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UN appeals panel orders reinstatement of terminated oil-for-food employee

[JURIST] The UN Joint Disciplinary Committee has concluded that the only employee fired during the UN oil-for-food scandal [JURIST news archive] did not violate staff rules and should be reinstated, according to the ruling obtained by the Associated Press Thursday. The three-judge UN appeals panel said that Joseph Stephanides was made into a "sacrificial lamb" because he was fired [JURIST report] mostly due to the intense public scrutiny that resulted after the scandal was made known. Stephanides was accused of releasing bidding information regarding an oil-for-food contract to Great Britain, but he maintains that he was following the instructions of a UN Security Council [official website] sanctions committee. The Joint Disciplinary Committee ordered that Stephanides' termination be reversed with backpay, that he be paid two years salary to compensate for the damage to his reputation and image, and that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official biography] issue a public apology. Annan is not required to accept the ruling, but a senior UN official said that Annan's advisors were contemplating the panel's decision. If Annan does not act on the ruling by Monday, which will be 30 days after the decision was handed down, Stephanides can appeal to the UN Administrative Tribunal [official website] for a binding decision. AP has more.

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