The Applicability of the Alien Tort Statute to Human Rights Violations by Private Corporations


Hannah Dittmers, LL.M. candidate at the University of Michigan (USA) and doctoral candidate at the University of Freiburg (Germany), has just published an interesting paper on recent developments concerning corporate liability under the Alien Tort Statute in the Journal of Science, Humanities and Arts (JOSHA). On April 3rd 2017, the New York Times published an article with the heading: “Supreme Court to Weigh if Firms Can be Sued in Human Rights Cases”. On the same day, the Supreme Court of the United States had granted the petition for certiorari to consider an issue that now has come before the highest US court already for the second time. The Second Circuit through the case In re Arab Bank has again brought the question before the Justices whether private corporations can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789 (ATS) for aiding and abetting human rights violations that occurred outside the territory of the United States. The Supreme Court is now to provide guidance on the issue that is not uniformly assessed by the US Circuit Courts. The full article is available here.