly endorse the creation of a retention bonus, effective 1 January 2006, to staff members whose functions were necessary to fulfil the completion strategy.  The report recommended that a retention bonus, and other measures described in paragraphs 10 to 13 of the report, would substantially impact on the ability of the Tribunals to meet their mandates.


The second part of the report deals with the legacy issues that would be faced by the Tribunals after their respective mandates are completed.  The report asks the General Assembly to take note of the legacy issues related to the Tribunals, as they will have financial implications after the closure of the Tribunals.


The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), in its comments on both Tribunals’ reports (document A/60/591), while expressing expectation that future budget and performance reports of both Tribunals would be submitted in a timely and synchronized manner, commends both courts for presenting a logical results-based budgeting framework that is well-structured, both qualitatively and quantitatively.  In this regard, it draws attention to the external factors influencing the outcome of the work of the Tribunals and the potential risks they pose to the capacity of the Tribunals to achieve their objectives.  The Advisory Committee welcomes the efforts made by both Tribunals to introduce measures for increasing trial efficiency, for modernizing working methods and increasing productivity and cost-effectiveness, as well as the level of cooperation demonstrated in developing these tools and procedures.


The Advisory Committee further points out that there is an urgent need to develop a monitoring mechanism to ensure effective enforcement and administration of prison sentences after the closure of the Tribunals.  This would include addressing such issues as enforcement of sentences, early release, commutation of sentences and monitoring the treatment of prisoners to ensure their human rights.


The ACABQ recommends approval of the estimates for the Rwanda Tribunal for 2006-2007, which were proposed by the Secretary-General in the amount of $284.27 million gross.  On the Yugoslav Tribunal, the ACABQ recommends approval of the revised appropriation for the biennium 2004-2005 in the amount of $308.31 million gross and for 2006-2007 in the amount of $310.88 million gross.


Programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007


The Committee had before it the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/60/L.34 and its amendment (A/60/L.35):  The Rwanda genocide and the United Nations (document A/C.5/60/20).  It notes that under the terms of draft resolution A/60/L.34 and its amendment (A/60/L.35), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to establish, within existing resources, a programme of outreach activities entitled “The Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations”, as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Rwanda genocide victim remembrance and education, in order to help prevent future acts of genocide and to report to the General Assembly on the establishment of that programme within six months from the date of the adoption of the resolution.


Additional resource requirements amounting to $196,200 would be required under Section 27, Public information, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007, related mainly to production costs and general temporary assistance.  The Secretary-General has proposed an amount of $172.8 million for 2006-2007 under section 27, including 747 posts, over $4.7 million in general temporary assistance resources and nearly $1 million for overtime and personal service contracts.


In its related report (document A/60/7/Add.27), the ACABQ notes that a considerable wealth of material already exists within the United Nations which the Department of Public Information can draw upon in carrying out the present request; it may well be possible to carry out the activities envisaged without additional resources.  It recommends, therefore, that the Fifth Committee report to the Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/60/L.34 and its amendment (A/60/L.35), there would be no need for an additional appropriation at this time.  Should any such requirement materialize, it can be reported in the relevant performance report on the programme budget for 2006-2007.


Also before the Committee was the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.28:  Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignities of Persons with Disabilities (document A/C.5/60/21).  It notes that under the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would decide that the Ad Hoc Committee should hold -- within existing resources -- prior to the Assembly’s sixty-first session, two sessions in 2006, one of 15 working days, from 16 January to 3 February, to achieve a complete reading of the draft text of a convention prepared by the Chairman of the Committee, and one of 10 working days, from 7 to 18 August.


The Secretary-General states that 15 working days for the seventh session called for in the draft resolution would require an additional week of meetings for the seventh session of the Committee, over the estimates included in the draft calendar of conferences and meetings, giving rise to an estimated additional provision of $118,400 over the proposed programme budget for conference-servicing costs, including $111,400 for section 2 and $7,000 for section 28D.  The Secretary-General further indicates that it is not possible to determine the capacity to absorb these additional costs, which would represent a charge against the contingency fund and, as such, would require appropriations for the biennium 2006-2007 to be approved by the General Assembly at its sixtieth session.


