Secretary-General appoints first members of internal justice advisory unit for UN

8 April 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today approved the appointment of the first members of a new body that will advise on the first overhaul of the United Nations’ internal justice system in 60 years, as outlined by the General Assembly.

The five-member Internal Justice Council will consist of a staff representative, a management representative and two distinguished external jurists, one nominated by the staff and one by management, all of whom were approved today. The fifth member, the chair, will be a distinguished juror chosen by these four.

The two members nominated by staff, following a process inclusive of all staff unions, are Jenny Clift of Australia, a Vienna-based senior legal officer with the International Trade Law Division of the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), and Geoffrey Robertson of the United Kingdom and Australia, who served as the first President of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

The two members nominated by management are Maria Vicien-Milburn of Argentina, Director of the General Legal Division of the OLA, and Sinha Basnayake of Sri Lanka, who previously served in the same position and has since served the Organization in various advisory capacities on legal and administrative issues.

The General Assembly decided to reshape the Organization’s justice system after a 2006 panel concluded that the administration of justice in the UN “fails to meet many basic standards of due process established in international human rights instruments.”

In helping to redress that situation, the Internal Justice Council will advise the body on suitable candidates for the positions of judges on the future UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal.

Modelled on similar mechanisms at other international public organizations, it is also tasked with drafting a code of conduct for the judges, and for providing its views on the implementation of the new system to the Assembly.

 

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