Friday, May 05, 2006

 

ANNAN, LUBBERS Sued in US Supreme Court for Harassment, Racketeering

An American female staff member of the UN's refugee agency has filed a lawsuit with the US Supreme Court against the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and others arising out of an alleged sexual assault by former Dutch Prime Minister and UNHCR chief Ruud Lubbers.

See the pleadings: www.iowatch.org

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

Rosett Knocks UN & its "Culture of Impunity" Down for the Count

Claudia Rosett in her latest article in Commentary Magazine on the UN has splayed the systemically corrupt organisation wide open for all to see. In a tour de force summary of most of the UN's woes over the past several years, she indicts the organisation's "culture of impunity" and drops the fault squarely at the feet of its disgraced godfather Secretary General Prince Kofi Annan and the incompetent cabal around him. She also lays into Annan's Darth Vader-like Viceroy Mark Malloch Brown (recently quoted calling comments of the UN staff association "toxic and cancerous"), he who is living large in a mansion belonging to One Worlder George Soros at a rent at least equal to his monthly UN dole payments.

The problem of course is that the UN and its managers are literally above the law--they can commit murder, rape or otherwise embezzle billions from the poor Iraqi people under the ruse called Oil for Food, and yet they answer to no court or judge because the UN and its corrupt senior racketeers enjoy immunity from suit or criminal charge in all national courts. Until this immunity is lifted and limited to where it is genuinely needed (in war torn areas where honest (read low-level) UN staff put their lives on the line for a cause they still believe in), no amount of machinations on the part of national politicians or the General Assembly will ever accomplish real and meaningful reform within the UN. The likes of Annan, Kojo, Sevan, et al will continue to cheat the system so long as they know the only authority to which they will ever have to answer to is one appointed by none other than, Prince Kofi.

Can anyone imagine the likes of a John Gotti or Gennaro Angiulo, when confronted by the US Congress with evidence of crime or corruption within their racketeering organisations, being allowed to appoint and set the terms of reference for the persons supposed to investigate the alleged crimes or corruption? Well, that is exactly what happened with the Oil for Food Scandal--Prince Kofi, when he could stonewall the US Congress (bravo Sen Coleman and Rep Hyde) no more, simply put his own guy in to investigate the nuisance (talk about the fix being in). This happened because no national criminal justice agency or victim could bring any legal action against Annan or the UN despite overwhelming evidence (as Ms. Rosett succinctly restates again in her most recent article) of criminal and civil wrongsoing on the part of very senior UN officials.

Talk of UN Reform is cheap ( a la the new Human Rights Council), and will never happen until the UN's immunity (and the resulting impunity of its senior managers) is brought to book.

--FOK

Thursday, January 27, 2005

 

Kiss of Death for Kofi? 70 Noble Prize Winners Come to His "Defense".

"He has never failed to take a critical look at the U.N. to examine its weaknesses and recommend improvements," the 70 bloviating prizewinners said in a statement released by the nonprofit New York-based Better World Campaign. Too bad he otherwise did jacksquat to reform the UN during his failed and corrupted reign. Mindless bureaucrats like him are great at generating useless "recommendations" and "studies", but when it actually come to doing something real and meaningful, forgetaboutit!

Hit the road Prince, and don't let the door hit your sorry ass on the way out.



 

Kiss of Death for Kofi? 70 Noble Prize Winners Come to His "Defense".

"He has never failed to take a critical look at the U.N. to examine its weaknesses and recommend improvements," the 70 bloviating prizewinners said in a statement released by the nonprofit New York-based Better World Campaign. Too bad he otherwise did jacksquat to reform the UN during his failed and corrupted reign. Mindless bureaucrats like him are great at generating useless "recommendations" and "studies", but when it actually come to doing something real and meaningful, forgetaboutit!

Hit the road Prince, and don't let the door hit your sorry ass on the way out.



Tuesday, January 11, 2005

 

NY TIMES Calls for UNHCR's Lubbers to be Sacked--Finally!!

In a departure from its normal lickspittle posture towards the UN, the NYT yesterday called for the sacking of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers in its lead editorial--well its about time!

In its penutimate paragraph, the Times said:

"Sweeping changes are also needed at the United Nations
refugee agency that is responsible for protecting the
interests of some 17 million people worldwide who have been
forced from their homes by armed conflict or fear of
persecution. Not only has the current high commissioner,
Ruud Lubbers, performed uninspiringly, but his relations
with his staff have been embittered by a charge of sexual
harassment. Although an internal U.N. investigation found
some basis for these claims, the complainant withdrew
formal charges and Mr. Lubbers says he intends to finish
his term, which ends in December. He should be asked to
leave now
."

It is no coincidence that this call came the same day when The Independent On-Line edition published an article detailing the sexual atrocities of UN peacekeepers in the Congo. The opening paragraphs, reminding one of the sexual abuse of refugee girls in UNHCR camps in West Africa in 2002 exposed on Lubbers' watch (see our January 3rd 2005 post), are sickening:

"In the centre of a dimly-lit bar in Kinshasa, the capital of the
Democratic Republic of Congo, a paunchy middle-aged man danced with a
group
of Congolese prostitutes. Oblivious to the stares of onlookers, he
swayed
out of time to the insistent beat of the music and, sweating
slightly
from
his exertions, leaned over to fondle the girls'
breasts.

