Fifth Committee Considers Request to Fill Funding Gap in Cambodia Courts

GA/AB/4251
2 November 2017
Seventy-second Session, 11th Meeting (AM)

Fifth Committee Considers Request to Fill Funding Gap in Cambodia Courts

Delegates Approve Draft Resolution on Board of Auditors’ Financial, Other Reports, Recommend Appointments to Fill Vacancies in Subsidiary Bodies

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budget) today considered the Secretariat’s request for a subvention of $10.4 million to keep the international component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia running smoothly in 2018.

While aggressive outreach and funding‑raising efforts for the budget’s voluntary contributions would continue, the appropriation would enable the Secretariat to issue timely staff extensions to cover the Chambers work in 2018, said Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary‑General and Controller, in introducing the Secretary‑General’s report on the matter (document A/72/341).

The Court’s 2018‑2019 budget — prepared for the first time using a results‑based approach — was significantly less than the sum for the current biennium due to cost-saving measures instituted in 2017 and the conclusion of the investigations of some cases, she said.  The total amount needed for 2018 was $18.9 million, of which $8.5 million was expected to come from voluntary contributions. 

The Secretary‑General’s report outlined the substantive progress and results achieved by the Chambers under each of the judicial cases and addressed the continuing financial challenges it faced in 2017, she said.  Last year, as an exceptional measure, the General Assembly had given the Secretary‑General $11 million in commitment authority to supplement voluntary contributions for the Chambers’ international component.  That still had left a $2 million funding shortfall, prompting the Court to introduce several cost‑saving management steps, including a recruitment freeze for all vacant positions except those deemed absolutely necessary for the uninterrupted continuation of the legal proceedings.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introducing its corresponding report (document A/72/7/Add.7), recalled that when the Courts were established in 2003 to carry out the Khmer Rouge trials for crimes committed in Democratic Kampuchea in the late 1970s, the General Assembly had approved an arrangement whereby international voluntary contributions  would fund the Chambers’ international component and the Government of Cambodia would pay for expenses of the national component. 

But since 2014, the Secretary‑General had been requesting subventions from the regular budget to compensate for the shortfalls in voluntary contributions, he said, stressing that such contributions should remain the major source of the Chamber’s funding and continued reliance on subventions should be avoided.  Nevertheless, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Secretary‑General be given authorization to enter into commitments of up to $8 million to fill in the funding gap for 2018, he said.

Ry Tuy (Cambodia) backed the Secretary‑General’s request for the full amount of $10.4 million.  He noted that his Government had been increasing its in‑cash and in‑kind contributions to the Chambers since 2013 and had consistently supported requests for subventions for the international component since 2014.  As it had done for the past three years, in 2018 Cambodia would continue to pay for the Chambers’ full operational costs and national staff salaries for the first six months of the year.  Also today, the Fifth Committee, without a vote, approved a draft resolution titled “Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors” (document A/C.5/72/L.4).  By its terms, the General Assembly would take note of the audit opinions and findings, and endorse the recommendations contained in reports of the Board of Auditors dealing with several United Nations entities.  The Assembly would also decide to consider further the Board’s reports on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals under the respective agenda items relating to the Tribunals and the Mechanism.  In addition, it would decide to consider further its report on the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund under the agenda item relating to that entity.

In other business, the Fifth Committee recommended delegates to fill dozens of vacancies in six United Nations bodies — including the essential Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the Board of Auditors — that help its 193 delegates manage the Organization’s vast human resources and its finances.

The nominations will be forwarded to the General Assembly for approval during the current seventy-second session.  The other bodies considered today were the Committee on Contributions, International Civil Service Commission, Independent Audit Advisory Committee, Investments Committee and the Board of Auditors.

The Fifth Committee will meet again at a time and date to be announced in the Journal.

Appointments to Subsidiary Organs, Other Appointments

Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions

Delegates first turned their attention to five three‑year slots on the 16‑member ACABQ, which plays a crucial role in helping the Fifth Committee examine the Organization’s budget and numerous management initiatives.

The Fifth Committee recommended by acclamation the appointment of Bachar Bong Abdallah (Chad), from the African States; Pavel Chernikov (Russian Federation), from the Eastern European States; and Cihan Terzi (Turkey) and David Traystman (United States), from the Western European and other States, to three‑year terms starting 1 January 2018.

Julia A. Maciel (Paraguay) from the Latin American and Caribbean States was selected by a secret ballot, during which she received the majority of votes, 112, out of a total of 187 ballots cast.  She was then recommended for appointment to the Advisory Committee for a three‑year term beginning 1 January 2018.

