Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
At the outset, my delegation wishes to express its appreciation to Mr. Andrei Terekhov, Executive Director of the Office of Administration of Justice, for presenting the report of the Secretary-General; Johnston Barkat, UN Ombudsman, for presenting the report on the activities of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services; we would also express our appreciation to Ms. Susan McLurg, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for presenting the related report of the ACABQ; and Ms. Paulina Analena, Vice-President of the Staff-Management Coordinating Committee, for presenting the views of the staff on this particular agenda item. My delegation also wishes to thank the Internal Justice Council for its report on the implementation of the new system of administration of justice.
On 24 December 2008, the General Assembly adopted resolution 63/253, establishing a new system of administration of justice with both informal and formal mechanisms for addressing disputes. This system has since completed its first year of operation and has already demonstrated substantial improvements over the previous internal justice system in its professionalism, transparency, and efficiency. For this, my delegation would like to recognize the work of the judges of the two tribunals as well as the efforts of the staff working in the new internal justice system.
My delegation recognizes that the caseloads and output of both the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal are still in a period of transition and that the procedures and practices of the two tribunals are still evolving. Under these circumstances, my delegation considers it premature to conduct a definitive review of the implementation of the new system or to make significant changes. We will carefully consider the proposals of the Secretary-General and the Internal Justice Council in this light.
My delegation recalls that, in resolution 63/253, the General Assembly requested proposals on a staff-funded scheme for the provision of legal assistance and support to staff. As such, my delegation is disappointed that no such proposals were presented for the consideration of the General Assembly this session in the report of the Secretary-General. We again urge the Secretary-General to analyze such schemes where they exist and to submit proposals for the consideration of the General Assembly. In this respect we would like to recognize the Office of Staff Legal Assistance for its initiative in establishing a trust fund for legal assistance. We also commend the Staff Coordinating Council of the UN Office in Geneva for its contribution of 50,000 Swiss Francs to the trust fund and we encourage other staff unions to do the same.
The United States is pleased by the achievements thus far in the implementation of the new system of administration of justice, but recognizes that much work remains to be done. We look forward to working constructively with the Secretariat and with all other delegations in the days and weeks ahead to ensure that these successes are sustainable.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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