As a
scene it would almost have been commonplace - a
middle-aged man
making a
fool of himself for the oldest reasons of all -
were it not for
one crucial
element: the man in question is alleged to
be Jacques Grinberg,
a
high-ranking United Nations official, the chef de
cabinet for the UN
mission
to the DRC and the former head of civilian
affairs to the UN mission
in
Bosnia."

Although Mr. Grinberg was apparently suspended for his bad dancing, he has nothing to fear--like Mr. Lubbers before him, Prince Milquetoast Annan, after seeing that Mr. Grinberg is investigated by an "independent" internal commission (now that will surely instill confidence in all you cynics out there--the criminals investating themselves!) will come to his rescue and pardon him for all his transgressions, no doubt because our Prince will use his brilliant legal intellect to determine that the charges were "not supported by the evidence", whatever that means in the Orwellian world inhabited by our Prince and his FOK's!

The Independent saves its most scathing indictment for its clothing paragraphs:

"For those who work for the UN, the protection of its reputation is
paramount.
As the pressure mounts on the beleaguered secretary general,
there is much talk
of "zero tolerance" and of cracking down not just on the
troops who abuse but on
those who command them. Amid all this pressure it is
perhaps unsurprising that
an atmosphere of secrecy prevails, with few people
prepared to go on the
record for fear of jeopardising their chances of
continuing to work within the
organisation. Ms Konrad believes that
these internal problems within the
UN run so deep that they are affecting
its ability to perform as a force
within international peacekeeping. "The
misconduct of senior-level employees of
peacekeeping missions and UN
institutions is seriously undermining global
peace-keeping operations," she
says."

Yes, the New York Times is right--Mr. Lubbers must go, but so too must Annan and the cabal that surrounds him. And only when the UN is stripped of its illegal and outdated immunities will these atrocities begin to abate.

The UN should definitely not seek advice from the US military which recently promulgated a new policy on sexual assault and harassment. Victims' rights groups promptly criticized the policy which allows the military to investigate itself (what's wrong with that Prince Milquetoast can no doubt be heard muttering):

"But even as the policy changes were made public, victims' rights groups
expressed skepticism that they would work. They said that as long as the Pentagon insisted on policing and investigating itself in allegations of sexual abuse — rather than ceding to independent groups — sexual assault would continue to be pervasive in military culture.
"It will not make a difference," said Dorothy Mackay, a former Air Force officer who is executive director of Survivors Take Action Against Military Personnel, or STAAMP, a national advocacy group for military sexual assault victims. "It is nothing more than for public perception that they are doing something," Mackay said. "The Pentagon does not have the ability to change its ways. It would be like asking Saddam
Hussein
to change his stripes. We can't expect the same system that's been allowing this for decades to change overnight."

Ain't it the truth--et tu, Kofi?



Monday, January 03, 2005

 

UNHCR Wants a Piece of the Tsunami Action--Refugee Girls: Run for the Hills!

It was reported by the Associated Press yesterday that UNHCR wants to join the tsunami band wagon (presumably to muscle in on all those cash donations pooring in from around the world):

The UN refugee agency - which normally helps victims of conflict and others fleeing persecution - said Monday it was launching a six-month relief operation for tsunami victims. The agency, known as UNHCR, noted it was an exceptional
step to help people hit by natural disasters, and that it was responding to Annan's appeal for all UN organisations to step in.

'This is indeed a very special situation,' UN refugee chief Ruud Lubbers said yesterday. 'The dimensions of this disaster are enormous and it makes sense for an operational
agency with UNHCR's experience to be available as part of the United Nations international relief effort'.


Of course, given Mr. Lubbers' recent well-publicized troubles finding dating partners within his own organisation, one wonders whether this unnecessary ultra vires intervention is just another cynical ploy to satisfy the sexual peccadilos of pampered, senior UN staff.

And god help any orphan girls who have the misfortune to end up in a UNHCR camp. The long-standing sexual abuse by UN staff, peacekeepers and NGO workers of young refugee girls and women in return for refugee aid in West Africa, finally publicized in 2002 on Mr. Lubbers' watch, should cause civil society to seriously reconsider the plan to let Mr. Lubbers and his band of "friendly gestures" anywhere near the vulnerable victims of last week's Asian tsunami.

Friday, December 17, 2004

 

11 Days of Systemic Corruption at the UN

INDICATIONS OF SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION

WITHIN INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS



Two American experts in public administration, Caiden & Caiden, performed a study[1] on corrupt public systems. In it they identified attributes that were found to be present in the corrupt organisations they researched. All of these attributes, described below, are identifiable within the UN and other international organisations. In future posts, we will identify some of the specific instances where these attributes are found (but Oil for Food, the cases of Ruud Lubbers and Dileep Nair, the sexual abuse of refugee girls in UNHCR’s West African and Nepal camps, sexual assault by UN Peacekeeping troops in Congo, the UN complicity in the Srbrenica genocide, immediately come to mind).


