Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

New York Times’ Excellent Analysis of our March 1 Cholera Hearing

On March 1, Beatrice Lindstrom, IJDH Staff Attorney, represented Haiti’s cholera victims before a U.S. Federal Court. At this hearing in our cholera case against the UN, a panel of three judges analyzed the question of UN immunity. Much of the hearing was spent on the UN’s denial of justice. UN lawyers again did not attend the hearing, with a U.S. attorney arguing in favor of absolute UN immunity.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Court Hears Suit Against U.N. on Haiti Cholera Outbreak

Rick Gladstone, The New York Times

March 1, 2016

A legal battle by the Haitian victims of a cholera epidemic against the United Nations reached its highest level in an American court on Tuesday, as lawyers for the plaintiffs were permitted to argue before a federal appeals panel why they believe the United Nations is not entitled to immunity.

Based on the questions asked by the three judges hearing the arguments in a packed Manhattan federal courtroom, they appeared sympathetic to the victims.

The outcome of the case, in which United Nations peacekeepers are accused of having negligently brought cholera to Haiti after their deployment in 2010 following a disastrous earthquake, could have enormous implications for the United Nations. The global organization has asserted that a 1946 convention on privileges and immunities insulates it from such legal action — a defense that the appellate judges are now weighing.

Their decision is expected in the next several months, and if they agree with the cholera victims the case could be returned to a lower court for trial. If the judges deny the appeal, lawyers for the victims said, they would seek to bring the issue before the United States Supreme Court.

“Immunity does not mean impunity,” Beatrice Lindstrom, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a legal advocacy group that is helping represent the cholera victims, told the appellate judges.

Click HERE for the full text.


*Photo Credit Edgar Lafond/Haiti Liberté

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