Access to Justice for Victims of Cholera in Haiti: Accountability for U.N. Torts in U.S. Court

Beatrice Lindstrom,[1] Shannon Jonsson,[2] and Gillian Stoddard Leatherberry[3]

Andre Paul Joseph . . . describes how, in the middle of the night, he was suddenly seized by violent diarrhea followed by vomiting. Then Semans Pierre shares a similar story. One after another the residents of Rivye Kano come forward, and we hear about desperate family members rushing fathers and mothers and children down the mountain to the closest hospital. There, they found a panicky staff already tending to dozens of others in similar distress. It was a massive outbreak of cholera. . . . The consensus among public health experts is that, now that cholera has reared its ugly head in Haiti, it is destined to become endemic there.

– Fran Quigley, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: Activists, Lawyers, and the Grassroots Campaign[4]


Georges v. United Nations, a lawsuit seeking to ensure that United Nations (“U.N.”) immunity does not deny a legal remedy to victims of a U.N.-caused cholera epidemic, is as legally important as it is humanly compelling.[5] The Plaintiffs have sued the U.N. as a last resort to seek remedies for personal injury and death sustained in one of the most tragic torts of recent times: the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti. Cholera erupted after peacekeepers from the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (“MINUSTAH”) recklessly discharged raw sewage into Haiti’s largest river system, setting off the world’s deadliest cholera epidemic that has killed over 8,500 people and sickened more than 706,000[6] since October 2010.[7] Despite overwhelming evidence establishing U.N. responsibility and global calls for justice, the U.N. has responded by refusing to take any responsibility for the epidemic and asserting immunity from suit.[8]

Seeking access to legal remedies as victims of U.N. torts, the Georges Plaintiffs[9] posit innovative arguments. Georges presents a question of first impression in a U.S. court:  whether the U.N. can and should enjoy immunity from suit where it has refused to comply with its obligations to provide victims with access to alternative dispute resolution and a chance to have their claims resolved elsewhere. The case is not only important to cholera victims who remain uncompensated in the face of U.N. wrongdoing, but more broadly highlights the incongruity between the U.N.’s mission to promote human rights and the rule of law[10] and its refusal to abide by these values itself—an inconsistency that jeopardizes the organization’s legitimacy as the promoter of these principles worldwide. Ultimately, if the Georges Plaintiffs are successful, the case will establish a precedent that U.N. immunity does not and cannot mean impunity.

I. U.N. Responsibility for Cholera:  Above the Law Despite Damning Evidence?

Extensive evidence drawn from numerous scientific studies, including one commissioned by the U.N. itself, demonstrates that MINUSTAH is responsible for introducing the disease to Haiti.[11] In October 2010, for the first time in its history,[12] Haiti experienced a devastating cholera outbreak—a disease that is transmitted through contaminated food or water.[13] The U.N. soldiers were deployed to Haiti from Nepal,[14] where cholera is endemic and there had been a surge in infections around the time of the deployment.[15] The soldiers were stationed on a U.N. base perched on the banks of a tributary to the Artibonite River, which Haitians use as a primary source of water.[16] The sanitation infrastructure serving the base was poorly maintained, and cracked and “haphazard” piping allowed wastewater to leak from the base into the river system.[17] The base disposed of fecal waste from its toilets in uncovered pits dug into the top of a hill that sloped downward towards the river and overflowed in heavy rain.[18] Genetic testing has since established that the strain of cholera in Haiti is a “perfect match” to the strain from Nepal.[19] Epidemiological studies show that the U.N. base was the most likely source of the disease in Haiti.[20] The outbreak was explosive, sparking what has become the largest cholera epidemic in the world.[21]

