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28 Feb 2012

Bill Mears, CNN

Justices debate corporate responsibility for human rights abuses

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Human rights groups met a somewhat skeptical Supreme Court on Tuesday as they presented arguments on whether foreign victims of torture and other crimes against humanity can sue corporations and other organizations in U.S. federal courts. The cases argued could have enormous global impact from a moral, political, and financial perspective…Two separate civil cases before the high court involve Nigerian political activists claiming foreign oil companies were complicit in violent abuse at the hands of the country's military; and an American family alleging their father was tortured and killed while in the custody of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization…Now the justices are being asked to sort out whether political groups and corporations enjoy broad immunity, and whether the American laws intend only for individuals to be held liable for international law violations.