ICJ to express concerns over unfair ILO practices

The practices of the Tribunal responsible for adjudicating employee complaints at the International Labor Organization (ILO) does not meet fundamental standards of justice, the ICJ will today tell a meeting of employee representatives gathered from around Europe.

The meeting has been called to formulate a strategy to reform an archaic system. The methods and procedures of the ILO Administrative Tribunal have remained largely unchanged since its formation in 1946. They do not conform with contemporary human rights standards of fair trial.

The ICJ is concerned that complainants to the seven-person tribunal are routinely denied oral hearings and the right to bring oral evidence or to call and cross-examine witnesses.

The proceedings are not public and are shrouded in secrecy. Adequate reasons underlying the decision to refuse to grant oral hearings are never provided. Decisions of the Tribunal are also not subject to any form of appeal.

The ILO Administrative Tribunal also appears to lack certain core attributes of independence. The judges rely on the ILO governing body for their appointment and three-year contract renewal. They are not guaranteed tenure, but instead are reliant for reappointment on the very body which is a party to proceedings in a substantial proportion of cases. The procedures for appointing judges are not transparent and employees have no input into the selection of judges.

Geoffrey Robertson Q.C., who shares many of our concerns relating to critical issues of law, will also address the meeting.

The ICJ will continue to press for reform of the proceedings and will continue to monitor the situation.

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