Debate On Director General Reaches Breaking Point 02/10/2007 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By William New Governments of the World Intellectual Property Organization on Tuesday appeared to be near a breaking point on the effort by developed countries to discuss possible improprieties and mismanagement by the WIPO director general and their effort to get him to resign. The issue has clouded the entire 24 September to 3 October WIPO General Assemblies. At press time, negotiations were continuing, including through consultations at the ambassador level, according to a participant. The outcome could not be predicted, the source said. According to a WIPO source, on Monday more than 60 governments spoke on the issue of Director General Kamil Idris’ change of his birth date in WIPO records from 1945 to 1954, which he did in 2006. An internal audit report and other investigations found concerns, which developed countries would like discussed at the assemblies level. Idris, originally from Sudan, has had support in the debates from the African Group of nations, with Algeria as its president. Idris was elected director general in 1997 and his second term expires in 2009. If no agreement is reached on the issue this week, sources said possibilities exist that the issue will be moved to the WIPO Coordination Committee, the member state executive body with authority for hiring and firing senior officials including the director general. There could be a special session of the general assembly in the coming months, one source said. On Monday, countries such as the United States, which has led the effort to remove Idris, made strongly worded statements. US Ambassador to the UN Warren Tichenor, in prepared remarks, cited details of a confidential internal auditor’s report from 2006 that the WIPO secretariat appears to have sought to suppress. “There is evidence in the Internal Auditors report which is clear and incontrovertible that the Director General’s conduct constituted a violation of WIPO Staff Rules and Regulations; that these acts cannot be considered a mere administrative error; that without the use of an incorrect birth date the Director General’s career path would not have been the same; and this repeated series of errors in judgment rise to the level of violations of WIPO’s Staff Rules and Regulations,” Tichenor said. He called on Idris to answer to the questions being raised in an open forum. Algeria, on behalf of the African Group, has countered those charges. In the group’s prepared statement of 1 October, Algerian Ambassador Idriss Jazairy criticised the effort against the director general as being outside organisational and UN procedures and a waste of resources. The African Group seeks to have the issue moved to the WIPO Audit Committee, but developed countries fear it will languish there until the next General Assembly in autumn of 2008. Jazairy also suggested that the attack on Idris is a case of stronger nations against weaker, saying: “We call for the respect of the law to uphold fairness because this is our only shield from the superior force of those who challenge such fairness of treatment.” Meanwhile, members this week have made comparatively easy progress on policy matters, approving a new Development Agenda, an agenda for the Standing Committee on Patents, the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights and the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. All of these committee’s reports were approved essentially as recommended to the assemblies, according to sources (IPW, WIPO, 26 September 2007). William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Debate On Director General Reaches Breaking Point" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.