STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 134: PROPOSED PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR 2024: REQUEST FOR A SUBVENTION TO THE RESIDUAL SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE, AT THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 9 November 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. The Group would like to thank Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, Controller and Assistant Secretary-General and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions for introducing their respective reports.
3. 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 Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL), as well as other Member States and partners for their valuable support towards the work of the Court.
4. 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 (RSCSL). In this regard, the Group pays close attention to the financial situation of the Court.
5. By its resolution 77/263 (part III), the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in the amount not exceeding US$2,765,000 to supplement the voluntary financial resources of the Residual Special Court in 2023.
6. Turning to the proposed subvention request for 2024, the Group welcomes and supports the proposal made by the Secretary-General in the total amount of US$2,968,300.
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 judicial and non-judicial functions which include: 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, the preservation of the legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and outreach aimed at raising the visibility of the Residual Special Court.
8. The Group of 77 and China commends the efficiency measures taken by the Residual Special Court, including the return of unspent balance.
9. Despite the support of Member States and the fundraising endeavors of the Secretary-General and the principals of the Court and the Oversight Committee, the Group is deeply concerned about the future financing of the Residual Special 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.
10. The Group notes that this unpredictable nature of voluntary contributions continues to pose serious challenges to the sustainability of the work of the Court, and the effective implementation of its mandate. In that regard, the Group of 77 and China reiterates the need for a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for the Court.
11. 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.