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On Haiti Cholera, Threat to Sue in 60 Days As UN Has Not Reformed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- For killing 8,000 people in Haiti by UN Peacekeeping's introduction of cholera, according to the lawyers who filed claims and are now prepared to sue, the UN's response has been a short letter in December 2011 and a dismissal of claims in February 2013.

  In a letter just filed with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's lawyer Patricia O'Brien, the claimants' lawyers give the UN sixty day before filing suit. (Inner City Press put the letter online, here, just after the 2 pm embargo.)

  Inner City Press asked them if they intend to sue in the European Court of Human Rights, where a recent decision lays the groundwork for such a case. Ira Kurzban said one case in the United States, and another in an undisclosed venue in Europe.

  The chief of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, has repeatedly refused to answer Inner City Press' questions including if he has implemented any safeguards at all, to try to ensure not bringing disease to yet another country.

  On Wednesday, Inner City Press asked Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti is he is aware of any safeguards implemented by the UN. He said no, and more: Wednesday's video here.

  Now Ban's lawyer Patricia O'Brien, who unlike her predecessor Nicolas Michel does not hold press conferences or take questions, is said to be headed to Geneva, to represent Ireland there. Would a new top UN lawyer change anything? The sixty day deadline seems solid.

  And what about the rule of law? Concannon said he worked on the issue, for the UN in Haiti, back in the 1990s. Now, he said, when the UN gives trainings in Haiti, people laugh at them, after the dismissal of the cholera claims.

  And yet under Ladsous UN Peacekeeping is poised for a new mission in Mali, and a new Intervention Battalion in the Eastern Congo. What could go wrong? Watch this site.

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