Source: NY Times:
The Supreme Court’s conservatives dealt a major blow Wednesday to the ability of American federal courts to hold violators of international human rights accountable. The court declaredthat a 1789 law called the Alien Tort Statute does not allow foreigners to sue in American courts to seek redress “for violations of the law of nations occurring outside the United States.”In the case at issue, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Nigerian citizens alleged that, from 1992 to 1995, multinational oil companies working in Nigeria aided the military dictatorship that tortured and killed protesters who fought the environmental damage caused by the oil operations. These companies did business in the United States. But Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said that even where claims of atrocities “touch and concern the territory of the United States, they must do so with sufficient force” to overcome a presumption that the statute does not apply to actions outside this country.