Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Cholera victims tell court UN not immune, lawsuit should proceed

This is a brief filed by Plaintiffs in opposition to the U.S. Government’s Statement of Interest seeking dismissal of the cholera case. The plaintiffs argue that the UN’s promises to provide an out-of-court procedure for the settlement of claims against it are a fundamental part of the treaties that grant it immunity, and that the organization cannot invoke its immunity under those treaties when it has failed to fulfill those promises.

The beginning of the brief is below. Click HERE for the full document.



Plaintiffs seek to represent a class of several thousand people killed, and hundreds of
thousands injured, by a virulent cholera epidemic that has spread throughout Haiti and beyond its borders. Defendants, through a Statement of Interest filed by the U.S. Government (“Government”), now attempt to avoid their direct responsibility for this tragedy by stretching the bounds of their immunity beyond any reasonable formulation. In so doing, they assert a novel proposition of law that this Court should reject: that the United Nations (“UN”) and its affiliates possess immunity even when they have violated treaty obligations to provide those same victims with some remedy and mechanism for redress.

Defendants enjoy broad immunity under the UN Charter and the Convention on the
Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (“CPIUN”). But as the UN itself has
recognized and represented to this very Court, immunity under these treaties does not, and cannot, equate to impunity. The immunity protection is conditioned on the UN’s adherence to its corresponding duties, namely, that it establish a mode of settlement when it commits private law torts, such as those endured by Plaintiffs.


Click HERE for the full document.

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