Through transnational litigation, national courts enforce human rights norms “horizontally.” Jurisdictional doctrines and immunity principles both shape the permissible contours of horizontal enforcement. Conflicts may arise between the principles of state sovereignty and non-interference, on the one hand, and the goals of promoting accountability and providing remedies for victims, on the other. This chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Human Rights explores the bases for asserting jurisdiction in human rights cases and focuses on the development, and limits, of foreign official immunity and foreign state immunity. It also discusses claims against non-state actors including private corporations for committing or assisting human rights violations. While the horizontal enforcement of human rights norms by national courts carries the potential for both salutary and disruptive effects, national courts remain important developers and enforcers of international human rights law. The pre-publication text of this chapter will be available on SSRN while the Oxford Handbook of Human Rights is still in production.
Chimene Keitner (UC Hastings College of Law) has posted Transnational Litigation: Jurisdiction and Immunities on SSRN.