The Applicability of the Alien Tort Statute to Human Rights Violations by Private Corporations
Keywords: Alien Tort Statute, Corporations and human rights, US Supreme Court, Kiobel
Categories: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
The Supreme Court of the United States in April 2017 announced to decide on an issue that is not uniformly assessed by US circuit courts: The highest US court granted the petition for certiorari on the question whether private corporations can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789, a rather cryptic US law that allows foreign plaintiffs to sue defendants before US courts for their violations of international (human rights) law. Among the circuit courts, the famous Kiobel decision of the Second Circuit was the only opinion that denied that corporations can be held accountable under the Act. Now the Supreme Court is going to rule on the contentious question, the answer to which will possibly have implications for the human rights litigation worldwide. Affiliation: University of Michigan Law School.