UNITED NATIONS. Perelli's Case: Still Waiting



15 November 2007

On December 6, 2005, Carina Perelli was summarily dismissed as Director of the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan on charges of harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority. The case was much publicized at the time, with innuendo and leaks to the media galore.

After her dismissal, Ms Perelli's case was reviewed by the Joint Disciplinary Committee. The JDC examined the case from all angles, in a process that lasted several months and issued its final report on June 13, 2007.

The JDC Panel found that Perelli had been dismissed as a result of a flawed process in which no real effort was made to establish the facts through an investigation. Although this would have been more than sufficient to invalidate the whole process, the JDC Panel conducted its own examination of the record and fact-finding: they found that none of the charges against Perelli could stand. They noted the difference in treatment of her case in comparison to a recent case that involved proven allegations of sexual harassment, abuse of authority and attempts to influence the outcome of the investigation. In the Report elevated for the consideration of the Secretary General on June 13, the JDC Panel unanimously recommended that the decision to summarily dismiss Ms. Perelli be rescinded. Since then, five months have elapsed. The Administration has kept silent.

Twenty-three months after she was escorted out of the building, TV cameras rolling, Perelli still waits for the Administration to take action on the recommendations of the JDC. We can only make ours the words of the Secretary General at one of his first Town Hall meetings: "Justice delayed is Justice denied".