Sixty-fourth General Assembly
68th Meeting (PM & Night)
Also Adopts Texts on 2012 United Nations Sustainable Development Conference, Human Rights in Myanmar, Corruption Convention, Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
The General Assembly concluded the main part of its substantive session early this morning with the adoption a $5.16 billion budget for the United Nations 2010-2011 biennium, and importantly, a resolution that maintains the current scale by which States are assessed dues to the Organization, reflecting a compromise between the need to review that formula and maintain a balanced approach to assessments.
The Assembly took action on a range of resolutions contained in the reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), among them, five draft texts contained in the report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.
Turning to draft resolution III in that report on "special subjects relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011", the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea), adopted Part V of that draft, which pertained to revised estimates resulting from resolution S-9/1 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its ninth special session and from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its tenth and eleventh sessions in 2009. (For vote details, see Annex II)
That special session pertained to human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, out of which the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict emerged.
In addition to considering the scale of assessments for the regular budget, the Assembly also considered the report on "scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations", adopting, without a vote, a resolution contained therein. By that text, the Assembly took note of updates to assessment levels, as suggested by the Secretary-General. It then endorsed those updates, with the understanding that, as an exception, the Bahamas and Bahrain should be treated as "Level C" for the scale of assessments for the 2010-2012 period.
Texts recommended by the Budget Committee also touched on, among others, financing for the Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia Tribunals, the Department of Safety and Security, and for 27 political missions, as well as the financial security of the Joint Staff Pension Fund.
Also today, the Assembly took action on various recommendations in the reports of its Third (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) and Second (Economic and Financial) Committees.
Among them, the Assembly adopted, by a vote of 86 in favour to 23 against, with 39 abstentions, draft resolution II -- on the human rights situation in Myanmar -- contained in the Third Committee report on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives. (See Annex I)
Following that action, the representative of Myanmar said his delegation was greatly disappointed by the continuing adoption of a country-specific resolution dealing with the situation in his nation. Indeed, the fact that double standards and selectivity persisted was a sad commentary on the Assembly's work. Experience had shown that human rights could only be effectively promoted and protected through international cooperation based on impartiality and non-selectivity.
On the recommendation of its Second Committee, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution by which it decided, among other things, "to organize, in 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives, and in this regard accepts with gratitude the generous offer of the Government of Brazil to host the Conference". The text was contained in a Second Committee report of the same name.
The Assembly also adopted without a vote a plenary-generated resolution on the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, requesting the Secretary-General to provide the necessary resources to finalize the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force without delay in order to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system.
Earlier in the meeting, the Assembly took action on a series of measures involving the United Nations war crimes Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Regarding the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Assembly had before it a letter from the Secretary-General (document A/64/513) transmitting two letters from Judge Dennis Byron, the Tribunal's President, requesting, respectively, that the court be permitted to exceed temporarily the maximum number of ad hoc judges allowed by its statute, and requesting that Judge Erik Møse (Norway) be authorized to serve at the Tribunal beyond the expiry of his term of office, so that he may complete the Setako case. Judge Møse's term of office will expire on 31 December 2009.
The Assembly, therefore, underlined its intention to extend, by 30 June 2010, the terms of office of all trial judges at the Rwanda Tribunal, based on the court's projected trial schedule and the terms of office of all appeals judges, until 31 December 2012, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned, if sooner.
By that decision, the Assembly also underlined that, if the Tribunal was to complete its existing cases or conduct additional trials, the total number of ad hoc judges might, from time to time, have to exceed the statutory-mandated 9, up to a maximum of 12 at any one time, and then returning to 9 by 31 December 2010. Finally, the Assembly agreed that Judge Møse would complete the Setako case, and took note of the Tribunal's intention to complete that case by the end of February 2010.
As for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Assembly had before it a letter from the Secretary-General (document A/64/510) transmitting a request from that court's President, Judge Patrick Robinson, that the terms of office of two ad litem judges, Judge Kimberly Prost (Canada) and Judge Ole Bjørn Støle (Norway), be extended until the end of March 2010, in order that they may complete the judgment in the case of the Prosecutor v. Popovic et al. According to Security Council resolution 1837 (2008), the current terms of office of Judge Prost and Judge Støle will expire on 31 December 2009.
The Assembly therefore underlined its intention extend, by 30 June 2010, the terms of office of all trial judges at the Yugoslav Tribunal, based on the court's projected trial schedule and the terms of office of all appeals judges, until 31 December 2012, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned if sooner. It also underlined that Judges Prost and Støle would complete the Popovic case, and took note of the Tribunal's intention to wrap up that case before the end of March 2010.
By that decision, the Assembly also underlined that the total number of ad hoc judges might exceed the statutory-mandated 12, up to a maximum of 13 at any one time, and then returning to 12 by 31 March 2010. Finally, the Assembly agreed that Judges Prost and Støle would serve at the Yugoslav Tribunal beyond the cumulative period provided for under court's statute.
Speaking in explanation of position after action on the Counter-Terrorism resolution were the representatives of Venezuela and Cuba.
Also speaking after action on the text relating to Myanmar were the representatives of the Solomon Islands and Norway.
Speaking in explanation of position before action on a Fifth Committee text on questions relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 was Syria's representative.
Speaking after action on that text was Mexico's representative.
The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.