Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Judge Deliberates on UN Immunity in Cholera Epidemic

This article gives a detailed overview of the cholera epidemic in Haiti and the corresponding oral arguments on the question of UN immunity. On behalf of the UN, the US government attorney argued for the case to be dismissed under the UN Immunities Convention. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that because the UN failed to comply with its obligations, it left them with no choice but to seek justice in court. We now await the judge’s decision.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text and video interview with Beatrice Lindstrom.

Judge deliberates on whether UN can be sued by Haitian groups for cholera epidemic

Liling Tan, CCTV America
October 23, 2014

A judge is currently considering whether the United Nations can be sued over allegations that its peacekeepers in Haiti are responsible for the country’s worst cholera epidemic in recent history. CCTV America’s U.N. Correspondent Liling Tan reports.

At a hearing at U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Thursday two sides argued the merits of a lawsuit filed by a group of Haitian and Haitian-Americans against the United Nations, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken will decide whether to throw out a lawsuit or allow it to go to trial.

The hearing was the first action since the case was filed in October 2013. It’s also an important one because arguments on both sides address a very fundamental question of whether the U.N. is immune to lawsuits.

“We argued today that the United Nations cannot enjoy immunity in this suit when the United Nations is responsible for the death of over 8,500 people and over 700,000 people who have been injured,” said Beatrice Lindstrom, an attorney with Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

The plaintiffs are blaming U.N. peacekeepers for spreading cholera, and they seek remedies for personal injury or death in the worst cholera epidemic in modern times.

The question of U.N. immunity will determine whether the case can go to trial.


Click HERE for the full text and video interview with Beatrice Lindstrom.

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