Judgment No. 2227
THE COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED.
The complainant was informed by a letter of 22 December 1999 that the administration reserved the right to approve the photocopying and distribution of circulars issued by staff representatives. "The Tribunal recalled, in Judgment 911 [...], that a staff association enjoys broad freedom of speech and the right to take to task the administration of the organisation whose employees it represents, but that like any other freedom such freedom has its bounds. thus any action that impairs the dignity of the international civil service, and likewise gross abuse of freedom of speech, are inadmissible. But the prevention of such abuse cannot give the administration a power of prior censorship over the communication of written information produced by the groups and associations concerned. Herein lies the problem in this case: the Office considers it has a general right to authorise, which it maintains it uses only with moderation, but the limits of such authorisation are by no means clear. The Tribunal cannot set aside a general decision on the grounds that it does not offer the guarantees that are in any case available to staff members on the basis of the general principles of international civil service law, as established and interpreted by the Tribunal and other international administrative tribunals. These principles confine the administration's scope of action to cases where there is gross abuse of the right to freedom of expression or lack of protection of the individual interests of persons affected by remarks that are ill-intentioned, defamatory or which concern their private lives. And it is in the light of these principles that the letter of 22 December 1999 [...] should be interpreted. a refusal to grant an authorisation may be regarded as lawful only if it complies with the above principles."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 911
general decision; organisation; tribunal; exception; iloat; case law; general principle; international civil service principles; respect for dignity; staff member's interest; interpretation; freedom of speech; outside activity; collective rights; staff union; staff union activity; staff representative; judicial review; limits; acceptance; publication; refusal; right; safeguard; official
The Appeals Committee's report on the complainant's case was drafted in german. He expresses the view that in future its reports should be drafted in one of the official languages of the Tribunal, i. e. in either english or french. "The Tribunal recognises the difficulties arising from the translation of documents drafted in german [...] Nevertheless, it must remind the parties, which are aware of the fact, that its rules admit only two working languages - english and french - but that the [organisation] is perfectly entitled, as far as its own purposes are concerned, to use any of its three working languages, including german."
organisation; internal appeals body; report; iloat; iloat statute; language of rule; right