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History of International Law as History of International Power: Sovereignty and Property

GaianeNuridzhanian24 March 2017

Event summary

On 22 March Professor Martti Koskenniemi delivered a talk at International Law Association (British Branch) event at UCL Laws. Martti Koskenniemi is Academy Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki and Director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights. He is currently leading a research project on ‘The History of International law: Empire and Religion’.

At UCL Laws, Professor Koskenniemi spoke about history of international law as history of international power focusing on the relationship between sovereignty and property. He examined in particular how the legal language was used to buttress state power and property rights in the period between XIV and late XIX century when the Institut de Droit International was established and, in Koskenniemi’s opinion, the history of international law began.

Professor Koskenniemi first discussed the concept of dominium, ownership granted to mankind by God, and development of thinking about natural law by the School of Salamanca and Francisco de Vitoria. The notion of dominium jurisdictionis et proprietatis was used to explain the God-given right to exercise power and ownership over property. However, it was jus gentium that governed the division of the property. The idea of interrelation of natural law and jus gentium was reflected in the works of Hugo Grotius (De Jure Belli ac Pacis) who believed that defense or restitution of property could serve as one of the reasons for just war (jus ad bellum). The ideas of natural law and law of nations were further developed by Samuel von Pufendorf who believed that, because of their nature, humans were rationally compelled to cooperate with each other and that the state was a means to achieve common good and salus populi.

The relationship between sovereignty and property was also one of the aspects of the discourse on European balance of powers in the course of XVIII century. Johann Justi, in his treatise The Chimera of the Balance of Europe, argued that the concept of balance of powers was an arrangement suitable for political affairs but not for the trade relationships that were regulated by their own rules. Around the same time Francois Quesnay argued for deregulation of trade and free competition as means of achieving salus populi.

Professor Koskenniemi quoted some further examples of interconnectedness of sovereignty and property from XIX century. One of them was Lord Palmerston’s statement in Don Pacifico Affair to the effect that a British subject (and as consequence his property) was protected anywhere in the world from injustice and wrong by ‘the watchful eye and the strong arm of England’. Another example was the establishment of the US-Mexico Claims Commission to settle the claims by citizens of both states in relation to damages inflicted by one government on the nationals of the other. A more modern example is the existing system of the investor-state settlement of disputes system.

Professor Koskenniemi concluded by emphasising the inherently intertwined nature of sovereignty and property – beneath the surface of government by sovereignty always lie property and contractual relations, and vice versa. Modern legal education should not therefore draw a sharp distinction between private and public law spheres.

 

Understanding Security Council Authority

GaianeNuridzhanian30 November 2016

Event summary

On 22 November 2016 Devika Hovell, Associate Professor in Public International Law at LSE, spoke at UCL. She discussed the authority of the UN Security Council (UNSC), and its nature. At the outset, the speaker observed that there was little interest among international lawyers, and even less so among the international organisation lawyers, in adopting theoretical approach to international law. Instead, the law of international organisations was developed by practitioners, often in a patchy manner and in response to specific practical challenges. In this process of development, it were the positivism and realism that guided and controlled the development of this legal discipline. In this regard, the speaker referred to Dworkin’s advice to lawyers and philosophers to improve ‘the jurisprudential discussion of international law’.

In pursuing her goal to develop a concept of the UNSC’s authority, Devika Hovell challenged two orthodoxies. The first orthodoxy, from the domain of international law, reflects the idea of State consent as a source of the UNSC authority. According to this positivist approach, the authority emanated from Articles 25 and 103 of the UN Charter that imposed on the States an obligation to comply with the UNSC decisions and established the primacy of the States’ obligations under the UN Charter. In the opinion of the speaker, the State consent based on a singular act of the State’s consent to the UN Charter, was not sufficient of a basis for the UNSC authority. The justification of such authority had to be more complex.

The second conventional wisdom that Dr Hovell sought to deconstruct concerned the jurisprudential domain. Under this orthodoxy, individual autonomy constitutes the ultimate source of the authority of international law, and thus it is the objective of safeguarding the individual autonomy that endowed international law with authority and State autonomy with value. However, in her opinion, this approach does not fully reflect the place of the State and the State interests in international law. It also does not take into account that international law commands authority over States, and not individuals. The individual autonomy-based approach can also be said to be unsuitable for explaining the authority of the UNSC since the latter is primarily focused on the collective responsibility in the face of common threats rather than on promotion of individual interests.

