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Splintered Circuit OKs Alien Tort Case Against Rio Tinto [USA]

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals…revived a human rights suit against…Rio Tinto and held the Alien Tort Statute doesn't shield corporations from liability for violations of international law. The splintered court's en banc opinion…comes a decade after residents of Bougainville sued Rio Tinto in federal court, claiming the British company worked with the government of Papua New Guinea to kill 10,000 people in retaliation for an uprising of natives that had forced a mine to close…A statement from Rio Tinto…said only: "We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these improper claims." The majority's holding spurred six separate opinions, including a dissent…[which] blasted the majority for creating a "new imperialism, entitling our court, and not the peoples of other countries, to make the law governing persons within those countries."