Fidelity bank banner Bayelsa State banner
Nigerians banned from taking human rights abuse cases to American courts

By News Express on 18/04/2013

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 3,050


Nigerians who believe they could run to foreign courts to obtain justice from multinationals deemed to have violated their rights in Nigeria have had their hopes shattered after the United States Supreme Court ruled that such cases could not be pursued in America.   

The American apex court ruled yesterday that “Nigerian plaintiffs who said foreign oil companies had been complicit in violating their human rights may not sue in American courts,” reports The New York Times. “The decision limited the sweep of a 1789 law that had been used to address human rights abuses abroad,” the paper adds.

The decision was unanimous, but the justices divided along ideological lines in their reasoning, according to the report, adding: “Human rights groups said the decision was a sharp blow.”

“This decision so severely limited a law that has for decades been a beacon of hope for victims of gross human rights violations,” said Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First. “This decision cuts a hole into the web of accountability. Human rights abusers may be rejoicing today, but this is a major setback for their victims.”

Business groups however said the ruling would help put an end to baseless lawsuits.

“The US Supreme Court’s decision today ensures that trial lawyers cannot continue to use the American judicial system to expose global businesses to frivolous and costly lawsuits,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said a general presumption against the extraterritorial application of American law barred the suit.

“All the relevant conduct took place outside the United States,” he wrote.

He added that even some minimal contact with the United States would not be sufficient to overcome the presumption. “Even where the claims touch and concern the territory of the United States, they must do so with sufficient force to displace the presumption against extraterritorial application.”

He gave an example: “Corporations are often present in many countries, and it would reach too far to say mere corporate presence suffices.”

The New York Times report says that the case involved a joint subsidiary of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, based in the Netherlands, and Shell Transport and Trading Company, based in England. The subsidiary, incorporated in Nigeria, was accused of aiding and abetting in atrocities by Nigerian military and police forces against Ogoni villagers in Rivers State, South-South Nigeria.

“After being granted asylum in the United States, several Nigerians sued the parent companies under the 1789 law, the Alien Tort Statute, which is brief and cryptic,” says The New York Times. The Alien Tort Statute allows US federal courts to hear “any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”

The law was largely ignored until the 1980s, when federal courts started to apply it in international human rights cases. A 2004 Supreme Court decision, Sosa v. Álvarez-Machain, left the door open to some claims under the law, as long as they involved violations of international norms with “definite content and acceptance among civilised nations.”

•Photo courtesy sweetcrudereports.com shows devastation caused by oil spill in Ogoniland. The man in the photo has been stripped of the right to sue in any American court.

Source News Express

Posted 18/04/2013 11:40:44 AM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
Live Commentary: Nigerians elect a new President –...

Danger looms in prisons; Contractors send SOS to...

Drug drama: I won’t surrender —Kashamu •Insists NDLEA...

Troops kill 3 Boko Haram insurgents

Lagos judiciary staff jailed for stealing

Army, DSS invade Abia Commissioner’s home in search...

NPFL All-Stars go down fighting in Spain

Dust haze, reduced visibility to dominate weather: NiMet...

My best is yet to come, says Okagbare,...

N50 Stamp Duty: PMB, how much was collected...

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) receives US$50 million from...

Osaze warns Manchester United ahead of Prem clash...

 

Latest News Kaduna recruits PhD holder as primary school teacher 2019: Okowa, Wike, Udom screened, cleared •Okowa predicts victory for PDP candidates Abia 2019: PDP clears Ikpeazu, hails sterling performance Vote buying: Police arrests 2 PDP agents with cash Osun Guber: Omisore cries foul, Aregbesola praises INEC Randy Catholic Bishop denied bail FRSC releases recruitment screening time-table 5th term: Banjo tasks Tinubu, Oshiomhole, others Looking for a job? Be careful about what you post on social media Buhari leaves for UNGA73 tomorrow China summons US Ambassador over military sanctions Skye: AMCON pumps N786bn into new Polaris Bank

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (395,750 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (376,388 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (308,063 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (250,347 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (232,013 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (221,507 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (199,797 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (181,446 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (165,490 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (163,262 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (158,011 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (146,784 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (63) Business & Economy (3,619) Business Verdict (52) Columnists (933) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (547) Features (652) Global Business Monitor (301) International (2,423) Interview (165) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (144) News (39,054) Opinion (1,110) Pidgin (11) Politics (6,688) Religion (871) Sports (1,699) Stock Watch (34) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner

 

 

NEWS EXPRESS TV

I am Imo State's New Governor -- Okorocha's son-in-law Uche Nwosu...

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement