62nd Session of the General Assembly
5th Committee, 15th Meeting
ITEM 137. ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Mr. Eduardo Ramos, Counsellor
Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations
on behalf of the European Union
New York, November 5th 2007
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia*, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Under-Secretary-General for Management, Ms. Alicia Barcena, for presenting the Secretary-General´s report on Administration of Justice and the Chairman of the ACABQ, Mr. Rajat Saha, for presenting his Committee´s report. We also thank the Acting Ombudsman, Ms. Nora Galer, the Vice-President of SMCC, Ms. Paulina Analena, and the President of the Staff Union of the United Nations Secretariat, Mr. Stephen Kisambira.
During this session we shall take the next step in establishing a new system of administration of justice for the United Nations, a task of great importance to the UN staff and one to which the Secretary-General himself has given high priority. Allow me to reiterate that the European Union has also consistently conferred the highest priority to this issue. It has long been in the agenda of the General Assembly and it is time to make definite progress towards meeting a very ambitious timeline for the implementation of this reform. It will be applicable to an organization which is known for its work in setting, promoting and developing international norms, and which therefore is expected to guide itself by these same standards. We will build up on the previous work of the General Assembly on this issue, in particular GA Res. 61/261, to which we have made reference in other fora and, it goes without saying that we consider must be fully implemented.
Allow me then, Mr. Chairman, to briefly highlight a few of the issues that we find of importance and which will guide us through the informal deliberations:
The European Union continues to share the view of the Redesign Panel and the Secretary General that the Organisation needs an internal justice system that enjoys the trust and confidence of both staff and management. Therefore, the system should be professionalized and in conformity with the relevant principles of international law, rule of law and due process, including equal access to justice and the right to be heard. Judges in both instances should be highly qualified impartial professionals of recognised judicial standing and shall serve strictly in their personal capacity while enjoying full independence. For the European Union it is of the utmost importance that we design a system of selection and nomination for the Judges which ensures their professional qualifications meet the requirements of the tasks assigned to them.
A few words on the informal system. The basis framework of which was also agreed in the relevant paragraphs in GA Res. 61/26. The informal system should be structured to deal with as many grievances as possible. It will be important to have a single integrated and decentralized Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsmen can play an important role in reporting on broad systematic issues and encouraging staff to seek resolution through the informal system. An important aspect to discuss and clarify is also how the informal system links to this formal system.
This is a unique opportunity. It is important the system works in reality and not just on paper. In order to be effective, the new system will have to be set up in a realistically workable time frame. It will be useful to draw from real experience in establishing the system. Once established, the system should be subject to a review in the short to medium term to ascertain its effectiveness and not least its ownership by both staff and management.
We will have to address inter alia crucial questions on financing and staffing the desired new system. In our view, not everything that is desirable may prove to be financially feasible in the end. We therefore must find the right balance.
Finally, let me assure you, Mr. Chairman, that the EU will spare no efforts and will engage fully in the necessary work aiming at building a fair, strong and efficient system of administration of justice for the UN of the XXI century.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.