The United Nations issued a statement [set forth below] regarding the new justice system set to begin operations this month, in connection with the swearing-in ceremony of the new judges. The first level or trial court – United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) – will have its resources initially taxed heavily as the cases currently pending before the United Nations Administrative Tribunal are transferred to the UNDT along with the cases pending before the Joint Appeals Boards. The UN has not provided any transparent information regarding how it will deal with the backlog of cases in addition to new cases. The new system will be closely watched and monitored in the coming months.

New York, 22 June 2009 – Remarks of the Secretary-General at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Judges of the UN Dispute Tribunal and UN Appeals Tribunal

Your Honourable Judges, Dear Senior Advisers, Representatives of the Staff Union.

It’s a great pleasure and honour for me to [lead you as you] take this declaration of oath as you start a very important responsibility as judges of respectively, the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal.

I am very happy to see this come into reality. As a part of reform since I became the Secretary-General, I have been working very hard and pushing very hard to make this organization most accountable and stand on the highest level of ethics and be responsible and accountable to member states.

This is a historic moment, and even historic for me because this is the first time I am addressing a group of honourable judges. I have been addressing, normally, “Your Excellencies,” but I am now addressing you as, “Your Honourables” and “Your honour”. This is a very different experience for me.

There have been systems and frameworks and an administrative tribunal for internal justice. How to reform the internal justice system has been a strong wish and aspiration of all staff members.

There have been many cases when staff would have a complaint and even grievances against this organisation or against the management, but somehow there have not been [adequate] professional or legally-binding frameworks [to deal with these issues].

Most seriously, the Secretary-General would have a final say, even though there would have been some decisions and recommendations on these administrative decisions. Now I am bound, and I am going to be bound, by all decisions and judgments that you are going to render for all the cases.

I have been proudly speaking to our staff members, whenever I have been traveling all around the world, [saying to them that] “From July 1st this year, you are going to have very historic and very important changes in our accountability system; in our internal justice system. I’m going to be bound by the judgments which will be rendered by the professional judges. These are going to be independent, neutral, professional and legally-binding judgments, which I have to honour and accept.”

In this regard, I am very glad that we are taking very good, giants steps forward towards accountability, towards meeting these grievances and complaints by staff, in a most transparent and fair and objective, independent and professional manner.

I really count on your strong commitment to make this organisation most accountable and most trustful.

This trust should come mutually from me and from staff. My policy is that this accountability should be a mutual one and not one-sided [one]. It should not be a one-way traffic. I am accountable to the staff, and staff should be accountable and everybody should be accountable under the existing framework and charter.

In that regard, this is a very historic day and I know you have such a wide experience and expertise and knowledge as professional judges.

I really count on your leadership and commitment to work together with me.

Thank you very much and congratulations.

The ILO Administrative Tribunal will m

The ILO Administrative Tribunal will make its decisions for the 107th session public this month (on 8 July 2009 in Geneva).