Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Former UN Officials Support Appeal of Cholera Case Dismissal

On January 9, 2015, a NY District Court judge dismissed the Cholera case against the UN, a decision that was subsequently appealed by IJDH. The following Amicus Brief, in support of IJDH’s appeal of the case, was signed by six former UN officials.

Click HERE for the full document.

Memorandum of Law of Amici Curiae Former United Nations Officials in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants

Howard Schiffman & Daniel L. Greenberg

June 3, 2015

Preliminary Statement:

Amici respectfully submit this brief in support of Plaintiffs-Appellants’ appeal of the District Court’s dismissal of this action on the grounds that the United Nations (“UN”) is immune from suit in U.S. courts, notwithstanding its failure to offer any redress or process in response to the Haitian cholera victims’ tort claims.

Interests of Amici Curiae:

Amici are a group of six former senior UN officials with extensive experience in a diverse set of roles at the highest levels of the UN, including a former Under-Secretary General, Permanent Representative, Deputy Executive Director of a UN agency, Director of a UN bureau, and Special Rapporteurs on the human rights to physical health, safe drinking water, and sanitation.2 experience and insight, Amici write to provide their perspective on critical policy issues raised by this appeal that are relevant to the Court’s decision, as well as the impact that the Court’s decision will have on the UN’s ability to fulfill its mandate.

Notwithstanding the historical and practical importance of the UN’s immunity to fulfill its mission, Amici respectfully submit that affirming the District Court will allow the UN to act with impunity for both the injuries its actions have caused and its refusal to provide any redress or process to the victims of the Haitian cholera disaster. The UN’s actions in this case unquestionably violate its express obligations to provide adequate remedies for victims of private law claims. They also are contrary to the values the UN professes, including the importance of the rule of law and access to remedies as a fundamental human right. Endorsing the UN’s position is not only contrary to the very foundation for its immunity, it will threaten the UN’s legitimacy and its ability to fulfill its vital mission.

Click HERE for the full document.

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