Issue 137 - May 3 - Ivan Šimonović to be Appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights

New York, May 3, 2010 - A high-level Croatian official has just informed the UNelections Campaign that Ivan Simonovic, Croatia's Minister of Justice, will be appointed as the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. The appointment, made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is expected to be announced today.

About Ivan Šimonović

Croatia's justice minister, Ivan Šimonović, earned his law degree from the University of Zagreb Law School in 1982 and his doctorate from the same university in 1990. In the early 1990s, Šimonović began his career as assistant to Croatia's Foreign Minister, going on to serve as the Croatian Ambassador to the UN in 1997-2002. He was the president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2002. 

In 2000, Šimonović represented Croatia in its case for genocide against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at the International Court of Justice. At the end of his UN ambassadorship, he briefly became Deputy Foreign Minister (2002-2003). In 2004, he taught theory of law and international relations at University of Zagreb Law School. 

In 2008, Šimonović became the Minister of Justice-designate of Croatia. 

About the Position

Created by the UN General Assembly in late December 2009, the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) position is designed to lead the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), integrate human rights into key policy and management decisions and the work of intergovernmental bodies based in New York, coordinate New York activities with those in Geneva, and build relationships with all stakeholders (governments, other UN bodies, NGOs, etc.).

A January 25, 2010 announcement in The Economist outlined the position and qualifications, and a Note Verbale to Member States called for nominations by February 15.

The responsibilities of the ASG were described in the ad as follows.

  • Serve as the High Commissioner's principal representative in New York
  • Head the New York Office of the High Commissioner
  • Member States
  • Other UN organizations,
  • International organizations,
  • Regional and national institutions,
  • Non-governmental organizations,
  • The private sector, and
  • Academia.