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31 Oct 2005

Anthony J. Sebok, Professor, Brooklyn Law School

Senator Feinstein's Now-Withdrawn Statute Limiting Non-Citizens' Tort Claims: How Would It Have Affected Abu-Ghraib-Related Civil Suits and Other Similar Civil Actions?

On October 18, Senator Diane Feinstein introduced the Alien Tort Statute Reform Act...Business groups praised Feinstein but she was attacked by human rights and labor groups. Within a week, Feinstein had withdrawn her amendment...Feinstein's proposed amendment would have made a number of changes to the ATS, but two stand out: First, had the amendment been passed, a defendant then could be sued only if he was a "direct participant" in the wrongful conduct that injured the plaintiff. Second, had the amendment passed, the plaintiff would have had to prove that the defendant acted with "specific intent to commit the alleged tort." [refers to CACI, Titan (now L-3 Titan, part of L-3 Communications), Unocal]