We’ve Moved

Goodbye WordPress, hello WordPress on another domain!

The Alien Tort Claims Act blog is now the Alien Tort Statute News, available at http://www.alientortstatute.com/!  Please re-set your links and RSS feeds accordingly.


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Alien Tort Statute Link Round-Up

– Turkish mobile giant Turkcell sues South African mobile giant MTN over alleged bribes to Iran for a cellular contract.  It’s got weapons, diplomats and tons of cold, hard case.  D.C. District Court complaint here.

– Prof. Eugene Kontrorovich asks what a Dutch judicial decision says about extraterritoriality and the ATS.

– Will there be a Canadian ATS?

– Prof. Thomas H. Lee takes a historical approach.

2nd Circuit rules on Egyptian Coca-Cola bottling plant suit first filed in 1997.  In some states, that suit is old enough to drive.

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Doom and gloom for Alien Tort Claims Act plaintiffs?

Things aren’t looking good for human rights lawyers seeking to use ATS/ATCS, according to Michael D. Goldhaber at the AmLaw Daily:

Could anything be worse for alien tort claimants than arguing before a hostile Supreme Court on corporate liability, as the plaintiffs in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell did last month? Yes: arguing before a hostile Supreme Court on extraterritoriality, as those plaintiffs will have to do next term, thanks to a surprise procedural order on March 5.

A broad ruling against extraterritoriality is more dangerous to plaintiffs for two reasons. First, it could bar suits against corporate officers and directors. Second, it could bar traditional alien tort suits against individual torturers and genocidaires.

The post goes on to discuss tactical moves in Sarei v. Rio Tinto and working around Sosa without overruling it directly.  Fascinating stuff!

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Manhattan Institute podcast on Kiobel

Via Point of Law:

To gain a better understanding of the Court’s action, we invited Penny Venetis (amicus brief), clinical professor of law and co-director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, and Andrew Grossman (amicus brief), visiting legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and litigator at Baker & Hostetler, to discuss the recent order in the Kiobel case.

You can listen to this podcast here. (mp3)

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New ATS Suit by Ugandan activist against American Anti-Gay preacher

From ABC News:

A new development today on a story “Nightline” first covered back in 2010, when we traveled to Uganda to investigate a pending law in a far-away land that had ignited a firestorm of criticism here in the United States.

Dubbed the “Kill the Gays” bill by opponents here, the legislation would have imposed severe punishment — up to and including the death by hanging — for Ugandans found guilty “aggravated homosexuality”. The bill also called for seven years in prison for “attempt to commit homosexuality,” five years for landlords who knowingly house gays, three years for anyone, including parents, who fail to hand gay children over to the police within 24 hours and the extradition of gay Ugandans living abroad.

International outrage lead to the demise of the bill until last month, when David Bahati, the Ugandan legislator who first wrote the law, reintroduced it. So with the bill back on the table, a civil liberties group is making an interesting play to stop it. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit today against Scott Lively, a pastor from Springfield, Mass., who went to Uganda and visited with policymakers there in the months before the bill was first introduced.

More from ABA Journal:

The suit claims Lively’s call to fight an “evil” and “pedophilic” gay movement “ignited a cultural panic and atmosphere of terror.” The complaint cites a bill introduced in the legislature that would impose the death penalty after a second conviction for having consensual gay sex.

On World Net Daily, Lively responds:

“I am an American citizen [being targeted] over the persecution of homosexuals as they define it as a crime against humanity – for speaking the truth of the Bible in a foreign country,” Scott Lively, of Abiding Truth Ministries, told WND today after he found out about the legal action.

He said the definition of “crime against humanity” comes from European progressives, and the accusations appear to be based on his speeches and writings about the Bible’s perspective on homosexuality.

The complaint is available here.

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SCOTUS orders reargument for Kiobel!

Via NYT:

Six days after hearing arguments in a major human rights case about whether corporations may be sued for complicity in torture abroad, the Supreme Court on Monday instructed the parties to address an even broader question.

The court called for additional briefs to be filed by June and a reargument to be held during the court’s next term, which starts in October.

John Bellinger of Lawfare speculates:

The Court’s order may reflect that a majority or plurality of the justices would like to decide the case on the larger issue of whether the Alien Tort Statute even applies to torts committed in other countries, rather than on the narrower issue of corporate liability, and that other justices want to have more briefing on the issue, which was not addressed by the Second Circuit. As I noted in my post about last week’s oral argument, Justices Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito focused almost all of their questions on the diplomatic tensions and problems under international law caused by extraterritorial application of the ATS. This was also the issue that I addressed in my own amicus brief, and that was the focus of the amicus briefs of the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany.

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March 1 ATCA/ATS/TVPA Links Update

Why does the guy who writes the Alien Tort Claims Act Blog decide to go silent just as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum?

Well, I have a job that doesn’t usually concern itself with Kiobel, and I’ve been on the road quite a bit of late.  With my sincere apologies, here is a little of what I’ve missed:

– Steve Nickelsburg of Clifford Chance has a year-end summary of Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victims Protection Act developments, with an eye toward due diligence and corporate liability.

Illustrations from the oral argument.

– SCOTUSblog has its own Kiobel/Mohamad round-up.

– The WSJ Law Blog summary.

– Justice Breyer has the best quip of the Kiobel oral argument:

“Do you think in the 18th century, if they’d brought Pirates Inc., and we get all their gold, and Blackbeard gets up, and he says, ‘Oh, it isn’t me; it’s the corporation,’ – do you think that they would have then said: ‘Oh, I see, it’s a corporation. Good-bye. Go home,'” Breyer asked, prompting laughter in the courtroom, according to the transcript.

Comments from Prof. Alberto Bernabe of The John Marshall Law School. He says it doesn’t look good for the future of the ATS.

– Do spy technology companies have any risk under ATS/ATCA?

– Elsewhere, General Motors settles its South African apartheid case after a decade.

– I get endless entertainment from the hilariously ignorant and belligerent comments on WSJ articles.

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