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[PDF] Corporate Civil Liability under the Alien Tort Statute: The Issue of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

The Alien Tort Statute has proven a useful tool in the struggle to impose legal obligations on transnational corporations while conducting their activities overseas. However, such an extraterritorial exercise of both prescriptive and adjudicatory jurisdiction has also been increasingly called into question. This article looks at the legitimacy of universal civil jurisdiction under both U.S. and international law. It contends firstly that Congress intended the Alien Tort Statute to apply extraterritorially. Furthermore, it is argued that such extraterritorial reach is consistent with international law provided it is limited to the same category of particularly heinous crimes of universal concern as those accepted for universal criminal jurisdiction; and that the alleged perpetrator is present on U.S. territory.