In its related report (document A/60/7/Add.27), the Advisory Committee says it understands that the estimate of $7,000 under section 28D should be absorbed consistent with the terms of the draft resolution, and that the Secretariat intends to report on the degree to which additional conference-servicing requirements can be absorbed in the context of the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates to be submitted very shortly.  


Under the circumstances, the Advisory Committee recommends that conference-servicing requirements be considered in the context of the review of the consolidated statement provided for in the procedures established by the General Assembly in its resolutions 41/213 and 42/211 regarding the use and operation of the contingency fund.


The programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.2/60/L.62 (as orally revised):  International migration and development (document A/C.5/60/23), notes that under the terms of the resolution, the Assembly would decide, among other things, that the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development would be held in New York on 14 and 15 September 2006, and also that the High-level Dialogue would discuss the overall theme of the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development, in order to identify appropriate ways and means to maximize its development benefits and minimize its negative impacts.  It would also decide that the High-level Dialogue would consist of four plenary meetings and four round tables, within existing resources.


By further provisions of the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, within existing resources, to prepare a comprehensive overview of studies and analyses on the multidimensional aspects of migration and development, including the effects of migration on economic and social development in developed and developing countries, and on the effects of the movements of highly skilled migrant workers and those with advanced education.


Should the draft resolution, as orally revised, be adopted by the Assembly, additional provisions of $55,200 (representing $44,800 under section 2 and $10,400 under section 28D) over and above the resources initially proposed for the biennium 2006-2007 would be required for the holding of four round tables.  It is not possible at this stage to identify activities within sections 2 and 28D of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007 that could be terminated, deferred, curtailed or modified during the biennium to meet the total additional requirement of $55,200.  This would represent a charge against the contingency fund and, as such, would require appropriations for the biennium 2006-2007 to be approved by the Assembly at its sixtieth session.


In its related report (document A/60/7/Add.28), it notes that despite the requirement that activities are to be carried out from “within existing resources”, the Secretary-General is maintaining his position that additional resources of $44,800 would be required under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and $10,400 under section 28D, Office of Central Support Services, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007.  In view of the size of the amounts involved, the Advisory Committee does not find the argument presented in the Secretary-General’s statement convincing.


Accordingly, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/C.2/60/L.62 as orally revised, additional requirements in the amount of $55,200 for the holding of four round tables should be absorbed from within the resources in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007.


Finally, the Committee had before it the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.2/60/L.32/Rev.1, Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries:  high-level meeting on the midterm comprehensive global review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (document A/C.5/60/24).  The Secretary-General estimates an amount of $31,200 for administrative support services under section 28D, Office of Central Support Services, of the proposed programme budget for 2006-2007.  An additional amount of $223,200 would be required under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget.  The Secretariat intends to report on the degree to which additional conference servicing requirements can be absorbed in the context of the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates to be submitted very shortly.


In its related report(document A/60/7/Add.29), the Advisory Committee, addressing the estimated amount of $31,200 for administrative support services, notes that in view of the size of the amount involved, it should be absorbed.  


Regarding the additional amount of $223,200 required under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management of the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget, the Advisory Committee understands that the Secretariat intends to report on the degree to which additional conference servicing requirements can be absorbed in the context of the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates to be submitted very shortly.  Under the circumstances, the Advisory Committee recommends that conference servicing requirements be considered in the context of the review of the consolidated statement provided for in the procedures established by the General Assembly in its resolutions 41/213 and 42/211, regarding the use and operation of the contingency fund.


Action on Draft


Following informal consultations yesterday, the Committee had before it a draft decision (document A/C.5/60/L.11) on programme budget implications of the draft resolution on the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, which is due to come before the plenary and the Security Council today (document A/60/L.40).


By the text –- introduced by the Chairman of the Committee, JOHN W. ASHE -- the Committee would decide to inform the Assembly that at the present stage, the adoption of the text would not give rise to any additional requirements under the proposed budget for 2006-2007.  Any additional resources, as may be necessary for conference-servicing, should be reported in the performance report.  Further, in view of the requirement that the peacebuilding support office be staffed from within existing resources, there should be no additional appropriation for the purpose at this stage.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report back to it pursuant to paragraph 7 of the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions


The draft was approved without a vote.