1. The agency professes a code of conduct that is contradicted by internal practices.

2. Internal procedures encourage, aid and abet and hide violations of the agency code.

3. Non-violators of the code are penalized in that they lose the benefits enjoyed by the violators.

4. Violators are protected and when exposed are treated leniently.

5. Non-violators suffocate in the venal atmosphere, find no relief and are not heeded when they raise their concerns.

6. Prospective whistleblowers are intimidated and terrorized into silence.

7. Courageous whistleblowers are not protected from retaliation.

8. Violators become so accustomed to their practices and to the protection afforded to them that when they are exposed they complain that they have been unfairly treated and singled out.

9. Collective guilt finds expression in rationalization for the corrupt practices and there is little serious intention of ending them.

10. Those formally responsible for investigating corruption rarely act and when forced to do so, excuse the incidents as isolated rare occurrences.

11. Following exposure the agency makes gestures towards reform and for a time gives the impression of cleansing itself but once the publicity is over reverts to old practices
[1] Caiden, GE, & Caiden, NJ, Administrative Corruption, 1977


 

More Mush from the Wimp--"Annan pledges to cooperate in oil-for-food probe"

UN Sec. General Prince Kofi Annan, in Washington yesterday bootlicking anyone with any connection to the White House, pledged "full cooperation" into the scandal--"We must get to the bottom of these allegations," Annan said during a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. Prince Kofi was unfortunately a little vague on exactly how he intended to "get to the bottom".

No doubt there was a little camel trading going on--more UN election monitors in Iraq in return for calling off the Oil for Food dogs.

May we suggest instead a session or two under oath for Mr. Annan, without the illegal and corrupting cloak of his functional immunity, before Senator Coleman's Committee or a grand jury convened by the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY? The possibilities warm the cockles of one's heart:

"I did not have sex, I mean, I did not take bribes from that Dictator, Mr. Hussein". Slick Willie could dust off his law license (oops, only so long as the case is not in Arkansas or the US Supreme Court!) and provide advice to Prince Kofi on how to creatively testify before those pesky Congressmen and grand juries.

The assertion that anyone or any committee can get to the bottom of the Oil for Food morass without subpeona power backed up by the penalites of perjury, unabridged by the UN's functional immunity, is simply nonsense. And in this day and age, what criminal target gets to investigate itself or to appoint the investigator conducting the investigation? Prince Kofi must really take Congress, not to mention the American public, for complete fools (granted, he was appointed thanks to the Americans [kudos to Madeline Notsobright and Slick Willie again], but times have changed). His "rope-a-dope" tactics which work so well in bamboozling UN staff who have the courage to take up an internal appeal ( which appeals can take anywhere from 4 to 7 years to bring to a final conclusion) will presumably not be tolerated by American Congressmen and Prosecutors, or at least let us hope.

Further incisive comment on the potential conflict of interest of Paul Volcker in investigating the UN (besides the fact that he was appointed by one of the targets of the investigation, Prince Kofi), and the futility of allowing the UN to investigate itself, and in tying the hands of Congress and Prosecutors by not lifting the immunity of Annan, the UN, and the other UN staff implicated in the scandal can be found here:

Richard Lessner, executive director of the American Conservative Union, told CNSNews.com that despite the appearance of a number of potential conflicts of interest, he is giving Volcker the benefit of the doubt.

"I think he's sincere in wanting to get to the bottom of the scandal," Lessner said. "I'm sure that he feels as though he's committed his personal integrity to the outcome of this investigation."

But Lessner echoed other critics of the limitations under which Volcker must operate.

"Without subpoena powers, he will never know if he's gotten to the bottom of the investigation," Lessner continued. "No matter how far he follows this, he'll never know for certain that he's run down every lead, followed every trail and dug out every mole that's burrowed into the bureaucracy of the United Nations."

Lessner said he believes the limitations placed on Volcker were purposely designed to handicap the investigation.

"I don't think this is a matter of mismanagement. I don't think Kofi Annan's problem is one of incompetence," Lessner concluded. "This [investigation] is all for show. This is to give Kofi Annan cover. I think this was all intentional."

Someone better find those burrowed moles and soon!

 

National Survey: U.S. Voters Overwhelmingly Believe United Nations is Anti-American

A very interesting survey of Americans and their views about the UN--perhaps Geneva better start expanding its available office space?

See the full survey results by clicking here.



Thursday, December 16, 2004

 

A Further, Measured and Evidence-Based Call for Annan's Resignation

Dr. Nile Gardiner, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has once again weighed in with an objective and reasoned analysis of the facts which overwhelmingly support the case for Kofi Annan's immediate resignation in a Webmemo published on 15 December2004.

