STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. SONDRA CHEONG, FIRST SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 141: PROPOSED PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR 2021: REQUEST FOR A SUBVENTION TO THE RESIDUAL SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE, AT THE MAIN PART OF FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE SEVENTY- FIFTH SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 7 December 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 141: programme budget for 2021: request for a subvention to the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.
2. The Group would like to thank Mr. Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller and Assistant Secretary-General and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions for introducing their related reports.
3. The Group of 77 and China attaches great importance to the proper functioning of mandated judicial institutions, particularly the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone. In this regard, the Group pays close attention to the financial situation of the Court.
4. By its resolution A/RES/74/263 VI, the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitment in the amount not exceeding $2,537,000 dollars, to supplement the voluntary financial resources of the Residual Special Court for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2020.
5. The Group appreciates the estimate amount of $2.475.600 to be utilized for 2020, on the understanding that the final amount will be reported in the context of financial performance report on the regular budget for 2020.
6. Turning to the proposed requirements for 2021, the Group welcomes and supports the proposal by the Secretary-General related to the request for the subvention in the total amount of $2,856,300.
7. The Group notes that the assumptions forming the basis of the budget are derived from the operations of the Residual Special Court and that the proposed resources will cover key activities related to the protection of witnesses and victims; the judicial and administrative proceedings; the supervision of enforcement of sentences; the assistance to national authorities and State cooperation; the maintenance of archives and court management; and the legacy and outreach.
8. The Group of 77 and China commends the efficiency measures taken by the Residual Special Court, including the return of unspent balance and the limitation of travel requirements among other operational efficiencies.
9. The Group conveys its sincere gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone for its continuous support and commitment towards the functioning of the Court, as well as other Member States and partners for their invaluable support towards the work of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.
10. Despite the support of Member States and the fundraising endeavors of the Secretary-General, the Group is deeply concerned about the future financing of the Residual Court. Indeed, we are particularly worried that, since 2015, the Court has not received sufficient voluntary contributions for its activities and therefore had to rely on subventions from the General Assembly.
11. The Group notes that this unpredictable nature of voluntary contributions continue to pose serious challenges to the sustainability of the work of the Court, and the effective implementation of its mandate.
12. In that regard, Group of 77 and China reiterates the need for a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for the Court, including through a combination of assessed contributions from Member States and the provision of logistical and administrative support to the Court by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
13. To conclude Mr. Chair, the Group assures you of our readiness to engage constructively in the consideration of this agenda item with a view to reaching conclusion in a timely manner.
I thank you.