Following that action, the representative of Rwanda, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that, today, the Assembly would adopt the resolution on the Peacebuilding Commission, which had been authorized by heads of State and government in September.  The Fifth Committee had agreed on the decision, which was meant to reflect that decision.  However, on the support office, unfortunately, the statement of programme budget implications had provided the nascent office with no other resources than a P-5 post deployed to the unit.  When agreement was reached on the establishment of the Commission, it had also been recognized that it would be provided with backstopping.  Hence, the provision for the support office.  Regrettably, due to non-provision of resources, the Secretary-General would not be able to establish it.


While congratulating themselves on the milestone that would be achieved today, members of the Committee had a responsibility to reflect further on the resource requirements of the support office.  He trusted that, in March, the Secretariat would come back with a report on the matter.  He added that the Group did not accept the concept of operating within existing resources for that crucial activity, and asked when the Secretariat would submit the report on the matter to the Assembly.


Nigeria ’s representative said she was pleased that the draft had been approved by the Committee.  Today was a historic day.  The Assembly had demonstrated that it could act quickly on the decisions of the heads of State and government.  That was proof of the fact that where there was a will, there was a way.  She appreciated the efforts of all those who had made today’s landmark event possible. 


She aligned herself with the position of the African Group and said that, given the historic nature of the event, she had joined the consensus on the budget implications, which contained no resources on a support office, as a clear demonstration of the importance she attached to the matter.  However, she took full cognisance of the appeal by the coordinator of the consultations on the matter, who had implored the delegates “to take a leap of faith” to pave a way for the Peacebuilding Commission.  It was important to make good on the commitments by Member States and assure that the Commission could accomplish everything that had been envisioned for it.  She also took note of the comments by the ACABQ that it was incumbent on the Secretary-General to fully justify the resources for the support office, and echoed the request to ascertain how soon that submission could be placed before the Committee.


Responding to questions, United Nations Controller, WARREN SACH, said that the Secretariat would produce a report early in the year, which would be submitted to the ACABQ.  That report would be placed before the Fifth Committee during its first resumed session.


Introduction of Reports


Chief of the Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service of the Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, DENNIS THATCHAICHAWALIT, introduced a total of five reports on the Tribunals.  He said that in 2006-2007 the Yugoslav Tribunal would continue to undertake measures to reduce the length of trials and improve on judicial efficiency.  Court time would be saved as a result of the decision to join cases with a similar crime base and conduct trials with multiple accused.  Early in 2006, the court would be launching the e-court system for all trials, which would streamline the handling of exhibits and transcripts during trials and expedite future proceedings.  At this stage, the Yugoslav Tribunal was confident that it would be able to meet the deadlines set out in the completion strategy.


He added that the court’s number of posts (990) would remain unchanged vis-à-vis the current levels.  However, 20 internal redeployments were being proposed to strengthen trial and appellate support work.


The 2006-2007 biennium would be a very busy one for the Rwanda Tribunal, which anticipated busy legal activities, he continued.  The Tribunal anticipated that a total of 956 witnesses would be brought before it.  Owing to the shift of focus from investigations and arrests to trials, the Prosecution Division would be restructured.  The Investigations Division, based in Kigali, would undergo a reduction from 106 to 60 posts.  Some 15 posts would be redeployed to strengthen the Judicial and Legal services Division of the Registry, and 31 posts would be redeployed within the Office of the Prosecutor. 


At the same time, the number of cases reaching the appeals stage and the frequency of interlocutory appeals in complex trials would require the upgrading of the Appeals Section, in the Office of the Prosecutor, to an Appeals and Legal Advisory Division, to be headed by a D-1 post.  As a result, a total of 27 Professional and four General Service posts would be redeployed to the judicial and appeal functions. 


Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, RAJAT SAHA, introduced a related ACABQ report.  On staff retention and legacy issues, he said that the critical importance of retaining highly skilled and specialized staff until the completion of the mandate of the Tribunals was clearly explained in the Secretary-General’s report.  The Advisory Committee had been informed that initial measures that could be adopted within the existing rules and regulations, or through the adjustment of existing rules, had been developed in close cooperation with the Office of Human Resources Management and were based on a survey of the staff of the Tribunals and their concerns.  The ACABQ encourages the Secretary-General to expeditiously implement such measures as they do not require legislative authorization.


