UNITED NATIONS (AP) — An American demanded $1 million in damages from the United Nations on Wednesday, telling a U.N. tribunal that he was arrested by U.N. police, was humiliated by "wanted posters" posted at his office and was fired after he said his U.N. colleagues in Kosovo might be taking kickbacks.
James Wasserstrom says the actions were retaliation for his speaking up.
"What on Earth went on here, and why?" Judge Goolam Meeran, a professional jurist from India, asked. "There are certain lines of inquiry here that trouble me."
The case is a high-profile test case for the U.N.'s new court system for employee issues. The independent tribunal replaces the secret, delay-plagued system that legal experts in 2006 called "dysfunctional" and critics said heavily favored U.N. management.
Under a whistleblower protection policy signed by then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005, all U.N. employees are to be offered protection from retaliation.
But Wasserstrom says his job with the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo was eliminated in 2007 after he reported on colleagues he suspected were taking kickbacks from local officials in the energy sector.
He says his apartment was searched and his office was taped off for months while the mission investigated him for what it called conflict of interest, after Wasserstrom signed a consulting contract to start after his U.N. job ended.
The U.N. Ethics Office at the time said the treatment of Wasserstrom "seemed to be excessive," but it found no evidence that the actions were retaliatory.
Two Ethics Office employees who handled the Kosovo case, Susan John and Robert Benson, told the tribunal on Wednesday that the actions against Wasserstrom had seemed "disproportionate," but they maintained there was no sign of retaliation.
A decision in the case seemed unlikely Wednesday.
The U.N. has argued in legal documents that the court has no jurisdiction over the case because the ethics office is independent and does not answer to the Secretary-General.
Wasserstrom worked for the U.N. for 25 years. He seeks more than $1 million for lost wages, compensation for defamation and mental distress.
"What happened destroyed his U.N. career," said his attorney, Mary Dorman.
Robert Orr needs a Chinese Visa to enter UN's DC2 building
Rio+20: GreenPeace Statement
Greenpeace International Executive Director has released a statement on his views of Rio+20. "The future we want has gotten a little further away today. Rio+20 has turned into an epic failure, It has failed on equity, failed on ecology and failed on economy" were Kumi Naidoo frank comments after the text for the outcome document was adopted. Please click here for the full statement.
UN Policy Coordination on the Road
DESA's Telecommuting Assistant Secretary General
Sha Zukang's behavior not appropriate...
Sha's behavior was not appropriate as a senior advisor. And he also knows that his behavior has embarrassed most of the [other] senior advisors at that time.
Mr. Chance (buy this book now)
Click on the picture and purchase this book now. It's already a best seller. It shows the coward Ban Ki Moon and his Korean team in action.
Chinese Social Affairs Department
"UN needs complete leadership overhaul"
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who asked Ashdown to carry out the report, said the government would give its response in about six weeks.
Czech President Klaus
"...this is the time for international organizations, including the United Nations, to reduce their expenditures, make their administrations thinner, and leave the solutions to the governments of member states"
Sha Zukang Disrespectful of UN Rules
UN staff rules require employees to uphold and respect the principles set out in the Charter, including faith in fundamental human rights. They prohibit U.N. employees from accepting instructions from any government or from any other source external to the organization. UN staff should avoid any action and, in particular, any kind of public pronouncement that may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality that are required by that status.
Barack Obama on UN Reform
Obtain Refund of Funds Owed to the U.S. by the U.N.
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Let's raise our voices
The following months are critical. Changing DESA is in your hand. Speak up now and share our message with all colleagues.
NyTimes disavows Ban Ki Moon
"The United States, meanwhile, should think hard about whether it wants to support Mr. Ban’s re-election" NyTimes Editorial - Nov 03, 2010
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UN at 65
State Department Spokesperson P.J. Crowley
"Sha Zukang seems to be cranky at lots of folks. It will not affect our relations with China."
UN STAFF RESOLUTION ON BAN KI MOON
If SG Ban Ki-moon fails to take immediate steps towards real reform to address these urgent systemic issues, Staff Union will consider a vote of NO-CONFIDENCE
Backstabbing for Beginners
Backstabbing for Beginners is at once the darkly comic tale of one man's political coming of age and a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy that prevailed at the heart of the world's most idealistic institution.
Hacked Emails Show Blatant Climate Change Fraud
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What will this successful Chinese Diplomat do different?