Your humble blogger FOK was pleased to see that Dr. Gardiner has picked up a constant thread of this blog (that only when Prince Kofi and his cabal are subjected to questionning under oath by Congress and prosecutors, without the protection of their functional immunity, will the true and complete account of Oil for Food come to light) detailed in his KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:

Key Recommendations

  • The White House should call for Kofi Annan to resign, in the interest of both the United States and the United Nations.
  • The Bush Administration should call on the U.N. and the U.N.-appointed Volcker Commission of Inquiry to make available to Congress all internal U.N. documents relating to Oil for Food.
  • U.N. officials should be made available to testify before Congress on Oil for Food.
  • The Bush Administration should press for the U.N. to be made more transparent and accountable.
  • The United States should appoint an Ambassador to the U.N. who will aggressively advance the US national interest and who will fully support Congressional efforts to investigate the Oil-for-Food scandal.
Friends of Kofi looks forward to the day when the Prince and his court are stripped of their anarchronistic and unconstitutional immunity, and once again are forced to obey the same laws as everyone else on the planet. We fully endorse Dr. Gardiner's recommendations, and hope President Bush takes them to heart.


 

Idea Dead on Arrival--Lawyers Call on U.N. to Shield Whistle-Blowers

The sad but current state of affairs within the UN bureaucracy today. Annan could change the status quo tomorrow if he so chose, but that will never happen as he stands to be one of the big losers of such a policy shift:

"Two lawyers for U.N. whistle-blowers urged the United Nations on Wednesday to protect staffers who want to disclose corruption at the world body,
including the oil-for-food program for Iraq.

One of the lawyers said "five or six" U.N. employees including a high-level employee had contacted him for advice on how to reveal evidence of wrongdoing in the now-defunct oil-for-food program without jeopardizing their careers.

The lawyer, Andre Sirois -- himself a U.N. staff member and
former whistle-blower -- said he advised all six against going public with
their information because they would lose their jobs
due to a lack of protection in the staff rules."

See the full story.

Sirois' own sad and frustrating account as a failed whistleblower can be found at:
http://www.theatlantic.com/foreign/unwire/crossette2004-02-09.htm

Whisteblowers are indeed the last hope for UN reform, but until a process is implemented that protects and rewards such staff for their trouble, the UN's perverse and suffocating culture of silence will remain unchanged, and many more Oil for Palaces programmes will go unnoticed or unchallenged until it is too late.

One possible solution is for UN whistleblowers to try to use the US' Federal Fraud Claims Act--not only might such a demarche protect their positions (as the process is confidential in the beginning), but it could also resultin a financial windfall as the Act provides for the recovery of a whisteblower's attorneys fees, as well as a percentage of the funds recovered from the fraud. Click here to learn more about whistleblowing, or contact this blogger.


 

What a great gig! And if they catch that mugger, he goes to jail for a few years. Me, I retire to Switzerland with my Nobel money, laughing all the way to the bank. What a bunch of chumps the Americans are!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

 

"Just Scrap It**"--now there's an idea!

"Our protection against all kinds of fanatics and extremists, none of whom can be trusted with unlimited power over others, lies not in their forbearance but in the limitations of our Constitution."
-- Robert Jackson, J., in Am. Comms. Ass'n v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 439 (1950)


Of course, that is exactly what the Oil for Food scandal is all about--Prince Kofi and his merry band of sycophants, exercising unlimited (read, above the law) power to further their own interests and those of their friends and relatives.

Until Prince Kofi, young Kojo, and all those UN staff implicated in the scandal but otherwise hiding behind their (unconstitutional) UN privileges and immunities (one of the limits Justice Jackson was no doubt referring to in the case above was that no one, not even the 'President of the World', was above the law) are put under oath and questioned under the penalties of perjury either by one of the Congressional Committees currently investigating Palacegate or preferably a US Attorney, we will never learn what happened with the Oil for Food Programme.

The unquestioned integrity and good intentions of Paul Volcker notwithstanding, unless the witnesses and principals of the programme are put under oath during the investigation (something that is not happening now), Kofi and his cabal can either lie to their hearts content or remain mute, and none of us will be any the wiser about really happened with Oil for Food. Can one imagine Ken Starr trying to pin down Slick Willie without putting him under oath--it never would have happened.

We''ve already had a taste of the 'truthfulness' of the UN when the world is relying solely on the honesty and integrity of those involved. From the frontal bunghole of Annan's prevaricator-person Eckard, we've heard:

--Cotencna was the high bidder for the Oil for Food Programme
(only to learn from other sources that it really wasn't after the contract was modified the day after it was awarded in 1998);
--Kojo was not employed by Cotecna at the time of the award to the contract
(only to learn that he was on the payroll of Cotencna until February 2004!! [in the Orewellian speak of the UN, he was being paid for a non-compete agreement, not on the payroll--but what asset did Kojo have to bring into competition with Cotecna other than his relationship with his father, the UNSG? Cotecna wasn't paying Kojo not to compete with it, but to keep Daddy from giving the Oil for Food contract to one of Cotecna's legitimate competitors].

Those who currently label the calls for Prince Kofi's resignation premature should keep the following admonition of Teddy Roosevelt in 1900 in mind:

''We can afford to differ on the currency, the tariff, and foreign policy; but we cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. ... Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity. ... The weakling and the coward cannot be saved by honesty alone; but without honesty, the brave and able man is merely a civic wild beast who should be hunted down by every lover of righteousness. No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community ..."