The authority of international law rests primarily on the belief and conviction of those to whom its rules are directed, that they have a role to play in the rule of law itself. Dr Hovell noted the view expressed by Sir Michael Wood in the course of the Iraq Inquiry. Addressing the comment that the absence of a court meant essentially that states could interpret Security Council resolutions as they wished, Sir Michael Wood replied that; “[T]he absence of a court, I think, is a reason for being more scrupulous […].

It is one thing for a lawyer to say, “Well, there is an argument here. Have a go. A court, a judge, will decide in the end”. It is quite different in the international system, where that’s usually not the case. You have a duty to the law, a duty to the system. You are setting precedents by the very fact of saying things and doing things.”

Dr Hovell proposed a grundnorm for the authority of the UNSC that would be based neither on State consent nor on individual authority, but will be grounded in the idea of ‘shared responsibility’. In this regard it is necessary to consider two aspects of the UN Security Council authority: ‘representativeness’ and ‘purposiveness’.

UN Security Council has often been criticised as being unrepresentative. Legitimising its authority would entail the idea that this authority is ‘shared’ with others. Although most theoretical accounts focus on authority held by a single actor, in contemporary international society there are multiple locations and levels of public authority and individuals are increasingly subjected to various overlapping authorities. There is thus a need to separate the authority from sovereignty as well as from the notion of exclusivity. Quoting the writings by Nicole Roughan, Dr Hovell referred to the concept of ‘relative authority’ which reflects the idea of isolation of authority from sovereign power ‘in order to consider its operation in circumstances of plurality’.

Dr Hovell concluded by noting that some have argued that the main problem with the UN Security Council does not lie in its lack of resources or unrepresentativeness, but rather in the lack of any agreement as to its purpose. In the speaker’s opinion, the purpose of the Security Council could not be spelled out in a document of a constitutional nature. Instead, Dr Hovell proposed a procedural and responsibility-based approach to the question of the legitimacy of the UNSC.

 

The artefact of international jurisdiction: concept, history and reality

IraRyk-Lakhman8 November 2016

Event Summary (the full lecture was published on TDM)

On 26 October 2016 Dr Veijo Heiskanen gave a lecture at UCL on “the Artefact of International Jurisdiction: Concept, History and Reality”. The panel was chaired by Dr Martins Paparinskis (UCL); Alison Macdonald (Matrix Chambers) and Dr Gleider Hernandez (Durham) served as commentators.

Dr Heiskanen addressed the provenance of the concept of international jurisdiction, which generated the development of preliminary objections. On this point, he referred to the Jay Treaty arbitrations, and explained that the commissions created by the Jay Treaties were the first international tribunals operating on the international plane. At the wake of these arbitrations, several other international arbitrations were conducted in the course of the 19th and the early 20th century. The tribunals that were created to deal with these claims were usually based on a compromis, a submission agreement that referred to international arbitration a dispute that had already arisen.

The fact that these tribunals’ jurisdiction was based on a compromis meant that it was difficult to challenge their jurisdiction by way of a preliminary objection. The sole objection the respondent State could raise to the jurisdiction of the tribunal was to challenge its jurisdiction to decide on its own jurisdiction – its “competence – competence.” However, while it was difficult to challenge the jurisdiction of an ad hoc tribunal operating under a compromis, the admissibility of the claims could still be challenged: whether the claim was really an international claim. Resultantly, a sophisticated set of rules of admissibility were developed by these early courts and tribunals to deal with such objections, and these were subsequently ratified by the Permanent Court of International Justice and became part of the corpus of international law.

Under these rules, in order to be admissible before an international court or tribunal, a claim had to be admissible ratione temporis, ratione personae and ratione materiae – it had to be an international claim in all of these three aspects. It had to be admissible ratione temporis, that is, it had to be ripe for international jurisdiction in the sense that local remedies had been exhausted. It had to be admissible ratione personae in the sense that that the claim espoused by the claimant State had to be owned by a national of that State and not by a national of the respondent State, and it had to be admissible ratione materiae in the sense that it had to be based on a prima facie breach of an international legal obligation and not on an alleged breach of municipal law. Only if these criteria – these tests of admissibility – were met, one could say that one was dealing with an international claim.