Despite clear evidence establishing U.N. responsibility, victims who have lost family members or have been sickened by the disease have faced incredible hurdles to accessing justice. Two international treaties provide the U.N. with immunity from suit in domestic courts, but also impose reciprocal obligations on the organization to provide an alternative settlement mechanism to those harmed by its actions. First, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (“CPIUN”) provides the U.N. with immunity from suit in member states’ courts with the understanding that some immunity from domestic jurisdiction was “necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of [the U.N.’s] purposes.”[22] While the CPIUN states that “[t]he United Nations . . . shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process except insofar as in any particular case it has expressly waived its immunity,”[23] it equally provides that the U.N. “shall make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement of . . . disputes of a private law character to which the United Nations is a party. . . .”[24]  Second, the Status of Forces Agreement (“SOFA”) signed by the U.N. and the Government of Haiti provides for CPIUN immunity to MINUSTAH in Haiti.[25] The SOFA also requires the establishment of a dispute resolution mechanism, which includes a standing claims commission for the settlement of “[t]hird-party claims . . . for personal injury, illness or death arising from or directly attributed to MINUSTAH. . . .”[26] The establishment of a standing claims commission is part of the model SOFA used for all U.N. missions.[27] To date, the U.N. has never set up such a commission in any country, despite signing thirty-two treaties that mandate it.[28]

Based on this legal architecture, in November 2011, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (“BAI”), one of Haiti’s leading public interest law firms, and its U.S. partner, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (“IJDH”), filed claims directly with the U.N. and MINUSTAH on behalf of over 5,000 cholera victims.[29]  The petitioners sought a public acknowledgment of responsibility, compensation, and funding for clean water and sanitation infrastructure.[30] They also requested the establishment of the SOFA-required standing claims commission, asking that the claims be adjudicated “in a fair, impartial and transparent manner.”[31] It took fifteen months for the U.N. to respond to the claims.[32] In February 2013, the U.N.’s Legal Counsel sent a letter to the petitioners’ attorneys that dismissively asserted that the claims were “not receivable” because they “would necessarily include a review of political and policy matters.”[33]  The U.N. refused requests for further explanation.[34]

International law experts agree that this response is not legally justified[35] and that the refusal to receive the claims or establish a standing claims commission violates the U.N.’s legal obligations under international law.[36] The U.N.’s refusal to engage with victims also departs from its previous practice of compensating victims of U.N. torts.[37] Commenting on the proffered justification for refusing the claims, Bruce Rashkow, the former head of the U.N.’s General Legal Division, noted: “As the head of the United Nations legal office that routinely handled claims against the Organization for some ten years, I did not recall any previous instance where such a formulation was utilized in regard to such claims.”[38]

II. Taking the UN to Court: Immunity Is Not Impunity

Having been denied access to any alternative dispute resolution mechanism, the cholera victims turned to domestic courts. In October 2013, IJDH and partners filed a class-action suit against the U.N., MINUSTAH, and two U.N. officers on behalf of Haitian and Haitian-American cholera victims and their families in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[39] The defendants have not entered an appearance in the case, but have instead requested that the U.S. Government seek dismissal on their behalf.[40] In March 2014, the U.S. Attorney filed a Statement of Interest arguing that the case should be dismissed because the U.N. and its officers have absolute immunity from suit in U.S. court.[41]

While prior cases against the U.N. have been dismissed on the grounds of immunity, Georges presents a case of first impression in U.S. court. Both parties agree that under the CPIUN, the U.N. must provide reparations[42] and that the U.N. breached its obligations to the Plaintiffs.[43] The question for the court is therefore whether the U.N. is still entitled to immunity where it has breached the treaties that confer that immunity.

The Georges Plaintiffs present two main arguments in support of the position that, in light of the breach of its obligations under the CPIUN, the U.N. does not enjoy immunity from Plaintiffs’ claims under the treaty. First, Plaintiffs argue that U.N. immunity pursuant to Section 2 of the CPIUN is conditional on the provision of an alternative remedy for private law claims—a requirement under Section 29 of the treaty.[44] According to Plaintiffs, principles of treaty interpretation require that the CPIUN be read as a whole, such that Section 2 may not be read without also considering Section 29.[45] Plaintiffs point to the travaux préparatoires of the CPIUN as evidence that the drafters understood the U.N.’s entitlement to immunity to be conditioned on the provision of alternative remedies,[46] noting, for example, that the drafters instructed that dispute resolution must be provided “if [the U.N.] is not prepared to go before the Courts.”[47] Plaintiffs also cite that the U.N. has itself repeatedly stressed that enjoyment of immunity is permissible precisely because compliance with Section 29 of the treaty ensures that the organization could not act with impunity.[48]  Indeed, the U.N. has even argued before the International Court of Justice, stating:

