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U.S. Court Finds Corporations Immune From Liability For Human Rights Abuses

Graphic by Tim Barton of Bluegreenearth.com

Fri, 09/17/2010 – 14:33

by Marco Simons

Source: Earth Rights International

“So long as they incorporate (or act in the form of a trust), businesses will now be free to trade in or exploit slaves, employ mercenary armies to do dirty work for despots, perform genocides or operate torture prisons for a despot’s political opponents, or engage in piracy – all without civil liability to victims.”

In the words of Judge Pierre Leval, who disagreed with his colleagues, that is the result of today’s ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which concluded that corporations could not be sued for human rights abuses under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The ATS generally allows suits in federal courts for violations of international law – but, according to the Second Circuit, not if the violation was committed by a corporation.

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