Thus, Dr Heiskanen explained that the rules of admissibility are, historically, about the criteria that a claim must meet, in order to be admissible as an international claim.

Having established the above, Dr Heiskanen moved to address the distinction between jurisdiction and admissibility. According to him, this distinction emerged when ad hoc arbitration was replaced by the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), and when the exercise of international jurisdiction was first institutionalized. The PCIJ, and the other international tribunals that followed in the course of the 20th century, were not ad hoc fora. These adjudicative bodies were rather meant to firmly stand on the international plane, as a permanent presence. For Dr Heiskanen, the creation of these adjudicative bodies also brought about a new category of jurisdiction: the jurisdiction of a particular court.

Furthermore, the emergence of these permanent bodies also introduced a new, positivist concept of jurisdiction. International jurisdiction was no longer a potentiality that would occasionally become an actuality in the form of an ad hoc arbitral tribunal; it became a permanent actuality within the limits defined in the relevant treaty. Dr Heiskanen explained that these limits could be conceptualized, and were in fact conceptualized, in the very same terms as the admissibility of claims before ad hoc arbitral tribunals, that is, in the three familiar dimensions – in terms of time (ratione temporis), person (ratione personae) and subject matter (ratione materiae).

Dr Heiskanen then proceeded to delineate these concepts: Jurisdiction ratione temporis, he explained, is not about whether the claim is international in terms of time; it is about whether the claim arose during the time period when the treaty was in force. Jurisdiction ratione personae is not about whether the claim is international in terms of person (i.e., who owns it); it is about whether the claimant falls within the category of the subjects of law governed by the treaty; whether the claimant is among those entitled to appear before the court. Jurisdiction ratione materiae is not about whether the claim is international in terms of subject matter; it is about whether the claim relates to a subject matter that the treaty in question regulates.

Finally, Dr Heiskanen addressed the notion of “competence”. He elucidated that while the distinction between jurisdiction and competence was initially seen mainly as a matter of legal terminology, the two concepts gradually came to be seen as different or at least potentially different concepts. On this point he stressed that the question of what “competence” really means, in concrete legal terms, and whether it really is a distinct or independent concept, has not been effectively addressed.

He illustrated the meaning and application of these concepts. Accordingly, he maintained that objections to competence, in a technical (rather than substantive) sense of this term, may be said to relate to the question of whether a particular dispute falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement, in terms of time, person and subject matter. Thus, for instance, the question of whether the dispute resolution clause in an investment treaty covers pre-existing disputes, i.e., disputes that had arisen before the treaty entered into force, could be characterized as an issue of competence ratione temporis rather than jurisdiction ratione temporis; this latter issue is about whether the treaty covers pre-existing investments, or investments made prior to the entry into force of the treaty. Similarly, the question of whether the alleged breach is attributable to the respondent State may be said to be an issue of competence ratione personae rather than jurisdiction as it is about whether the respondent State is a proper party to the dispute; this issue may arise even if there is no dispute that the respondent State has given its consent to arbitration in the treaty.

On a similar vein, the question of whether the claim is based on the treaty or another legal basis (say, ac contract) should arguably be characterized as an issue of competence ratione materiae rather than jurisdiction ratione materiae; in the context of investment arbitration, for instance, this latter issue is about whether the claim arises out of a “covered investment”. Like objections to admissibility, objections to competence therefore tend to be more closely related to the merits than objections to jurisdiction and often they cannot be decided separately from the merits. However, unlike objections to admissibility, which relate to the claim, objections to competence rather relate to the dispute. In other words, they are about whether the dispute is really covered by the treaty in terms of time, whether the State is really a party to the dispute, or whether the claim is really, in substance, a treaty claim.

He stressed that this classification may have legal consequences. If an objection to jurisdiction in the strict sense of the term is upheld, the arbitral tribunal has no discretion and the claim must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The same is true for objections to competence. However, because objections to procedural admissibility relate to the claim rather than the scope of the treaty or of the arbitration agreement, arbitral tribunals have a measure of discretion to determine whether to admit or dismiss the claim in the circumstances of the case.

Building on Dr Heiskanen lecture, Ms Macdonald and Dr Hernandez offered some observations, referring to recent international jurisprudence.

