Responsibility of International Organizations

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The United Nations’ Efforts to Restore a Reputation Tarnished by Cholera

Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that UN peacekeepers are the source of a 2010 cholera outbreak that has infected nearly 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 people. After refusing to apologize or provide redress to the individual victims for six years, the United Nations appears to be changing course. On December 1, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to the General Assembly about the United Nations’ “new approach” to cholera in Haiti. Ban’s remarks are notable both for what he said—and for what he did not. Ban finally apologized to the Haitian people. He outlined the steps the United Nations planned to take to combat cholera in Haiti, and to provide benefits, possibly including monetary compensation, to the individuals and communities that were most directly affected. Ban also spoke about the United Nations’ reputation: he urged member states to “seize this opportunity to address a tragedy that [...] has damaged our reputation and global mission.” Now for the omission: Ban did not say that that the United Nations had a legal obligation…

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Launch of Oxford Guidance on the Law Relating to Humanitarian Relief Operations in Situations of Armed Conflict

In many, if not most, armed conflicts, far more deaths occur as a result of the humanitarian crisis created by the conflict rather than from hostilities or the use of force (see this useful study, at p. 842). In addition to those who die as a result of a lack of food, water, access to medical care…

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Dutch Supreme Court Affirms that Dutchbat Acted Unlawfully in Srebrenica

Tom Dannenbaum is a Visiting Lecturer in Law and Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School and a PhD candidate at Princeton University. In a couple of posts in 2011, I discussed two nearly identical Hague Court of Appeal judgments on the liability of the Netherlands for the actions of Dutchbat…

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Sharing Responsibility for UN Targeted Sanctions

Cross-posted from the SHARES Blog UN targeted sanctions, especially those related to terrorism, have had their fair share of the limelight lately, particularly in view of important decisions by the ECJ, the ECtHR, the UK Supreme Court and others in cases such as Kadi, Nada, and Ahmed. Here, I try to look at this jurisprudence through the lens of the…

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The Hague Court of Appeal on Dutchbat at Srebrenica Part 2: Attribution, Effective Control, and the Power to Prevent

 Tom Dannenbaum is a Graduate Associate in the Law and Public Affairs Program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is author of Translating the Standard of Effective Control into a System of Effective Accountability: How Liability Should be Apportioned for Violations of Human Rights by Member State Troop…

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