The Tribunals indicated that the measures enumerated in the report had been well received by staff and had contributed to improving the staffing situation to some extent.  However, it was felt that they would not be sufficient to motivate staff to remain until the completion of the mandate, and that the offer of a retention bonus would constitute a stronger incentive.  In paragraphs 15 to 18, the report of the Secretary-General outlined the criteria for identifying eligible staff and some of the parameters that could serve as the basis for determining the amount of the retention bonus.  The Secretary-General indicated that the financial implications of such a bonus would be largely offset by costs associated with the turnover of staff.  The Advisory Committee believed that the idea had merit and should be pursued; however, an analysis of the financial and any other implications resulting from the introduction of such a measure should be provided to the Assembly before it was requested to pronounce itself on the matter.


Statements


Mr. HODGES ( United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed the importance the Union attached to the Tribunals as an instrument for post-conflict reconciliation and sustainable peacebuilding.  He welcomed efforts to cut the Tribunals’ costs and hoped further efficiency gains could be made.  He welcomed the meeting of the first goal set out in the completion strategies with the conclusion of new investigations at the end of 2004.  The Union expressed concern, however, about the Tribunals’ precarious financial situation, with some $73 million in outstanding contributions.  In that regard, he reminded Member States of the risk posed by that situation in reaching the time lines set out in the completion strategies, notably in case of another freeze on staff recruitment.  He hoped that the situation would be avoided and called on Member States to assure timely payment of their contributions. 


He added that implementation of the completion strategies relied on the assistance of national authorities and called on all Member States to continue full cooperation with the Tribunals, notably relating to the apprehension of indictees and suspects, the travel of witnesses and the acceptance of the transfer of cases to national judicial systems.  The Union was ready to approve budgets in line with ACABQ recommendations.


BRENDAN SILUKA KABUKU ( Namibia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, regretted the late consideration of the two items.  The Group joined the ACABQ in commending the Tribunal for presenting a logical and well structured results-based budgeting framework.  He congratulated the Tribunal for the continued progress in implementation of their completion strategies.  The Group took note of the two pillars of the Strategy as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report.  He encouraged the Rwanda Tribunal to work expeditiously towards making progress on the second pillar, the transfer of cases to national jurisdictions.


He commended both Tribunals for working closely together to develop measures to optimize human and financial resources.  He further commended the Rwanda Tribunal President and Prosecutor for continuing to implement measures to speed up the pace of trials and improving overall efficiency.  With 10 ongoing trials involving 26 accused, the Tribunal had never been as busy as it was now.  All four courtrooms were in use throughout the day with trials being allocated space on a morning and afternoon shift basis.  He welcomed those developments in view of the fact that the Tribunal anticipated heightened activity during the 2006-2007 biennium.  In addition to the 26 ongoing cases, the trials of a further nine suspects would commence in 2006, and the trials of a further 14 suspects were due to commence from 2007-2008 onwards. 


He said that heavy caseload required that the Tribunal be effective in administering its mandate.  He, therefore, welcomed the measures to expedite trials and improve judicial efficiency.  Efforts to improve efficiency were an ongoing process.  In view of the large caseload before the Tribunal for 2006-2008, it was imperative that there was an improvement in staff retention.  As the Tribunal neared the end of its mandate, it was expected that staff who had been critical in the progress of trials might seek alternative employment elsewhere.  A critical aspect of the Tribunal completing its work within the agreed time frame, was maintaining the highly skilled and specialized staff.  Knowledge and expertise acquired over the past eight to ten years could not be easily replaced.  The loss of institutional knowledge might, therefore, result in the slowing of the progress of trials.  Measures must, therefore, continue to be taken to encourage staff to continue their employment at the Tribunals.


The recruitment freeze between May and December 2004 had led to the departure of many staff, he added.  Measures to improve staff retention by improving job security and providing opportunity for career development were, therefore, very welcome.  He welcomed the Rwanda Tribunal’s efforts to redeploy resources in line with changing priorities.  He expected that the Tribunal should continue that practice to ensure the most expeditious use of available resources.