Ms Macdonald referred in her comments to the matter of Mauritius v UK. She explained the significance of the concept of “jurisdiction” by referring to the role it played in the case and the Tribunal’s rather unusual decision to join the jurisdiction objections with the merits of the case, as it forced the UK to advance, for the first time, its arguments on the merits of the case and what happened in the 1960s; from this perspective it was a victory for Mauritius. The Tribunal’s decision to join the preliminary objections with the merits affected the hearings and the way the parties litigated the case, and more importantly it facilitated the discussion of Mauritius’s sovereignty as the dissenting arbitrators upheld the Tribunal’s jurisdiction over some of the Claimant’s submissions and found that Mauritius’s sovereignty was violated by the UK.

Dr Hernandez noted that linguistic nuances may offer an additional complexity to the discussion of the distinction between jurisdiction and competence. Thus, the English term “jurisdiction” is not synonymous with the French “juridiction”, while “compétence” in French is not the same as “competence” in English, but rather reflects a broader term, more aligned with the English use of “jurisdiction”. Thus, the distinction between the concepts may also be informed by linguistic subtleties. On this point, Dr Hernandez relied on ICJ case-law, noting that the Court does not use the concept of “competence” (let alone as a separate concept, which is distinct from that of jurisdiction and admissibility). Further, the ICJ usually juxtaposes jurisdiction with “compétence” (the French term).

Dr Hernandez also referred to the recent Marshall Islands cases, which illustrate the difference between jurisdiction and admissibility. These cases turned on the existence of a “dispute” between the parties; professedly this constitutes an “admissibility” objection. As the Court asserted that as there is no dispute between the parties, it did not proceed to the merits stage. If so, and given the practical outcomes of this preliminary objection, it is not abundantly clear that this was in fact an “admissibility” objection. This recent jurisprudence challenges our current understanding of the concepts of jurisdiction and admissibility.

 

Identifying Customary International Law: From the International Law Association’s Principles of 2000 to the International Law Commission’s 2016 draft

GaianeNuridzhanian24 October 2016

Identifying Customary International Law, Event Summary

On 19 October 2016, Professor Maurice Mendelson QC, the former Chair of Public International Law at UCL and former Rapporteur and Chairman of the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on Formation of Customary (General) International Law spoke at UCL. Professor Mendelson discussed the work of the ILA and International Law Commission (ILC) on the formation and identification of customary international law. At the outset he stressed that, the task of setting out the principles on the formation of customary law was not an easy one, but very much needed. This is because, apart from the academic interest in the elucidation of the issue, it possesses the potential to assist domestic courts and practitioners in municipal jurisdictions when faced with questions relating to customary international law, as well as to those who wished to study international law.

The speaker drew comparisons between the Statement of Principles Applicable to the Formation of General Customary International Law adopted by the ILA in 2000 and ILC’s Report on Identification of Customary International Law issued earlier this year.

Professor Mendelson observed that the ILC’s Report was closely modelled on the ILA’s work, thus there are indeed great many similarities between the two. Both institutions drew largely on the same sources, mainly but not exclusively ICJ decisions, and adopted the same technique of stating a “principle” (ILA) or a “conclusion” (ILC) accompanied by a commentary. He noted that, whilst the ILA reports spoke of “formation” of customary law, the ILC spoke of “identification”. The title of the ILA committee had not been his choice, and overall he preferred the ILC’s term; however, it was to be appreciated that this did not, in many cases, enable the issue of an alleged rule’s pedigree to be sidestepped.

There was no substantial disagreement between the ILC and ILA with regard to issue of state practice as an element of a customary international law rule, although slightly different terms were used to describe any such state practice. According to the ILA, for instance, it had to be ‘virtually uniform’ (Principle 13). The ILC, conversely, referred to ‘sufficiently widespread and representative, as well as consistent’ practice (Draft conclusion 8).

According to Professor Mendelson, the reports take similar approaches to the ‘persistent objector’. The ILC report contained a short section on particular customary law (including but not limited to local and regional); the remit of the ILA Committee had precluded examination of this topic, but he had gone into it in some detail in his lectures to the Hague Academy of International Law, and he gave some examples of particular customary law where the criterion was not geographical.

