UN Internal Justice
internal justice 150

UN Internal Justice

The United Nations General Assembly document GA/AB/3795 dated 30 March 2007, states: "Acting on the proposals of the Redesign Panel on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations, the Committee recommended, by one of six draft texts that were approved without a vote today, the establishment of a new, independent, transparent, professionalized, adequately resourced and decentralized system of internal justice, consistent with relevant rules of international law and the principles of the rule of law and due process, 'to ensure respect for the rights and obligations of staff members and accountability of managers and staff members alike'. Stressing the importance of increased transparency in decision-making and increased accountability of managers, the Assembly, by the terms of the text, would recognize that the new system should improve performance and have a positive impact on staff management." View Link… Also, on 4 April 2007, The General Assembly responded to what it termed the "slow, cumbersome, ineffective and lacking in professionalism United Nations system of internal justice, with its flawed administrative review" by mandating the first overhaul since its creation six decades ago with a pledge to redress these problems. View Link…

We hope to receive your comments on these issues:

  1. What do you think of the current UN Internal Justice System? Is it fair, transparent, independent and professional?
  2. Do you have personal experiences or knowledge of the current UN Justice System that you would like to share?
  3. It has been 2 years since the UN General Assembly mandated the overhaul of the UN Internal Justice System, yet, nothing has changed as of the date of this post. What should be done to urge the UN to implement a new fair Internal Justice System?
  4. What do you think of the UN practice of preaching adherence to International Law and Human Rights while applying an Internal Justice System that is described by the UN General Assembly as slow, cumbersome, ineffective, lacking in professionalism and flawed?

M. Alaadin A. Morsy

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We went through the UNAT judgments, 33 in all, ) that came out of UNAT's very first Geneva session (15 March – 1 April, 2010), these judgments were just placed on the above website in the last 48 hours.
Here is a summary of these 33 cases/judgments:
1. Over 30% of the cases in question belong to UNRWA – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
2. Over 20% of the cases are related to pension benefits
3. Only 24% of the judgments are in favor the staff member
4. While 51% of the judgments are in favor of the organization
My general observations:
1. In the pension cases, there is couple of compassionate cases, but the rules are unyielding.
2. Cases of UNRWA – an agency working under difficult socio-political environment for many years – exposes some of the systemic organizational problems. Probably an expert Six Sigma type management analysis, with a competent, but compassionate HR management, would help enhance the quality of their services to the Palestine people and save needless waste of resources. Additionally, more attention to the staff members psychological and psychiatric health, especially under these difficult socio-political
circumstances, is required and enhance performance and save human and financial resources.
3. Once the organization is willing to learn lessons from such judgments and put in place necessary remedial measures, then the new reformed internal justice system would have made some positive difference to the business-as-usual mindset of the UN Administration.