Find this publication at:
Rosa Freedman and Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, ‘The Security Council in Practice: Haiti, Cholera, and the Elected Members of the United Nations Security Council’, Leiden Journal of International Law, online, 29 November 2019: 1-20.
While the cholera outbreak in Haiti still claims victims every month, it is also the backdrop of one of the biggest legal battles the UN has been engaged in – one for the recognition of harm caused and for reparations for victims of cholera. Having used its immunity to disengage from the issue, the UN finally changed its stance in December 2016 and apologized for the organization’s role in the cholera outbreak. This article analyses the role of the elected members of the Security Council – alongside other key stakeholders – in contributing to the UN’s change of policy. Based on privileged access to a number of actors in this politico-legal fight, this article argues that elected members of the Security Council have played a crucial role in pushing the UN to ‘do the right thing’. This article, along with other contributions to this special issue, sheds a different light on the practices inside the Security Council, demonstrating that elected members are far from being powerless, as most of the literature on the subject tends to assume. They can successfully play a significant role inside the organization when the right conditions permit them to play this role.