Sunday, September 19, 2010

No ATS Suit for Murder of Israeli Lawyer

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by representatives of an Israeli lawyer who was gunned down in 2002 while driving in the Gaza Strip.  The representatives sought to sue the Palestinian Authority or the Palestine Liberation Organization under the Alien Tort Statute.

The federal appellate court held that an act of murder, committed by a private individual with no state involvement, did not violate the international norms that the ATS is meant to uphold.  The court stated: “A single murder, even of the most brutal sort, has never been accorded the status of a violation of the law of nations, and wrongs of this kind assuredly were not ‘on [the] minds of the men who drafted the ATS with its reference to tort,' ” the court said. Allowing such claims would effectively open U.S. courts to “every incident of violence in every unstable region of the world.” 

The decision is Estate of Amergi v. Palestinian Authority, No. 09-13618 (11th Cir. July 27, 2010).  Click here for a copy of the court decision.


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