Let Prince Kofi lift his own immunity and that of Benon Sevon and the others implicated in the Oil for Food investigation, and submit to questioning under oath of all-comers, whether it be Congress or a US Attorney, and let the rest of the world then judge for itself the putative honesty and integrity of Mr. Annan by his answers. Only then might he be able to silence the growing demands for his head.

But be careful there, Prince Kofi--both Slick Willie and Mad Martha Stewart, Masters of their Own Universe, thought they could fib their way out of a pickle when questioned by the Feds, instead of taking the 5th--the bonfire of your gross vanities awaits you Prince.

**See Oliver North's common sense solution to the UN's current problems.



Friday, December 10, 2004

 

UN Failing to Practice 'Good Governance'--Duh!

Although a bit of a dog-bites-man story, the first article cited below puts paid to the charade that is the UN's "Global Compact"--the public companies that support the UN's on-going and systemic corruption through their financial participation in the Global Compact (which 10 principles the UN honours in the breach) might want to reconsider their continued suport of such programme--enlightened consumers and stakeholders abhor hypocricy. If such companies do not force the UN to verifiably and objectively adhere to the Global Compact principles, then perhaps civil society should boycott those companies on account of their hypocricy?

UN Failing to Practise 'Good Governance'
Inter Press Service (subscription) - World
"... The United Nations, which is the mother of all ... against Under-Secretary-General Ruud Lubbers, the UN ... OIOS), Secretary-General Kofi Annan decided -- ''within the ... "



Columnist Max Boot hit the nail right on the head yesterday with his column in the LA Times:


--------------------
Why U.N. Stays Mired in Its Defects
--------------------

Start with too-friendly media, apathy and members' entrenched interests.

Max Boot

December 9 2004

"Imagine if U.S. troops were accused of sexually exploiting children in impoverished nations. Imagine if a U.S. Cabinet secretary were accused of groping a female subordinate, whose complaint was then swatted aside by the president. Imagine if the head of a U.S. government agency and the president's own offspring stood accused of complicity in the biggest embezzlement racket in history. "


But we don't have to imagine--all of the above have taken place at the UN in recent days, all in gross violation of the UN's own Global Compact principles! And what was the remedy? Business, or in the case of the UN, cronyism, as usual.

The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-boot9dec09,0,7903756.column?coll=la-util-opinion-commentary


Thursday, December 09, 2004

 

COMING SOON--Our First Case Post. Doss v. WIPO

In the coming days, the new pleadings in the case of Doss Adly Doss v. the World Intellectual Property Office will be posted here. This new case arises out the International Labour Office Administrative Tribunal(ILOAT) Judgment N°. 2288 (posted below). In that case, an employee of WIPO who had just been granted a 5 year contract extension was summarily fired on pretextual grounds arising out of the personal pique of the organisation's Director-General. The staff member appealed his case to the ILOAT, which set aside the dismissal as procedurally flawed, ordering WIPO to pay the staff member his lost wages and benefits (in excess of CHF 200,000!!!) , and to continue to do so until it took a new decision on the misconduct charges against the staff member. Without conducting any further investigation, and relying on the same flawed procedures as before, WIPO once again summarily dismissed the staff member, again on pretextual grounds. The staff member will once again take WIPO to the ILOAT where he will seek payment of the balance of his salary due under his 5 year contract.

Before WIPO fires any more staff or tries to raise its user fees, perhaps it should stop making stupid personnel decisions that cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To be continued.......

The text of Judgment N° 2288 is attached below or the HTML version can be found at: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/tribunal/fulltext/2288.htm

