Ms Benkirane Leila was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, where she attended French schools and obtained her Law degree from the Law University of Casablanca.
She joined the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in 1982 and spent most of her career in that Office. She was first assigned to the Treaty Section and moved, in 1989, as part of her career development to the Office of the Legal Counsel. Her key competencies in the UN Office of Legal Affairs relate essentially to Treaty Law as well as International Law and International Peace and Security.
In 2003, Ms. Benkirane moved to United Nations Office at Geneva where she performed managerial roles as Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the Director-General and later, as Director of the Publishing Service of the Division of Conferences Management until she retired in March 2013.
While Ms. Benkirane’s experience with the UN combines both substantive and managerial work, it is pertinent to note that she spent most of her career, 20 years, working with the UN Office of Legal Affairs where she acquired a substantive and vast knowledge on various legal issues such as the following:
Researches and analyses on questions relating to Treaty Law and preparation of studies on succession of States, declarations and reservations made by Member States to Treaties deposited with the UN Secretary-General; review of the final clauses of draft international agreements and provided advice with respect to the formalities concerning their adoption and entry into force pursuant to Article 102 of the UN Charter;
Interpretation of the UN Charter, rules of international public law, UN Security Council resolutions, Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN and other international instruments;
Legal advice on issues arising from UN operations and the use of force in the context of peacekeeping and governance powers of the UN as well as review of the rules of engagements of each UN operation with a military component;
Negotiation of numerous agreements on the status of UN operations in territories over which such operations are deployed as well as neighboring countries providing logistical facilities;
Legal Advisory role in several UN peace operations such as in Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Middle East (for the confirmation of the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon), Kosovo and Afghanistan;
Lectures and teaching courses on international law, peace and security, as representative of the UN Office of Legal Affairs, or upon invitation, at several governmental institutions and international law academies, such as on: (i) the Legal Aspects and Framework of UN Peace Operations, (ii) the use of force in self-defense and under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, (iii) Legal Perspective on the Management of UN Peace Operations, and (iv) Issues relating to the mandates of UN Peace Operations.
Ms Benkirane’s experience with the UN Office at Geneva was essentially Managerial.
As Chef de Cabinet, she managed the Office of the Director General by overseeing the proper implementation of UN policies as well as projects between UNOG and the host country; fulfilled representational functions by organizing and attending meetings and speaking engagements on behalf of the Director-General; and by maintaining liaison with civil society. As Chief of the Publishing Service of the Division of Conference Management, she oversaw the proper implementation of the work programme of the Service by directing, managing and coordinating the work of four Sections of the Service (Editing, Printing, Distribution and Information Technology); administering the human, financial and material resources of the Service and formulating general policies concerning the operations of the four sections and their relationship with other Services, UN bodies and Agencies.
Ms Benkirane retired recently from the United Nations and continues, as Senior Consultant, to lecture and teach courses on international law, peace and security, at various institutions and international law academies.
View the CV