Remarks by Mr. Steven Hill, Counselor, U.S. Mission to the United Nations at a General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal) Session on October 10, 2011: Administration of Justice

Steven Hill, Counselor, U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 10, 2011


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On December 24, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 63/253 in order to establish an independent, transparent, professionalized, adequately resourced and decentralized system of administration of justice. 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, have brought the United Nations internal justice system into the 21st Century. The two tribunals are already having a significant positive impact on the transparency, fairness, efficiency, and accountability of the United Nations personnel system.

My delegation is impressed by the professionalism and productivity of the new system of administration of justice, and wants to particularly thank the Judges and all of the UN staff who work on these issues for their tireless efforts. They have all contributed to making the new system a success. However, the system is still evolving and there remain problems to be addressed. Indeed, the General Assembly anticipated that there would be such problems when it established the new system and indicated that the progress in implementing the new system would need to be carefully monitored. Towards that end, the General Assembly decided that it would conduct a comprehensive review of the implementation of the new system at its 66th Session, after the system had been in place for some two years. This agenda item, and thus this review, have been allocated to both the Fifth Committee and the Sixth Committee.

In connection with the review of administration of justice at this session, the Secretary-General recently issued a report, A/66/275, for which we thank him. The report covers a number of important issues relevant to the review by the General Assembly of the statutes of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal. With respect to certain issues, the Secretary-General has recommended amendments to the UN Dispute Tribunal and UN Appeals Tribunal statutes.

We think that these and other recommendations deserve careful consideration in the working group. We are still studying the details of the various recommendations, including the UNDT and UNAT decisions that give rise to his concerns. In general terms, we believe that to ensure that the system remains consistent with the governing principles upon which the new system rests and in fairness to both management and staff who seek recourse under the new system, it will be necessary to address some of them. At the same time, we recognize that we will need to prioritize our work.

We also thank the Secretary-General for the proposal he has submitted regarding a recourse mechanism for individuals who are not United Nations staff members. While we continue to study the proposal and may have suggestions for refining it, we believe that, in principle, it provides a fair, effective and efficient recourse mechanism for non-staff members. We look forward to the discussion of the proposal.

Finally, we thank the Internal Justice Council and the Ombudsman for their reports as well. The draft Code of Conduct contained in the annex to this IJC report is worth our careful consideration.

We look forward to participating in the working group and assure Ambassador Kringsak Kittichaisaree of Thailand of our support in his work in chairing these discussions

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2011/239