Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Cholera Victims’ Fight for Justice Reaches Appeals Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kermshlise Picard, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti,; +1-617-652-0876 (Interviews available in English, French & Kreyòl) Cholera Victims’ Fight for Justice Reaches Appeals Court U.S. Court of Appeals reviews UN’s immunity claims (New York City, March 1, 2016)—The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York today considered Georges v. United Nations, the case of the victims of the deadly cholera epidemic brought to Haiti by UN troops. In a promising development, the Court announced on February 25 that it would hold an oral hearing. The hearing will evaluate the cholera victims’ claims that the UN lost its immunity in the case when it refused to fulfill its obligations to provide victims with an alternate mechanism for justice. Brian Concannon, Executive Director for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which […]

UN Special Rapporteurs and Independent Expert Support Cholera Justice

Some great news for cholera advocacy: The UN Special Rapporteurs and Independent Expert Gustavo Gallon wrote a letter rejecting the UN legal position. The letter, which was just made public, acknowledges the UN’s efforts on cholera so far but notes their inadequacy in face of the persistence of cholera in Haiti. These officials also stress that the UN’s response to the cholera case thus far has left cholera victims with no means of pursuing justice for their suffering. Klike ISI pou yon tradiksyon an kreyòl. Cliquez ICI pour une traduction en français. HAUT-COMMISSARIAT AUX DROITS DE L’HOMME • OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PALAIS DES NATIONS • 1211 GENEVA 10, SWITZERLAND Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this […]

Concernant le dossier choléra, Me Mario dit au Nouvelliste: Nous allons gagner

Après près de 5 ans sans justice de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour avoir apporté le choléra à Haïti, certaines personnes ont commencé à perdre l’espoir. Pas Maitre Mario Joseph du BAI. L’avocat rassure Le Nouvelliste que parce que l’ONU a enfreint la loi, l’organisation doit faire face à la justice. Il explique que cette question est non seulement important en Haïti, mais pour tous les pays pauvres où les Casques bleus sont déployés. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Plainte contre l’ONU pour le choléra : « Nous avançons très bien et sûrement », affirme Mario Joseph Karenine Francesca Theosmy, Le Nouvelliste 23 septembre 2015 Le responsable de l’Institut pour la justice et la démocratie (IJDH) et du Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI) continue de croire que la loi est du côté des victimes du choléra. Un état d’esprit confiant pour une […]

Legal Analysis of UN Immunity in the Haiti Cholera Case

The United States recently filed an amicus brief in support of absolute immunity for the United Nations (UN) in our cholera case against the organization. This article outlines some major counterarguments to what the US posits in its brief, including the initial intentions behind UN immunity. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. How Broad is the UN’s Immunity? More on The Haiti Cholera Case Kristen Boon, Opinio Juris September 22, 2015 If you haven’t seen it yet, the US recently filed its amicus brief in the Haiti Cholera appeal – it is available here: Haiti US amicus 2nd Circ. Predictably, the brief makes the case for absolute external UN immunity, and advances largely the same arguments put forward in prior filings. And yet, there are a number of powerful counterarguments to the position put forward by the US government. […]

UN Immunity Continues to Be Questioned by Legal Experts

In the Questions of International Law journal, three legal experts continue to analyze and question UN immunity in the Haiti cholera case. In one paper, Rosa Freedman and Nicolas Lemay-Hebert argue that UN immunity ought not only to be dealt with by reference to the CPIUN but that it needs to be interpreted within the broader context of international human rights law. This means that in the cholera case, UN immunity should not be upheld as it prevents the victims from their rights to access court and a remedy. In the other paper, Riccardo Pavloni focuses on both the extent of the UN’s third-party liability for acts of a private law nature, and the repercussions of not fulfilling that liability on the jurisdictional immunity of the UN in domestic courts. Both articles conclude that UN immunity needs to be reevaluated and a “balanced solution” […]

Human Rights Organizations Support Cholera Case Appeal

In January 2015, a US judge dismissed our case against the United Nations for its lack of accountability for Haiti’s cholera epidemic. We have appealed the decision. 24 human rights organizations wrote the amicus curiae brief below in support of our appeal. Click HERE for the full document. BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS Baher Azmy, William J. Aceves, Sarah Davila-Ruhaak June 3, 2015   STATEMENT OF INTEREST Amici Curiae1 consist of twenty-four human rights organizations from the United States and around the world that are committed to the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights, including the essential requirement of accountability for wrongdoing.2 Amici are deeply concerned that thousands of innocent victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, which is widely acknowledged to have been caused by the United Nations and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in […]

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