Golriz Ghahraman has answered her critics well


Golriz Ghahraman has been under attack from right-wing pundits on two fronts.

Firstly, they criticise her participation, as a lawyer, in defence teams during war crimes trials at the International Criminal Trials for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. They don’t seem to be so critical of her role as Assistant Co-Prosecutor at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Secondly, they accuse Golriz of being less than forthcoming about her defence role. This is patently not true. She has spoken up and down the country to journalists and at public engagements about her defence role, including when an election candidate and since becoming a Green MP.  NZ Herald journalist Kirsty Johnson tweeted in her defence: “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.” Vice journalist Tess McClure published a transcript of an October interview where Golriz talked about her defence role, and why she was proud of it. Golriz told Vice how important a strong defence for a fair process “because how we treat the weakest links or the worst people in our society actually does define us. Having that fair process after a war has happened really will define the kind of society that comes out of it. So you know, to me, it is really important to have a strong defence in those courts, so that the verdicts were safe, and we left a model of justice for the community.”

Also, Golriz’s LinkedIn CV, accessable to over a million New Zealand LinkedIn members, has for some time detailed both her defence and prosecution roles on the International Tribunals.

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Ignoring all the evidence of Golriz’s openness her critics fell back on three words in one sentence on the Green website, which were not written by Golriz. The sentence read: “Golriz lived and worked in Africa, the Hague and Cambodia, putting on trial world leaders for abusing their power.” It is confusing, even if you can argue that the UN-contracted defence teams were part of the UN Tribunal “putting on trial” the accused. So the website sentence has been changed to read: “Golriz worked for United Nations Tribunals as part of both defence (Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia) and prosecution (Cambodia) teams.”

In summary, Golriz has never hidden her defence role in the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Tribunals. She has spoken about those experiences many times, and put them on her LinkedIn CV. It has been good to see the legal experts such as Andrew Geddes and so many progressive people coming to her defence.


  1. If you don’t believe that the worst alleged criminals (innocent until proven guilty) are entitled to legal representation and a fair trial – then you don’t believe in human rights.

    End of story.

    I have personally been quite horrified at the number of people who haven’t seemed to understand this essential element of basic human rights.

    Penny Bright

    • I have personally been quite horrified at the number of people who haven’t seemed to understand this essential element of basic human rights.

      Well said. I’m also horrified at some of the writers for this blog, who have been barking loudly to the dog whistler’s tune.

      • In a real war. You know when things are actually done to stop genocide either weeks before hostilities brake out, or weeks after just to intervene. New Zealand has a take no prisoners style because we don’t have the force ratio to act on the front lines, and process prisoners of war. I mean if we kept prisoners of war the entire NZDF would be prison guards almost, leaving no one to get in between the sword an it’s victim. Which is why we always fall back on postmortem words of wisdom way after the fact.

        You know there are levels to this.

    • Kia kaha, Penny. Without a committed defence we get Stalinist show trials. I am saddened that so many on a left leaning blog seem to miss this central point.
      This is a good article by Keith Locke. He understands.

    • In my ‘umble opinion, Quin needs to breath deeply and STFU.

      He’s shot himself in the foot by making that “genocide denier” remark and I doubt if he’ll recoup any credibility he’s lost on the Left.

      The Right will love him, though. (If that’s a positive aspect to this mess.)

  2. I have no issue with a human rights lawyer representing war criminals, everybody deserves a fair trial no matter how reprehensible. However I also think Golriz has handled it in an arrogant and obnoxious way. Golriz (colluding with hack journo Kirsty Johnson) misrepresented herself in a cynical public relations attempt and has proven herself untrustworthy to the kiwis, and tbh an embarrassment for the Greens party.

    • I swear people like me on the fringes and maybe a couple others and that’s it, are the only ones actually looking around saying hey, that formula the Greens use to choose candidates is completely useless. It can’t be underestimated how useless it is. It’s ok for choosing candidates in peaceful times but when the pressures on a little bit and I mean a little bit it topples over. So when I say Social Justice Warrior mentality I mean the Greens selection process and integration of new candidates is really lacking. And I’m trying to be nice here.

    • Golriz (colluding with hack journo Kirsty Johnson) misrepresented herself in a cynical public relations attempt…

      Benn, here’s a newsflash for you, and it’s free of charge: political aspirants do not tell journalists what/how to write their stories. Ms Golriz had little control over what was reported by Kirsty Johnson.

      In case you’ve been missing it, msm journos sometimes do outstanding work. Othertimes they f**k up in a big way. And often they leave out essential bits. (God knows I’ve written ad nauseum on some of their “stories”.)

      Ms Golriz was not “obnoxious or arrogant”. Those are random words you’ve inserted in vacant spaces to fill your sentence – but which are not relevant or appropriately descriptive.

      If you want “obnoxious and arrogant”, I point you in the direction of National’s Judith Collins. That’ll fill your stomach with as much “obnoxiousness and arrogance” as you can take.

      • Well said Frank. I see the Guardian’s only just corrected an October story which said Golriz was a prosecutor in the Rhwanda trials. How can you get your message across with MSM full of errors like that? But good on Newshub, which ran a story citing 5 public mentions – one as early as 2008 – of Golriz saying she worked on war crimes defence teams.

  3. Thank you Keith for putting Golriz’s case so politely and respectfully. Yesterday, I went in to bat for her on Kiwi Blog as a bit of an experiment. I felt like I needed 100 showers. I was labelled a bigot, racist and loony lefty, and told to ‘f’ off umpteen times. Calling the horrid blog’s disciples Tories probably didn’t help my cause. Neither did my postulation that grumpy, old, male red-necks were showing – again, as with Jacinda – their fear of young, intelligent and ambitions women.

  4. Phil Quin should check his facts before posting material which is then picked up by a headline-hungry msm, which does serious harm to a young woman’s political reputation.

    This is why so many women run a mile rather than enter the cess pit of politics.

  5. “In summary, Golriz has never hidden her defence role in the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Tribunals.”

    Oh yes, she has. She permitted multiple media articles to be published and go unchallenged asserting her role was as a prosecutor, including:

    “She worked as a United Nations prosecutor, who worked on tribunals in Rwanda, Cambodia, and at The Hague.”

    https://impolitikal.com/2017/02/01/golriz-ghahraman-on-identity-democracy-i-cant-shed-my-skin/ (written by Golriz herself!)
    “Eventually, that nine-year-old refugee girl ended up prosecuting heads of state for the United Nations.”

    “Golriz is now a human rights lawyer who worked as a prosecutor at the United Nations tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
    (Where did James get THAT from?)

    …in a question out to Golriz…
    “You already have a very impressive resume – an Oxford grad, human rights lawyer and prosecuting for the United Nations including working on the tribunals for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Cambodia.”

    There are many, many more. Keith you are better than this. Martyn had it right from the outset. https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/28/i-loath-to-agree-with-david-farrar-but-hes-right-about-golriz-ghahraman/.

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