José Bustani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Jose Bustani)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
José Maurício Bustani, 2003.

José Maurício de Figueiredo Bustani (born June 5, 1945) is a Brazilian diplomat who was the first director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons until he was ousted after falling out with the US government in April 2002.


Born in Porto Velho, Rondônia, he received his law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in 1967, and attended the Rio Branco Institute in the same year, after which he joined the Brazilian Foreign Service. He was the ambassador of Brazil in several countries, including the United Kingdom, between 2003 and 2008, and France, from 2008 up to retiring in 2015.[1]

Director General of the OPCW[edit]

Bustani was appointed the first director general of the OPCW in 1997. His four-year term was due to expire in 2001. However, he was unanimously reelected to this position one year early, in May 2000 for a term of four years.

Removal from Office[edit]

Soon after, Bustani fell out of favour with the U.S., who now began to lobby aggressively for his removal, in a campaign orchestrated by U.S. official John Bolton.[2] Finally, at Bolton's behest, a special meeting was held in The Hague on Sunday, April 21, 2002. Following what are reputed to have been both secretive and very tempestuous deliberations,[3] a vote was held, with Bustani's removal being carried by a vote of 48–7, with 43 abstentions.[4] This is thought to be the first time in history that the head of a major international organisation was removed during his or her term of office,[3] and the most bitter public campaign by the United States to force a senior international official from office since the Clinton administration blocked the 1996 reelection of U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali.[5]

There is much controversy surrounding the reasons behind Bustani's removal. He had been negotiating with the Iraqi government, and was hoping to persuade them to sign up to the OPCW, thus granting OPCW inspectors full access to Iraq's purported "chemical weapons arsenal". If Bustani had succeeded, this would have placed an extremely uncomfortable obstacle in the path of the Bush administration's war plans, by removing their ostensible motive. While Bustani's supporters insist this was the reason why the US forced him out [6][7] the Bush administration claimed that Bustani's position was no longer tenable,[6] stating three main reasons: "polarizing and confrontational conduct", "mismanagement issues" and "advocacy of inappropriate roles for the OPCW".[8] Bolton's claims of mismanagement were later dismissed by a tribunal.[9]

Bustani's supporters also claim that the U.S. ambassador John Bolton issued threats against OPCW - including the withdrawal of U.S. support for the organization - in order to coerce the member states to support the U.S. initiative against Bustani.[6] At last Bustani says that when he refused to resign prior to the 2003 Iraq War, he was bullied and personally threatened by Bolton[10] — an assertion which appears to be consistent with what was said about Bolton's practices during the U.S. Senate hearings prior to his appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.[11][12]

José Maurício Bustani filed a complaint with the International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal, which a year later set aside the dismissal decision, and provided moral as well as material financial compensation to him. He did not seek reinstatement.[13] According to the Statement of the Delegation of Brazil, on the IX Conference of States Parties to the CWC (Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty signed in 1993), on 3 December 2004, Ambassador Bustani donated 100% of his compensation for moral damages ("an amount which exceeds Euro 50,000.00") to the International Cooperation programmes of the OPCW: "A letter of Ambassador Bustani regarding this donation and comments about the final Judgement of the ILOAT on the issue of his removal can be found in a National Paper distributed by Brazil, document C-9/NAT.1, dated 13 August 2004."[14]

Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

In 2003, Bustani was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements at the OPCW. For many, this nomination represented the acknowledgement of his commitment to the neutrality, independence and emphasis on the multilateral character of the organization as well as the non-discriminatory treatment of member states. However he did not receive the prize.[1] Ten years after, in 2013, the OPCW, as an organization, won the Nobel Peace Prize. The OPCW Director-General recognised the contributions of former staff members of the Preparatory Commission and the Technical Secretariat by giving them a certificate marking the historic achievement.[15]


  1. ^ a b Lopes, D. B.. "Bustani, José Maurício de Figueiredo" in IO BIO - Biographical Dictionary of Secretaries-General of International Organizations. Edited by Bob Reinalda, Radboud University Nijmegen, and Kent Kille, The College of Wooster.
  2. ^ Monbiot, George (25 May 2008). "Let's book Bolton at Hay". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ a b Simpson, Tony. From chemical to nuclear. Time for another convention. In Simpson, Tony (ed.) The Middle East free of WMD?. Spokesman 122, p. 20-2. Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation. ISBN 978 0 85124 8288
  4. ^ US Department of State. Removal of OPCW Technical Secretariat Director-General Jose Bustani
  5. ^ Lynch, Colum. Disarmament Agency Director Is Ousted. The Washington Post, April 23, 2002.
  6. ^ a b c Popoviski, Vesselin. International Rule of Law and Professional Ethics, England, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2014, pp.158-160, apud Elmahdi, M. The Chemical Weapons Convention and Libya An Analysis of the Application of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons between 2003 and 2014. University of Leicester, January, 2018 p. 177
  7. ^ To Ousted Boss, Arms Watchdog Was Seen as an Obstacle in Iraq. By Marlise Simons. The New York Times, Oct. 13, 2013.
  8. ^ U.S. State Department Archive. Preserving the Chemical Weapons Convention: The Need For A New Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director-General. Fact Sheet Bureau of Arms Control. Washington, DC April 1, 2002.
  9. ^ Borger, Julian. Nobel peace prize honours OPCW's dangerous, dirty and unsung work. The Guardian, 11 October 2013.
  10. ^ "We know where your kids live": How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official. By Mehdi Hasan. The Intercept, March 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Bolton (Transcript). The New York Times, May 12, 2005.
  12. ^ Ex-Official Says Nominee Bullied Analyst on Arms. By Steven R. Weisman. The New York Times, April 13, 2005.
  13. ^ Judgment 2232. ILO Administrative Tribunal
  14. ^ Statement of the Delegation of Brazil in PDF Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ OPCW. Nobel Peace Prize "For its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons"

External links[edit]