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Kiobel and the Future of the Alien Tort Statute


October 9, 2012 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Room 185


On October 1st, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. Plaintiffs in the case are twelve Nigerian nationals who filed suit in U.S. District Court against three European oil companies alleging that the companies had aided and abetted the Nigerian military in killing and torturing civilians who protested oil exploration in Nigeria. The case has raised various issues including whether and under what circumstances the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) allows courts to recognize a cause of action for violations of the law of nations occurring outside of the U.S.

What are the stakes for the Kiobel plaintiffs and other foreign nationals who allege that they have been victims of human rights abuses overseas? Should corporations be immune from tort liability or may they be sued in the same manner as other private party defendants under the ATS? Is the U.S. exercising “legal colonialism” by trying international law cases in U.S. courts under U.S. law? Join professors Jenny Martinez and Allen Weiner for a discussion of these fascinating topics.