Golriz Ghahraman scrutiny and support continues

The Golriz Ghahraman  attacks and defences continued yesterday.

Andrew Geddis: Did Golriz Ghahraman do anything wrong?

The job of an international human rights lawyer isn’t always battling for the angels. Sometimes it involves having to look out for the interests of devils, as Golriz Ghahraman did.

Defending nasty individuals is just a part of what international human rights lawyers do. Consider the example of probably the world’s most famous such lawyer, Amal Alamuddin (now Clooney).

For me, this serving a greater project also distinguishes Ghahraman from MPs whose previous jobs involved taking on more morally questionable duties. Ghahraman played a necessary (if hard) role in an internationally established institution designed to resolve in an open and legitimate fashion individual guilt for horrible actions (thus showing that we collectively are better that those we condemn through it).

…we need to keep this in context. I’m sure that the various other lawyers sitting in Parliament may have done work for past clients that they probably would rather wasn’t waved in front of the public. That which is legal, and indeed completely ethical, can still be politically troublesome. And political parties aren’t exactly in the business of highlighting the politically troublesome aspects of their candidate’s past.

Perhaps, then, Ghahraman’s complete story can best help to remind us that stories with the good guys on one side and the bad guys on the other generally belong in books or on movie screens. In real life, and certainly in the practice of international human rights law, the narrative is (as they say) a bit more problematic. It shouldn’t really be a shock to us that this is so.

 

Phil Quin: Green MP Golriz Ghahraman pictured smiling in photograph alongside Rwandan convicted for inciting genocide

It rightly horrifies Rwandans that a New Zealand politician didn’t simply work for war criminals, but went out of her way to do so as a volunteer.

Not, mind you, volunteering to build homes for widows and orphans. Not working with Rwandan law firms to help build capacity in human rights law. Not spending one moment in the presence of the families whose loved ones were slaughtered at the behest of her clients.

Instead, she chose to use her time as a volunteer in Africa defending some of the worst criminals of the latter part of last century.

A free agent, Golriz Ghahraman is entitled to make that choice, just as we are entitled to assess her suitability for public office as a result.

The UN spent $2 billion during the life of the tribunal. They had 200 accredited lawyers. By the end, there were only 61 convictions – or $32 million a pop.

The notion that the ICTR was under-resourced, as Ghahraman claimed in the NZ Herald yesterday, is laughable.

Weka at The Standard: Thank-you Golriz

ffs NZ, get a grip. Then have a think about fairness and what kind of society we want.

I generally like being a New Zealander, but fuck we’re an embarrassment sometimes. In the last 24 hours a national debate has broken out about whether war criminals on trial should have legal representation. Micky has covered the basics of the beat up story here.  Yes, NZ is still wondering about how fairness and legality works.

Except that’s not what’s really going on. Oh look, Whale Oil, Kiwiblog and parts of the MSM all doing hatchet jobs on a Green MP’s career. Wonder how that happened. I guess it’s time for the Greens to be on the receiving end of Dirty Politics, although what’s really strange is that none of this is news.

To get all this out in the open so soon may help Ghahraman’s political career, if she manages to weather the storm. She should learn a lot from it. Some of it is fair questioning, some of it is dirty and low, but far better now than in the middle of an election campaign.


Added:

Another post from Andrew Geddis: Contra Quin: Ghahraman still did nothing wrong

Phil Quin says Golriz Ghahraman’s time working for defendants in Rwandan war crimes trials deserves our condemnation. I don’t think he’s established the basis for such a claim.

The issue of Green MP Golriz Ghahraman’s past actions on international criminal tribunals is a pretty weird one. There doesn’t appear to be any dispute about what she did. The argument is all about what those actions mean and how we should judge them.

To then thoroughly damn a 25-year-old Ghahraman for helping to write an academic paper, largely because of the findings of a report that came out four years later, seems remarkably churlish. The paper may be bad or ill-founded (although having looked at its subsequent citations, no-one else seems to have had a problem with it before now). But some sort of apology for genocide or giver of comfort to those who committed it? I think not.

So with all due respect to Quin’s experience in Rwanda and knowledge of the ground there, I just don’t think he’s accurately represented what Ghahraman’s place at the ICTR involved, nor do I think his criticism of a paper she helped co-write is really fair.

