UNITED NATIONS. "HIGH LEVEL" DUPLICATION. RULE OF LAW: JOBS EVERYWHERE EXCEPT AT LEGAL DEPARTMENT!

 

15 SEPTEMBER 2012

"HIGH LEVEL" DUPLICATION. RULE OF LAW: JOBS EVERYWHERE EXCEPT AT LEGAL DEPARTMENT!

A one day meeting on 24 September described to be high-level will be devoted to the "Rule of Law." The obviously prepared outcome for merely one day of "debate" will most likely be a politically correct statement as a prelude to more jobs for the boys, as if there were not enough already.

The purpose behind injecting that issue is subject to speculation. Clearly there is a conceptual duplication. Whoever introduced it had no U.N. background and no grasp of U.N. objectives enshrined in the Charter. The whole U.N. was and is based on the Rule of Law. All U.N. activities or actions should be guided by the Rule of Law.

Operationally, there is a full-fledged Office of Legal Affairs with over one hundred professionals. It was habitually headed and staffed by solid outstanding international civil servants, most of whom were prominently recognized, not only in their home countries, but world-wide. Some were nominated to the International Court of Justice. Obviously, their guiding light was to enhance the Rule of Law. No U.N. work would be credible without that Rule.

Why, then, initiate a new, separate and distinct duplication?

There were varied speculations. A new Secretary General seeks to innovate, or reform, or introduce a "new culture" -- as we were tirelessly lectured for a while. We needed a "wake-up call" as the Rule of Law was being violated with impunity; our Responsibility to Protect (now affectionately introduced as R2P), required to take immediate corrective action. The newly-established International Criminal Court was not enough; nor were other Courts established to deal with specific cases like Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. A select few (selected and nominated by whom?!) will have to be grouped separately, anointed for the task. There were claims that varied sections were put together merely to justify an Assistant Secretary General post for a citizen of a Permanent member of the Security Council. Dmitry Titov, who headed the Africa section in Peacekeeping with about 10 staff, suddenly took charge of over 100 jobs in the newly-established Rule of Law; that's almost as large as the entire Legal Office. Incidentally, there was once a rising star in the Russian Mission to the U.N. with the same name -- a bright, pleasant and usually sober aide to then Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, now his country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and one of the most experienced diplomats on the current international scene. We are not sure it is the same Dmitry Titov or whether he is actually Russian. That however, is a peripheric question.

A more substantive one is a further duplication. More "Rule of Law" staff were placed under the Deputy Secretary General, who took overall responsibility for it; first under perpetually clueless "sister" Asha-Rose, and now under Big Brother Jan Eliasson. Indeed, just before she finally left, that is, in mid-January of this year, Ms. Migiro convened a Consultative Rule of Law Retreat -- with the support of the Rule of Law unit in the Executive Office of the Secretary General and in co-operation with the Open Society Justice Initiative, in Greentree Estate, Long Island, New York.

A welcome attempt to clarify matters, thought not fully, was contained in a report by the Secretary General on "strengthening and co-ordinating U.N. Rule of Law activities." Not enough effort has been made, at least in public, to explain or justify the mushrooming of posts, assignments, retreats, training seminars in Turin and other activities under the name -- and pretext -- of the universally-adopted principle of Rule of Law.

The 24 September "High-Level Meeting," a day before the General Debate, will be "a unique occasion for all member states, non-governmental organizations, and civil society representatives at the highest level to discuss and agree (on) a formal-looking agenda on the strengthening of the Rule of Law."

Would it also be a "unique occasion" to explain in plain language the practical purpose for confused inconsistencies in that venture?

And would that "agreed agenda" result in more vigilance or more duplicating jobs?