[T]he immunity accorded to the United Nations by [the CPIUN] . . . is offset by an obligation . . . to make remedies available to private parties who might otherwise be harmed by the immunity of the Organization and its agents. . . . [W]e again emphasize that in the event that immunity is asserted, a claimant seeking a redress against the Organization shall be afforded an appropriate means of settlement. The immunity of the United Nations, or its agents, does not leave a plaintiff without remedy. . . .[49]

Thus, where the U.N. fails to fulfill the precondition of providing an alternate dispute resolution mechanism, as was the case for the Haitian cholera victims, Plaintiffs argue that immunity under Section 2 is not available.

Second, the Plaintiffs assert that the U.N. has materially breached the CPIUN by failing to provide the requisite alternative settlement mechanism and therefore cannot benefit from immunity under the same treaty.[50] Plaintiffs argue that the drafters of the CPIUN envisioned a balanced treaty that, while conferring broad immunities to the U.N., counterbalanced that immunity by providing for settlement mechanisms of private law claims.[51] Section 29 thus serves the critical function of ensuring that immunity does not conflict with the customary international law right to an effective remedy,[52] the U.N.’s own mandate to promote human rights,[53] and the object and purpose of the CPIUN.[54] As a result, the obligation to accord immunity to the U.N. is inapplicable when the U.N. fails to provide appropriate modes of settlement of private law claims as is the case in Georges.  Plaintiffs’ claims are buttressed by amici who argue that the U.N. has an obligation to settle the cholera victims’ claims,[55] and that U.N. immunity in domestic courts should be carefully balanced against the organization providing a reasonable alternative means of settling private law claims.[56]

Georges presents a legal question never before decided and draws from an entirely new palette of facts and circumstances. Previous cases have challenged U.N. immunity based on the adequacy rather than the availability of an out-of-court settlement. U.N. employees, who have access to the U.N.’s Administrative Tribunal, have brought the vast majority of these cases and have challenged unfavorable decisions or inadequate remedies issued by the Tribunal.[57]  Those plaintiffs argued that the U.N.’s failure to provide adequate remedies amounted to a waiver of immunity, which the courts have rejected on the grounds that waiver under the CPIUN must be express. In contrast, the Georges Plaintiffs do not argue that the failure to provide a settlement mechanism constitutes a waiver of otherwise enforceable U.N. immunity. Rather, they argue that the failure to provide access to any dispute resolution procedure precludes the application of immunity to the U.N. ab initio, such that the U.N. never possessed an enforceable right to immunity in their case. Further, unlike employment cases, Georges concerns harm to innocent bystanders otherwise unconnected to the U.N.  The U.N. has well-articulated obligations to compensate for such harms,[58] and a longstanding practice of doing so.[59]  While courts have upheld U.N. immunity where dispute resolution mechanisms and compensation schemes exist, a U.S. court has never addressed U.N. immunity in a case where the U.N. has completely denied innocent bystanders access to any U.N. dispute resolution, settlement, or compensation mechanism.

