Judge Adams Must Stay

Judge Adams Must StayIt appears that Honorable Judge Michael Adams is leaving the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) New York. In UNDT Order Number 113, dated 23 April 2010, Honorable Judge Adams wrote:

Having regard to the volume of documents and the necessarily uncertain scope of the extent to which reference will need to be made to them during and following the trial, I have reluctantly concluded that it is not practically open for me to do more than case manage this matter to that point and abandon the attempt to conduct a hearing on the merits before my impending departure from the Tribunal on 18 May 2010. The unfortunate consequence of my not being able to hear this matter is in large part due to the failure of the respondent to comply with my orders in a timely way, which required the Tribunal to provide extensions which should not have been necessary. Indeed, as pointed out, there are a significant number of documents which have not been produced, despite my order.

In recent five articles, The UN Post reported on the stand off between Honorable Judge Adams and the United Nations Administration who defied and ignored the Judge’s orders, then in an apparent attempt to side-step the new UN Internal Justice System, the UN Administration appealed Honorable Judge Adams orders, even before he made any judgments in the case.

The UN Post five articles are:

1. UN Justice, Behind the Facade 2. Appeal to UN General Assembly 3. UN Justice and Secrecy
4. Bravo! Judge Adams 5. UN Whistle-Blower Protection

It should be mentioned that Honorable Judge Michael Adams and 14 other Honorable Judges were appointed by the United Nations General Assembly and they were officially sworn in as UNDT Judges on 22 June 2009 in the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

According to the above statement of Honorable Judge Adams, he will be departing “from the Tribunal on 18 May 2010” that is less than 11 months from the date he started.

If Honorable Judge Adams leaves, it would be a tremendous disappointment for the UN staff  members and a huge loss for the UN  Internal Justice System; and it would raise so many questions as to the reasons behind this very early and sudden departure.

We wish, hope and pray to see Judge Adams stay with the UNDT, he has shown great judicial intellects, commendable fairness and independence. Honorable Judge Adams and the other Honorable Judges of UNDT and UNAT are the last hope to save the United Nations and free it from abuse, mismanagement and corruption.

M. Alaadin A. Morsy

The UN Postunpost.net • Copyright © 2010 • All Rights Reserved

3 Replies to “Judge Adams Must Stay”

  1. As a public long distance observer of the reformed Internal Justice System, which will soon be completing its first year of existence, we are glad to see  competent and independent judges trying hard to fulfill their mandated duties despite overt and covert constraints. UNDT & UNAT may still be able to be dispassionate and render “judgements”, but I am not so sure if “justice” will be served.

    Let me give you an example of what I consider to be a weak system: in our Common Cause Appeal # UNAT 2009-001, the respondent (UNJSPF) earlier submitted that they were NOT interested in  any oral hearing, but later on brought in their in house expert comments just before the case scheduled for review during the UNAT first session in Geneva (March 2010), that got postponed until June 2010. We now hear that the UNJSPF want to bring in another external expert as their support witness.

    If the reformed system and its judges are truly committed to justice, then we would rather like the UNAT bring in expert to provide any advice and clarifications, instead of allowing the organisation to do what it pleases as per their will and at any time. Office of Staff Legal Assistance had earlier washed its hands off when we sought their assistance.

    Notwithstanding all these, we appellants of the Common Cause Appeal are determined to conduct our own case thru UNAT, on behalf of thousands of UN Pensioners,  in the name justice and human  dignity.   So help us God!

  2. Here is a revealing exchange between the media and the United Nations Secretary-General in his Press Conference on Monday, 24 May 2010:

    Q: Mr. Secretary-General, the UN Dispute Tribunal is almost a year old, and now there is a body of decisions from the judges that suggests that your office and your lawyers are not really hoping that it succeeds; that by refusing to allow senior officials to testify, by refusing to supply documents and in general not cooperating with what the judges are saying, that it is unable to do its work as an independent judicial body. Do you consider those tribunals a challenge to your authority?

    SG: I think there is some misunderstandings on the position of the United Nations. This is a very important institution as a part of reform. We have established the dispute tribunal and appeals tribunal as a way of allowing better, structured channels of communication for those staff who may have complaints or something to appeal. That I fully respect the systems and when I had the ceremony with the appointed judges, we have a fully shared common commitment to work together. And in fact there have been many cases already filed. And the judges have been working on all these cases. Of course, sometimes there may be some cases of decisions which are not totally sometimes in line with what the administration, I mean, the Secretariat have been doing. But we will try to respect all the decisions. But at the same time, we hope that these tribunals and system should not be abused by some people, you know, who really try to raise all the issues. And there is a serious backlog and a heavy burden on the part of these issues. And there are some issues for difference of opinions between the Secretariat and the judgement. Then we’re trying to resolve all these issues and try to explain the real, real facts of our administration’s… There are many areas where the Secretary-General, myself, or senior advisors, have their authority and their prerogative to take administrative matters. Sometimes this kind of administrative matters which are normally taken in any areas, any Government, any institutions; sometimes they become easily the subject of judicial dispute. Therefore, I think that there needs to be mutual respect. And also, I would like to urge all those on the staff who may have complaints, first try to resort to the proper channel of administrative way of administratively resolving these issues before just trying to raise these issues alls the time to the dispute and appeals tribunal.

    Q: What’s an example about this you said it was an [inaudible] abuse?

    SG: You know, I do not have any special specific cases, but I think Legal Counsel has been very seriously engaging in dialogue with the judges and the tribunal judges.

  3. What a sad and shocking news!

    If the UN GA is truly committed to establish an internal justice system, that is open, fair, impartial, truly independent and an example of jurisprudence, then it should appeal to Judge Adams to continue and help rid the system of all muck and dirt accumulated over the years.  If Judges like Judge Adams leave in frustration (as was feared), then the so called new internal justice will likely revert to old tricks and tactics.

    This is no reflection on the other judges, but a warning to guard against  the “powers that be” which will continue to pressurize the conduct of the system in a way suited to its survival.

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