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14 Jul 2011

Center for Constitutional Rights

Supreme Court Urged to Review Ruling that Shields Corporations from Human Rights Suits [USA]

A group of international human rights organizations filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum in which they urge the Court to review an appeals court finding that corporations cannot be held liable for international human rights violations in U.S. courts. Kiobel is a lawsuit that was filed in 2002 by members of the Ogoni community in Nigeria for serious human rights violations suffered in the 1990s. Plaintiffs alleged that Royal Dutch Shell aided and abetted and were otherwise complicit in violations including extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrest and detention, and crimes against humanity...Kiobel was brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS)...Last September, a split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the statute does not apply to corporations, but only to individuals.