Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is this the UN Justice System that Amb. Torsella of USUN wants to reform ?

Should USUN demand explanations from UN/OIOS for a US national who's rights have been violated by United Nations?



18 October 2011

UNJustice hopes that the United Nations Administration will release without delay the investigative report by OIOS –the internal oversight body of the United Nations, concerning the complaints by Ms. Farida Burtis, a former female staff member of the UN Department of Public Information.

The case number assigned to it –Case No. 0001/94, suggests this was the first OIOS investigation case after OIOS was established in 1994.

For nearly twenty years Burtis, a US national, has been seeking justice, but in vain.

“I tried to obtain justice through the UN Administrative Tribunal, but it was not competent, because I was a former UN staff member. My then lawyer later filed a tort claim with the UN Tort Claims Board, but that board itself never rendered a decision: instead the UN Office of Legal Affairs intervened saying the UN Tort Claims Board was not that organized to deal with my case. Since I did not have a competent legal forum I then asked the Secretary General to waive immunity so that US courts could hear my case. Immunity was not waived, and US courts could not proceed without such waiver of immunity. For my efforts to seek justice, I was cast in the role of whistleblower and successful attempts were made to inflict injury to me and seek mydisappearance. The then US Ambassador for UN Reform wrote to the OIOS asking to reconsider its decision not to provide me with a copy of their investigative report. OIOS has constantly declined to release the report saying that it is confidential but if the released to me, it could provide substantiation to my allegations. In essence, I have already explored all possible ways to obtain justice. It is a mockery of justice to deny me the investigative report for my own case for which I had requested the investigation,” says Farida Burtis.

UNJustice is alarmed to learn that according to an internal memorandum by Kofi Annan, at the time Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, some documents were removed from the UN Official Status File of the staff member.

In the circumstances, UNJustice is worried that it might have existed two different dossiers concerning Farida Burtis: one for her personal examination and one for decision makers within the Organization. Whereas Annan’s memo lists the removal of some documents from the Official Status File of Farida Burtis, it fails to consider the harm that the removed, and allegedly adverse material, might have caused to her over the years.

UNJustice believes that transparency and accountability are the basic tenets of good governance and an independent public oversight body, such as the OIOS, should serve always the public, not a national or international administration.

UNJustice recalls that in accordance with Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

“All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

UNJustice believes that a failure by the UN Administration to take action on Ms Burtis’ case would demonstrate contempt for good governance principles and for fundamental human rights.

Please take action to urge the UN Administration to reconsider its decision and provide the former UN staff member with a copy of her investigative report without further delay.

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