Outside of the United States, courts have adopted a balancing approach to the immunity of international organizations. Under this approach, access to alternative dispute settlement is a material factor that, when denied, can provide grounds for setting aside immunity.[60] Courts have applied this approach to the U.N.,[61] and Plaintiffs and amici point to these decisions as evidence of the proper interpretation of U.N. immunity.[62]

Moreover, the interest in preserving the U.N.’s ability to carry out its core functions without external interference—commonly cited as a ground for upholding U.N. immunity[63]—does not apply in Georges. The UN’s reckless and improper waste management on its base in Haiti was in no way related to MINUSTAH’s mandate or the mission of the U.N. as a whole. To the contrary, the Georges Plaintiffs assert that upholding U.N. immunity in their case would only allow defendants to evade the rule of law.[64]  Thus, the Georges Plaintiffs note that the U.N. and MINUSTAH, in their insistence on absolute immunity, “seek an extreme version of immunity beyond the limited and contingent immunity authorized by their founding document [the UN Charter].”[65]

III. Accountability as a Means to Strengthen the U.N.

As the human costs of a lack of U.N. accountability grow, the international community, including U.N. insiders, is beginning to recognize that in some cases immunity should give way to the need for accountability from an otherwise untouchable institution. Former U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis has taken the view that:

immunity should not be blanket; it should not be wholesale. There are instances where immunity should be lifted, and what happened in Haiti is one of those instances. . . . I don’t think [liability] would compromise the UN. In fact, I think it would do the UN a lot of good to be seen as principled in the face of having caused so much devastation.[66]

Numerous other human rights experts affiliated with the U.N. have also spoken out publicly in favor of U.N. accountability for the cholera epidemic, including former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay,[67] U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Water Catarina de Albuquerque,[68] and U.N. Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti Gustavo Gallón,[69] among others.[70]

The cholera case is not the only situation in which U.N. immunity has recently come under scrutiny.[71] An abundance of questions regarding the reputation of the United Nations have arisen in other contexts, including instances of egregious sexual violence perpetrated by U.N. peacekeepers.[72] Together, these concerns amount to a credibility crisis for the organization.[73]  Ultimately, enforcing a balanced interpretation of U.N. immunity when the organization harms innocent bystanders will render it stronger as an institution, and reinforce its legitimacy as a bastion of international human rights.

Georges v. United Nations went to oral argument in the Southern District of New York on October 23, 2014. Counsel for Plaintiffs Beatrice Lindstrom (the first author on this article), three amici for Plaintiffs, and the U.S. government argued the question of United Nations immunity. A decision on the question is currently pending.

[1] Beatrice Lindstrom is a Staff Attorney at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and is Counsel for Plaintiffs in Georges v. United Nations.

[2] Shannon Jonsson is a Legal Fellow at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.

[3] Gillian Stoddard Leatherberry is a law student at Boston University School of Law and a former Legal Intern at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.

[4] 8-10 (2014).

[5] Complaint, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 9, 2013) [hereinafter Complaint].

[6] Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Population, Rapport de Cas 1 (2014), available at

[7] Experts say that the disease may remain permanently in Haiti, and the death toll continues to rise. Adam Houston, In Their Court: Litigation Against the United Nations as a Last Resort for Haitian Cholera Victims, Health & Human Rights Journal (June 18, 2014),; Wynne Perry, Cholera Epidemic that Began in Haiti Continues to Kill Elsewhere, Huffington Post (Nov. 7, 2013), (recording the opinion of Director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, Dr. Glenn Morris, that the strain of cholera may remain in Haiti permanently); Tim Witcher & Mariano Andrade, UN Warns of Surge in Haiti Cholera Deaths, ReliefWeb (Jan. 22, 2014),

[8] Complaint, supra note 5, at paras. 108, 123, 172.

[9] “Plaintiffs” in this article refers to the plaintiffs in Georges v. United Nations only. Two other cases filed after Georges also bring suit against the U.N. on behalf of Haitian cholera victims, but this article only addresses the Georges case. See generally Complaint, LaVenture v. United Nations, No. 1:14-cv-01611 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 11, 2014); Complaint, Jean-Robert v. United Nations, No. 1:14-cv-01545 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 06, 2014).

[10] U.N. Charter, art. 1, para. 3 (stating that one of the purposes of the U.N. is to “promot[e] and encourage[e] respect for human rights”); S.C. Res. 1542, ¶ 7(1)(d), U.N. Doc. S/RES/1542 (Apr. 30, 2004) (including in the mandate of MINUSTAH a promise to “assist with the restoration and maintenance of the rule of law”).

