Kamil Idris

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Kamil Eltayed Idris,[1] also spelled Kamil Eltayeb Idris[2] (Arabic: كامل إدريس‎) (born on August 26, 1945,[3] August 26, 1953,[4] or August 26, 1954[5]), is a Sudanese international civil servant. He was Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from November 1997 to September 2008. He was also head of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).[6][7]

Kamil Idris stepped down a year early from its post of head of WIPO, amidst "allegations of misconduct".[8] According to the International Herald Tribune, Kamil Idris "who used a false birth date for more than two decades accepted a package including an extra year's salary ... and full pension benefits before he offered to resign over questions about his integrity." [9] Kamil Idris blames the birth date discrepancy on a typographical error.[10]

Education and career[edit]

According to a document prepared by the Office of the UPOV, Kamil Idris holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Khartoum University, Sudan, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Political Science and Economic Theories from Cairo University, Egypt, a Master in International Law and International Affairs from Ohio University, United States, and a Doctorate in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva, Switzerland.[7] However, the claim that he received a Master in International Law and International Affairs from Ohio University is disputed. Jessica Stark, spokeswoman for Ohio University, told the press that he received instead a Master of Arts in African Studies.[9]

Kamil Idris joined WIPO on December 30, 1982.[11] On September 22, 1997, he was appointed Director General of WIPO for a period of six years.[12] He was formally re-appointed to a second six-year term as Director General of WIPO on May 27, 2003.[13][14] His mandate was originally due to end on November 30, 2009.

Kamil Idris was member of the International Law Commission from 1992 to 1996 and from 2000 to 2001.[15]

Controversy[edit]

A report,[16] carried out by WIPO's Internal Audit and Oversight Division at the request of the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit and subsequently leaked to journalists, concluded that Kamil Idris repeatedly misrepresented his age.[17][18][19][20] The report stated "that Idris sought to change his records at WIPO to show that he was born on August 26, 1954, despite signing numerous earlier documents showing his date of birth as August 26, 1945." [17]

On September 21, 2007, the Secretariat of the WIPO published "a note provid[ing] clarifications pertaining to a series of reported allegations and rumors concerning the Organization and its Director General".[21] The note points out "a deliberate intention to harm" [22] and criticizes the report by WIPO's Internal Audit and Oversight Division:

"Despite grave concerns over the value of the said report, its legitimacy, the fallacy of its conclusions and the failure of its author to observe due process and principles of independence, the report was somehow made available to some Member States and other parties, hence compromising its confidential status." [23]

During the 10-day WIPO general assembly that ended on October 3, 2007, a move by the United States, backed by developed countries, to remove Idris from his job was blocked by developing countries and the agency failed to approve a budget. A proposal to reduce Patent Cooperation Treaty fees did not pass. On October 3, the government of Switzerland, host country to WIPO, issued a press release citing "serious credibility" concerns and calling for an immediate search for a replacement for Idris.[24][25][26] As a result of the crisis, the future of WIPO was questioned, "because its credibility has been undermined by the Idris affair".[26] "The US [was] looking for other ways of regulating intellectual property and if it decides to go it alone “the days of WIPO are numbered"." [26]

Resignation[edit]

Kamil Idris stepped down a year early from his post of head of WIPO, amidst "allegations of misconduct".[8] He agreed to resign under pressure from Western countries.[9] According to the International Herald Tribune, Kamil Idris "who used a false birth date for more than two decades accepted a package including an extra year's salary of more than US$300,000 (€200,000) and full pension benefits before he offered to resign over questions about his integrity." [9]

Legacy[edit]

According to Roland Grossenbacher, then chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, interviewed early in 2008:

