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29 Apr 2013

Human Rights Watch

US: Supreme Court Limits Suits against Rights Abusers Abroad

A decision by the US Supreme Court could severely limit the use of a federal statute that for more than 30 years has permitted foreign victims of atrocities abroad to obtain civil remedies in federal courts and has denied rights abusers a safe haven in the United States. It undercuts case law that had made the US courts a mainstay for redress for victims of serious human rights abuses…[In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the court said ] that the ATS does not apply to conduct that occurred entirely in a foreign country… Human Rights Watch is concerned that the Court’s ruling could both prevent and discourage foreign victims of atrocities abroad, particularly those in which corporations were complicit, from bringing US lawsuits under the ATS. Federal courts will now need to be flexible in determining the American connection necessary for suits to go forward…