Geddis in a comment on that post:

However, in fairness to Quin, Rwanda clearly is a subject he cares deeply and passionately about, and has walked the hard road on. So I’m prepared to accept that he’s driven by a genuine sense of outrage at what occured there. I just think he’s misdirected that outrage in Ghahraman’s case and it’s caused him to misunderstand just what she did, as well as coloured his views of what she has written. Sometimes being too close to a subject causes you to lose perspective.

67 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  November 29, 2017

    Good comment from Andre

    “Andre 1.1.1.1.2
    29 November 2017 at 7:06 am
    There was and remains a major question about said MP of Chinese origin caused by his concealment of his relationship with China’s spying apparatus: if it comes to a question of a conflict between China’s interests and New Zealand’s interests, where will his loyalties and priorities really lie?

    In contrast, the hit on Ghahraman is that she didn’t go out of her way to highlight some aspects of her past work that simpletons with a reactionary view of how justice should work would find objectionable. She didn’t conceal those facts, she simply didn’t highlight them. So far there has been nothing come up to raise a question about her loyalties or integrity.”

    • Do you think her past shouldn’t be looked at or questioned?

      Or that the Green website writers shouldn’t be called for fudging?

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  November 29, 2017

        Exactly. Why did they hide her defense roles? Nothing wrong with being a defense lawyer….. but the Greens spun her as something else as a social justice warrior carrying the torch of jystice. They have been vcalled on the spin. And as always the usual suspects dont address the issue but attack the messenger and allude dirty politics….

        Harden up and grow up is the message the Greens need to hear..

    • I’m getting over the degree of what aboutism practised here. The issue is Gharahman. Those wishing to what about this or that can start a thread in Open Forum

  2. PDB

     /  November 29, 2017

    Weka: “In the last 24 hours a national debate has broken out about whether war criminals on trial should have legal representation.”

    Straw man argument – the issue isn’t about this at all. It’s about hiding aspects of your work history, padding out your CV by lying by omission, and taking happy photos with people faced with crimes against humanity. The ‘war criminals’ already had extensive, very well funded legal representation, Ghahraman volunteered to help out.

    Weka: “Except that’s not what’s really going on. Oh look, Whale Oil, Kiwiblog and parts of the MSM all doing hatchet jobs on a Green MP’s career. Wonder how that happened. I guess it’s time for the Greens to be on the receiving end of Dirty Politics, although what’s really strange is that none of this is news.”

    Long time Labour supporter Phil Quin is the one leading the charge on this issue as it’s one he is passionate about and has extensive knowledge on – not the right wing blogs, nor is it a National party hit.

    More to come on this matter.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  November 29, 2017

      Well said pdb… Wela as always is trying to have a narrative all of her own… surprise…surprise… not!

  3. Ray

     /  November 29, 2017

    Robert is back, I guess he needed a day to stop spinning and get his “hey there is a squirrel over there” points.
    Yes everybody deserves a lawyer but the UN, at considerable cost , were already supplying those..
    Miss Ghahraman or her agent were less than truthful about her various roles.

    How can she be effective in Parliament with this back story hanging around her neck?
    As in “Manus Island Is one of the most cruel things that humans have done to each other”
    Oh really!
    Compared with 800,000 being hacked to death by your clients, I don’t think so.

    • Corky.

       /  November 29, 2017

      Robs feeling the pressure. I called him out yesterday. He crawled on to this blog last evening when everyone was in bed and had a go at me for not voting. Enough said.

      Robs problem is he knows he’s supporting a dud. We don’t need Whaleoil or Kiwiblog to tell us that.

    • PDB

       /  November 29, 2017

      Her Manus Island statement only further confirms her views on the genocide. I think the next few days will see further confirmation of her active support for the killers above and beyond her simply volunteering for the defense to gain legal experience.

    • Blazer

       /  November 29, 2017

      Robert makes the valid point that the Yang case is far more ..important than a bit of C.V padding.

