Blog especializado en derecho administrativo, derechos humanos, asilo y protección internacional.
The Alien Tort Statue (or the Alien Tort Claims Act) is the article 1350 of the United States Code. Indeed, it is part of the Title 28 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) thereof.
Even though the ATS is not part of the United States Constitution, it was enacted only two years after the year in which the US Constitution was adopted.
“Corporate defendants have faced an extraordinary variety of ATS claims (…) [however] most of these cases are eventually dismissed and there has yet to be a jury verdict against a multinational corporate defendant in an ATS case.”[i]
For instance, in the cases of Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc and Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Company the allegations against these two companies were dismissed. And thus they hold no liability under the ATS.
Talisman was not judged under The Alien Tort Statues because:
“As of today, therefore, liability under the ATS for participation in a conspiracy may only attach where the goal of the conspiracy was either to commit genocide or to commit aggressive war. The plaintiffs no longer contend that Talisman conspired with the Government to commit genocide; they have never claimed that it conspired to commit aggressive war. As described above, they contend that Talisman joined a conspiracy to commit a crime against humanity, specifically, a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population to displace it forcibly. As a result, the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the conspiracy claim is granted.”[ii]
The US court concluded that:
“Talisman’s motion for summary judgment is granted. The plaintiffs’ motion to amend is denied. Talisman’s motion to preclude plaintiffs from seeking certain categories of damages is denied as moot.”[iii]
Coca-Cola Company was not judged under The Alien Tort Statues because:
“The Court found with respect to the plaintiffs’ torture and execution claims that the plaintiffs did not sufficiently allege that the paramilitaries who committed the abuses were acting under color of state law, and with respect to their war crimes claims, that plaintiffs did not adequately allege that the abuses were committed in the course of the war.”[iv]
The court concluded that:
“For the foregoing reasons, the Court should reverse the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ war crimes claims on the basis of failure to allege that the abuses were committed in furtherance of the armed conflict, and reverse the dismissal of plaintiffs’ other claims on grounds that they did not adequately allege that defendants were state actors”[v]
Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum CO could be the first case in which a non-American corporation would be punished by a U.S. court for committing H.R. crimes in a third country under the ATS.
[i] TIMOTHY P. HARKNESS & CARLOS RAMOS-MROSOVSKY. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum: Whither the Alien Tort Statute? New York Legal. Thomson Reuters News and Insights
[ii] The PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SUDAN v. TALISMAN ENERGY, INC., and Republic of the Sudan. No. 01 Civ.9882 DLC. United States District Court, S.D. New York. September 12, 2006. Conclusion-662. Page 18
[iii] The PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SUDAN v. TALISMAN ENERGY, INC., and Republic of the Sudan. No. 01 Civ.9882 DLC. United States District Court, S.D. New York. September 12, 2006. Conclusion-689. Page 34
[iv] EARTH RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL. Amicus Brief in Sinaltrainal v. Coca Cola http://www.earthrights.org/publication/amicus-brief-sinaltrainal-v-coca-cola
[v] SINALTRAINAL, et al., Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. THE COCA-COLA COMPANY, et al., Defendants/Appellees. No. 06-15851-HH In the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. April 8, 2008 Conclusion. Page 29