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Ban's UN Refuses Summons in Bertucci Case, of Contempt and Rule of Law

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 11 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has taken credit for the UN's new internal justice system, his administration has begun refusing to comply with and reflexively appealing orders, show as one judge puts it "contempt."

  As the longstanding Bertucci v. United Nations case comes to a head, Judge Adams ruled that the UN

"is ordered within twenty-four hours to supply the name and contact details of the officer who made the decision to disobey theorder made by the Tribunal to produce the documents identified in the Tribunal's ruling in Bertucci."

  On March 9 he ordered that the UN official who ordered non-compliance with a previous order of his in the case should appear before him at 10 a.m. on March 10.

  Half an hour before that, the Secretary General's representative informed Judge Adams that the summoned official would not, in fact, appear. As reflected by the order just issued, further inquiry by Judge Adams led to the conclusion that the UN's lawyer before him either did not or could not find out who the official was, after asking the "bosses."

UN's Ban and his lawyer Patricia O'Brien: neither takes questions

  Judge Adams' order reiterates

"the refusal to obey the Tribunal's Order is a brazen attack upon the rule of law embodied in the Tribunal and cannot be disregarded. In other jurisdictions, serious personal penalties would apply to officials who willfully disobeyed the order of a court. That sanction is not. available to the Tribunal except through misconduct proceedings. It follows therefore that the Tribunal must use other means of enforcing the jurisdiction which has been entrusted to it by the General Assembly under the Charter and pursuant to its Statute."

  As Inner City Press previously exclusively reported, the Ban Ki-moon administration also refused to produce Under Secretary General Shaaban Shaaban when summoned by Judge Adams. When Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman about the case, the response was that the orders would be appealed, and that no basis for appeal needed to be states. And this is the rule of law?

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UN Justice In Disarray as USG Shaaban Refuses to Appear, Ban Ki-moon Will Appeal Any Order Urging Review

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 23 -- The UN's new justice system is already frayed and exposed, as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflexively appeals from orders urging him to review the actions of his Under Secretary General Shaaban Shaaban.

  Three weeks ago, Inner City Press reported on and asked about a UN Dispute Tribunal decision which slammed Shaaban Shaaban and questioned whether he should be ordered to pay $20,000 damages personally. When asked, Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban would appeal. When Inner City Press asked "appeal what" and "appeal on what basis," Nesirky said that needn't be answered.

  Now, Judge Adams has issued a second order, after Shaaban Shaaban refused to appear at his February 3 hearing. Adams writes that "the interests of the Secretary-General as chief executive officer of the Organization plainly conflicted with those of Mr Shaaban. It seems to me self-evident that it was inappropriate for a lawyer from the Office of Legal Affairs to advise Mr Shaaban about what he ought to do in order to avoid the step that triggered the Secretary-General's duty."

UN's Ban and his USGs (Shaaban 2d from left), conflicts of interests not shown

  And so at the February 23 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Mr. Nesirky:

Inner City Press: in this case it is the Shaaban Shaaban case, Abboud v. Secretary-General. I understand yesterday, earlier you’d said an earlier ruling was going to be appealed. Maybe you could say if it’s been appealed, but yesterday Judge Adams ruled saying that the respondent, i.e. the Secretary-General, is to appoint an official of at least the rank of Under-Secretary-General other than Mr. Shaaban to consider afresh the complaints of the applicant. And what I am wondering is that, is this something that the Secretary-General is going to do, even pending appeal of I guess the findings against Mr. Shaaban. This seems like… This is the judge yesterday has asked and he talked about “as a matter of courtesy”. Is this also going to be appealed, so that no one other than Mr. Shaaban will consider the applicant’s case?

Spokesperson: I don’t know the answer to that, but I am sure I can find out. All right, other questions? No?

[The Spokesperson later reiterated that the Organization has determined that an appeal of the Abboud judgment would be appropriate and would be filed.]

  When one reads Adams' second decision, which Inner City Press is putting online here, it is difficult not to conclude that Ban Ki-moon is undermining the justice system he claimed was an improvement. We will contineu to follow this case.

Footnote: at a recent UNDP hearing, counsel joked that Adams may in fact stay on past June, given the backlog of cases. There is talk of building a new UN court room in the so called Teachers' (TIA-CREF) building on Third Avenue, where the UNDP will rent space. But as set forth above, the "new" system appears broken.

* * *

UN Court Rules Egyptian Official "Not Concerned With Truth," May Pay $20,000

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 2 -- In a little noticed proceeding in the basement of the UN's near empty headquarters building, the Under Secretary General in charge of General Assembly and Conference Management, Egypt's Shaaban Shaaban, is being lambasted by a UN Dispute Tribunal Judge.

  At a hearing last week at which Inner City Press was the only media present, UN Judge Adams demanded to know which UN lawyer was communicating with Shaaban Shaaban. A new hearing was set for this coming week.

  Later in the hallway, Inner City Press asked Shaaban Shaaban about the case. He smiled and said, as his chief of staff earlier had, that it is still in the UN court, still "sub judice."

But the findings and statements in Judge Adams written decision -- which Inner City Press is putting online here -- are scathing, including for example that

I do not go so far, I should say in fairness, as to conclude that he [USG Shaaban] was actively dishonest...I am left with the powerful impression that he was not concerned to tell the the truth…”, “…the proper performance by Mr. Shaaban of his duties was adversely affected by affronted self-importance”, or “Incompetence is an alternative explanation, but I saw no evidence of this”

  The decision, which should have been but was not as of late January put on the UN's website, contemplates a referral to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for discipline.

UN's Ban and Shaaban Shaaban, accountability not yet shown

  It orders a review on whether Shaaban should be held personally accountable for the financial damages: whether Shaaban's paycheck gets docked for the $20,000 being awarded. Shaaban Shaaban is the highest ranking Egyptian in the UN system. A cynic asked Inner City Press, how will they make this one go away? Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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