Explanation of Position by Bruce C. Rashkow, United States Representative to the Fifth Committee Concerning the Appointment of Ad Litem Judges to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal

Bruce C. Rashkow, United States Representative to the Fifth Committee
New York, NY
March 31, 2009


Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
My delegation would like to comment on the Reports of the Internal Justice Council concerning the appointment of three ad litem judges to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal. We are concerned that the appointment of these judges as recommended by the Internal Justice Council (IJC) was unnecessarily rushed, denying Member States an opportunity to make an informed decision.

The IJC Report with recommendations for ad litem judges was only issued in final form at the end of last week, during the hectic final days of the Resumed Session of the Fifth Committee. As far as we can determine, notice for the election today was only published in the Journal as of the beginning of this week. We do not concur with the IJC’s assessment that there are exigent circumstances that necessitate action by the General Assembly at this time.

Resolution 62/228 specified that the IJC should provide two or three candidates for each vacancy in the UNDT. Instead, the IJC has provided only three names for three ad litem positions, and we were called upon to act today.

The new UNDT does not commence operation until July 1, 2009. We have already elected three regular judges and two part-time judges to the UNDT. In our view, the principal purpose of the ad litem judges is to help the UNDT to address the expected backlog of cases in the UNDT that will occur once the UN Administrative Tribunal ceases operation at the end of 2009. Thus, it appears that the real need for ad litem judges will occur only after the end of the year, not as of July 1. Under the circumstances, while we agree that these judges should be appointed as of 1 July 2009, there is no need to rush the appointment process in this manner.

In this last respect, my delegation was also concerned that the Member States were not provided an opportunity to make an informed selection from among a number of candidates. My delegation believes that Member States should be provided a choice in this matter.

Mr. President,

For all these reasons, we think that these appointments should have been made in May or June. My delegation would like to emphasize that our concerns address the process, not the qualifications of the candidates. Given circumstances, while registering our concerns about the process, my delegation nonetheless, has joined the consensus to appoint the three candidates before us today.

Thank you.


PRN: 2009/066