On the legacy issues, the Group believed that timely reflection and action on those issues would positively impact the completion strategy and the international rule of law.  There should be particular emphasis on the legacy of the Tribunal with respect to promoting justice and reconciliation in Rwanda.  The Group expressed appreciation to the international community for its continued support of the Tribunal, through both assessed and voluntary contributions.  The Group supported the proposed resource requirements for the Rwanda Tribunal for 2006-2007 under assessed contributions estimated at $261.64 million gross.


NICHOLAS SHALITA ( Rwanda) said an issue of major concern for the Government and people of Rwanda, particularly genocide survivors, was that the perpetrators of the genocide not evade justice once the Tribunal completed its work.  The completion strategy should not been seen as an exit strategy for the international community’s obligations to bring all the suspects of the crime of genocide to trial at the Tribunal or in Rwanda.  The serious nature of the crime required that there be no impunity.  The notion that some accused might never be arrested should not be accepted.  Measures must be put in place to ensure that all accused were brought to justice, even after the Tribunal’s mandate expired in 2008.  He welcomed the more aggressive programme from the Prosecutor for tracking and apprehending fugitives.  The Office of the Prosecutor should continue to focus adequate resources on its investigation and arrest responsibilities.  


With the Tribunal only a couple years away from completion of its work, the Tribunal and the respective organs of the United Nations should reflect on the legacy issues of the Tribunal, particularly in Rwanda.  To its credit, the Tribunal had brought to justice many leading suspects of the genocide.  It had also set many legal precedents and contributed immensely to the body of international law.  Much work remained to be done, however, with respect to its impact on the justice and reconciliation process in Rwanda and strengthening the Rwandan judiciary.  In that connection, he welcomed the support extended to Rwanda, but would appreciate more assistance, especially in the training of investigators, lawyers and judges, as well as upgrading the existing infrastructure.  The seminars and workshops organized by the Tribunal, while appreciated, would not build capacity in the way required.  As the Tribunal moved closer to the end of its mandate, capacity-building activities should be mainstreamed into the Tribunals’ work, in order to ensure smooth transfer of trial to national jurisdictions, both before and after 2008.


The outreach programmes of the Tribunal lacked a focused and strategic approach and were, therefore, not having the desired effect on the primary audience, the people of Rwanda.  He was interested, therefore, in knowing what assistance the Department of Public Information could provide for the Tribunal to develop a more strategic outreach programme.  The “flagship” of the programme, the Umusanzu Information Centre, for example, provided a good service to the Kigali-based researches, but had not had an impact on people in the villages.  While the Tribunal intended to set up new centres in all provinces, there had been no progress in that regard.  He therefore urged the Tribunal to implement the plan with the urgency it deserved.


The security of witnesses continued to be an issue of concern, he said.  He commended the Office of the Prosecutor’s decision to assign a Special Consul to investigate threats to witness security.


HITOSHI KOZAKI ( Japan) said that his delegation was ready to approve the budget of both Tribunals based on the recommendations of the ACABQ.  He trusted that the budgets would clearly reflect progress towards completion in both Tribunals.  The matter of the retention bonus should be further discussed.  As for the legacy issues, he believed they might belong in the Security Council.  Therefore, he suggested that the discussion of the report on the staff retention and legacy issues be deferred, given the circumstances the Committee was facing.


ANDREW S. HILLMAN ( United States) said that the reports before the Committee presented a mixed picture.  The Tribunals’ completion strategy had been endorsed and the estimates generally reflected that process, as well as redeployment of resources.  However, he was concerned over the fact that the proposed budget for the Rwanda Tribunal contained a real resource growth of over 2 per cent.  He would like to find out more about the reasons for that situation and would further pursue the matter in informal consultations.


Performance Report for 2004-2005


Mr. THATCHAICHAWALIT then introduced the second performance report on the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005 (document A/60/572 and Adds.1-4), which contains an estimate of the final level of expenditures and income for the 2004-2005 biennium, taking into account changes in inflation and exchange rates, and cost of living adjustments as compared with the last update at the time of the approval of the first performance report.  He said that the document reflected actual expenditure experience in the implementation of the budget.