Administrative Tribunal ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Registry's translation, the French text alone being authoritative. NINETY-SIXTH SESSION Judgment No. 2288 The Administrative Tribunal, Considering the complaint filed by Mr D. A. D. against the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on 24 January 2003, the Organization's reply of 25 March, the complainant's rejoinder of 30 June and the letter of 18 July 2003 by which WIPO indicated that it did not wish to submit a surrejoinder; Considering Article II, paragraph 5, of the Statute of the Tribunal; Having examined the written submissions and disallowed the complainant's application for the hearing of witnesses; Considering that the facts of the case and the pleadings may be summed up as follows: A. The complainant was born in 1960 and has Egyptian nationality. Having worked for WIPO as a consultant in 1996, he was granted a fixed-term contract with the Organization in April 1997. In April 2002 his contract was extended for a period of five years. In June 2002 a staff member reported to the Human Resources Management Department (HRMD) that she had received unsolicited pornographic e-mail messages in which the complainant's name appeared. The Director General authorised a joint investigation by HRMD and the Information Technology (IT) Services Division, which revealed that the complainant's computer had been "drastically modified from its standard WIPO configuration", and that it was used "primarily for non-WIPO related activity, namely visiting adult (pornographic) Internet sites as well as for downloading software and music from the Internet". In addition, non-standard software products had been installed on the computer. The results of that initial investigation prompted the Director General to establish a Task Force of senior officials to investigate further. On 15 August 2002 the Task Force recommended to the Director General that, in view of the serious nature of its findings, the complainant should be confronted with the evidence and invited to resign or face summary dismissal, unless he could offer a plausible explanation. Having arranged for the complainant's computer to be impounded, the Director General instructed three senior officials - the Assistant Director General, the Director of HRMD and the Deputy Legal Counsel - to meet with the complainant, inform him of the charges against him and hear his side of the case. During that meeting, which took place on 19 August 2002, the complainant was accused of serious misconduct, including violation of the integrity and security of WIPO information technology systems. He was told that if he had no convincing explanation he could either resign or face summary dismissal. He asked for time to consider his response to the charges and was given until later that day, when he returned to inform the same WIPO officials that, on the advice of his lawyer, he had decided not to resign. On 19 and 20 August the Director of HRMD, acting on instructions from the Director General, consulted separately the members of the Joint Advisory Committee, who unanimously supported the Task Force's recommendation of dismissal. Also on 20 August, the complainant submitted two sick leave request forms, accompanied by medical certificates, one for the period from 14 to 19 August, the other from 19 August for an indeterminate period. On 21 August the complainant was informed in writing of the Director General's decision to terminate his appointment with immediate effect in accordance with Staff Rule 10.1.1(a)(7). The complainant challenged the termination decision in a series of letters to the Organization, but the Director General maintained his position. Consequently, the complainant filed an internal appeal on 1 November 2002. In its report of 18 November 2002 the Appeal Board concluded that the complainant's "clear and obvious violation of the WIPO Information Security Policy did not at all correspond to the minimum standards of professional behavior and decency expected of an international civil servant" and recommended that the decision to dismiss him should stand. Since no decision was taken by the Director General within 60 days of his receipt of the Board's recommendation, the complainant challenges the implicit rejection of his appeal. B. The complainant contends that the decision to dismiss him breached Staff Rule 10.1.1(c), which requires the Director General to consult the Joint Advisory Committee prior to applying certain sanctions, including dismissal. He submits that there is no evidence that the Committee was convened, or that it considered the evidence and made a recommendation to the Director General. Consequently, the Organization breached its own rules in dismissing him without conducting a fair and impartial investigation. In addition, the Organization wrongly dismissed him while he was on "certified service-related sick leave". He also considers that his dismissal breached the requirements of due process. In particular, he asserts that he was dismissed on the basis of erroneous conclusions and unsubstantiated allegations and that he was denied his right to present a "reasonable and timely defence". The meeting on 19 August did not constitute a fair opportunity to state his case, because he was simply presented with an ultimatum, knowing that regardless of what he said he would lose his job. Moreover, the Organization was allowed to call "a surprise witness" before the Appeal Board whereas he was denied that possibility. According to the complainant, the Organization, which had to prove the alleged misconduct beyond reasonable doubt, has not shown precisely how his actions compromised the integrity of WIPO's information technology systems, or that these actions were even capable of doing so. Nor has it proved that his computer, situated in an office to which other staff members had access, was not altered by a third party. The evidence disclosed before the Appeal Board did not warrant summary dismissal, particularly since the pornographic images to which the Organization referred were sent to him in unsolicited e-mail messages. He denies that the materials he allegedly viewed and distributed were pornographic and points out that the websites in question are used daily by many other staff members for business purposes. Neither the Staff Regulations and Rules nor WIPO's Information Security Policy prohibits the use of those sites. The sanction of dismissal was therefore disproportionate to the alleged misconduct and amounts to abuse of power. He also asserts that the impugned decision was tainted with bias and personal prejudice on the part of the Director General, who, according to the complainant, had personal ties with a staff member previously involved in a relationship with the complainant. Lastly, he contends that the impugned decision was discriminatory in that another staff member, who had sent him far more offensive material than that which he is accused of having distributed, has not been punished. The complainant requests oral hearings to enable him to question at least 17 witnesses, and he asks the Tribunal to order the defendant to produce an extensive list of documents. He seeks the following redress: the quashing of the impugned decision and his immediate reinstatement with retroactive effect from 21 August 2002; a disciplinary investigation into his allegations against the Director General and other staff members; an