We were profoundly saddened to learn of John Kim’s death on November 27th. John was a deeply ethical man who worked at the World Bank for nearly 30 years and was identified as a source for a journalist who criticized then Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. As a result of the exposure of wrongdoing by Wolfowitz, he and his top aides resigned in 2008.
GAP represented John as a client from 2009 until 2011, as he contested the Bank’s treatment of him. On his behalf, GAP argued that the Bank had violated his rights as a staff member when its investigators subjected him to interrogation, placed him on administrative leave for 9 months and ultimately dismissed him. The tribunal agreed and ordered that he be compensated or reinstated.
John Kim never returned to the World Bank. He donated his damages award to GAP so that World Bank whistleblowers could access legal help and expand the impact of their disclosures. The professional ordeal he experienced was difficult to bear, but he endured it without complaint or submission. The process of vindication was protracted, but John’s determination never flagged, and in the end, the Bank was obliged by its own justice system to acknowledge that it had wronged him. This is only a minor consolation now, but John was an exemplary World Bank staff member who was proud of having served its mission well.
GAP extends its condolences to his family and his friends.