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Wednesday February 21st 2018



Supreme Court rules that UN has absolute immunity in sexual harassment case

The US Supreme Court upheld the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the United Nations and its officials are “absolutely immune” from lawsuits.  A UN employee had unsuccessfully tried to sue Ruud Lubbers for sexual harassment in US federal courts after the UN failed to discipline Lubbers.

According to the Montreal Gazette:

The decision comes despite a finding by the UN’s own internal investigators that Ruud Lubbers, former chief of the UN’s refugee agency, had indeed “engaged in unwanted touching” of staffer Cynthia Brzak following a December 2003 meeting in Geneva. They also found he had intimidated staff in a bid to derail the internal UN probe.

One of the UN investigators additionally revealed after retiring to his native Australia that the probe into Lubbers’ conduct even uncovered allegations he groped actress Angelina Jolie shortly after appointing her as the refugee agency’s “goodwill ambassador.”

Staff who witnessed the incident told investigators that minutes before coming down in an elevator to be introduced to staff in the building’s Geneva headquarters, Lubbers grabbed Jolie from behind, Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2007 from an interview with the newly retired Frank Montil, one of the former OIOS investigators.

Lubbers, prime minister of his native Netherlands from 1982-1994, has long denied all sexual harassment allegations — but resigned as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005 as the scandal continued to make headlines.


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