Where the ILA and ILC palpably disagreed was the role of the opinio juris, what is usually said to be the second element of a rule of customary international law. The ILC Report espoused the more orthodox view that both state practice and opinion juris were necessary conditions for a rule to be considered as customary international law. Professor Mendelson believed that, although opinio juris had a role to play in certain circumstances, it was not always necessary to prove its existence in order to show that a rule amounts to customary international law. Presence of widespread and representative state practice could be sufficient indication of existence of customary international law. He also rejected the argument that opinion juris was necessary in order to distinguish customary international law from comity. It was usually the context in which the state practice occurred that allowed to make the distinction. Finally, the ILC’s use of term ‘accepted as law’ so as to indicate the subjective or psychological element, superficially circumvents some of the problematic aspects of opinion juris. ‘Accepted as law’ does not necessarily mean that states believed something to be law. It could also mean that states wanted it to be law or accepted it without holding a belief that it was an existing rule of law.

The ILC and ILA concurred on the point that resolutions of the UN General Assembly as a general rule and of itself did not create a rule of customary international law (Principle 28 of the ILA Statement of Principles and Draft conclusion 12 of the ILC Report). However, in its Principle 32, the ILA proposed an exception: ‘Resolutions accepted unanimously or almost unanimously, and which evince a clear intention on the part of their supporters to lay down a rule of international law, are capable, very exceptionally, of creating general customary law by the mere fact of their adoption.’ Professor Mendelson emphasised that this reflects very exceptional and extreme circumstances in which all the states had to be united in the face of a common challenge.

Finally, Professor Mendelson concluded that it could hardly be expected that the product of the ILC’s work on customary international law could become a treaty but it may gain clout as an important source of guidance and reference on the issue.

Georges v. United Nations: a challenge to the UN immunity

GaianeNuridzhanian2 August 2016

By Kateryna Moroz (LLM, University of Miami School of Law; Fulbright scholar, US) 

The worst cholera epidemic in recent history erupted in Haiti six years ago. Thus far, it resulted in the death of 8,500 people and sickened more than 706,000. Public health scientists who investigated the epidemic concluded that most probably UN peacekeepers from Nepal introduced the strain into Haiti.

As of today, opinions of international law experts around the world remain split over the question whether the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (CPIUN) grants the UN an absolute immunity. In 2013, law professors and students of the Yale Law School asserted that it does not. So did the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which on behalf of the cholera epidemic victims, sued the United Nations (UN), Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and former Under Secretary-General for MINUSTAH Edmond Mulet, for negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and deliberate indifference for the lives of Haitian people. The question whether the American judicial system will take the side of the ordinary people, who fell victim to the UN’s negligence, is an interesting question that may well be answered in the very near future. As, usually, the Court issues its decisions within 130 days of the oral arguments (in the matter of Georges, the oral arguments were concluded on 1 March 2016).

Background: In October 2010 the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) deployed 1,075 troops to Haiti. These troops were deployed from Nepal, where cholera is one of the major public health concerns. The UN stationed the troops, who were not treated for cholera, in the military bases located adjacently to the main potable water source of national importance. As a result of defective sanitation of the infrastructure, cholera-contaminated human waste flowed into the Haitian waterways. As of November 2010, public health experts recorded 7,000 cases of infection.

American and Haitian human rights lawyers, including IJDH, filed administrative complaints with the UN on behalf of cholera victims. However, the UN dismissed these claims, relying on its immunity under CPIUN.

In October 2013 IJDH brought a class action before the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York, on behalf of five named victims of the cholera epidemic. The claim was filed pursuant to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. The families of 8,300 individuals who died of cholera and 679,000 survivors of the disease would have benefited if the plaintiffs in Georges v. United Nations had prevailed. But the road is long and in March 2014 the US Government moved to dismiss on the grounds of immunity under CPIUN. Plaintiffs opposed arguing that the UN’s rejection of the victims’ administrative claims breached its obligation under CPIUN and thus precluded the application of immunity.

In January 2015 the Court dismissed the case on grounds of immunity. The plaintiffs appealed, and the case is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit.

Issues raised by the Georges case: Georges v. United Nations sought to ensure that the UN immunity did not waive the right of the victims of the cholera epidemic to a remedy. ‘The claims are that the U.N. engaged in reckless and gross negligence and misconduct bringing cholera to Haiti’, said Ira Kurzban, a partner in the Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt, P.A., law firm, and a board member with IJDH.

In fact, according to Rosa Freedman and Nicolas Lemay-Hebert, Georges is a direct result of the UN’s refusal to establish any alternative mechanisms for resolving disputes of the cholera victims. This case revolves around two provisions of the CPIUN: Section 2, granting the UN immunity, and Section 29, requiring the UN to provide alternative modes of settlement for private law claims.

