AuthorPoornimah Devi Sookun
Where’s their conscience? What do they say as a conscience? They don’t care?
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia
This Handbook has shown the importance of understanding the nature of vulture
fund operations and lawsuits. It has highlighted the need to persist with practical
action, vigilance and capacity building, and the potential for wider solutions, espe-
cially legislation.
To date, claims under lawsuits that have already been lodged are estimated to be
worth US$1.5bn; a total of 54 creditors have lodged cases. In 2007, US$1.2bn was
awarded by the courts. The number of lawsuits may increase, as there are many
commercial loans which have not been resolved in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Central
African Republic. However, while no recorded lawsuits were lodged in any court in
2008, there was no such success in 2009, when Liberia, Argentina and DR Congo
faced legal action by their creditors.
Vulture fund lawsuits have hampered the progress of debt relief in vulnerable poor
countries, as this Handbook shows. However, at international level there is a formi-
dable consensus that unsustainable debt must be resolved and eradicated. Though
the process of debt relief has been slow and the HIPC Initiatives have not been com-
pletely successful, the actions of the G8, Norway and China are highly commendable.
Similarly, Belgium’s action in legislating to protect sovereign debtors against the
actions of vulture funds has given an impetus to positive change. The recent UK leg-
islation will bring about a reduction in the amount claimed and obtained by vulture
funds and this may force them either not to lodge cases in the UK or to negotiate
and obtain out of court settlements for one year. It is hoped that the Bill introduced
in the USA will eventually become law. If debt relief programmes succeed, the coun-
tries concerned will be set on the path of debt sustainability. In addition, if these
countries can establish a clear procedural framework for borrowing and debt manage -
ment, coupled with the necessary accountability and transparency, this will pave the
way to greater economic stability and further sustainable development in the long

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