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Statement on behalf of the EU to the 5th UN Committee on Administration of Justice at the United Nations

Date of Speech : 09-03-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Karl van den Bossche, First Secretary

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

We wish to thank the Secretariat, as well as Mr. Kuznetsov, Chairman of the ACABQ for their presentations today.

The autumn did not provide for sufficient space to start a discussion on this issue. The EU intervened at that stage, on a forward looking note. We get back to it now with a certain feeling of urgency, noting that administrative simplification was already identified as “urgent�? by the ACABQ some 20 years ago. Many elements have already been touched upon in Resolution A/57/307, many of them wait for implementation…

First of all, a good system of justice relies on trust. Notably, informal contacts play an important role in the first phases of a dispute. Considering this, we highly estimate the role of the Ombudsman who could considerably alleviate the system from the very beginning. We equally attach much importance to the good relations between management and staff members. We are therefore calling upon common sense; the quality of the procedures depends mostly on the quality of the preparation of the cases, and on the preliminary interaction.

The formal recourse system merits our special attention; a fair and strengthened system enhances transparency and accountability within the organization, and will help to improve the relationship between staff and management. It ensures a due process, and must guarantee the organization to continue to work efficiently while taking care of important administrative procedures. These broad guidelines will guide our work in the coming session.

Issues that merit our attention were already identified in our intervention of the autumn session. Some new developments do add even more color to the already rich palette. We consider those issues to be divided in 2 categories: problems that can be fixed swiftly, based upon recent proposals from the Secretariat and opinions of the ACABQ on the one hand; and issues that merit in-depth analysis and broader policy-guidance on the other.

The EU is – on the one hand – ready to engage constructively and open-minded in the dialogue on this subject. We intend to proceed efficiently in both categories. With this in mind, the EU is willing to approve the transfer of the resources allocated to the Administrative Tribunal of chapter 8 (Office of Legal Affairs), to the first chapter (Overall policy-making, direction and coordination) of the program budget, effective as of the biennium 2006-2007, and this to enforce the independence of the Tribunal.

On the other hand – with regard to the issues with a more profound impact – the EU recognizes the added value of ACABQ’s analysis. In this regard, we note specifically their intention in paragraph 9 of their interim-report, when proceeding with a comprehensive analysis during the preparations for the proposed program budget of 2006-2007.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This page was last modified on : 10-03-2005

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