In Georges, the plaintiffs argue that compliance with Section 29 of the CPIUN is a prerequisite for the establishment of immunity under Section 2. Thus, failure to comply with Section 29 constitutes a material breach of the treaty, and thus strips the UN and MINUSTAH from the protections accorded under the treaty. The trial Court indeed asserted that Section 29 was breached. Nevertheless, the Court interpreted this violation as one that does not entail repercussions for the UN. In its decision, the Court relied on Brzak v United Nations. There, however, the breach of Section 29 of the CPIUN was not one of the contentious issues before the Court, as Brzak addressed a question of a narrower scope. The case, in fact, was only concerned with the question whether the alleged inadequacies in the UN’s internal claims process for employees constituted an express waiver of immunity under CPIUN Section 2. George markedly deals with a different question. Here, the question is whether a breach of the obligations stipulated in Section 29 prevents the UN from benefiting from immunity under Section 2.

Under Section 20 of the CPIUN, the Secretary General has the right to waive the immunity of any UN official. Wilfred Jenks concludes that the failure to exercise this option can constitute abuse of immunity (C.WILFRED JENKS, INTERNATIONAL IMMUNITIES, 41-45 (1961)), whereas some experts interpret this provision as discretionary. In any case, establishment of mechanisms to settle private claims in Haiti was not a matter of discretion, as provided by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Haiti and MINUSTAH in 2004.

The European courts concluded that there is a distinction between an International Organization’s activities that are core to its functions and conduct that are no different from the private entity’s conduct (discussed in Memorandum of Law of Amici Curiae European Law Scholars and Practitioners in Support of Plaintiffs’ Opposition to the Governments’ Statement of Interest). Unlike in Mothers of Srebrenica, in Georges, the MINUSTAH’s activities that resulted in a cholera epidemic, were ‘…at a mere mission support level, a part of the UN’s routine…’ (see the Memorandum, page 8). The authors of the Memorandum also raised the issue of the balance between the UN’s immunity and the individual right to remedy. They asserted that in the case of Georges there was no reason to conclude that the establishment of a standing UN claims commission to hear torts claims would affect the balance between the UN interests on the one hand, and the interests of the plaintiffs in the Georges case, on the other (see the Memorandum, page 9).

So, if the existing mechanisms for settlement for private claims were not effective, what are then the appropriate alternatives for substantial torts claims, such as the one brought in George?

There are good examples that may serve as inspiration. Most recently, the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund in the U.S., or the UN’s own Iran Claims Tribunal. In fact, even prior to 9/11, funds were established for victims of the Columbine High School Shooting and the Oklahoma City Bombing (United Nations as Good Samaritan: Immunity and Responsibility, Kristen E., 16 Chi. J. Int’l L. 341 (2015-2016)). Indeed, John Culhane, argued that the U.S. government is no different from a private tortfeasor in its obligation to compensate for negligent acts (John Culhane, Tort, Compensation, and Two Kinds of Justice, 55 RUTGERS L. Riv. 1027, 1054 (2002)).

It should be noted, that there are instances in which the UN has already been found liable for tortuous acts. Thus, in 1966 the Secretary General made a lump-sum payment to the Belgian government for the settlement of all disputes of its nationals relating to the UN Organization in the Congo (ONUC) in response to Manderlier v. Organisation des Nations Unies case. As Rosa Freedman notes, claims were settled through global settlement agreements to avoid public scrutiny.

Proposed Remedies: The Peacekeeping without Accountability Report, for one, suggested that the Secretary General (or the government of Haiti, having regard to the UN’s views) would appoint an initial commissioner so as to establish a commission that would receive the victims’ claims. The Report also suggested that in parallel, all the relevant public health issues would be addressed.

Conclusion: If successful, Georges may become a policy changing decision, as it will create a precedent for a legal interrelationship and codependency between Sections 2 and 29 of the CPIUN. It is also significant in ascertaining that the UN does not benefit from immunity under Section 2 of the CPIUN where it breaches its obligations under CPIUN or SOFAs. Finally, the decision may bring a sense of justice to more than 706,000 victims and to the families of over 8,500 deceased who remain uncompensated due the UN’s failure to comply with the human rights principles it promotes.