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Updated On: Sunday, 22 September 2019

Speakers Support Request for $9.7 Million as Fifth Committee Considers Request to Fill Funding Gap in Cambodia Courts

Content by: UN General Assembly

Speakers in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budget) today supported the Secretary-General’s request for a $9.7 million funding infusion to keep the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia running smoothly in 2019.

Egypt’s delegate, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, backed the proposed $9.7 million to supplement the Chambers’ ongoing work and praised the Chambers’ judicial officials and staff for their dedication in carrying out their mandate under trying circumstances.

The representative of Iraq, associating himself with the Group of 77, also supported the funding request and said Iraq recently made a voluntary contribution to the Chambers to help cover its deficit.  He urged other Member States to do the same.

Cambodia’s delegate, also associating with the Group of 77, said his Government has been increasing its in-cash and in-kind contributions to the Chambers since 2013.  Since 2014, Cambodia has consistently supported requests for subventions limited to the international component.  The Government welcomes continued United Nations support in gathering financial resources from other donors to fund the Courts’ national component in 2019.

Chandramouli Ramanathan, Acting Controller of the Department of Management’s Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, introduced the Secretary‑General’s report and said the necessity of successfully completing the Court’s mandate is a critical factor behind the Secretary-General’s request for the $9.7 million subvention for 2019.  The requested amount would address the estimated funding gap for 2019 and allow personnel contracts to be extended, he said.

In introducing the eponymous report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Vice-Chair Babou Sene noted the Secretary-General’s request is the sixth in a row for a subvention from the regular budget to support the Chambers’ international component.  While noting voluntary contributions should remain the major source of funding, Mr. Sene said the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly authorise the Secretary‑General to enter into commitments, not to exceed $7.5 million.  This is in view of the projected funding shortfall for 2019 and the need to ensure the Chambers’ continued operations, he said.

The Fifth Committee will meet again at 3 p.m., on Thursday, 1 November.

2018-2019 Programme Budget:  Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia

CHANDRAMOULI RAMANATHAN, Acting Controller of the Department of Management’s Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (document A/73/331), which outlined the Chambers’ progress and its results in each of its judicial cases.  The report also lays out the Chambers’ continuing financial challenges in 2018 and provides revised estimated requirements for both the Chambers’ national and international components, for the 2018-2019 biennium.  The General Assembly, in resolution 72/262, authorized the Secretary-General to commit not more than $8 million to supplement the voluntary financial resources of the international component of the Chamber’s work, which were insufficient to cover the entire 2018 budget.  The Chamber has had to carry out measures to avoid and defer expenses to maintain its most critical functions within the available resources.

The need to successfully complete the Court’s mandate is a critical consideration of the Secretary-General, who requested a $9.7 million subvention for 2019, he said.  The requested amount would address the estimated funding gap for 2019 and make for a timely extension of personnel contracts.  The report also highlights the end-of-service liabilities for judges, co-prosecutor and staff expected to serve beyond 2019.  The report also notes the need to develop a framework for the completion of the Chambers’ work and any necessary residual functions.  Other international tribunals have benefited from the early identification of residual functions and the Secretary-General would like to begin consultations in this matter, he said.

BABOU SENE, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced its related report (document A/73/448), saying the Secretary-General’s request is the sixth in a row for a subvention from the regular budget to support the Chambers’ international component.  Voluntary contributions should remain the major source of funding.  Reliance on subventions should be avoided, he said, adding that fundraising efforts should be intensified.  “This is particularly pertinent in view of the uncertainty over the timelines for cases pending before the Chambers and the likelihood that judicial activity may continue for several years,” he said, calling on the Chambers to complete its cases expeditiously, in full respect of judicial process.

Nevertheless, he continued, the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly authorise the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in an amount not to exceed $7.5 million, in view of the projected funding shortfall for 2019 and the need to ensure continuity of the Chambers’ operations.  It also recommends against the full drawdown of the requested subvention to meet end-of-service liabilities.  On a related matter, he said the ongoing practice of remunerating international judges in the amount of a gross remuneration is incorrect and should be immediately discontinued.

KARIM ISMAIL (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, commended the Chambers’ judicial officials and staff for their dedication in fulfilling its mandate under trying circumstances.  He encouraged the Chambers to expedite case completion, including through more effective planning, while respecting judicial process.  Emphasizing that ensuring adequate and sustainable financing for the Chambers is a priority for the Group, he strongly encouraged the Secretary-General to redouble his efforts in mobilising voluntary contributions.  The Group supports the Secretary-General’s proposal for $9.7 million to supplement extrabudgetary resources for 2019, he said, adding that it looks forward to receiving a framework for the completion of the Chambers’ work.  On the Advisory Committee’s recommendations, he said the Group will make comments and queries on the way forward during informal consultations.

SOVANN KE (Cambodia), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that his Government has been increasing its in-cash and in-kind contributions to the Chambers since 2013 and has consistently supported requests for subvention limited to the international component since 2014.  Given the Courts’ important work and substantive progress, he supported the Secretary-General’s request to provide the subvention for the 2019 international component.  The Government will maintain the same direct contribution, as in previous years, by providing full operational costs and paying the first six months of national staff salaries.  Regarding the payment of the other six months of salaries, he looked forward to receiving continued United Nations support to raise funds from other donors to secure funding of the national component in 2019.

Mr. DAZAE (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77 and expressing support for the Secretary-General’s funding request, said that his Government, convinced of the importance of standing in solidarity with other countries, decided on 22 October to make a voluntary contribution to the Chambers that will help cover its deficit.  It did so despite Iraq’s current economic situation and reconstruction, he said, urging other Member States to make voluntary contributions as well.

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