Statement by Mark A. Simonoff, Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, on the Administration of Justice, in the Sixth Committee of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mark A. Simonoff, Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 5, 2009


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

On December 24, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 63/253.  This resolution was a landmark achievement for the Administration of Justice at the United Nations, constituting a major milestone in the reform of the United Nations.  The resolution, among other things, adopted the statutes of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal.  These two new judicial bodies, together with other innovative reforms, will bring staff dispute resolution at the United Nations into the 21st Century.  We are confident that the establishment of the two Tribunals will have a significant positive impact on the transparency, fairness, efficiency, and accountability of the United Nations personnel system.  

Article 7, paragraph 1 of the statute of the Dispute Tribunal, and Article 6, paragraph 1 of the statute of the Appeals Tribunal, provided that the rules of procedure of each tribunal shall be subject to approval by the General Assembly.  Paragraph 29 of Resolution 63/253 requested the Secretary-General to submit the rules for approval not later than the General Assembly’s 64th Session and decided that until then the Tribunals may apply the rules of procedure on a provisional basis.  An action item for the Sixth Committee at this session is to review and decide whether to recommend for approval the Rules of Procedure of each Tribunal. 

Article 7 of the statute of the Dispute Tribunal and Article 6 of the statute of the Appeals Tribunal mandated that certain provisions be contained in the Rules.  As we read them, the Rules of Procedure appear to be consistent with the statute of each Tribunal.  We are, of course, interested in the views of other delegations. 

The UN Dispute Tribunal and UN Appeals Tribunal, as provided for in Resolution 63/253, only became operational in July of this year.  As the General Assembly recognized, the new system needs time before one can make a full assessment of its work.  Therefore, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to conduct a review of the new system and report thereon to the General Assembly at its 65th Session, rather than at its 64th Session.  Similarly, the General Assembly decided to carry out, at its 65th Session a review of the statutes of the Tribunals, in light of the experience gained. 

The Ad Hoc Committee of the Sixth Committee, which met earlier this year, examined outstanding legal aspects of administration of justice, focusing in particular on the scope of the system.  At the Ad Hoc Committee, the United States shared some ideas about a possible approach to alternative remedies for personal service contractors. The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that a working group of the Sixth Committee be established with a view to continuing the discussion of the outstanding legal aspects of the administration of justice, taking into account the deliberations in the Ad Hoc Committee and bearing in mind the decision of the General Assembly to revert to the issue of the scope of the system at its 65th Session.  We look forward to participating in further discussions of outstanding legal issues, including scope, at the working group over the next few days.  The United States remains interested in exploring feasible alternatives to including non-UN-staff individuals in the formal system, and is interested in the views of other delegations about other alternative approaches to address this issue. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/198