[11] See generally Transnational Dev. Clinic et al., Peacekeeping Without Accountability: The United Nations’ Responsibility for the Haitian Cholera Epidemic 22-33 (2013) [hereinafter Yale Report], available at  (reviewing scientific studies showing MINUSTAH to be the source of the epidemic).

[12] For an overview of research on the absence of cholera in Haiti, see Jonathan M. Katz, The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster 223 (2013) (“As of the 2010 earthquake, not a single case had been documented in Haiti.”); see also Deborah Jenson et al., Cholera in Haiti and Other Caribbean Regions,19th Century, 17 Emerging Infectious Diseases 2130 (2011); Fabini D. Orata et al., The 2010 Cholera Outbreak in Haiti: How Science Solved a Controversy, 14 PLOS Pathogens 1 (2014), available at (citing to Jenson and stating that “[p]rior to 2010, there was no reported history of cholera in Haiti, despite devastating outbreaks in the Caribbean region in the 19th century”).

[13] Cholera is a particularly fast killer, causing dehydration in its victims that can lead to death in as little as a few hours. Cholera – Vibrio Cholerae Infection: General Information, Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention, (last accessed Aug. 29, 2014) (noting that severe cholera includes profuse diarrhea, vomiting, leg cramps leading to dehydration and shock and that “without treatment, death can occur within hours”). The disease poses particularly difficult challenges in a country such as Haiti where many people live in rural settings with no access to medical facilities or access only after a day or more of travel, too long for many people who contract the disease. David Cyranoski, Cholera Care Fails to Reach Rural Haitians, Nature (Jan. 19, 2011), (documenting that some Haitians have to walk four hours, crossing mountains and rivers, to get to a clinic and others live a day’s drive away). The treatment for cholera includes clean water to reverse the effects of dehydration; “with proper treatment, fewer than one percent of patients die from the disease.” Cholera – Vibrio Cholerae Infection: General Information, Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention, (last accessed Aug. 29, 2014).

[14] Alejando Cravioto et al., Final Report of the Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti 12 (2011) [hereinafter UN Independent Panel of Experts Report], available at

[15] Yale Report, supra note 10, at 1.

[16] Id. at 14.

[17] UN Independent Panel of Experts Report, supra note 14, at 21.

[18] Id. at 22.

[19] Id. at 27.

[20] See Daniele Lantagne et al., The Cholera Outbreak in Haiti: Where and How Did It Begin?, 379 Current Topics Microbiology & Immunology 145, 150-52 (2014), available at; Mark Doyle, Haiti Cholera Epidemic ‘Most Likely’ Started at UN Camp – Top Scientist, BBC News, Oct. 22, 2012, (calling the Haiti cholera strain an “exact match” to the Nepalese strain); see also UN Independent Panel of Experts Report, supra note 14, at 27.

[21] Doyle, supra note 20 (noting in 2012 that the epidemic “is by far the largest cholera outbreak in the world in recent years—with more cases than on the whole of the African continent”).

[22] Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, adopted Feb. 13, 1946, 1 U.N.T.S. 16 [hereinafter CPIUN].

[23] Id. § 2.

[24] Id. § 29 (emphasis added).

[25] Agreement Between the United Nations and the Government of Haiti Concerning the Status of the United Nations Operation in Haiti, Haiti-United Nations, July 9, 2004, 2271 U.N.T.S. 235 [hereinafter SOFA]. The SOFA has governed MINUSTAH’s status in Haiti since 2004, when it was deployed to Haiti after a coup to “put an end to impunity and to ensure that the continued promotion and protection of human rights and the establishment of a State based on the rule of law” in Haiti, among other things. S.C. Res. 1542, supra note 9, pmbl.

[26] SOFA, supra note 25, at para. 54.

[27] Yale Report, supra note 10, at 28-31; Bruce Rashkow, Remedies for Harm Caused by UN Peacekeepers, AJIL Unbound (Apr. 2, 2014, 3:55 PM), (“The Status of Forces agreements . . . (SOFAs) between the Organization and the states in which such peacekeeping missions take place also provide routinely for a standing claims commission.”).

