U.N. Under-Secretary-General Asks Cassese Not to Grant Sayyed Access to Investigation Documents

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia O'Brien filed a request with Judge Antonio Cassese, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, asking him to refrain from granting Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed access to investigation documents.

O'Brien based her request on "the inviolability of the archives and documents of the United Nations."

"Any documents or material of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission and any other United Nations documents and material on the criminal file are inviolable under the terms of article 11 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations," said O'Brien in her "brief on the inviolability of United Nations documents" addressed to Cassese.

"Inviolability entails that the documents cannot be disclosed to a third party, copied or used, including non-judicial proceedings, without the consent of the United Nations. The inviolability applies to United Nations documents, but also extends to documents 'held' by it, which may include third party documents given to the United Nations on a confidential basis."

O'Brien noted that the U.N. has a policy of "maximum cooperation with international criminal tribunals and has developed a practice of disclosing documents on its own volition in certain circumstances in order to facilitate the

work of these tribunals."

"The United Nations respectfully requests that in considering Sayyed's application for access to his criminal file, and in any other proceedings, the Tribunal, Prosecutors and Defense Counsel appearing before it refrain from disclosing, giving access to and tendering any United Nations documents without prior authorization of the United Nations," O'Brien said.