1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 134: programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 in particular on the conditions of service and compensation for officials other than Secretariat officials: members of the International Court of Justice, President and judges of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, and judges and ad litem judges of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank Mr. Victor Kisob, Officer-in-Charge, Office for Human Resources Management, as well as Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing the respective reports on this agenda item.
3. The Group continues to value the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Improvement of the conditions of service for the judges and officials of these entities remains at the center of our interests. In this regard, the Group continues to support proposals aimed at improving the welfare of the judges and other officials in delivery of the given mandates.
4. The Group welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the reviews of the conditions of service which is being submitted in line with the General Assembly resolution 65/258 of which the three-year circle for the review of the conditions of service and compensation for the members of the ICJ, International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established. The Group also recalls that by its decisions 66/556 B, 68/549 A, and 69/553 A, the General Assembly deferred consideration of this matter to the seventy-first session.
5. The Group notes that, in the current report, the Secretary-General proposes that no changes be effected in the remuneration system and other conditions of services of the judges. The Group also notes that, the Secretary-General proposes that the revised education grant scheme for staff members in the Professional and higher categories, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 70/244, to be introduced as of the school year in progress on 1 January 2018, be extended to members of the ICJ, judges of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the President of the International Residual Mechanism. We have also noted that the Secretary-General proposes the language of the travel and subsistence regulations be updated in line with the new relocation package for staff in the Professional and higher categories, as reflected in the General Assembly resolution 70/244.
6. With respect to the issue of retirement benefits which was deferred ultimately for consideration of the General Assembly at the seventy-first session, in particular on the recommendations on the pension schemes as well as observations and concerns of the ICJ relating thereto, the Group will be interested to learn more of this issue during the informal consultations.
7. The Group also notes that the proposals by the Secretary-General present no budgetary implication for the biennium 2016-2017, and that the proposals relating to the revised education grant scheme and the new relocation package represent expected cost reductions, resulting in downward trend with regard to the cost of the education grant scheme and relocation package of the judges. The Group will be interested to learn further details of this information during informal consultations. The Group will also be interested to study the details of this information in the context of the second performance report for the biennium 2016-2017.
8. In conclusion, the Group of 77 and China would like to reaffirm our support to the key principles enshrined in the statutes of the ICJ and the Tribunals that salary and allowances of the judges shall be fixed by the General Assembly and may not be decreased during the term of office. We are also of the view that equality among judges is a basic principle of the system of international adjudication of disputes among States. The Group will actively engage constructively to address this agenda item with a view to conclude our deliberation in a timely manner.
I thank you, Madam Chairperson.