Case to Watch: LaVenture v. United Nations

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At Opinio Juris, Kristen Boon reports on LaVenture v. United Nations, another Haiti cholera case, similar to the Georges v. United Nations case I’ve written about before. If you recall, in Georges, the plaintiffs’ main argument for avoiding the rule of immunity in the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations was that the UN hadn’t satisfied its obligation under the Convention to create a dispute resolution mechanism for the plaintiffs, and thus that it couldn’t take advantage of the immunity provided under the Convention. The Second Circuit rejected this argument.

After the Second Circuit’s decision, the District Court asked the plaintiffs in LaVenture, a highly similar case, to show cause why their claim should not be dismissed. They point primarily to a 1997 report of the Secretary-General on UN liability for third-party injuries in peacekeeping situations and to a 1998 Resolution of the General Assembly that endorses or adopts the Secretary-General’s views as evidence the UN has expressly waived its immunity. But the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (art. II, § 2) expressly provides that immunity exists “except insofar as in any particular case it has expressly waived its immunity.” In light of this language, which (Kristen points out) has been construed to require a waiver for the particular case in question, not a blanket waiver, the plaintiffs’ argument seems highly unlikely to succeed. I’ll keep an eye on this one.

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