The report had been issued closer to the end of the biennium than in recent years, he continued.  That had allowed the analysis to be based on the most up-to-date exchange rates, given the recent strengthening of the United States dollar.  Also, the ACABQ had recommended in the past that expenditure reporting should be based on 21 months expenditure, instead of 20 months.  The report before the Committee was based on 22-month expenditure.  The estimates reflected a net decrease of $102.5 million, based on a decrease of $82 million for the expenditure sections and an increase of $20.5 million for income sections.  The decrease largely related to adjustments under the special political missions section and under section 36, given the pace of recruitment and related operations for the new Department of Safety and Security.  Exchange rate experience generated $19.2 million and an equivalent amount was required for inflation. 


Unforeseen and extraordinary expenses, mostly related to peace and security, amounted to $18 million, he said.  An amount of $11.2 million, formerly approved as commitment authority for the Special Court for Sierra Leone had been requested to be converted to an appropriation.  Requirements related to the High-level Plenary Meeting amounted to $1.4 million.


Also included in the report was information on the implementation of the authorization for the Secretary-General to redeploy up to 50 posts, reflecting required transfers between sections.  The remaining component of the adjustment to expenditure sections related to post incumbency and other changes –- a decrease of $151 million.  Savings had been realized under posts, reflecting the vacancy situation during the period and actual payroll experience.  Given the suspension of General Service recruitment, overtime requirements had increased, although fully offset by temporary assistance adjustments.


Final estimates for 2004-2005 amounted to $3.7 billion for expenditure sections and $470 million for income sections, he said. 


Presenting a related ACABQ report (document A/60/597), Mr.  SAHA noted that, in addition to the financial performance, the Secretary-General’s report covers information on the subvention for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the status of safety and security projects, lessons learned from the redeployment experiment and the review of General Service staffing.  With regard to performance, the Advisory Committee noted progress in the presentation of data based on 22 months of experience, instead of the traditional 20 months.  It was recommending certain refinements with regard to the presentation of data on vacancy rates.  The Advisory Committee also intended in the future to look again at the level of unliquidated obligations, with a view to making recommendations on the appropriate requirement for disclosure and analysis in that regard. 


In paragraph 3 of its report, the ACABQ reflected the additional cost related to the implementation of last week’s resolution on the Fifth Committee’s night and weekend meetings, he continued.  With regard to the subvention for the Sierra Leone Court, the Advisory Committee had no objection to the Secretary-General’s proposal on the understanding that efforts would continue to attract voluntary contributions, as foreseen in the statute of the Special Court.  It was also requesting that increased attention be paid to the implementation of security-related projects as a priority.


The Advisory Committee was recommending approval of the Secretary-General’s proposal with regard to the redeployment exercise.  Finally, it recommended that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report on the review of General Service staffing.  It had made detailed comments on that matter in its report.


Introduction of Documents


Mr. MOFFAT, of the Office of Programme Planning Budget and Accounts, introduced four statements of programme budget implications.  Adoption of the drafts would result to charges to the Contingency Fund.  In each case, the estimated cost was detailed in the statement.  The first related to the draft on the Rwanda genocide, by which the Secretary-General was requested to establish an outreach programme entitled, “The Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations”, as well as measures to mobilize civil society to help prevent future acts of genocide and to report to the Assembly on the establishment of the programme within six months of the resolution’s adoption.  It was envisaged that the Department of Public Information would establish two programmes of outreach activities, one for 2006 and the other for 2007, involving the preparation of print materials in local languages and their dissemination by United Nations Information Centers, together with the design, creation and updating of a website.  No provision for the activities had been made in the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget.  The details of the $196,200 required for six months of temporary assistance were outlined in the statement.


Regarding the statement on the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, he said the net effect of implementing that resolution would be to extend by one week the meeting time of the Ad Hoc Committee in January 2006, resulting in some $118,400 in increased costs in the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget.


On international migration and development, he noted that implementation of that draft would give rise to four meetings on the subject in 2006, three of which would be serviced from provision for meetings of the Assembly.  Conference servicing of four round tables would constitute an addition to the estimates included in the draft calendar of meetings, however.  Additional costs totaling some $55,200 were estimated for services supporting the round tables.


On the programme budget implications of the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, he noted that three meetings would be convened to review the Programme of Action.  No additional resources would be required.  However, the meeting of experts, not being included in the proposed calendar of conferences, was beyond the absorptive capacity of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management. 


Mr. SAHA, Chairman of the ACABQ, then introduced that body’s related reports.  He noted that all of the reports were self-explanatory.


