Foreign Minister January Petersen dismissed an appeal from a Center Party politician to treat Mona Juul’s case leniently because it could weaken the UN’s role in the Middle East. Juul is Norway’s ambassador to Israel and Terje Rød-Larsen’s wife.
Petersen said that he felt it was convinced that there were only negative aspects to tempering a judgment about Juul’s acceptance of a USD 50,000 peace prize without notifying the department.
The Ministry has ruled that both Juul and Rød-Larsen violated civil service regulations by accepting a large sum of money in the line of duty without informing their employer. Juul also later recommended that the Peres Peace center, which awarded the prize money, receive Norwegian funding.
Terje Rød-Larsen can not be sanctioned by the ministry as he now works for the United Nations.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Karsten Klepsvik sketched two possible punitive reactions to the Juul case. The first would be a reprimand, which would be the mild alternative and have no further consequences.
The second alternative is a disciplinary sanction, which is more serious and could hamper Juul’s further career. If Juul is officially censured for her actions it would be considered a permanent blot on her record and could cost her job seniority.
Klepsvik confirmed that Juul’s transgression was serious, and rare. “I do not know of a previous case where the Foreign Ministry has concluded an ambassador has violated the laws of civil service,” Klepsvik said.
“It seems clear that Mona Juul was involved in handling applications from the Peres center for economic support. This application was recommended by the Norwegian embassy and it is clear that this can raise questions of her legal competency. The ministry is examining this aspect of the case closely,” Klepsvik said.
Both Juul and Rød-Larsen have expressed their apologies and regrets, and both have said that they were not aware that they were obliged to report the financial award to their employer, the ministry.
Rod-Larsen stressed that the award ceremony was a public event with full media coverage and that he had never tried to keep the prize a secret. This piece ran in the Aftenposten on April 30, 2002