[28] Yale Report, supra note 10, at 29.

[29] Id. at 30; Mario Joseph, The Fight Against UN Impunity and Immunity in Haiti: The Cholera Scandal, Civicus, (last visited Oct.7, 2014).

[30] Petition for Relief to MINUSTAH Claims Unit, ¶¶ 105, 108, 112-113 (filed Nov. 3, 2011), available at; see also Yale Report, supra note 10, at 30-31.

[31] Petition for Relief to MINUSTAH Claims Unit, supra note 30, ¶ 102.

[32] Yale Report, supra note 10, at 30-31.

[33] Letter from the Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs of United Nations to the Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (July 5, 2013), available at

[34] Id.

[35] See José Alvarez, The United Nations in the Time of Cholera, AJIL Unbound (Apr. 4, 2014, 12:01 PM), (“A response that tort complaints are ‘policy’ claims because the policies of the tortfeasor may be questioned is a defense that only someone who has never had to face a tort suit could possibly make.”); see also Memorandum of Law of Amici Curiae European Law Scholars and Practitioners of Plaintiffs’ Opposition to the Government’s Statement of Interest, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (arguing that the cholera complaints are private law claims to which the United Nations has an obligation to respond because the claims do not invoke operational necessity).

[36] Yale Report, supra note 10, at 4 (reviewing the U.N.’s response to cholera victims and finding that the U.N.’s “ongoing unwillingness to hold itself accountable to victims violates its legal obligations under international law”).

[37] See Bruce Rashkow, Immunity of the United Nations: Practice and Challenges, 10 Int’l Org. L. Rev. 332, 338-39 (2014).

[38] Id. at 344 n.27.

[39] See generally Complaint, supra note 5.

[40] United States Government Statement of Interest, Ex. A-B, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014).

[41] United States Government Statement of Interest, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014).

[42] See United States Government Reply to Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Government’s Statement of Interest at 4, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014) [hereinafter Government Reply Brief]; Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Further Opposition to the Government’s Statement of Interest at 1, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014) [hereinafter Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief]; see also Legal Activities of the United Nations and Related Intergovernmental Organizations, 2001 U.N. Jurid. Y.B. 381, 382 (“Pursuant to [CPIUN], article VIII, section 29, the organization is required to make provisions for appropriate modes of settlement.”) (emphasis added); U.N. Secretariat, The Practice of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency Concerning their Status, Privileges and Immunities, ¶ 56, U.N. Doc. A/CN.4/L.118 & Add. 1-2 (Mar. 8, May 5 & 23, 1967)) (“[I]n keeping with generally recognized legal principles and with the [CPIUN] … [i]t has always been the policy of the United Nations, acting through the Secretary-General, to compensate individuals who have suffered damages for which the Organization was legally liable.”).

[43] Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief, supra note 42, at 1-2.

[44] Plaintiffs’ Brief in Opposition to the Government’s Statement of Interest at 13-24, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. May 16, 2014) [hereinafter Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief].

[45] Id.; Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief, supra note 42, at 7-9; see also Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale v. U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of Iowa, 482 U.S. 522, 533-34 (1987); Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties art. 31, opened for signature May 23, 1969, 1155 U.N.T.S. 331.

[46] Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief, supra note 44, at 14; Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief, supra note 42, at 8-9.

[47] Study on Privileges & Immunities, Prep. Comm. Doc. PC/EX/113/Rev.1, at 70 (Nov. 12, 1945).

[48] Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief, supra note 44, at 16, 19; Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief, supra note 42, at 9.

[49] Difference Relating to Immunity from Legal Process of a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, I.C.J. Verbatim Record, at 9-10 (Dec. 10, 1995).

[50] Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief, supra note 44, at 25-35.

[51] Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief, supra note 44, at 19-20; Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief, supra note 42, at 8-9.

[52] Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States § 711 cmt. B (1988).