unconditional written apology from the former or, alternatively, promotion to grade P.5 with effect from 21 August 2002; the removal from WIPO records of all documents connected with his summary dismissal; an order that the Director General issue a letter to the Swiss authorities retracting all allegations made by him against the complainant; a declaration that he was released from his duty of confidentiality under Regulation 1.7 as a result of his wrongful dismissal; 25,000 United States dollars in legal costs; at least two million dollars in "compensation for the grave moral injury and heinous mental and physical distress" caused to him and his wife; approximately 30,000 Swiss francs for medical costs; and "such other relief as the Tribunal deems necessary, just, and equitable". C. The Organization replies that the complainant was dismissed for serious misconduct that was expressly prohibited under the WIPO Information Security Policy. In particular, the installation of non-standard software products, such as Internet messaging software, had enabled free exchange of data across the Organization's secure internal networks by persons unknown and unauthorised. Whilst it acknowledges that some of the offensive material discovered on the complainant's computer may have been received as unsolicited e-mail messages, it points out that he nevertheless deliberately created "bookmarks" enabling him to view and retrieve that material in future. WIPO asserts that the complainant's dismissal fully complied with the requirements of due process and with the provisions of its Staff Regulations and Rules. All the members of the Joint Advisory Committee were consulted and two investigations into the allegations against him were carried out. He was confronted with the evidence and given ample time and opportunity to explain his actions. Before the Appeal Board he had a further opportunity to defend himself and was even represented by a lawyer. Contrary to his allegations, the Organization did not call "a surprise witness" before the Board; the individual to whom the complainant refers, was the Administration's representative before the Board. With regard to the allegation that it dismissed the complainant while he was on sick leave, the Organization casts doubt on the validity of his medical certificates and concludes that the complainant "is seeking to hide behind a smoke screen of sick leave to avoid responsibility for serious misconduct". On the issue of proportionality, the Organization submits that the complainant's actions could have "serious and far-reaching international repercussions", given the Organization's obligations to respect the confidentiality of highly sensitive and valuable technological information deposited with it. Moreover, the computer provided for the discharge of his duties had been reconfigured by him for improper purposes, such as transmitting pornographic material to third parties "against their will". In this connection, WIPO denies any unequal treatment of the complainant, noting that he was dismissed not only because he had viewed and distributed unsolicited pornographic material but also because he had committed other serious acts of misconduct. Dismissing the complainant's allegations of bias and personal prejudice, the defendant draws attention to several letters from the complainant to the Director General expressing praise and gratitude towards the latter, and to the fact that the Director General had renewed the complainant's contract for a period of five years in April 2002. The Organization also emphasises that the complainant engaged in further acts of misconduct after his dismissal, which it views as confirming the need to dismiss him in the first instance. It asserts that he made several attempts to break into his office, sent defamatory statements and pornographic images to the Director General and made threats on the latter's life. These incidents were reported to the Swiss authorities. The defendant considers the complaint to be "a gross distortion and a deliberate misstatement of facts". It describes the complainant's request for the hearing of witnesses as "frivolous", and his claim for damages as "speculative" in the absence of any evidence of moral injury or "heinous mental and physical distress". It asks the Tribunal to award nominal costs against the complainant and his counsel "for bringing the international civil service into disrepute, wasting the time, energy and resources of the Director General and other senior officials of the Organization, and for pursuing a frivolous legal claim against the Organization". D. In his rejoinder the complainant categorically denies the acts of misconduct allegedly committed both before and after his dismissal and emphasises that the Organization has failed to prove its allegations beyond reasonable doubt. CONSIDERATIONS 1. In April 1997 the complainant was recruited by WIPO under a fixed-term contract, which was extended in April 2002 for a further five years. On 21 August 2002 he was informed of the Director General's decision to terminate his appointment with immediate effect. After a staff member reported that she had received pornographic e-mail messages in which the complainant's name appeared, an investigation was undertaken to examine the content of the hard disk of his computer as well as his e-mails. The findings of this investigation were communicated to a Task Force, which concluded in a report dated 15 August 2002 that the complainant had altered the configuration of his computer and had used it for non-WIPO related activity, namely visiting pornographic sites and downloading software and music. According to the Task Force, such operations not only contravened the general rules governing the use of computers made available to staff members, but also compromised the integrity and security of the WIPO network infrastructure. In view of the gravity of the violations and the need to protect the integrity of the Organization as well as the rights of third parties, the Task Force proposed that the staff member under investigation should be confronted with the evidence and asked to tender his resignation, failing which appropriate and proportionate disciplinary measures would be taken against him. When he was informed of the Task Force's findings, the Director General gave instructions for all relevant evidence to be photographed and for the computer concerned to be impounded. The complainant, who was on sick leave from 14 to 19 August, forcibly entered his office on the evening of Friday 16 August and perhaps again, although the point is in dispute, on Saturday 17 August. On Monday 19 August the complainant met with senior officials of the Organization, including the Director of HRMD, who informed him of the charges against him. The complainant denied all the accusations and refused to resign, as had been suggested. Later that afternoon, he explained the reasons why he thought he had been the victim of persecution and maintained his refusal to resign. 2. Following these unproductive meetings, the Director General gave instructions for the members of the Joint Advisory Committee to be consulted and, on 21 August 2002, notified the complainant of his decision to terminate his appointment, with immediate effect, in accordance with Staff Rule 10.1.1(a)(7). After much exchange of correspondence, the complainant lodged an appeal on 1 November. On 18 November 2002 the Appeal Board recommended that the Director General reject the appeal and let the decision of 21 August 2002 stand. The complainant asks the Tribunal to quash the Director General's implicit decision to reject his appeal. 