Fifth Committee Considers Request to Fill Funding Gap in Cambodia Courts

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budget) today considered the Secretariat’s request for a subvention of $10.4 million to keep the international component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia running smoothly in 2018.

While aggressive outreach and funding raising efforts for the budget’s voluntary contributions would continue, the appropriation would enable the Secretariat to issue timely staff extensions to cover the Chambers work in 2018, said Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary General and Controller, in introducing the Secretary General’s report on the matter (document A/72/341).

The Court’s 2018 2019 budget � prepared for the first time using a results based approach � was significantly less than the sum for the current biennium due to cost-saving measures instituted in 2017 and the conclusion of the investigations of some cases, she said. The total amount needed for 2018 was $18.9 million, of which $8.5 million was expected to come from voluntary contributions.

The Secretary General’s report outlined the substantive progress and results achieved by the Chambers under each of the judicial cases and addressed the continuing financial challenges it faced in 2017, she said. Last year, as an exceptional measure, the General Assembly had given the Secretary General $11 million in commitment authority to supplement voluntary contributions for the Chambers’ international component. That still had left a $2 million funding shortfall, prompting the Court to introduce several cost saving management steps, including a recruitment freeze for all vacant positions except those deemed absolutely necessary for the uninterrupted continuation of the legal proceedings.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introducing its corresponding report (document A/72/7/Add.7), recalled that when the Courts were established in 2003 to carry out the Khmer Rouge trials for crimes committed in Democratic Kampuchea in the late 1970s, the General Assembly had approved an arrangement whereby international voluntary contributions would fund the Chambers’ international component and the Government of Cambodia would pay for expenses of the national component.

But since 2014, the Secretary General had been requesting subventions from the regular budget to compensate for the shortfalls in voluntary contributions, he said, stressing that such contributions should remain the major source of the Chamber’s funding and continued reliance on subventions should be avoided. Nevertheless, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Secretary General be given authorization to enter into commitments of up to $8 million to fill in the funding gap for 2018, he said.

Ry Tuy (Cambodia) backed the Secretary General’s request for the full amount of $10.4 million. He noted that his Government had been increasing its in cash and in kind contributions to the Chambers since 2013 and had consistently supported requests for subventions for the international component since 2014. As it had done for the past three years, in 2018 Cambodia would continue to pay for the Chambers’ full operational costs and national staff salaries for the first six months of the year. Also today, the Fifth Committee, without a vote, approved a draft resolution titled Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/72/L.4). By its terms, the General Assembly would take note of the audit opinions and findings, and endorse the recommendations contained in reports of the Board of Auditors dealing with several United Nations entities. The Assembly would also decide to consider further the Board’s reports on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals under the respective agenda items relating to the Tribunals and the Mechanism. In addition, it would decide to consider further its report on the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund under the agenda item relating to that entity.

In other business, the Fifth Committee recommended delegates to fill dozens of vacancies in six United Nations bodies � including the essential Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the Board of Auditors � that help its 193 delegates manage the Organization’s vast human resources and its finances.

The nominations will be forwarded to the General Assembly for approval during the current seventy-second session. The other bodies considered today were the Committee on Contributions, International Civil Service Commission, Independent Audit Advisory Committee, Investments Committee and the Board of Auditors.

The Fifth Committee will meet again at a time and date to be announced in the Journal.

Source: United Nations