    • Blazer

       /  November 29, 2017

      Kirsty Johnstons interview with Golriz was edited….
      ‘ Kirsty Johnston reported on Twitter.
      To clear things up: I interviewed @golrizghahraman about six weeks before the election, we openly discussed her time in Rwanda as a defence intern. It (like much of her story) didn’t make my final story due to space. ’

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  November 29, 2017

        Bs … didnt make it because the facts where inconvenient. Its a rather important detail, defending rather than prosecuting, that jars with the narrative the Greens were running….

        Thought the Greens were all about Truth…. not so much when they are pushing a point it seems….

    • Nonsense, Ray.
      Here’s what Ed said:
      “Ed 3.1
      29 November 2017 at 7:21 am
      Kirsty Johnston reported this on Twitter.
      She doesn’t seem impressed by her editors.

      ‘The story was supposed to be part of a pre-election series, but we used it when she was elected. Call me naive but I assumed getting defence experience was normal, not a big deal, and there were other more relevant things to include’

      ‘To clear things up: I interviewed @golrizghahraman about six weeks before the election, we openly discussed her time in Rwanda as a defence intern. It (like much of her story) didn’t make my final story due to space. ’”

  4. Corky.

     /  November 29, 2017

    Weka: Except that’s not what’s really going on. Oh look, Whale Oil, Kiwiblog and parts of the MSM all doing hatchet jobs on a Green MP’s career. Wonder how that happened. I guess it’s time for the Greens to be on the receiving end of Dirty Politics,

    What a cheek!!

  5. Ridiculous labelling does make it look like indiscriminate trashing rather than valid discussion.

    • PDB

       /  November 29, 2017

      I’d hold judgement on that until Quin gets all his evidence out into the open – however I agree at the moment that would be assuming too much.

  6. David

     /  November 29, 2017

    Its not that genocidal maniacs shouldnt have legal representation its more they shouldnt go on to be Green MPs and pretend they were on the international circuit holding these hideous people to account. The fact she volunteered and posed for smiling photos is just too delicious.
    I hope she stays and is a high profile Green MP so next time the sanctimonious holier than thou Greens carry on with their nauseating virtue signalling we can all snigger at them. We dont really need them anyway as Ardern has made them redundant.

  7. Added to post:

    • PDB

       /  November 29, 2017

      Either Kirsty missed a huge story by not being aware of what happened in Rwanda or else the story was deliberately manufactured to only show Ghahraman in a positive light prior to the election.

    • David

       /  November 29, 2017

      Thats pretty awful and biased journalism, confirmation bias. Her editor should remind her of what the 4th estate is supposed to be about as that is quite relevant to where some would place their vote.

  8. Corky.

     /  November 29, 2017

    When in doubt you go to the ultimate arbitrator for a ruling. Look and learn, Robert.

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/mike-hosking-breakfast/video/mikes-minute-why-hide-golriz/

  9. Ray

     /  November 29, 2017

    Best tweet on the matter
    you may be upset about golriz ghahraman’s choices but they’re underpinned by a deep commitment to human rights even in difficult circumstances. the simple fact is guy williams deserves love too

  10. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    Kirsty Johnson buried the Golriz “defence” story – no other possibility, given who she works for.

    “To clear things up”: Explaining is losing, Kirsty, explaining is losing.

  11. High Flying Duck

     /  November 29, 2017

    Quinn is getting into far more specific – and local matters that may be more problematic.
    He is losing the argument at the moment as the Golriz defenders are wilfully talking past the actual issues raised and falling back on “everyone deserves a defence”

    • Blazer

       /  November 29, 2017

      of course he is losing the argument…the story is a beat up’ from a disgruntled…loser.

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  November 29, 2017

        Replace he with Blazer and your statement makes more sense…

      • david in aus

         /  November 29, 2017

        Genocide-defender Golriz is ‘winning’ the argument. Haha nice one. She is so winning that she wants more and more of the spotlight at the moment.
        Great to see the Greens are liking this because there is more to come.

      • david in aus

         /  November 29, 2017

        Sad to see someone labelling a person who works for victims of genocide as a loser. You can see which side Blazer works for, and it’s not for the side of angels.

        • Blazer

           /  November 29, 2017

          Quinn is a political loser to refine it for you.While you’re being sanctimonious..are Bush and Blair guilty of war crimes?

