STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. NADA TARBUSH, FIRST SECRETARY, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 149, IN PARTICULAR ON THE PROPOSED BUDGET FOR THE INTERNATIONAL RESIDUAL MECHANISM FOR CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS FOR 2020 AT THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, FIFTH COMMITTEE (New York, 18 December 2019)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 149: Proposed budget for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the year, 2020.
2. At the outset the Group of 77 and China would like to thank Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget for presenting the proposed budget contained in document A/74/355 and Corr.1 as well as the second performance report for the biennium 2018-2019 contained in document a/74/566. The Group would also like to thank Mr. Cihan Terzi, Chair of the Advisory Committee for introducing the Advisory Committee's report contained in document A/74/593.
3. Allow me to renew the Group of 77 and China's support to the work of the Residual Mechanism and that consideration of proposed budget and allocation of adequate resources for mandate delivery form a major part of our collective interests.
4. The Group of 77 and China notes that the Secretary-General is proposing the requirement for the maintenance of the International Mechanism and implementation of planned activities in the amount of US$ 103 .7 million before re-costing for the two branches in Arusha and The Hague as well as for internal oversight and support functions in New York.
5. The Group has taken note that, the proposed requirements reflect a net increase of US$ 5.6 million under other staff costs and contractual services compared with appropriation for 2019 attributable mainly due to (i) an increase in requirements for the branch in Arusha related to increase in the judicial activities, including one contempt case namely Turinabo et al which originated in 2018, and (ii) provisions for pre-trial proceedings in the event of the arrest of one of the three remaining fugitives from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
6. The Group of 77 and China welcomes and support the proposed budget by the Secretary-General subject to some upward adjustments to take into account specific issues of our interests related to staffing and strengthening administrative, finance, and human resources functions in Arusha branch. The Group will present proposal in this regard for negotiations in the context of informal deliberations.
7. The Group has also taken note of the progress made so far in a wide range of issues raised by the Committee in the previous sessions including those related to addressing gender balance and bringing equitable geographical representation in two branches and balancing resource level to match the workloads.
8. However, the Group notes that there is still room for further improvements such as increasing representation of women at the professional level including P5 and above, balancing resource allocation between Arusha and The Hague to match the workload and take into account the economies and efficiencies as well as strengthening administrative functions in Arusha. We are concerned on the paradox that, resources continue to be concentrated in The Hague while the workloads remain higher in Arusha.
9. With regard to the utilization of the Mechanism facility in Arusha, the Group of 77 and China will be interested to learn the steps taken so far to house Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone at the Mechanism facilities in Arusha without undermining the mandates of each of the entities and taking into account the financial difficulties that continue to face the Court and we stand ready to deliberate on the matter in the context of our informal consultations.
10. The Group of 77 and China appreciate some constructive comments, observations and recommendations of the Advisory Committee related to the proposal before us. However, we would like to express our disagreement with some recommendations related to the unjustified arbitrary reduction of resources in the provisions for fugitives, provisions for general temporary assistance in Arusha, and travel, which if approved will negatively impact mandate delivery taking into account planned activities in the Mechanism.
11. The Group has also taken note of the information contained in the second performance report for biennium 2018-2019, report of the Board of Auditors on the Accounts of the Mechanism for the year ending December, 2018 as well as status of implementation of the related recommendations as presented by the Secretary General.
12. Finally, allow me to register our appreciation to the governments of the United Republic of Tanzania and The Netherlands for their continued support to the work of the Mechanism and other United Nation entities. We stand ready to engage positively with a view to reaching consensus and positive outcome on this important item in a timely manner taking into account the time constraint.
I thank you.