I will make a few observations on behalf of the Norwegian delegation. First of all let me extend our gratitude to the Chairman of the Ad hoc committee as well as the coordinator for the intersessional consultations for the statutes of the two tribunals. Our thanks also go to the Secretariat for the reports prepared under this agenda item.
As stated on several occasions, Norway remains fully committed to the establishment of a new system of administration of justice, as decided by GA resolution 61/261 and subsequent resolutions. The new system must be in full conformity with widely recognized principles of transparency, impartiality, accessibility and efficiency. These universal principles cannot be compromised by arguments based on cost. In this regard we believe it is vital that we stand by our pledge from the World Summit in 2005 and provide the organization with adequate resources to fulfill its mandate. And it is our assessment that a well run internal justice system is a prerequisite for maintaining an efficient and effective secretariat.
We are encouraged by the progress made so far in relation to this topic. We believe that all delegations have provided valuable inputs to the debate in order to further advance our work and to enhance our common understanding of the issues that still need to be resolved. It is now time to increase our focus on the still outstanding questions. As we will have the opportunity to discuss these issues in the coming working group, I will just briefly touch upon a few key issues.
With regard to personal scope of the formal system, and with the deadline of January 2009 rapidly approaching, we see merits in taking the necessary decisions to get a good system up and running, but that we also commit ourselves to revisiting this issue in the very near future. It is at the same time important that associated personnel who are not staff members have access to some sort of effective remedy.
We believe that it is important to encourage mediation as a flexible means of conflict resolution and we are pleased to note that mediation is a corner stone of the proposed new system. It is therefore our recommendation that a judge should be able to refer the parties to mediation if he or she is convinced that there is scope for reaching an agreement among the parties.
Much to our surprise, the question of number of judges in the first instance has proved to be contentious. We are among those who would recommend that certain cases should be heard by a panel of three judges. This might for instance be useful in complex cases of alleged discrimination where the evidence is scarce and the case boils downs to an assessment of trustworthiness of the applicant. We do however see the link between this question and the competence of the Appeals Tribunal and that there is less need for a panel of judges to consider cases in the Dispute Tribunal if the Appeals Tribunal is given the powers to conduct a full review of the case, including hearing key witnesses.
Norway remains confident that we will meet the deadline of January 2009 and we look forward to working with all other delegations to ensure a successful outcome under this agenda item. Let me assure you Mr Chairman of Norway’s full cooperation in this regard.