3. In addition to the quashing of the decision to dismiss him summarily, the complainant seeks reinstatement with the payment of all salary, allowances and other emoluments to which he would have been entitled, a written apology from the Director General, a disciplinary investigation into the conduct of the Director General and other officials, the removal from all WIPO records of any document concerning his dismissal, and the despatch of a letter to the Swiss authorities retracting all allegations or denunciations made against him. All claims other than those concerning the decision to dismiss the complainant and his request for reinstatement are obviously irreceivable and must be dismissed by the Tribunal. 4. As grounds for quashing the decision to dismiss him, the complainant submits that the Organization breached the rules of procedure and denied him the right to due process, that it has failed to prove the charges brought against him, that the impugned decision was based on errors of fact and of law and on erroneous conclusions, that the punishment is disproportionate to the alleged conduct, that the impugned decision violated the principle of equal treatment, and that he was the subject of harassment, personal prejudice and abuse of authority. 5. Although the complainant was given the opportunity of a hearing before the Appeal Board to defend himself against the very serious charges that followed the Task Force's detailed report of 15 August 2002, the Tribunal must conclude that the Organization failed to abide by the basic rules that it was required to observe in taking such a serious decision as summary dismissal. Apart from the fact that the complainant had only a few hours on 19 August to defend his case, which in itself constitutes a breach of due process, he was denied the safeguard provided for in Staff Rule 10.1.1(c). That clause stipulates that sanctions such as dismissal may be applied by the Director General only after he has consulted the Joint Advisory Committee, which in such cases shall not include any staff member of a grade below that of the staff member concerned. The defendant considers that the requirement was fully met in view of the fact that the Director of HRMD on 19 and 20 August 2002 consulted the members of the Committee, who unanimously supported the Task Force's recommendations once the Director had explained the background of the investigations. In that connection, the Organization produces a "report" by the Director of HRMD dated 22 January 2003, which the four members of the Committee approved and signed on different occasions between 22 and 26 February 2003, and maintains that the consultation was properly conducted since none of the Committee members held a grade below that of the complainant and since they gave a unanimous opinion. The defendant adds that it even consulted the President of the Staff Council, which is clearly of no avail here. 6. The Tribunal considers that the safeguard available to international civil servants in the form of the mandatory consultation of an advisory body prior to any disciplinary measure cannot legally speaking be said to be complied with unless that body has held an official meeting, the matter has been discussed among the members and minutes of the meeting have been concomitantly drawn up. In the present case, the complainant was denied an essential safeguard owing to the individual consultation of the Joint Advisory Committee members by the Director of HRMD and the disregard for the procedure established in the Staff Rules. 7. The defendant argues that if serious misconduct has been duly established, it cannot be said that there has been any miscarriage of justice on the grounds that some rules of the adversarial proceedings may not have been fully complied with, an argument which it supports by quoting from Judgment 539. The case that led up to that judgment, however, is not at all the same as the present one: the issue then was whether an organisation had complied with a provision that obliged it to provide a staff member "with sufficient information [...] to make it clear to the staff member exactly what he [was] being accused of". In that case, the complainant "could have been in no doubt as to the accusation he was called upon to answer", since it was based on documents which he had himself supplied and since "the evidence which emerged before the Regional Board was so overwhelming that it [could not] be said that there [had] been any miscarriage of justice". In the present case, although the evidence was weighty, it should have been discussed, as should the degree of punishment which the complainant deserved. And while it is true that, in particularly serious circumstances, some organisations are allowed by their statutes and rules to apply the penalty of summary dismissal without consulting an advisory body, that is not the case under WIPO's Staff Rules, which stipulate in Rule 10.1.1(c) that the Joint Advisory Committee must be consulted before any sanction is applied, except a reprimand. 8. The decision to dismiss the complainant is therefore tainted with procedural flaws and the Tribunal must accordingly set it aside. This does not mean that it will allow the complainant's claim for reinstatement, which, in view of all the circumstances of the case, including events that occurred after the impugned decision, would appear particularly inappropriate. As it did in Judgment 1639, the Tribunal decides to send the case back to the Organization for a new decision to be taken in accordance with the rules of procedure, particularly the rule calling for consultation of the Joint Advisory Committee, since the decision-making process must guarantee for the individual concerned that an impartial solution will be arrived at. The Tribunal grants the complainant compensation equivalent to the total of salary, allowances and other benefits pertaining to his grade and step, which he will have forfeited between the date of his dismissal and the date at which the Director General will take a new decision, less any sums received by him from the Organization or in occupational earnings from other sources since the date of his dismissal. 9. Since the complainant partially succeeds, he may be awarded 2,000 Swiss francs in costs. DECISION For the above reasons, 1. The implicit decision by the Director General confirming the decision of 21 August 2002 is set aside. 2. The case is sent back to the Organization for the Director General to take a new decision in accordance with 8 above. 3. WIPO shall pay the complainant compensation as set out under 8, above. 4. It shall pay him 2,000 Swiss francs in costs. 5. All other claims are dismissed. 6. The Organization's counterclaim is dismissed. In witness of this judgment, adopted on 13 November 2003, Mr Michel Gentot, President of the Tribunal, Mr James K. Hugessen, Vice-President, and Ms Mary G. Gaudron, Judge, sign below, as do I, Catherine Comtet, Registrar. Delivered in public in Geneva on 4 February 2004. (Signed) Michel Gentot James K. Hugessen Mary G. Gaudron Catherine Comtet


 

Welcome!

We hope you find this site interesting and enlightening--thanks for checking in with us!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

> [Valid Atom]