WIPO is in a very, very difficult situation right now and needs someone willing and capable over the next years, to handle the operational business, not by rhetoric but by action. That includes effective technical cooperation with developing countries. Sound operational management has been lost under the leadership of Kamil Idris but it has to be restored.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lofthus, Kai R., "Dr. Kamil Eltayed Idris: Sudan's Copyright Advocate Repositions WIPO for the New Century.", Billboard, Vol. 112, No. 2, January 8, 2000, page 62, ISSN 0006-2510, published by Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  2. ^ Kamil Eltayeb Idris, "Case study on the treaty establishing a preferential trade area for eastern and southern African states", Doctoral Thesis, Université de Genève, Institut Universitaire de Hautes Études Internationales, 1984.
  3. ^ For instance items A.1 (page 3) and E.1.17.1 (page 7) of IAOD/INV/2006/2, Report of the Investigation on Allegations Referred by the Joint Inspection Unit Concerning Mr. Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO, by the Senior Internal Auditor and Acting Director, Internal Audit and Oversight Division, November 2006, Posted on Foxnews.com.
  4. ^ For instance items A.2 (page 3), E.1.17.2 (page 7) and F.5.1.54 (page 15) of the IAOD/INV/2006/2 report.
  5. ^ For instance item E.1.17.8 (page 7) of the IAOD/INV/2006/2 report.
  6. ^ UPOV, Dr. Kamil Idris re-appointed UPOV Secretary-General, Press Release No. 57, Geneva, October 23, 2003. (pdf)
  7. ^ a b UPOV, Geneva Council, Thirty-Seventh Ordinary Session, Geneva, October 23, 2003, Appointment of Dr. Kamil Idris as Secretary-General of UPOV for the period December 1, 2003, to November 30, 2009.
  8. ^ a b AFP (Geneva), UN patent agency head to step down after misconduct row, November 14, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d Senior UN official accepts $300,000, pension benefits to resign over age change, International Herald Tribune, December 5, 2007. (Associated Press writer Frank Jordans contributed to this report).
  10. ^ Ron Paul's Presidential Bid Goes to a Higher Level With a Brand New Marketing Tool, Section: Golden Parachute, FOXNews.com, Political Grapevine, December 7, 2007.
  11. ^ Item F.4.1.28.1 (page 10) of the IAOD/INV/2006/2 report.
  12. ^ Item F.4.1.28.4 (page 11) of the IAOD/INV/2006/2 report.
  13. ^ WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris re-appointed as WIPO Director General, Press Release PR/2003/348, Geneva, May 27, 2003
  14. ^ Item F.4.1.28.5 (page 11) of the IAOD/INV/2006/2 report.
  15. ^ International Law Commission web site, Present and Former Members of the International Law Commission (1949-2006)
  16. ^ IAOD/INV/2006/2, Report of the Investigation on Allegations Referred by the Joint Inspection Unit Concerning Mr. Kamil Idris, Director General of WIPO, by the Senior Internal Auditor and Acting Director, Internal Audit and Oversight Division, November 2006, Posted on Foxnews.com.
  17. ^ a b WIPO chief offers lessons in keeping young (updated), Managing Intellectual Property, February 1, 2007. Consulted on July 1, 2007.
  18. ^ Intellectual Property Watch, Investigation Finds WIPO Head Repeatedly Misreported His Age, February 20, 2007.
  19. ^ Frances Williams, Probe says head of Wipo misled officials, Financial Times, February 22, 2007. Consulted on July 1, 2007.
  20. ^ Claudia Rosett, One for the Ages: U.N. Official Uses Two Birthdates, FOXNews.com, February 28, 2007. Consulted on July 1, 2007.
  21. ^ World Intellectual Property Organization, Brief Note on Allegations Against the Organization and its Director General, Document A/43/INF/8, September 21, 2007, Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, Forty-Third Series of Meetings, Geneva, September 24 to October 3, 2007 (copy archive here)
  22. ^ Brief Note on Allegations Against the Organization and its Director General, item 17.
  23. ^ Brief Note on Allegations Against the Organization and its Director General, item 18.
  24. ^ Laura MacInnis, U.N. patent agency chief faces calls to step aside, Reuters Africa, October 4, 2007.
  25. ^ Switzerland unsatisfied with the outcome of the WIPO General Assembly, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Media Release, October 4, 2007.
  26. ^ a b c WIPO faces crisis, Tribune de Genève, October 5, 2007
  27. ^ Managing Intellectual Property, Fees may rise as EPO stresses quality (Interview: Roland Grossenbacher), February 1, 2008
Preceded by
Árpád Bogsch
Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
1997–2008
Succeeded by
Francis Gurry