[53] U.N. Charter art. 1.

[54] U.N. Charter art. 1, para. 3.

[55] See generally Brief for International Law Scholars and Practitioners as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs’ Opposition to the Government’s Statement of Interest, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (arguing that the U.N. has an obligation to respond to private law claims and that claims before the court do not invoke operational necessity).

[56] See generally Brief for European Law Scholars and Practitioners as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs’ Opposition to the Government’s Statement of Interest, Georges v. United Nations, No. 1:13-cv-07146-JPO (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (arguing that, for a few reasons, plaintiffs are entitled to a remedy).

[57] See, e.g., Brzak v. United Nations, 597 F.3d 107 (2d Cir. 2010) (sex discrimination case); Boimah v. United Nations Gen. Assembly, 664 F. Supp. 69 (E.D.N.Y. 1987) (race discrimination case).

[58] See Study on Privileges & Immunities, Prep. Comm. Doc. PC/EX/113/Rev.1, at 70 (Nov. 12, 1945) (laying the groundwork for the U.N.’s immunity framework and stressing that “[i]t should be a principle that no immunities and privileges, which are not really necessary, should be asked for”).

[59] See Rashkow, supra note 27 (noting that since the 1990s, the U.N. has had a regime in place for compensating third party tort victims arising from peacekeeping missions).

[60] See August Reinish & Ulf Andreas Weber, In the Shadow of Wait & Kennedy, 1 Int’l Org. L. Rev. 59, 78-79 (2004).

[61] See Pls. Opp’n Ex. 14, Cour d’Appel [CA] [Regional Court of Appeal] Paris, 14e ch. A, June 19, 1998, Revue de l’Arbitrage 1999, II, 343 (Fr.) (translated in 1999 Y.B. Com. Arb. XXIV 294); Stravrinou v. United Nations, (1992) CLR 992, ILDC 929 (CY 1992) (Sup. Ct. Cyprus July 17, 1992).

[62] Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply Brief, supra note 42, at 13.

[63] See, e.g., Stitching Mothers of Srebrenica v. Netherlands, Eur. Ct. H.R., ¶ 147, App. No. 65542/12 (June 11, 2013).

[64] Plaintiffs’ Opposition Brief, supra note 44, at 42.

[65] Id. at 28.

[66] Stephen Lewis: Curtail the U.N.’s Legal Immunity, CBC Radio-Canada (Oct. 11, 2013),

[67] Trenton Daniel, UN Official Pushes Compensation for Haiti Victims, Associated Press, Oct. 9, 2013, (quoting Navi Pillay).

[68] Rep. of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, ¶ 34, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/27/55 (June 30, 2014) (by Catarina de Albuquerque) (“The Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize the obligation to investigate the allegations in order to establish responsibility for any violations and to ensure the alleged victims’ right to a remedy, including compensation, if warranted. . . . She further calls on the United Nations to establish appropriate accountability mechanisms for ongoing and future missions as well as to review and reinforce measures for adequate sanitation and preventive measures.”).

[69] Rep. of the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti, ¶ 77, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/25/71 (Feb. 7, 2014) (by Gustavo Gallón).

[70] For a list of a few others, see Lauren Carasik, New York Bar Association Urges US to Push UN to Accept Responsibility for Cholera Epidemic in Haiti, Jurist (May 10, 2014),

[71] Editorial Board, United Nations Must Admit Its Role in Haiti’s Cholera Outbreak, Wash. Post, Aug. 16, 2013, (“[B]y refusing to acknowledge responsibility, the United Nations jeopardizes its standing and moral authority in Haiti and in other countries where its personnel are deployed.”).

[72] See, e.g., Kathryn Bolkovac, The Whistleblower (2011) (memoir by former United Nations employee that attracted international attention to human trafficking occurring at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina).

[73] See, e.g., Christoph Vogel, Congo: Why UN Peacekeepers Have a Credibility Problem, Guardian, Aug. 30, 2013, (documenting criticisms of the U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo).