By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- Some say, with reason, that the UN was too weak in Srbrenica, in Rwanda and now with its observers fleeing Syria.
But Ban Ki-moon's report to the General Assembly on misconduct and criminal behavior paints a picture of violence and threats in the UN, with armrests torn off chairs, firings based on gun threats, physical assaults with pipes. Here are excerpts:
23. A staff member physically assaulted another staff member by detaching an armrest from an office chair and throwing it at the other staff member’s face, resulting in injury to the staff member’s right eye and forehead. Disposition: Dismissal. Appeal: None.
24. A staff member physically assaulted another staff member by hitting the other staff member in the head with a metal pipe, resulting in injuries to the staff member’s head. Disposition: Dismissal. Appeal: None.
26. A staff member on three occasions acted in a verbally disrespectful and disruptive manner by arguing with colleagues and supervisors; on one occasion the staff member destroyed property during an argument; on two occasions the staff member made threatening remarks about the use of guns in the workplace. The staff member admitted the conduct with regard to the first two incidents and apologized to the persons involved. Disposition: Separation from service with compensation in lieu of notice and with termination indemnity. Appeal: None.
Having seen how the UN conducts its interviews, some of these admission may be dubious. But the descriptions continue, with sexual exploitation:
"A staff member attempted to obtain sexual favors from a job applicant, who was a beneficiary of assistance, in return for offering to provide assistance with the United Nations recruitment process. The staff member falsely suggested to the applicant that there was a problem with the application form, and invited the applicant to the staff member’s residence to review the application. In the context of the invitation to the applicant, the staff member made sexually suggestive remarks. Disposition: Separation from service, with compensation in lieu of notice, and without termination indemnity. Appeal: None."
There were stolen laptops and hard drives, airplane tickets and even copper wire. Some were more sophisticated:
"A staff member created a false note verbale on official letterhead on their United Nations computer. The staff member forged the signature of another staff member, and sold the note verbale to another staff member in order for the latter to obtain a non-immigrant visa. Several false documents, such as fake diplomas, were found on the staff member’s United Nations computer."
And now, we'll perform or try to perform some detective work. Ban Ki-moon reports:
"A staff member was employed by their government for one year while employed with the Organization, without the approval of the Secretary-General. A conflict of interest existed between the nature of the staff member’s outside activities and their status as a staff member. The time taken to conclude the investigation and subsequent disciplinary process were taken into account in determining the disciplinary measure. Disposition: Separation from service, with in lieu of notice and with termination indemnity. Appeal: Filed with the Dispute Tribunal, where the case remains under consideration."
This double employment, unless occurring more than once, sounds like a case Inner City Press has asked the UN about, that of Jeffery Armstrong.
Since the UN's ODS system has problems with direct links, Inner City Press is putting the report online through its Scribd, click here and watch this site.