“We must admit, at least the possibility, that everything we believe to be true is not (or may not be) true.” Thomas M. Easley in his book “The Mechanics of GOD”.
Isn’t it true that the UN staff had to wait over 50+ years to see some kind of reform of the dysfunctional and disabled (or differently-enabled) internal justice system? One good thing that happened was the resolve to have external judges for the newly established UN Disputes Tribunal and UN Appeals Tribunal to look at our cases, hopefully and prayerfully, most dispassionately and in the context of foundational principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Isn’t it true that after hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on endless debates, dialogues, committees, reviews, etc. and after giving birth as of 1 July 2009 (in a sacred Muhoortham – auspicious time of the day – as per Indian astrology) to a new two-tier Internal Justice System with the external erudite judges having been selected and sworn in and appointed, the first review by UNAT judges is presently scheduled in Geneva from 15 March -1 April 2010?
The Common Cause Appeal of the UN retiree group (Case file # UNAT 2009-001) was first made into a similarly worded individualized appeal in May 2009 and submitted to the UN Joint Staff Pension Board. Without affording an opportunity to hear any of the appellants, the Pension Board decided in its most sacred annual conclave in July 2009 to reject the appeals and denied the restoration of full pension to those commuted 1/3 lump sum recipients. However, the fact remains that these lump sums were recovered in full with generous interest over a period of 11-13 years. Then we were allowed to make an appeal to the most esteemed new avatar UN Appeals Tribunal with external judges. This was submitted as a Common Cause Appeal # UNAT 2009-001 in August 2009 (that is more than six months ago). Finally we were lucky to be informed that our case is scheduled for review and consideration in the first and next UNAT session of 15 March – 1 April 2010. Then, arrived a clarification from the Registrar of UNAT that open oral hearing is NOT envisaged! Also, there appears a message emailed to one of the joint appellants that the hearing may be postponed! However, the writer has not heard this message yet!!
Do you accept that this situation to be equitable, fair and just in the context of the UN Charter, UDHR and all the big big resolutions and declarations ad nauseum in the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly and last but not the least, by the UN Secretary General himself? Cost-wise these exercises could have been translated into hundreds of thousands or even millions of tax-payer dollars. For what? Is it for denial of justice?
Some wise men said long ago: it is cheaper to tell the truth and get along, rather than incur huge resource wastage, facing the wrath of public dismay and mistrust with unintended consequences.
Born in India, the writer is familiar with his government’s addiction to debilitating rules and procedures of what we used to call “a license-permit- raj”. We used to call this as the world’s biggest “democracy” at work! It almost took five decades to realize that there was something wrong in this addiction and this system of governance.
As I wanted to start a small enterprise after UN retirement, with the hope of creating jobs for a number of people, only then I realized that I would be subject to endless governmental interventions and distortions landing myself in the thickest of legal and statutory compliances involving 20+ sets of Acts, Regulations, Rules et al. Simply, I must be prepared for enormous headaches as a senior citizen, with no guarantee of final success or survival.
So, finally I decided to go for “dharma” and earmark five percent of pension income for bona fide charitable causes, rather than going after my government gaining blood pressure and cholesterol, with prospects of ending in an unnatural end of life!
To cut the story short, here is our simple appeal to the UN Office of Administration of Justice (OAJ):
Why should the UN retirees (1/3 lump recipients) wait forever to see a fair deal and enjoy equity and fairness with the rest of the UN Pensioners? Does OAJ realize that justice delayed equals justice denied?
V. Muthuswami, Chennai, India
Joint Appellant of the Common Cause Appeal # UNAT 2009-001
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