          • david in aus

             /  November 29, 2017

            What does Bush and Blair got to do with Golriz and NZ parliament? Nice deflection. If you can’t make an argument, get them to look someone else.

            Next you will try bring the left’s bete-noir, Donald Trump, into the discussion. Pure desperation.

            In little ol’ NZ, a hot of bed of war criminal associations. The Green party, who would of thought. As Kermit the frog said,” it’s not easy being Green”.

          • david in aus

             /  November 29, 2017

            I will gove Phil Quinn his due. He has his principles, which is too much of a luxury if you want to work with Labour/Greens. You need to wrap virtue-signalling in hypocrispy like Golriz to get anywhere. That’s why she as leftist sycophants defending her defending war criminals.

            • lurcher1948

               /  November 29, 2017

              PRETTY chic with doe eyes in a picture taken with a defendant in the past,whats wrong with that and yes i dont care about past shit in the world and i dont think i will EVER visit africa, and HEAPS of people have died in genocide,so you moral upstanding NATIONAL PARTY supporters you lot like Turkey so lets not mention the Kurds and Armenians now there’s genocide….

  12. so; Before the slaying begins, I just like to remind people about MP C Bishop & his connection to the Tobacco industry (Legal Drug deaths ?) over 5k kiwis die annually (so I read elsewhere) from an industry that he seems almost proud of. Is this being handled transparently too ?

    • David

       /  November 29, 2017

      So Bishop represents tobacco and is condemned for it but the Greenie defends genocide but we should look past that. Nice one Zedd just another caring and honourable lefty eh

    • Corky

       /  November 29, 2017

      Step aside, son. We have work to do.

    • Kevin

       /  November 29, 2017

      Fair point if Bishop claimed to represent victims of smoking.

  13. Kevin

     /  November 29, 2017

    Presland’s and Weka’s pieces are nothing more than straw man arguments. No one is saying Ghahraman was wrong to defend war criminals. We’re saying she falsely presented herself as defending the *victims*

    As for LPrent’s latest, it’s nothing more than attacking the messenger.

    https://thestandard.org.nz/phil-quin-our-medias-goto-dogwhistling-aussie/

  14. lurcher1948

     /  November 29, 2017

    https://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2017/11/came-time-choose-identity-picked-guys-wielding-machetes/
    Even slaters getting on the band wagon, but she will survive and go on to great things unlike the whining RIGHT whose great OLD WHITE leader has now lost TWO elections , which is worse for the losing National party than a picture of a NEW Green MP taken with a defendant in the past. Whats next weeks moral crises from the whining right??????just saying

    • Corky

       /  November 29, 2017

      Racism, never far from the Lefty mind. Clashes with all those claims of helping ”minorities.”
      What whining, Lurchy? The facts speak for themselves. She has/is being economical with the facts because the facts don’t gel with the perception of what the Greens want to project. And the Greens are still head shy from the Metiria affair. Put simply: the Greens are either fuggwits. Or they are conniving liars. Which is it, Lurchy?

  15. Joe Bloggs

     /  November 29, 2017

    What a bunch of hypocrites on display with your attacks on the integrity of Ghahraman and the Greens … the self-same hypocrites who ignore or defend trump for all his excesses his lying, his assaults on women, his racism… pure desperation from hypocrites who should know better

    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 29, 2017

      So which are you doing with Ghahraman Joe?
      Are you ignoring or defending her lying and hypocricy?

    • Corky

       /  November 29, 2017

      What the hell has Trump to do with this?

  16. High Flying Duck

     /  November 29, 2017

    Unless something truly incriminating comes out she will survive this.
    There is willful blindness to what she actually did and the false argument of everyone being allowed a defense overrides the nuances of Phil Quinn’s argument.
    It is instructive how the Greens react when caught out so blatantly misrepresenting their candidates though. After two fairly egregious episodes the sheen of sanctimony is starting to look more than a little tarnished.
    And some of the attacks on Quinn, who has close ties to the Rwanda rebuild and appears to be genuinely shocked and upset by the whole episode are despicable.