Committee on Contributions

For the 18‑member Committee on Contributions, which advises the General Assembly on the distribution of the Organization’s expenses among Member States, delegates recommended by acclamation the appointment or reappointment of six people for three‑year terms starting 1 January 2018.  They included:  Yoon Seongmee (Republic of Korea) and Zhang Wei (China), from the Asia‑Pacific States; Evgeny Kalugin (Russian Federation), from the Eastern European States; Henrique de Silveira Sardinha Pinto (Brazil), from the Latin American and Caribbean States; and Michael Holtsch (Germany) and Steve Townley (United Kingdom), from the Western European and other States.

International Civil Service Commission

The Fifth Committee then turned its attention to the five pending vacancies on the 15‑member International Civil Service Commission, an independent expert body established by the Assembly to regulate and coordinate service conditions for thousands of staff throughout the United Nations common system.  The full Commission meets twice a year.

The Fifth Committee recommended by acclamation five members for appointment or reappointment to the Commission:  Yuji Kumamaru (Japan), Asia‑Pacific States; Luis Mariano Hermosillo Sosa (Mexico), for the Latin American and Caribbean States, and Aldo Mantovani (Italy), Jeffrey Mounts (United States) and Wolfgang Stöckl (Germany) from the Western European and other States.

It then recommended by acclamation that Mr. Mantovani be recommended as Vice‑Chair of the Commission.

Independent Audit Advisory Committee

The Fifth Committee recommended by acclamation two persons to the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, a subsidiary body of the Assembly that uses its expertise to help the Assembly meet its oversight responsibilities.  Its members are independent of the Governments that nominate them and the Committee is independent of the Board of Auditors, the Joint Inspection Unit and the Secretariat.

Richard Quartei Quartey (Ghana), from the African States, and Janet St. Laurent (United States), were recommended for appointment to three‑year terms beginning on 1 January 2018.

Investments Committee

For the nine‑member United Nations Investments Committee, which advises the Secretary‑General on investment strategy and reviews the investments of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund at its quarterly meetings, the Fifth Committee recommended by acclamation two ad hoc members for appointment.

Appointed as ad hoc members for one‑year terms beginning 1 January 2018 were:  Kemi Adeosun (Nigeria) and Keiko Honda (Japan).

Board of Auditors

The Committee then turned its attention to the appointment of an Auditor General, or an officer holding an equivalent title, from a Member State for a vacancy emerging next year on the Board of Auditors.  Established in 1946 by the Assembly, the Board is comprised of the heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions from three Member States and provides independent external audit services to the Assembly.

The Comptroller General of Chile was selected by a secret ballot, during which it received the majority of votes, 97, out of a total of 190 cast.  It was then recommended for appointment to the Board of Auditors for a six‑year term beginning 1 July 2018.

For additional detail on the appointments, the delegates had before them the Secretary‑General’s notes on the appointment of members of the ACABQ (documents A/72/101/Rev.1 and A/C.5/72/4); Committee on Contributions (documents A/72/102/Rev.1 and A/C.5/72/5); International Civil Service Commission (documents A/72/104/Rev.1 and A/C.5/72/7); Independent Audit Advisory Committee (documents A/72/105 and A/C.5/72/8); Investments Committee (document A/C.5/72/9); and the Board of Auditors (documents A/72/103 and A/C.5/72/6).

The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m., on Monday, 6 November to discuss estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council, as well as the report of the Committee on Conferences for 2017 and the pattern of conferences.

Voting Results for Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions

Latin American and Caribbean States (1 seat)

 

Number of ballot papers:

187

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

187

Abstentions:

2

Number of Members present and voting:

185

Required majority:

93

Number of votes obtained:

 

Julia A. Maciel (Paraguay)

112

Fernando de Oliveira Sena (Brazil)

73

Having received the required majority, Julia A. Maciel (Paraguay) from the Latin American and Caribbean States was elected to the ACABQ. 

Voting Results for Board of Auditors

Number of ballot papers:

190

Number of invalid ballots:

1

Number of valid ballots:

189

Abstentions:

1

Number of Members present and voting:

188

Required majority:

95

Number of votes obtained:

 

Comptroller General of Chile

97

Comptroller General of Sierra Leone

91

Having received the required majority, the Comptroller General of Chile was elected to the Board of Auditors.

For information media. Not an official record.