NONYE UDO ( Nigeria) said that among other things, she would like to get clarifications on the report of the ACABQ on the programme budget implications of the draft resolution on the programme of outreach activities on the Rwanda genocide.  She wanted to understand the reason for the recommendation that there would be no need for additional resources, should the draft be adopted. 


Mr. SAHA replied that in document A/60/7/Add.26, the Advisory Committee pointed out that the Secretary-General had proposed an amount of $172.8 million under section 27, Public information, for 2006-2007, including 747 posts, as well as over $4.7 million in general temporary assistance, and over $1 million for overtime and personal service contracts.  Moreover, a considerable wealth of material already existed within the United Nations, which the Department of Public Information could draw upon in carrying out the request contained in the draft.  Accordingly, the Advisory Committee had recommended that the Fifth Committee should report to the Assembly that the adoption of the draft would not entail any additional appropriations at this time.  Should any requirements materialize, they should be included in the relevant performance report on the 2006-2007 budget.


Ms. UDO ( Nigeria) said that in the view of the great importance and political nature of the issue, she would have to consult other members of the African Group before a final decision could be taken on the matter. 


Under other matters, she asked about the reason for substantial under-utilization of funds for security strengthening projects at the United Nations Office in Nairobi.  Earlier in the session, her delegation had also asked questions about the construction of the gift shop at the Nairobi Office and the Secretary-General’s recommendation against operating guided tours there for the reason that they would be unprofitable.  With the Committee about to conclude its work, she still had not received answers to those questions.  In the meanwhile, she had consulted different documents to get a sense of what was going on at other duty stations.  According to the statistics contained in the proposed budget for 2006-2007, the tours at Geneva and Vienna duty stations operated at a loss for at least 10 years.  However, those services continued.  She also wanted to receive additional information on the matter, which had been made available to the ACABQ.  Her other questions related to the application of security measures at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).


Responding to comments, Mr. BELOV, addressing safety and security projects in Nairobi, noted that, according to financial standards, when a project was in progress, only the commitments relating to specific stages were reported in the books.  In Nairobi, $1.9 million had been recorded as progress made so far.  Work was continuing.


Regarding the Nairobi Office, he noted that out of 10 approved projects, five had been completed in Nairobi, giving it a 50 per cent completion rate.  In financial terms, however, the picture was different.  The five projects still under implementation required larger amounts of resources.  Concerning the ECA, he said the situation was much better.  Implementation was higher, on average 70 per cent.  Uncompleted projects were still in progress. 


On the issue of guided tours at Nairobi, he said the Committee had raised a number of questions on the subject during informal consultations.  Those had been communicated to Nairobi and the Secretariat was awaiting analysis of those questions.  Regarding the proposal to relocate the visitor area from inside to the perimeter of the complex, a security consultant had made that proposal. 


On the ECA conference center, he said that conference centre utilization had slowed down due to security reasons.  The Secretariat had communicated to the ECA the Committee’s concern on the issue and has asked them to look at what could be done to rectify the situation.


Ms. UDO ( Nigeria) requested the Chairman’s guidance on how to proceed, as Nairobi was still analyzing some data.  She did not know if Nairobi could be asked to speed up the analysis.  Perhaps the Committee just needed data without further analysis. 


Mr. BELOV noted that when the Fifth Committee had reviewed the issue of guided tours at Nairobi, including the relocation of the gift shop, the Secretariat had communicated the Committee’s concerns to Nairobi’s administration.  He did not know that it had concluded.  He did know, however, that the relocation project was in progress.  


The Chairman said he would work with the Secretariat to ensure that the information requested make its way to the Committee before it concluded its report.


JOHN NG’ONGOLO (United Republic of Tanzania) said he had noticed the increased use of the term “within existing resources” by the ACABQ.  He understood the word meant within the resources already approved by the Assembly.  While using the phrase during resumed sessions or during the review of the first performance report was acceptable, using it in the context of a new programme budget was not.


Mr. SAHA said that the ACABQ had not used the term “within existing resources”.  It stemmed from rule 153 of the rules of procedure, under which budgetary implications of a draft had to be reported to the Assembly before action.  Actually, the ACABQ had cautioned against the use of that term.  He presumed the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania was referring to the use of the term by the General Assembly.


* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.