    • Ray

       /  November 29, 2017

      She may very well survive as an MP but she has lost the high ground forever if she hopes to be able to speak for survivors of genocide or immigrants caused by that!
      I note that other parts of her backstory are starting to unravel
      It is a real pity as she brings another opinion and real intelligence to the job, pity about her moral balance and boyfriend.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  November 29, 2017

        She does bring new perspectives to parliament, absolutely. But her Amal Clooney complex has caught up big time.
        Hopefully she will put her head down and learn some humility.
        Based on her defiant interviews so far and the Green leadership’s propensity to double down on backing stupid behaviour I don’t hold out much hope.

  17. Corky

     /  November 29, 2017

    For Lefties on this site. Talkback has discussed this topic all morning. And the judgement is
    a resounding…GUILTY. The public have spoken.

    • lurcher1948

       /  November 29, 2017

      So shes staying on Corky she could be the next co leader and will launch a probe to see if NZME are paying their fair share of tax and if mike hosking is a New Zealander and has this right winger payed ALL HIS TAX,which are not in trusts

      • High Flying Duck

         /  November 29, 2017

        And she’ll ensure that the genocidal murderers are safely at home tucked up in bed…while she tells everyone she did her best to “put them away!”…

    • duperez

       /  November 29, 2017

      The talkback public found her guilty. The same talkback public no doubt who would string the woman up to the nearest tree if they thought they could get away with it. For very moral reasons of course.

  18. lurcher1948

     /  November 29, 2017

    Corky you and david farrar are a team, two right wing posters,9 more years Corky and farrar is farrar

    • Corky

       /  November 29, 2017

      Easy, son , easy. Take five, gather your thoughts and have another go. You have three years, tops.

  19. duperez

     /  November 29, 2017

    Funny old day. Barry Soper is helping Golriz Ghahraman down the tubes for “at least fudging the truth”. She got to be an MP.
    On the same day another occasion of John Key lying as Prime Minister is reported.

    Barry Soper can and will say what he wants. He can and will take any particular stance he wants. At the moment he gives me pause to think he’s like a traffic cop. A green car driven by the youngster at 60kph in the 50 zone gets the ticket. The blue car driven by the Big Man at 83 kph is ignored.

    And all along the sidelines is cheering.

    • duperez

       /  November 29, 2017

      The implicit dare is there. C’mon, tell me the Key thing was unimportant, say it was years ago, say since he’s now gone it doesn’t matter. 😊

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  November 29, 2017

      Tell me why the Greens fudging her role is ok dupe… Key lied at times but ya know he was tory scum, so what did you expect?
      The Greens are morally and ethically superior, so they intimate all the time, so naturally a higher standard is expected…… except for welfare cheats and cv fudgers who are right on Greensmembers, they get pass.
      Nice attempt to divert and create equivalence to diffuse the story but sorry its a bad look so soon after MeTu self destructed.

      The Greens what you get when you think like a student radical when you all grown up… an unmitigated soggy mess

      • duperez

         /  November 29, 2017

        You can infer any moral or ethical superiority in whomever you want. Intimation is just a tool of illusion and this is politics. They might do it in a different way but it they’re just one of the bunch. Gridiron, Gaelic football, rugby league, Aussie rules, rugby union and probably other games are similar. Yes, the Greens are one of the bunch. Comparatively speaking they’re not tennis or synchronised swimming.
        Their status as something different and special has to be proven. Is that by dramatically different policies, by dramatically different people? The game they are in is one of hunting, and they are the ones being hunted. Any organisation problems, policy or personnel foibles will be ruthlessly used.
        Part of that is attributing to them self-professed superiority. That then becomes a target as any shortcomings will be measured against the (artificial) size of the fall. In the same way your example suggests, we expect scummy behaviour from scum and so it’s not so important.

  20. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 29, 2017

    Memo to MSM: Eat your Greens. They are good for you.

    • patupaiarehe

       /  November 29, 2017

      I like what you did there Alan 😉

      • PartisanZ

         /  November 29, 2017

        I see Red I see Red I see Red …

        Into the great Blue Beyond …

        I see a Red door and I want to paint it Black …

        And who but my lady Green sleeves?

        • PartisanZ

           /  November 29, 2017

          And for duperez … to the tune of Ray Columbus “She’s a Mod” … tau toko …

          “We’re a mob we’re a mob we’re a mob … Yeah Yeah Yeah …

          We can’t change any more”